One day after the release of Love Alarm
“I don’t want to download it! If I rang my crush’s Love Alarm I think I’d die!” One girl whined.
“I don’t know, don’t you think it’s easier? You don’t even have to say anything! The app does the work for you! The if your crush doesn’t like you back you can move on!”
“I don’t think anyone would ring my Love Alarm and I’d be embarrassed!”
Wei Ying collapsed into his personal space, loud teasing whine drowning out the nearby conversation. “Oh come on Lan Zhan! Aren’t you interested in how many people love you?”
“No.” Only one .
“Don’t you have a crush you want to confess to?” Lan Wangji said nothing, just kept his breathing even and his face blank to avoid giving anything away.
“He’s been talking about it non-stop ever since the release was announced yesterday,” Jiang Wanyin said to Nie Huaisang, who visibly had the app open on his phone.
Lan Wangji had expected as much, as soon as he’d heard the news he’d thought oh no then Wei Ying is going to be insufferable.
“How do you think it knows?” Nie Huaisang asked dreamily.
“Magic? Government spyware? Aliens?” Wei Ying suggested, laying on top of Lan Zhan’s desk so he was forced to pay attention to him and not his homework. “Who cares? It’s fun!” His phone chimed and a group of nearby girls exploded into giggles. Lan Wangji closed his eyes against a flash of irrational jealousy.
“You just like the attention,” Jiang Wanyin said. Wei Ying gasped, clutching a hand to his chest in fake indignation.
“Why don’t you download it, Lan Zhan?” He whined.
Wei Ying frowned. “At least you didn’t say boring.”
“Boring.” He fought off his smile as Wei Ying shouted in outrage, momentarily drowning out the chiming of Love Alarms all around them.
Lan Wangji forced himself to stare ahead at the board as Wei Ying became more dramatic in his antics to try and persuade Lan Zhan to download the wretched app. Every ping of Wei Ying’s phone had him looking around in excitement and grinning, missing Wangji flinch every time. Lan Zhan took a certain amount of comfort from the fact that Wei Ying didn’t approach anyone. At least not yet.
He tried not to read too much into the fact that Wei Ying hadn’t rung anyone else’s Love Alarm. He tried not to imagine what it would feel like to watch that happen.
This trend would fade, he was certain, and he would stop having to hear the evidence of just how many people Wei Ying had to choose from. (The trend did not fade).
Three months after the release of Love Alarm
Groups of boys and girls would often huddle together in between classes, giggling and gossiping about who had rung whose Love Alarm. Lan Wangji would walk by and he would hear him say that even though he was widely praised as one of the most handsome boys on campus, his Love Alarm never rang. People gossiped about why he’d never downloaded the app.
“Maybe he’s afraid no one will love him,” one boy said.
“Maybe he has a crush he doesn’t want to confess to.” Wangji was glad that his long hair covered his burning ears.
He could still remember the day the heart-shaped cloud had appeared above their school. Students had gathered on the front lawn and at the windows, taking pictures and making guesses about what might be the cause of such an odd occurrence- and Wangji had looked over at Wei Ying who was laughing and pointing and oh .
He didn’t need an app to tell him who he loved.
Wei Wuxian had, of course, wanted to know how many beautiful girls loved him, and the answer, much to Wangji’s chagrin, was a great number of them. Not that he could blame those girls, were they not in the same boat? Pinning after the same smile? Just because he couldn’t blame them, however, didn’t mean he wasn’t insanely jealous.
Wei Ying still tried to make him download the app, on occasion. “Oh come on, think of all the ladies who must secretly be holding a candle for you! What if they never get the chance to confess to you?”
“That’s fine.” Wei Ying had given him an incredulous look.
The sound of a phone chiming repeatedly and the pounding of running footsteps brought him back to the present just in time for a streak of black and red to slam into him and keep going, ducking around Wangji and crouching down, using him as a meat shield to stand in between himself and his brother.
“Wei Ying,” Lan Wangji scolded.
“Lan Zhan! My brother is trying to kill me!” Lan Zhan turned his eyes onto Jiang Wanyin, who was indeed looking particularly murderous.
“What did you do?” Lan Zhan asked, ignoring the heat radiating from the places on his shoulders where Wei Ying was holding him.
“Aiya! How cruel! Why would you assume I did something?” Wangji gave him the you’re an idiot look.
“He fucking filled my Oreos with toothpaste! What kind of sick fuck does something like that?” Lan Zhan blinked. There was a very long list of mischief he would have expected to hear in that moment, but he had to admit, that had managed to take him by surprise.
“I saw it on the internet!” Ah. “I didn’t think you would actually eat them! They smelled so minty!”
“I wasn’t paying attention! I didn’t know I needed to worry about them being full of toothpaste !”
Nie Huaisang caught up with the two of them, panting, lips still stretched in a grin and clearly having the time of his life.
“Good one, Wuxian, I have to admit I didn’t think it would work, but it’s already got a hundred views on Instagram.”
“What?” Jiang Wanyin snapped, swiping for Nie Huaisang’s phone and missing.
Wei Ying’s phone chirped and a nearby group of girls exploded into giggles, all elbowing the girl in the center, who was bright red. Wei Ying grinned, waving, then fell off balance when Lan Zhan pulled away from him and stalked away.
“Ah! Lan Zhan, wait! Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying trodded after him, calling his name even as his phone rang. Lan Wangji hated that sound. It was going to be a long day.
One year after the release of Love Alarm
Lan Zhan could not believe that he had been dragged into this. Nie Huaisang and Wei Wuxian had somehow gotten it into their head that their entire lives hinged on being able to take nice pictures with the cherry blossoms this year. Jiang Wanyin had been bullied into coming by persuading Jiang Yanli, then saying they could take family portraits. Almost too easy. Wen Ning came along to take the pictures and Wen Qing came along because Wen Ning gave her the puppy dog eyes.
Lan Zhan, on the other hand, had been persuaded by the buzzing in his ears and pounding of his heart when Wei Ying had once again invaded his personal space and whined for him to come too. Lan Zhan had agreed before he’d even processed Wei Ying’s words and now he was standing stiff-backed and straight-shouldered among a large crowd of people who had the same intentions as them.
They somehow managed to find a good spot and the others got to work taking pictures of one another, Lan Zhan and Wen Qing off to the side, her sat primly on a tree root studying a medical textbook and himself standing straight-backed with one arm tucked behind his back.
Nie Huaisang and Wen Ning grinned every time they rang one another’s Love Alarm. Jiang Cheng seemed annoyed by this, but Lan Zhan noticed Wen Qing soften each time it happened. He also noticed her noticing him staring at Wei Ying, but he wasn’t terribly concerned about that. Wen Qing was almost as tight-lipped as he was, and she certainly wasn’t the type to gossip or interfere in business that wasn’t hers.
So the two of them remained in companionable silence, Wen Qing reading and Lan Zhan listening to the occasional sounds of Love Alarms ringing around them, trying not to imagine what it might be like to be able to ring Wei Ying’s and have his rung in return. Normally he tried to steer away from that sort of thinking as it made it much too hard for him to breathe. But today it was harder, Wei Wuxian had been sure to dress up in his best outfit and had it approved by both Nie Huaisang and Jiang Yanli, and he was looking extremely handsome against the backdrop of the cherry blossom trees. Lan Zhan had decided to cut himself a break, he was allowed a little bit of hopeless pining on special occasions.
“Sister! Sister! Take pictures with me!” Wen Ning called, waving her over excitedly. Lan Zhan looked down to see her smile softly and nod.
“Lan Wangji, would you mind?” She held her book out to him.
“Sure.” He accepted the tome, giving the cover a cursory glance before tucking it under his arm and watching Wen Qing allow herself to be pulled into a one-armed hug by her brother and posed by Nie Huaisang.
“Lan Zhan!” Wei Ying whined, in the voice that Wangji dreaded. In all the time he’d known Wei Ying he hadn’t been able to say no to that voice, and Wei Ying knew this and abused the power mercilessly. “Come take pictures with me! You’re so handsome!”
It was a good thing Wei Ying was too far away to hear the small sound that he made. Still, he made a valiant effort to hold his ground that both boys knew was futile.
“Busy.” He looked down at the book he’d been given guardianship of.
Wei Ying rolled his eyes at the obvious excuse and bounded forward, capturing Wangji’s free wrist in his hand. “You can put her book with my things.”
Having utterly defeated Wangji with only the power of his own voice and five fingers wrapped around his wrist, Wei Ying dragged him over to where the rest of the group was standing at the base of a tree.
Lan Zhan allowed himself to be pulled under the arm of Wei Ying, who was grinning at Jiang Yanli, who also had a camera. He allowed himself to be photographed, his expression perhaps softened by the way Wei Ying’s thumb was idly stroking his shoulder.
“We should take some of you alone for your brother! That one he has of you on his desk is super old!” He darted away to stand behind his sister, still grinning brightly. Wangji sighed through his nose but stood still, knowing resistance was futile. Jiang Yanli snapped several quick photos and then looked down at her camera screen.
“Very nice,” she said, smiling at him.
“You’re not even smiling,” Wei Ying pouted.
“Lan Xichen has met him, Wei Wuxian, he wound be expecting a picture of him smiling,” Jiang Wanyin said, and though his tone pissed Wangji off a bit, he couldn’t argue with his point so he stayed silent.
A breeze shook the trees as Lan Wangji stepped away and thousands of little pink petals rained down on the crowd. Gasps of appreciation and excitement filled the air alongside laughter and shouts. Wangji’s eyes locked onto the delighted expression that graced Wei Ying’s face as he turned slowly, watching the petals tumble to the ground. His eyes landed on his sister, her hands outstretched as she tried to catch petals in her hand with a wide grin. He took several rapid-fire shots before turning to his brother who nodded in approval.
Lan Zhan felt the corner of his mouth tug up against his will at them before a camera shuttering caught his attention. He looked over to see Nie Huaisang grinning mischievously from behind the camera he had directed at him.
“Ah, Lan Wangji, you smiled! I have photographic evidence! I think I got the perfect picture of you!”
That exclamation caught Wei Ying’s attention. He spun on the spot, abandoning his sibling huddle to peer over Nie Huaisang’s shoulder before Wangi could force him to delete it.
“Ah! You did smile! No way! I missed it! You look so pretty here!” Wangji felt his ears heat up, glad that he’d left his long hair down today. Nie Huaisang could perhaps be allowed to keep the photo after all.
After they got a group photo of everyone together Lan Zhan was allowed to escape to the sidelines again while the others tired themselves out taking pictures. Wei Ying insisted on one of Yanli and Wen Qing together, one of himself with the Wen siblings, and another of Wen Ning holding him bridal style for whatever reason. Wen Ning proudly showed around a picture of his sister that he’d taken while the petals had been falling and everyone agreed that it was very lovely.
Afterward, the seven of them all piled into a booth at a nearby restaurant, talking and laughing and going through their pictures, laughing at the fails and oohing at the nice ones. Already Wei Ying had gotten the picture of Lan Zhan and sent it to his brother, who had expressed both gratitude for the picture and surprise that they had managed to get him to smile. Wangji was a little annoyed that even his own brother acted like he was utterly joyless, but he did not voice this frustration. Xichen also promised to update the picture of Wangji on his desk which made Wei Ying very smug for some reason.
Love Alarm pinged on Wei Ying’s phone once or twice, but he seemed entirely too invested in the good time he was having to even care, which brought Wangji a strange amount of satisfaction. Even though his enthusiasm for the app had waned slightly when it became less novel, he usually at least glanced around when it rang, but now as he showed Lan Zhan the pictures of his siblings he swiped the banner away with something like annoyance.
Still more selfies were taken, these of the more relaxed and goofy variety, and thankfully Wangji was not expected to participate, though he was in the background of quite a few of them.
Wei Ying expressed that his favortie non-Yanli picture of the day was the one of himself in Wen Ning’s arms, with the one of Lan Zhan smiling was a close second.
“You’re so strong ,” he drawled.
“I know ,” Nie Huaisang said wistfully, bringing a fierce blush onto Wen Ning’s face.
Wei Ying wasted no time in posting the picture of Wen Qing and Jiang Yanli sitting next to one another on a large tree root with the caption: my favorite girls in the world <3. Somehow his lock screen was already himself with his brother and sister and his home screen was himself with the Wen Siblings. Lan Zhan couldn’t help the little knife of jealousy that dug into his belly at the sight, thinking of all the couples he’d seen with pictures of their partners as their lock screens. He shoved the thought into the same pandora’s box the thoughts of ringing Wei Ying’s Love Alarm went into.
Instead, he thought about how toned Wei Ying’s arms were, and how his collar bones were just visible beneath the collar of his shirt and they’d be fully revealed every time Wei Ying reached across the table. You know, like a normal, not love-struck person might.
“Lan Zhan, why don’t we spilt something?”
“No thanks.” Once. He’d taken a bite out of one of Wei Ying’s ridiculously spicy meals once. Never again.
“No one wants to eat your terrible spicy food,” Jiang Wanyin said.
“Especially Lan Wangji, who has a mild pallate,” added Wen Qing.
Wen Ning’s Love Alarm rung as Nie Huaisang returned from the bathroom, earning an eye roll from Jiang Cheng.
“We get it, you’re in love! Just delete the damn app now you know!”
“No way! I like ringing A-Ning’s Love Alarm!”
Two years after the release of Love Alarm
Lan Wangji was laying Howl’s Moving Castle for the hundredth time, listening, for the hundredth time, to Wei Ying ranting that black-haired Howl was much sexier than blonde haired Howl and that Huaisang was a madman for disagreeing. Lan Wangji said nothing because he agreed with Wei Ying, he simply wondered if there were any old ladies who would consider moving in with Wei Ying to clean up after him because he was about to take matters into his own hands.
“And it’s like, dark hair is so sexy ,” Wei Ying repeated for the thousandth time total and fifth time that evening. “Like yours ,” he added for the first time, startling Wangji out of his thoughts of cleaning up after Wei Ying had fallen asleep and couldn’t stop him. Wei Ying leaned heavily into Wangji’s personal space, supporting himself on Wangji’s shoulder and chest, seemingly unaware that he had just set his blood on fire . “Your hair is so dark and pretty!” Wei Ying reached up and ran his fingers through Wangji’s hair, effectively stopping his heart.
Wangji forced himself to continue facing forward, pretending to still be reading subtitles when in reality, with Wei Ying’s proximity if he turned his head their lips would only be a couple of inches apart and Wangji would simply have no choice but to kiss him. And sometimes he felt like maybe Wei Ying might… like he could possibly…
But he dismissed those thoughts as wishful thinking on his part. He’d seen Wei Ying be handsy and affectionate with Nie Huaisang and Wen Ning, so it stood to reason that these sort of advances were simply the way that Wei Ying was, and they weren’t necessarily indicative of a desire for a romantic connection.
“Your hair is dark as well,” Lan Wangji said, praying that Wei Ying didn’t notice when his voice shook.
“That’s true! Do you think that my hair is pretty, Lan Zhan?”
Lan Wangji was fairly certain his brain was making that terrible iphone alarm sound loud enough that Wei Ying should have been able to hear it, but if he could he didn’t react. Lan Zhan said nothing and hoped that bird!Howl (Wei Ying’s favorite part) would distract him from this torture. (It didn’t).
“Lan Zhan, you need to answer my question!”
“What question?” He asked, voice cracking.
“Do you think I’m pretty?”
Now that was a different question from before.
“Mn,” he said noncommittally, certain that answering would result in his spontaneous combustion.
Wei Ying huffed and turned back to the movie, plopping down against Lan Zhan and settling in there. Lan Zhan tried to focus on keeping his soul in his body, making no move to pull away. He was suddenly overcome with a very vivid image of himself wrapping an arm around Wei Ying’s waist and leaning forward to kiss him and he cursed Xichen’s recent attempts at pushing the two of them together for the sudden influx of thoughts such as these. Normally he had such a good handle on them, only succumbing to such fantasies in his dreams where he had no control.
This is enough , he tried to tell himself. The amount of love and attention he got from Wei Ying now was already more than he thought he’d ever get as a child, it was selfish to ask for more, really. The way tension left Wei Ying’s shoulders when his eyes lighted on him would simply have to be enough to sustain him.
In a mindlessly practiced motion Lan Wangji opened his phone and flicked to the final home screen to stare at the only app there: Love Alarm. He’d downloaded it in a fit of weakness six months ago when Wei Ying had sighed wistfully at a Love Alarm commercial that had played when they were drinking boba’s together in the food court at the mall. His finger had hovered above the activation button for several long seconds before he locked the phone and placed it face down on the table.
What if Wei Ying didn’t like him back?
What if he lost these moments that meant so much to him?
He banished the app to the farthest screen on his phone and resolved never to touch it.
He didn’t delete it.
“Wei Ying have you ever rang someone else’s Love Alarm?” Wangji’s traitor lips asked.
Wei Ying sat up from his place on Wangji’s shoulder and gave him a funny look, glancing down at his phone screen before Wangji could manage to lock it. Unfortunately the quick wit and sharp eyes that Wangji had come to love so much worked against him here and he recognized the icon immediately, exclaiming loudly.
“YOU DOWNLOADED IT? TURN IT ON!”
Wei Ying dove for the phone and Wangji only just managed to jerk it away, holding it as far over the arm of the sofa as his arms could reach. Unfortunately for him their arms could reach the same distance and Wei Ying had no respect for personal space. Wangji threw every rule about good posture that his Uncle had ever tight him as he leaned fully back, Wei Ying climbing onto his lap, pressing their entire bodies together as he reached for the smartphone, laughing loudly in Wangji’s ear.
“No way! You made me wait two whole years! I want to see the kind of person Lan Wangji will ring the Love Alarm of!”
Wei Ying finally managed to get his hands on Wangji’s phone and ignored his protests, opening the app like lightning and tapping once on the little gray heart. There was half a heartbeats silence before two chirping sounds echoed throughout the room. Both men froze. In unison they looked from the message on Wangji’s screen One person within a 10m radius loves you to Wei Ying’s phone, which had just lit up with the same notification.
Wei Ying’s breath hitched. Lan Wangji’s heart stopped.
“You-” Wei Ying breathed, cheeks dusted pink, the beginnings of a smile creeping onto his face as the realization started to take root.
Wangji wasted no time in crushing Wei Ying to his chest, closing the short distance between their lips and kissing him breathless. Wei Ying’s hands tangled in his hair, pulling him as close as he could get, and Wangji half thought that he had fallen asleep during the movie and this was another one of his dreams, but no dream could have ever had this much feeling . He bit down on Wei Ying’s lower lip and the groan that responded drove every thought Wangji had ever had out of his head.
Two years and six months after the release of Love Alarm
Wangji was sitting alone at a table in their university's cafeteria, waiting for Wei Ying to return with their condiments when his Love Alarm rang and alerted him to his boyfriend's approach. He glanced up to where he’d heard the responding chirp and saw Wei Ying standing exactly ten meters away from him, hands full of little ketchup paper bowls, and giving him a burning look.
He took one step back, eyes never leaving Wangji, then took another step forward, giggling when Wangji’s phone chirped again. The corner of Wangji’s mouth twitched. Wei Ying took another step back and started circling their ten meter radius, stepping in every other step, ringing Wangji’s Love Alarm simply for the pleasure of doing so. Several of the other occupants of the cafeteria took notice and started chuckling along with Wei Ying, watching the spectacle with interest.
Once he’d completed a full circle Wei Ying finally closed the distance between them, carefully setting down their ketchup before leaning down to plant a long slow kiss on Wangji’s lips. Wangji responded happily, ignoring whichever nosy student had chosen to wolf whistle.
“I love you,” Wangji murmured when Wei Ying eventually pulled back.
“I love you too,” Wei Ying replied.