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Wei Wuxian decided one morning that he would not let the rooster’s call best him, and that he would instead remain in bed for at least several minutes longer than he normally allowed himself to. It was by no means a selfish indulgence, but a reward of sorts for his previous days of unrelenting hard work; Lan Xichen and Lan Sizhui had been running him ragged with all sorts of errands they simply just  needed his company for, and on top of the other things Wei Wuxian had to do as well…

Exhausted!!

He was simply exhausted. Lan Wangji wouldn’t think to bother him in such a state, would he? It wasn't even his fault that Mo Xuanyu's body was so easily tired. Exceptions had to be made somewhere, didn't they?

"Mn..."

The person beside him began to stir, no doubt responding to the relentless cries of the rooster across the courtyard. Wei Wuxian firmly told himself to relax and pretend he hadn’t woken yet, hoping that his husband would feel compassionate at the sight of him so deeply asleep. With his eyes shut, he could see nothing – he could only hear the rustling of sheets and the sound of Lan Wangji releasing a quiet yawn as he stretched.

Remaining still, Wei Wuxian did his best to keep his breath steady and natural as Lan Wangji seemed to turn his attention towards him. He could feel his weight shift, drawing closer to his side. Had he been discovered? Would it be best to pretend to wake up now rather than later? Troublesome thoughts filled his mind, only for them to come screeching to a halt as he felt Lan Wangji’s fingers carefully brush a few loose strands of hair from his face.

Huh?

But he was not done. As soon as he had moved the strands, Lan Wangji’s fingertips lightly traced down the side of his cheek. They stopped as they reached the corner of his mouth – it was then that Wei Wuxian felt his bottom lip being caressed by the pad of the other man’s thumb. His movement were slow and attentive, as though he meant to memorize the shape of his lips from touch alone.

Wei Wuxian wasn’t sure how he was still managing to keep Lan Zhan convinced that he was asleep by that point. Unlike him, his attempts at suppressing emotion were miserable at best. Was his face not burning red, or was his husband simply too distracted with himself to properly notice?

At last, the sensation against his lip vanished. Wei Wuxian almost wanted to speak up in protest.

“Hanguang Jun,” a voice faintly called from beyond the doors to their room. “Pardon my intrusion, but Zewu-jun asked that I remind you of your scheduled meeting in the library this morning.”

“Yes. Thank you.”

At the sound of retreating footsteps, they were left alone again. Lan Wangji’s hand returned for the briefest of moments, cupping his cheek with the same tenderness a mother would provide  a newborn – was he that concerned about waking him? After he brushed the pad of his thumb over his cheekbone, Lan Wangji finally went to wash and dress himself for the day. 

Wei Wuxian, from his spot on the bed, was beginning to grow restless. He wanted to leap up and ask Lan Wangji the question that now burned in his mind: do you always do this in the morning? The thought made him curl his fingers and toes in delight. He liked the idea of the other man starting his day with such an intimate little ceremony. Why couldn’t he do such a thing when he was awake to enjoy it, though?

It can’t be because he’s shy, can it? He hardly seems that way anymore.

By the time Lan Wangji had finally left to go meet with his brother, Wei Wuxian was already formulating a plan. Perhaps if the other hadn’t been in such a rush to meet Lan Xichen, he would’ve stopped to notice the devious little smile tugging at the corners of those lips he had previously committed himself to.

 

::

 

Nearly a week later, Wei Wuxian again managed to wake up before Lan Wangji. The rooster outside was already filling the morning air with its irritating cries, and soon he was counting the seconds until the man beside him would stir.

Hehe, let's see what he decides to do this time around!

Within moments, Lan Wangji was awake. He yawned and stretched as he had before (an expected routine of anyone, even someone as fine-tuned as him), though unlike last time he did not immediately prop himself up into a sitting position. Instead, he appeared to wiggle his way over to Wei Wuxian's side. An arm stretched over his supposedly sleeping form, lazily draping over his stomach as though he were a piece of furniture. What was he intending to do, lounge there until he "woke up"? No, that couldn't be right – Hanguang Jun was not the type of person to laze about and keep others waiting on him. 

Should I call it quits? He doesn't seem to be doing anything...

Still determined to get something out of the moment, however, Wei Wuxian continued to remain still. All he could say for certain was that the other man was most likely staring at him – that was what he was feeling, wasn't it? Lan Wangji's signature unrelenting stare... He almost gulped, suddenly feeling nervous.

Ah, what the hell is he just staring at me for?! Is this funny?! Do I make weird faces in my sleep or something?! Ugh, please hurry up and do something before I scream...!

 And as though the heavens themselves had decided to answer his prayers, Wei Wuxian felt the other lightly pinch his nose.

Huh? What? Is he being serious right now?! Let go, you...! 

But Lan Wangji did not let go. He instead just started playing with him, gently wiggling the tip he held with what Wei Wuxian could only assume was some weird, childish amusement. What was he getting out of this? In fact, what were either of them getting out of this? He just felt embarrassed, maybe even more than he did last week. And to make matters worse, it tickled. Tickled and itched. 

Perhaps it was time to "wake up" and put an end to thing. Wei Wuxian's brows slowly knitted together, yet before he could open his eyes –

Oh. Oh, no. I'm going to – 

An unpleasant sensation fired up within his nostrils. Wei Wuxian suddenly doubled over, unable to suppress the sneeze escaping him.

Waah…! Ugh, Lan Zhan, what –”

Rubbing his nose and looking up, he saw that Lan Wangji had somehow carried himself over to the wash bin and was acting as though he had been washing his face the entire time. Upon hearing his name, he cooly glanced over at Wei Wuxian.

You… You fake…!

“Good morning.”

“Good…” Wei Wuxian forced an innocent grin. “Good morning~ Aha, that’s so weird that I sneezed just now? I wonder if I’m allergic to something in here.”

The other man turned away, likely to hide whatever expression he knew would give his involvement away. “Mm. Washing up might help.”

Liar! You liar! You were torturing my poor little nose and made me sneeze!

But he said nothing, instead laughing along in agreement and joining the other as he readied himself for the day.

 

::

 

Lan Zhan better not do anything weird this time...

It was a mere three days after the sneezing incident, and once more Wei Wuxian was already lying in wait for the other cultivator to wake up and begin his morning routine. A part of him couldn’t help but wonder if maybe it would be easier to just ask upfront about things, but then he had to consider the obvious: it was Lan Zhan he was talking about. He could only imagine how that entire exchange would go: 

( “Hey, why do you always touch my face in the mornings when I’m still asleep?”

“Ridiculous.”

“But I have proof! I was awake these past few times and you even made me sneeze!”

“Hm. Nonsense.” )

 Which was exactly why he had to be sneaky. Not because he wanted to be, but because there was simply no other path to take. Once Lan Wangji woke up, yawned, and stretched as per usual, Wei Wuxian readied himself for whatever odd things his husband was about to do next. First his lips, then the nose… would he start playing with his eyes today? He hoped not. There was no possible way to “sleep” through something like that.

“–ei Ying…”

Huh?

Suddenly, he felt Lan Wangji’s face press against his exposed neck.

Oh.

His fingers nearly twitched, startled and embarrassed by the affectionate gesture. Perhaps what made it worse was that he couldn’t respond in any way – not unless he wanted to reveal that he was awake and ruin the moment. Biting his tongue, he willed himself to stay quiet and keep as calm as humanly possible.

Which is easier said than done with him holding me like thhHHWHA…?!

Lan Wangji had started to pepper soft, delicate kisses along the underside of his jaw. His lips were a little dry and left ticklish sensations wherever the went, but they also felt so warm and gentle and unbelievably good. Wei Wuxian almost wanted to grab him and beg for more, and he almost did once he felt the other man suddenly trail down towards his collarbone. Without meaning to, he let out a short, breathy gasp –

And Lan Wangji stopped, pulling away in fear that he was beginning to wake up.

DAMN IT.

Wei Wuxian almost wanted to start throwing a tantrum. First of all, why did he have to stop? And second, did Lan Wangji always have a habit of kissing him so sweetly when he was sleeping?! It was unfair! He wanted to see that embarrassing side of him in the mornings! He wanted to see the look in his eyes as he held and cherished him! Was that really too much to ask?

And now I sound like a brat…Great... 

As Lan Wangji began to get ready for the day, Wei Wuxian decided that the next time would be when he’d catch his husband red handed.

 

::

 

A yawn, the stretching of arms, and the quiet sigh that soon came to follow as Lan Wangji processed the arrival of dawn. Wei Wuxian had to bite the inside of his cheek in order to keep down his excitement. What would Lan Wangji do this time? He could hardly wait.

Soon he felt a weight beside him shift closer. The sheets began to rustle as the other approached, an arm immediately wrapping around him and gently pulling their bodies together. Did he just want to cuddle? Wei Wuxian was facing the opposite direction, with his back pressed against his husband’s chest. Perhaps today, he only wanted to hold him…

I can’t expose him like this, though! It’s too easy!

Determined, Wei Wuxian faked a quiet, sleepy grumble and turned over so that they would be facing. He could feel Lan Zhan’s body stiffen in mild alarm before relaxing again, even going as far as pressing closer to him. His chin came to rest atop Wei Wuxian’s head.

“Mm… Lan Zhan….”

“...”

So far, so good . He seemed to believe he was still asleep and only murmuring to his dreams. Wei Wuxian, throwing in a sleepy whine, continued, “Lan Zhan... more.

“M...More?”

Finally, they were getting somewhere.

Lan Wangji’s hands squeezed the sides of his waist. They were trembling – what did he want to do? Wei Wuxian’s own heart began to beat rapidly, thoughts of how his husband was probably looking at him in that moment racing through his mind.

“Wei Ying.” His voice was strained. “What are you dreaming about?”

I can hear Lan Zhan’s heart pounding like this. It’s like mine…

He could suddenly feel Lan Wangji’s breath against his lips. Had he moved so that their faces could meet? Oh, how he longed to just open his eyes and see the way he was being looked upon, studied, cherished … but he couldn’t. If he did, everything would be ruined. It was cruel enough to make Wei Wuxian want to throw his plan out the window and just grab as much of the other as he could.

No, he told himself firmly. I want to know what he’s going to do first…!

Like the time before, he felt a hand gently cup the side of his face. Soon after came kisses, only this time around his forehead and nose rather than neck. They tickled and felt nice, but the ones being placed around his nose were dangerous. Extremely dangerous. He could already feel his nostrils begin to twitch in irritation. If he didn’t stop him, he was going to sneeze right in his face.

“H-Hey...! I’m gonna sneeze like last time if you keep it up, you know!”

Lan Wangji jerked back in alarm, eyes wide and face pale.  “W-Wei Ying!”

“Ahehe, yep, that’s me!”

“You were awake…!”

Wei Wuxian pouted and shifted closer, placing his hands on Lan Wangji’s chest. “I was awake a lot of times these past couple weeks! How come you don’t do all that kind of stuff when I’m up in the mornings?”

Lan Wangji looked about ready to explode. It was an expression Wei Wuxian hadn’t seen on him since they were younger, back when he was much easier to tease and rile up.

“It’s not fair to hide all that lovey-dovey kind of behavior from your husband, you know,” Wei Wuxian further scolded, “It felt so nice, but you’d stop whenever you thought I was waking up!”

“I…” Lan Wangji furrowed his brow. “I wasn’t hiding anything.”

“Really? Then how come you only did it when I was asleep?”

Silence fell between them as Lan Wangji struggled to find the right words. He eventually ducked his head, trying to avoid the annoyed look he was receiving. “Since returning, we always wake up around the same time.”

Wei Wuxian wasn’t following. He tilted his head in confusion. “So?”

“So… By the time I wake up, you’re already starting to wake up as well.”

And? You can’t kiss me and stuff then? Don’t be so stingy!”

“Not ‘stingy’,” Lan Wangji mumbled, “Just…” And then he paused, sighing and reaching down to cup Wei Wuxian’s face again. His expression relaxed, though the troubled look in his eyes had yet to vanish.

“Lan Zhan?”

“It’s rare.”

“What is?”

“Your sleeping face… I… ” His lips trembled as he considered his next words. “I wanted to savor it.”

Wei Wuxian couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh? So you saw my cute sleeping face and just couldn’t help yourself? You should’ve told me before. Then I could just sleep in every day, right? Sounds much better than having to pretend.”

Lan Wangji clicked his tongue and gave his cheeks a light pinch. “No. And you were pretending to sleep?”

“Mmhm~ Pretty genius, huh? Although – “ And suddenly Wei Wuxian pushed Lan Wangji over and climbed on top of him, lying flat against his chest. He grinned mischievously at the startled look he received in return. “– It was hard, you know? You were doing so much nice stuff, and I had to stay still the whole time. I couldn’t even look at you, either! Talk about unfair.”

“How?”

He reached down and brushed a stray strand of hair from Lan Zhan’s face. “I wanted to look at you so badly… but if I got up, you’d tell me we have to get ready and not keep the others waiting… It’s super unfair.” Lan Wangji’s expression changed into something unreadable; if Wei Wuxian had to guess, he was confused, or perhaps trying to process what he was being told. But somehow, there was something else to it, something more lurking in his eyes. It wasn’t anger, he hoped. Nervously, Wei Wuxian reached down and cupped his husband’s face in his hands. “Hanguang Jun...?”

“I wasn’t hiding,” he finally replied, repeating his same stance from before. “I wanted to look at you.”

“Huh? You already said that.”

“But… If I knew how you felt, I would’ve…”

Wei Wuxian’s lips quirked in a small, amused smirk. “Would’ve…? Don’t tell me you’d let us stay in bed all morning. Isn’t that against sect rules?”

“...”

“Our poor juniors would be kept waiting, haha! Along with everyone and everything else at the Cloud Recesses, don’t you thi – ah!”

His words were cut off by his own surprised gasp as Lan Wangji grabbed him by the waist and flipped their positions. Instinct took over, and Wei Wuxian soon found himself grasping the other’s shoulders and staring up at him in excitement.

“Lan Zhan?”

“Don't be foolish. I would keep the entire world waiting, just for you.”

Lan Wangji, having a subtle flare for dramatics, ended his bold declaration with a kiss that was eagerly returned tenfold. They stayed like that for what seemed to be an eternity, covering every inch of skin made bare between them with trembling touches and devouring each other’s breath with ravenous kisses. Daytime was a new experience for their intimacy; typically they drowned themselves in passion only by dark, with either moonlight or a candle to guide their sight. Doing such things under the light of dawn was exciting – they could see everything, and that only made them much less willing to pull apart.

Still, there was a cost to their spontaneous morning intimacy. Everyone was awake, and sooner or later a young scholar would come knocking at their door to inquire about their absences. They needed to be quiet and avoid taking too long.

“Hurry up,” Wei Wuxian whispered impatiently, twisting his fingers into the sheets. Lan Wangji grunted against his neck in response and continued rolling their hips together at a feverish, uncoordinated pace. “Ah, w-wait… your face! Let me see your face, Lan… Lan Zhan – !”

His voice was getting too loud. Lan Wangji lifted himself up and pressed their foreheads together. It was embarrassing – direct eye contact at such a time was embarrassing! Yet Wei Wuxian craved it all the same, pulling the other down by the shoulders into a suffocating kiss.

Close...

Lan Wangji was in the same state. His hands squeezed Wei Wuxian’s hips in warning as his movements slowed, drawing their lower halves together in a more controlled and torturous rhythm. They wouldn’t last much longer at their current rate. Unable to remain focused on anything else, Wei Wuxian shut his eyes and brought his husband in for yet another kiss.

In the midst of it all, he could have sworn he felt Lan Wangji’s lips curling into a smile.

 

::

 

Lan Xichen was running out of patience.

Sighing, the Gusu Lan leader turned his attention towards the cups of tea he had prepared for him and his brother to enjoy during their scheduled meeting – tea that, by now, was entirely lukewarm and well beyond saving. Such tardiness was unheard of from Lan Wangji! Resisting the growing urge to break his calm, composed expression, Lan Xichen gave the library table a quiet and decisive smack of his palm before he finally, finally, had enough. He rose to his feet, drawing the attention of the younger Gusu Lan scholars nearby.

“A-Ah, shall we fetch Hanguang Jun? There’s no need to bother yourself, we can –”

“Now, now.” Lan Xichen smiled softly and shooed the boys away. “I believe I’m more than capable of tracking down my own brother. Please, return to your studies.”

The boys nodded obediently and did as they were told, but could not help but eye the slight twitch of the leader’s lips.

What on earth could be keeping him? It’s already an hour past dawn. Even when I fail to wake up at the proper time, he always does without fail! Is he feeling ill?

As he approached the bedroom of his brother and Wei Wuxian, Lan Xichen hesitated – if Lan Wangji was not out, was Wei Wuxian also…?

Oh. That did not bode well.

The more Lan Xichen thought about it, the more obvious the reason behind his brother’s unusual tardiness became. Things did seem awfully quiet that morning, too. Usually, the calling of the rooster was followed by Wei Wuxian loudly complaining about it for at least half an hour out in the courtyard as he awaited Lan Wangji’s return from morning discussions.

Ah...

Lan Xichen figured he had two potential courses of action: one, being that he would simply turn around and continue waiting in the library as though he had never come upon such an awkward revelation, and two…

Well, as an older brother, option two was just the more fun one.

“– Good morning!”

Lan Xichen flung open the doors with every bit of cheeriness he could muster. He did well to keep his eyes closed, though; some sights were simply not meant to be seen, even by the most experienced and hardened of cultivators.

But there were no panicked screams, no gasps of horror, and certainly no hurried attempts to cover anything up. There was only silence, followed by mutually calm greetings from both men. Lan Xichen opened his eyes in surprise, only to see his brother and Wei Wuxian had just finished washing up and dressing for the day.

“Ah, pardon my intrusion, but... I was left wondering where you were. I’ve been waiting for quite some time.”

Lan Wangji blinked slowly. He seemed unusually tired, interestingly enough.. “I apologize. I… Did not realize the time.”

Wei Wuxian grinned at the two brothers. “Uh-oh, I better scatter before you two start bickering. It might ruin my image of Zewu-jun~ Heheh, I’ll leave you both to it!”

Lan Xichen was about to comment, but he couldn’t – he simply couldn’t . Not after Wei Wuxian, seemingly in the spur of the moment, gave Lan Wangji’s behind a firm, playful squeeze before hurrying off. Both brothers seemed taken aback, one mortified and the other wishing he had just kept his  eyes shut. Good lord, why hadn't he? 

“...”

Well ,” Lan Xichen said after a moment of pause, smiling gently, “Shall I begin pushing our meetings back by an hour for your, ah, convenience ?”

No.” Lan Wangji cleared his throat and marched across the room, face scarlet. “No, thank you.”

The Gusu Lan leader only hummed in amusement and followed his brother back to the library. Perhaps informing Lan Zhan that he had hastily put his robes on incorrectly would be the right thing to do as both a leader and older sibling, he thought. But then again, didn’t Lan Xichen deserve a bit of fun that morning too? He laughed.

“Is something funny, brother?”

“No, no," and he laughed again. "Nothing at all. Just thinking of how loved you are these days.”

"Please think of something else."