There are nights like this when Yunlan can’t sleep so he sits up in bed and watches the moonlight play across his lover’s face. He lets his fingers ghost over Shen Wei’s features, his fingers skimming across Shen Wei’s eyebrows, his nose, his cheekbones. There was a time when he thought that he had seen all of Shen Wei’s faces: the stern yet kind professor, the impartial judge, and Shen Wei stripped down to just Shen Wei, smiling at him from across the room, his eyes full of longing and tenderness.
But asleep, next to him, Shen Wei’s face is different again. There is always a tension there, Yulan has realised, when Shen Wei is awake. An almost-mask, invisible to the eye, its presence only revealed in its absence.
Some nights Yunlan stays awake, listening to Shen Wei’s breathing next to him. Why does his lover wear this mask? What other secrets is he still hiding? What burdens are there, that he doesn’t want Yunlan to also bear?
Yulan’s fingers jerk back as Shen Wei’s eyes flicker open. The now too-familiar mask slides back over his lover’s face even though his eyes are still clouded by sleep. What did he need to do, what did it take to peel that last layer away?
“What are you doing?”
He smiles, and his fingers graze Shen Wei’s forehead. “Nothing. Go back to sleep.”
“Mmmm…you should sleep too.”
Yunlan settles down and buries his face against Shen Wei’s shoulder. Next to him, Shen Wei sighs, a happy little sound that starts a fluttering sensation in the center of Yulan’s chest. His arm snakes across Yulan’s body, pulling him close.
Yulan closes his eyes and breathes in his lover’s scent. Whatever it was, Shen Wei has his reasons for keeping his secrets, and Yulan just needs to wait. To be patient. To be ready for whenever Shen Wei also is.