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Like clockwork, Lan Wangji wakes at five.  

The Jingshi is as still as it was when he fell asleep at nine. Still, but not completely silent. There is a swell of noise by his ear, a noise that, too, is like clockwork; a soft snore, rising and falling in time with the breathing of a sleep warm body laid on top of his.  

Lan Wangji’s hand moves to brush a wayward strand of hair from his husband’s forehead, tucking it back into place. He takes a few moments to simply feel. He cannot properly see Wei Wuxian’s face with the way his head is tucked into the groove between Lan Wangji’s neck and collarbone, but he can feel the steady thump-thump of his pulse from where his chest is pressed against his, the comfortable twine of their legs. Lan Wangji treasures any reminder that he is here, that he is safe. The feeling will never not be novel, he thinks, having the privilege of waking up every morning with the sun nestled in his arms. 

Wei Wuxian stirs in his sleep, faint murmurs slipping past his lips. It’s no surprise, really. There have been many mornings where he mumbled to himself in a stupor, having conversations with those in his dreams. Lan Wangji wonders what it's like. His own dreams mostly consist of flashes of memory and feeling. There are often sensations of slender fingers teasingly pulling at his cheeks or a hand only slightly bigger than his own held firm, leading him down a pathway to a cottage nestled on the edges of the Cloud Recesses. He is rarely an active participant in them, only feeling and feeling and feeling. 

They are opposites in that way, he supposes. In his dreams, Wei Wuxian battles with zombified radishes, races with a Sizhui who’s grown to the height of a cypress—When I planted him in soil I didn’t want him to actually grow into a tree!—and throws boisterous festivals with the locals down in Caiyi. They are bizarre and whimsical, and Wei Wuxian frequently mopes about their insignificance. Lan Zhan, why can’t I have dreams that are actually meaningful? Shouldn’t someone like the Yiling Patriarch get amazingly spectacular dreams? Ah, what a waste.  

(There are nights where things are different, where it gets to be too much. Nights where memories of his past life ink his dreams with stains of darkness and leave him shaking in Lan Wangji’s arms. They talk it out when the sun rises, but when the moon is still high in the sky, Lan Wangji can only hold him and keep him grounded.)  

Lan Wangji gradually turns his attention to the rest of his surroundings. The pale dawn sun casts stripes of soft light across the Jingshi’s floors, and the air is crisp and chilly with fall‘s arrival, painting the perfect picture of tranquility. It is a few minutes after five now. The junior disciples will be arriving with a bathtub filled to the brim with warm water any second now. The day is young, but there are meetings to attend, lectures to give. He blinks to rid of the sleep in his eyes and begins to rise.  

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Wuxian murmurs, beginning to shift and shuffle. He’s still half asleep. His arms, wound around Lan Wangji’s middle, squeeze even tighter. “Where are you going? It’s too early… come back…” 

Warmth blooms and spreads in his chest, almost overwhelming in its intensity. Cute. Lan Wangji places his hands on his husband’s waist and gently shifts him down to rest on their pillow, bending to press a kiss to the crown of his head in the same motion. As a response… he begins to snore. Again.  

Oh. He loves him more than he can ever say. 

Lan Wangji quietly slips out of bed and places his feet onto the ground. After stretching, he moves over to their nightstand, pouring a cup of water and tending to the pot of lotus flowers Wei Wuxian brought back for decoration last week. He had walked in with the smell of water and spices clinging to his skin. Hair damp and messy, grin spread from ear to ear, vase resting snugly in his hands, he had been the most beautiful person Lan Wangji had ever seen. He always has been, and always will be.

Feeling the leaves of the lotus flowers between his fingers, Lan Wangji smiles and feels love wash over him like the warmth of the sun on a quiet summer afternoon.