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with their hearts open wide

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Ge Lan hums softly to herself as she wanders into the library looking for Sang Zan. He likes to sit at the front desk after the office closes. From there, he can see the whole of the atrium and the dancing light of the chandeliers, vast and open and bright. He says it feels like being under the sky, in a way, and Ge Lan understands. The streets of Dragon City are nothing like their home.

But the desk is empty tonight. Sang Zan has a vase of flowers there; soft purple irises like the ones he'd given her when the sun first set. She'd told him time and time again not to risk leaving the offices so early, but he'd just duck his head and say, But the flower stalls sell out. As if giving her flowers was the most important thing!

With a fond smile, Ge Lan steps quietly to the back of the library. Sure enough, Sang Zan is in their favorite place -- the one she showed him when he first came to the SID -- lounging against the railing of the fireman's pole into Chief Zhao's office.

Chief Zhao was impossibly entertaining before, with his sprawling and grumbling and melodramatic humor. He's only grown more so, now that he's so clearly besotted with Professor Shen.

Ge Lan doesn't make a noise, but Sang Zan always seems to know she's there. He turns his face to her, a smile breaking across it like the morning sun, and he beckons her closer. He scoots aside, leaving space for her beside him -- and the spot with the best view of Chief Zhao's desk.

Professor Shen had 'dropped by' earlier, and Chief Zhao had immediately whisked him into the office and closed the door. They hadn't come out by the time the others left.

Below them, Chief Zhao and Professor Shen are eating -- Professor Shen brought food again, in the pretty lacquer containers that keep finding their way into Chief Zhao's apartment (according to Da Qing, and Ge Lan has no reason to doubt it). They're a polite distance from each other, on either side of the desk, but everything about them calls this a date. They're flirting, the both of them, all soft eyes and heavy glances. It's so romantic, like the movies Hong-jie would sneak Ge Lan into to learn about modern life.

Ge Lan settles down on the carpet and props her head on her arm just enough to peer over the edge. Sang Zan wraps his free arm around her the way he used to. It doesn't feel the same without the warmth of his skin, but he smells like wildflowers and mountain grass, and it still makes her heart leap.

"What did I miss?" she murmurs in their home tongue, and lets Sang Zan whisper back all the ways those two are so obviously in love.