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Lan Wangji wakes to birds every morning. They have been a constant all his life at Cloud Recesses, a detail no less beloved for fading into the background. They sing, greeting the day as black night fades into dawn, and Lan Wangji breathes deep. There’s damp earth on the breeze from the window, the smell green and alive, and closer still the smell of incense. And, closest, the sleep-warm smell of Wei Ying’s hair against his face.

He nuzzles at Wei Ying’s hair, presses his mouth against his scalp just to feel the heat of him. This is only the third day they’ve woken together like this, bodies tangled as though they’ll drift away in the night. Three mornings; Lan Wangji smiles.

Against him, Wei Ying groans, the sound rumbling through Lan Wangji’s chest.

“Lan Zhan.” Wei Ying’s voice is rough around the edges, half-asleep; Lan Wangji wants nothing more than to press against him until they’re both awake and panting smoothly. “It’s too early.”

“Mm.” His fingers tighten against Wei Ying’s hip. “Too early?”

Every smile of Wei Ying’s is a treasure; Lan Wangji has been a pauper for years. He can’t stop himself from staring in the ever-lightening Jingshi as Wei Ying balances his chin against Lan Wangji’s chest and smiles, bright and beautiful. There is mischief in his eyes, but even more there is happiness. The sight of him makes Lan Wangji’s breath catch.

“That depends on what you had in mind,” Wei Ying says, but his fingers are already playing at the ties of Lan Wangji’s shirt, slipping beneath to find skin. “You’re going to spoil me, waking me up like this.”

“Yes, of course.”

Wei Ying’s eyes go wide for a minute, and then he’s hiding his face against Lan Wangji’s chest. “Lan Zhan,” he says, and Lan Wangji remembers being eighteen and the way it used to drive him mad, Wei Wuxian dragging out the syllables of his name like that. How little he knew then. Wei Ying’s face is pink when he lifts it again. “You can’t just say things like that.”

“I think I can.” Lan Wangji reaches out, brushes back the hair at his temple. Wei Ying’s eyelashes flutter, and he bites his lip. He doesn’t move, though, and Lan Wangji lets his touch linger, thumb against the soft curve of Wei Ying’s cheekbone. When their eyes meet again, Wei Ying’s are hot and bright, and Lan Wangji refuses to close his own until the last moment as Wei Ying rises up to fit their mouths together.

Wei Ying kisses like he does everything else; teasingly, whole-heartedly. Lan Wangji loves him like the thaw of spring after a long winter. He loves him, and he gives himself over happily. They kiss, and Lan Wangji can feel Wei Ying half-hard against him. His hand is hot against Lan Wangji’s chest, clever fingers finding and pinching lightly at a nipple. Lan Wangji chases his mouth when he pulls away to accommodate his gasp, and Wei Ying laughs, the sound ringing like bells through the Jingshi.

“Don’t you have a schedule, Hanguang Jun?” He nudges Lan Wangji’s chin with his nose, leaves a kiss against his jaw. “ Won’t I make you late?”

What does it matter, if he gets to spend these moments with Wei Ying? Enough of his life has been devoted elsewhere, let him devote his heart to this.

“The day can wait.”

Wei Ying’s eyes go comically wide as he scoffs, but there’s a softness to his smile, a sweetness to the dipping of his eyelashes against his cheeks. He’s flushed, and there’s a crease on his face from where he’s lain against Lan Wangji’s chest in the night. Lan Wangji loves him.

“Ah, Lan Zhan,” he says, voice soft. He leans in, dark hair a curtain around them. His eyes are bright when they meet Lan Wangji’s in the gray morning light. “You do spoil me.”

Wei Ying closes the distance--may it never be farther than this--and kisses him again. Lan Wangji falls into it, tumbling after Wei Ying’s lead. A press of tongue, and his lips part. Wei Ying’s thigh is firm between his own, and Lan Wangji can’t help but press against him. His hands find themselves in Wei Ying’s hair, fingers tangling, holding on. Between them, Wei Ying’s hand moves between them until his hand is at the tie of Lan Wangji’s pants, the tips of his fingers a hot tease against his stomach.

Lan Wangji breaks the kiss with a sigh. He opens his eyes to find Wei Ying watching him, lips parted and pink.

“Oh.” Wei Yings laugh is breathless. “I’m never going to get tired of this.”

The tips of Lan Wangji’s ears are hot, and he wonders if he’ll ever get used to the weight of Wei Ying’s gaze upon him now that he has it again. He used to dream about those eyes; surprised, teasing, pleased. Distressed. So much unhappiness near the end. Gone now after even more. They’re unclouded currently, free of the ghosts that haunt him. Lan Wangji’s heart is full of him.

It’s easy enough to flip them, and Wei Ying laughs in surprise as Lan Wangji rises above him. There’s an anticipatory tilt to his smile; Lan Wangji smooths it away with his tongue. It’s Wei Ying who gasps this time, mouth falling open. Lan Wangji presses forward, feels hard teeth and slick tongue and Wei Ying returned to him.

Wei Ying clings, hands fisted in the back of Lan Wangji’s shirt, when Lan Wangji pulls back. There is color high in his cheeks, his eyelashes a dark smudge against them. His mouth is wet and open, ripe. The night before, he’d put that mouth on Lan Wangji, taken him between his lips. Lan Wangji had come like that, Wei Ying’s fingers twisted with his own. Nothing in the world save their two beating hearts and the crickets outside, the occasional sound of chimes.

There are birds now, but the racing of their hearts is the same.

“Wei Ying.” He kisses him again, finds new ways to fit them together in the softness of the morning. Somehow both of Wei Ying’s hands find his bare skin, slipping up beneath his shirt, fingers--and thighs--spread wide as though he cannot make them touch enough. Lan Wangji understands the sentiment.

“Lan Zhan,” Wei Ying says between gusts of breath, their noses tucked close. “Always too many layers! Please, I--oh!’

The salt of sweat, and Wei Ying’s pulse fluttering beneath his tongue. When he pushes back to kneel between Wei Ying’s spread legs, Wei Ying props himself up on his elbows.

“Does anyone else know?”

Lan Wangji raises an eyebrow, slipping out of his shirt. He watches Wei Ying watch him disrobe, can practically feel Wei Ying’s eyes on his overheated skin.

“No,” Wei Ying says, answering himself. His eyes are on Lan Wangji’s hands, which are currently undoing the tie of his pants. “No, no one else should know that you’re a fiend.” He grins up at Lan Wangji, all mischief. “This is mine.”

It is, he thinks, just as Wei Ying here, with his hair and legs and lips spread wantonly, vulnerability painted in the lines of his body for only Lan Wangji to see. Abandoning the tie of his pants, he reaches for those of Wei Ying’s shirt, desperate instead for the hot straining muscle of him beneath his hands.

There’s an uncoordinated fumble of fingers and arms and legs--but what is embarrassment when Wei Ying looks at you like that?--and then they’re pressed together, skin to skin.

Wei Ying gasps, mouth hot against the shell of Lan Wangji’s ear, when he slots their hips together, their cocks bumping. Shifting, he finds Wei Ying between them. He’s hot in Lan Wangji’s hand, wet already at the tip. He has tasted Wei Ying, has felt him fill his mouth. He aches for it again with a tenderness almost overwhelming in its ferocity.

“Lan Zhan, please.” Wei Ying’s fingers pull at his hair when he mouths kisses along his jaw, down his neck. Lan Wangji remembers red, and kisses the spot where he almost lost him again.

“Please,” Wei Ying repeats, but when Lan Wangji ducks his head to move lower, he’s stopped.

He looks up, a question.

Wei Ying laughs, though his eyes shine. There’s a jolt of concern, but then Wei Ying is pulling him up, pulling him close. “Kiss me,” he says, the words quiet in the air between them.

Lan Wangji does. He kisses Wei Ying until there’s sweat gathered in all the places they touch. He kisses Wei Ying until they’re both rocking together, bodies falling easily into rhythm. Lan Wangji kisses him, and Wei Ying holds on, kisses back, meets him every step of the way.

They come like that in the pale morning light, bodies working together. Wei Ying’s fingers dig into his shoulder in a constellation of points Lan Wangji will remember long after they’re both dressed.

Beneath him, Wei Ying is a mess of dark hair and eyes, red mouth. The Yiling Patriarch indeed; his wickedest trick is the curve of that smile.

“Oh,” Wei Ying says. One of his hands appears in Lan Wangji’s periphery, and then Wei Ying’s fingers are butterfly light against Lan Wangji’s mouth. “I could get used to this.”

A kiss for those fingertips. “Good,” he says, and Wei Ying’s delighted laugh chases the birds with the dawn.