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in the morning when i wake (can i be close to you?)

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The sky is still deep blue when Tang Mo wakes up.

Drifting in and out of sleep, he seems to be dreaming about a different world, something about towers or singing children. It’s doesn’t feel like a very cheerful dream, but the images blur away like smoke every time he tries to put his finger on it. Drowsiness gradually recedes, and he’s fully awake by the time purple and pink emerge outside the window. They forgot to draw the curtains last night, he faintly thinks as he watches sunlight streaming in, painting his floor in the color of morning.

Tang Mo has only started to wonder about the exact time when he notices a movement behind him, hears a tiny change in the rhythm of breath, and feels the arm draped over his waist tightens as the owner presses closer against his back. A kiss then lands on his bare shoulder, followed by a sleepy good morning murmured to the skin of his nape.

“Morning,” Tang Mo replies quietly, his lips forming a small smile.

Fu Wenduo is always so warm, more inviting than any blanket in freezing winter, and Tang Mo is sinking back into his embrace, relaxed and unguarded, ready to doze off once more. Fu Wenduo’s hand starts a slow caress upwards, squeezing lightly as it stops intermittently, fishing out a pleased hum from Tang Mo.

“It’s still a bit early,” Tang Mo says, “but do you want breakfast?”

“Later.” The other man’s voice is still a little hoarse, laced with uncharacteristic laziness. It’s probably rare for him to have the luxury of lazing in bed in the morning, so Tang Mo lets him. There’s something about today that makes him feel sluggish too, as if time stops moving quickly and finally slows down for a while. His back and legs still retain this dull, satisfying soreness in them. Come to think of it, Tang Mo actually hadn’t slept for that long; they both, after all, were quite occupied with each other during the night.

Another kiss is felt on the back of his neck. Another one. Then another one. Warm breath tickles his naked skin as Fu Wenduo’s lips trace down his spine. Tang Mo shudders, the images of last night flash in his mind, kindling a little fire at the base of his stomach. He turns around, hands barely reaching for Fu Wenduo’s arms when the man buries his face in the crook of Tang Mo’s neck, his teeth grazing lightly.

There’s also something about today’s Fu Wenduo that makes Tang Mo wonder. Not that he’s acting strange, he simply feels the man is trying to say something, but every time he opens his mouth, it just does something else instead. He allows Fu Wenduo to suck the skin and hold it between his lips, hard enough to prickle—it’ll definitely leave a mark, probably more than what is socially acceptable, but it’s winter and it’s weekend, Tang Mo will just find a turtleneck if it still hasn’t faded by the time he needs to go back to work.

Fu Wenduo moves up to give him a peck on the chin, then shifts backwards so he can stare at Tang Mo’s eyes. “Got any plans for today?”

“Nothing. What do you want to do?”

“Games, maybe?”

“Bridge?”

“Do you keep any board games at home?”

With an eyebrow raised, Tang Mo smiles at him. “There’s none.”

“Bridge it is then.” Fu Wenduo’s lips follow the shape of his own.

“Let’s play a bit before I drop you off at the airport later.”

“All right.”

Tang Mo sits up and stretches, not missing the way the other man’s eyes follow the lines and curves of his torso. Fu Wenduo had seen everything anyway, so let him see more if he wants to. Tang Mo leans sideways on the headboard, reaching out to stroke his boyfriend’s hair, gently scraping his blunt nails on the scalp every now and then. Just as he’s about to stop and get up, Fu Wenduo circles his wrist with a hand, his thumb rubbing at the palm. It’s rough and covered with callouses from years in the army, and Tang Mo suddenly realizes that despite their tacit understanding of each other, he doesn’t really know much about other practical aspects of Fu Wenduo’s life.

“How long will the mission be this time?”

“Probably around two weeks,” Fu Wenduo replies. “I’ll let you know when I return.”

“Okay.”

Fu Wenduo doesn’t say more, so Tang Mo also doesn’t ask. They might have been lovers for some time, but these kinds of things are mostly still out of his business, so even if he’s curious, he won’t try to pry too much. The room falls into silence for a while, but it doesn’t bother them, because spoken words are not always needed for the two to feel comfortable in each other’s company.

The sun is now high enough for its rays to travel further into the bedroom. It casts golden on Fu Wenduo’s shoulder and arm, then spreads over his face when he props himself up with one elbow. This is the man Tang Mo had only known as Victor for a long time, with nothing more than the cold, glaring screen of the computer, and the soundless brief messages they exchanged sporadically. Basked under the morning light, he looks somewhat ethereal yet grounding at the same time, almost like a painting, or perhaps like a daydream, but still not quite—the Victor before him right now is as real as he can be.

“Tang Mo.” Fu Wenduo’s voice is always deep and attractive. At that time, Tang Mo had not imagined anything before they actually met face to face, but now he really can’t ask for a better. His finger stops, and Fu Wenduo holds the back of Tang Mo’s hand.

“Yes?”

“After I get back,” he pauses for a second, but not like in hesitation, it seems instead he just wants to observe Tang Mo’s expression to see if the man has figured out what Fu Wenduo intends to say, “let’s move in together?”

Tang Mo can’t hide the curve forming on his lips when he hears it. “Actually, I’ve also been planning to ask you the same thing.”

“I know.”

The two men laugh at the same time. Tang Mo leans down, pressing their lips together. The kiss is sweet and pleasant, warmer than any morning sun. Even if they hadn’t discussed it openly before, moving in together was already a given, it was only a matter of when.

There’s almost no need for asking because the answer is obvious; if possible, then of course Tang Mo would love to wake up to this every single day, for the rest of his life.