Yun Lan kissed Shen Wei good night as they went to bed. Yun Lan would have wanted more but he knew Shen Wei was tired from the lectures and grading papers so Yun Lan let it be.
They both fell asleep rather quickly.
Yun Lan woke up in the middle of the night, not quite fully awake, just enough to throw his arm around Shen Wei. But Shen Wei wasn’t there. Yun Lan reached again for his husband and found air.
Bleary eyed he got up, looking for his husband. His bare feet hitting the cold ground sent a shiver up his body.
He found Shen Wei in the kitchen, his face turned away from him, shoulders hunched, reminding Yun Lan of one particular night.
“Shen Wei,” he called out. Shen Wei didn’t move. Puzzled and worried Yun Lan made his way to the other man. “Come back to bed,” he said as he placed a hand on Shen Wei’s shoulder.
Yun Lan felt Shen Wei tense under his touch.
Slowly, like he were consoling a small child, Yun Lan turned Shen Wei towards him. All blood left his body. Shen Wei’s nose was bleeding. Yun Lan looked down to his hands, he had a cloth covered in blood.
“Shen Wei,” Yun Lan placed a on Shen Wei’s cheek. He flinched away from his touch as though the very touch of Yun Lan was burning him from the inside.
Shen Wei wiped away the trail of blood streaming from his nose.
A mark was forming on Shen Wei’s cheek in the shape of Yun Lan’s fingers when he had touched his cheek. Yun Lan almost took a step back, horrified at the pale skin of his love marked in such a way because of him.
“Shen Wei what’s going on?” Shen Wei didn’t answer. He just stood there blood streaming from his nose, brows creased, resting himself on the kitchen counter.
Yun Lan’s world was shifting on its axis.
Shen Wei touched Yun Lan’s face. There was a strange comfort in knowing he was there, anchored by the palm on his face.
“Yun Lan,” Shen Wei said. It was a disgruntled sound, the kind that comes from the back of your throat.
Something was wrong. The touch that Yun Lan felt mere moments ago was gone. Emptiness took its place. Yun Lan couldn’t feel Shen Wei’s touch. His heart was sinking. He wanted to reach out, to touch Shen Wei, and know that he stood right there but he couldn’t if the marks on Shen Wei’s porcelain skin were any indication.
The edges of Shen Wei’s visage were melting. Turning to dust.
The hand on Yun Lan’s face broke apart and all that was left was ash. Shen Wei had turned to ash in front of Yun Lan
Yun Lan woke with a start. Sweating and shaking. A hand was on his chest, right above his heart.
“What happened?” Shen Wei’s voice was sleepy. He lay on the bed, eyes closed as if he was unconsciously asking him the question.
Yun Lan turned to his husband, his heart fluttering a hundred miles a minute. It was a dream, just a bad dream. Shen Wei was right here, next to him, sleeping without a care in the world. He wasn’t disintegrating, he wasn’t going anywhere.
Yun Lan breathe in a sign of relief, put his hand over the on Shen Wei had on his chest, squeezing, making it real.
“Just a bad dream, dear, go back to sleep.” Yun Lan eased into the bed, looking at his husband. He could stay like that for the foreseeable future, just looking at Shen Wei. He had no idea how he got to be so lucky to have a man like Shen Wei in his life.