The illuminated letters of the bomb timer swim before Zhao Yunlan's eyes as the snick of the pliers snipping through wire shatters the silence. Zhao Yunlan holds his breath, and holds it, and then sees that the timer has stopped. He breathes out explosively, squeezing his hand tight around Shen Wei's and then letting go to wipe his damp palms on his jeans. Shen Wei gives a small shudder, which in anyone else would be a shout of relief. Zhao Yunlan hastily takes the bomb from him - even though it’s now harmless he doesn’t want it anywhere near him. He steps forward to put his arms around him, but Shen Wei is already moving away.
"Where are you going?"
"To check on Zu Ma," Shen Wei replies as he heads for the door.
Shit. In the heart-stopping tension of the last few minutes, Zhao Yunlan had almost forgotten about the little scrap of a gamer who had been the cause of this whole weird, terrifying day.
They burst into the ward in time to hear the beeping of the monitors begin to flat-line. Dr Cheng is attempting CPR, sobbing as she does it. Zhao Yunlan clenches his fists so hard his nails bite into his palm. It's unfair and unbearable that it should end this way - the price exacted on Zu Ma's little body is far too high. He turns to Shen Wei, but before he can speak, Shen Wei is already pulling Dr Cheng out of the way. It's a little rough - she staggers and Zhao Yunlan steadies her.
"What are you doing?" she yells.
Shen Wei sinks to his knees, putting both hands over Zu Ma's chest and pushing dark energy out of them in a thick black cloud. His head sinks down between his shoulders and his body shakes, like something is fighting back at his healing powers. Dr Cheng cries out and struggles against Zhao Yunlan's hold, but then Zu Ma's still body twitches. Shen Wei lets out a gasp and the shriek of the heart monitor turns to a reassuring steady beep. Zu Ma is still out cold, but his chest is rising and falling. Intoxicating relief floods through Zhao Yunlan. Shen Wei smooths a hand over the boy's forehead and gets to his feet, wobbling a little. Dr Cheng gives Zhao Yunlan one shocked glance and then goes to check the monitors, all cool professionalism again.
Zhao Yunlan grabs Shen Wei's arm. "Are you all right?" Shen Wei is upright and his shoulders are straight, but Zhao Yunlan knows his man and can tell just how much the healing took out of him. "Are you?" he repeats.
Shen Wei nods towards the bed. "He will recover," he says, which doesn't answer the question at all. The doctor has moved to the bedside and is taking Zu Ma's pulse. Shen Wei pulls himself up still straighter. "Dr Cheng…"
She raises her eyes to his and gives him a considering look. "That was, what, magic?"
Shen Wei's face is set. "It could be called that, in a way."
"All these strange events that have been happening, and the strange people. Are you like them?"
Her face creases in shock. "I've known you such a long time…"
The moment stretches out and Zhao Yunlan wonders how she will react. Shen Wei has so few friends, and for him to yield up his secret like this feels like a chasm has been crossed. More than that, it could be dangerous. Shen Wei is very still. Zhao Yunlan brushes one finger over the back of his hand, wanting him to know he isn't alone.
"I don't know what to think." Dr Cheng glances down at Zu Ma and then takes a deep breath. "But for now all that matters is that he's alive. Thank you, Lao Shen."
Shen Wei nods to her and then turns abruptly and stalks from the room, dragging Zhao Yunlan by the wrist. Zhao Yunlan just has time to wave helplessly at Dr Cheng, and then they're in the corridor.
Zhao Yunlan lets himself be pulled along. Everything has hit him all at once: the mind-fuckery of being stuck in the video game world and his clenching fear at seeing Shen Wei with the bomb in his hands and knowing that he might never get to hold him again. He's abruptly empty and shaky, but Shen Wei's fingers are vice-like around his wrist and it feels good. It's anchoring him.
They plunge past the nurses' station and round a corner into an empty corridor. Zhao Yunlan knows this hospital too fucking well by now, and this is the wrong way for the parking lot. "Hey," he starts. "Did you get lost?"
Shen Wei is looking around for something and then his eyebrows go up as he sees… a random door? He yanks Zhao Yunlan through it and they're briefly in darkness before Shen Wei hits the light and Zhao Yunlan sees that they're in a supply closet. There's a mildly astringent smell coming from shelves lined with cleaning products, and a row of overalls hanging from a rail. Zhao Yunlan pays scant attention to the decor, because Shen Wei's hands are gripping his shoulders, and his eyes are squeezed shut like he's in pain.
Zhao Yunlan knows asking him again if he's all right will be futile, so he just steps close and sinks against Shen Wei's chest, and Shen Wei squeezes his arms around him, crushing him against his body. Zhao Yunlan holds him back, the closeness an aching comfort. He kisses the corner of Shen Wei's jaw. "Feels good, Xiao Wei."
Shen Wei responds by burying his face in Zhao Yunlan's hair and sagging back against the closet wall. Zhao Yunlan relaxes against him, feeling some of the nervous tension that has been making his heart beat fast all day beginning to spill out of him. After a little while of letting himself be held, he realises that Shen Wei had wanted to be alone with him but hadn't teleported them somewhere more comfortable than a closet, so his dark energy reserves must have taken a real knock and aren't replenishing quickly.
Zhao Yunlan’s pulse picks up again with anxiety, but he breathes in deep and tries not to overreact. Shen Wei is still not speaking, and he’s holding him so hard it almost hurts, and one of them having a visible freak out is already enough.
Zhao Yunlan wriggles in Shen Wei's hold until he loosens his grip. He raises his head from Shen Wei's shoulder so he can kiss his cheek, run his fingers through the soft darkness of his hair. "So, it's been quite a day." He laughs at the understatement and it comes out shaky. "It's been the worst fucking day, and I'm so glad to be here with you." Shen Wei's eyes are still shut tight. Zhao Yunlan skims a finger softly over his eyelid, down his cheek. "Tell me what you're thinking right now?"
Shen Wei breathes in hard. "You almost died."
Zhao Yunlan wonders how he knows about the terrifying moment with the gun, and then realises what he means. "The bomb? We both almost died! That would have been some mutual exploding."
Shen Wei opens his eyes, his gaze pained. "I'm sorry."
Zhao Yunlan's pretty good at mind reading when it comes to this man, but right now he's lost. "I'm pretty sure you didn't secretly plant that bomb. So tell me what you're apologising for."
"Last night. You were angry at me."
Zhao Yunlan breathes in and out, counts to five, and tries his best. "Yes, I was angry. You were hurting yourself and I was scared." He swallows. "That doesn't mean I don't love you."
He's been thinking the word since probably way too soon after he first met Shen Wei, but saying it out loud makes Zhao Yunlan feel like he's soaring, vertiginously high.
Shen Wei's eyes go wide. "Oh," he breathes.
Zhao Yunlan laughs a little, because everything he's feeling is too big for anything else. "So," he starts, and then Shen Wei blurts out, "And I love you. Beyond anything."
Happiness bursts through Zhao Yunlan, driving out the day's pain and worry. He can feel himself beaming. He kisses Shen Wei then, because he can't not, and Shen Wei kisses him back, running gentle hands over Zhao Yunlan's back, making him feel soft and shivery. He could easily lose himself and float off into the comfort of Shen Wei's touch, but there's something important he needs to say first.
He pulls away reluctantly from Shen Wei's soft lips. "I really was angry though because you didn't tell me what was going on - you were hurt and I didn't know about it." He touches Shen Wei's chin. "Do you get that?"
Shen Wei nods.
"So, how bad is it? Your body’s energy structure being damaged?"
Shen Wei's mouth quirks like he's searching for words. "It could be… quite bad. The mixture of energies is unstable. It could be dangerous to those around me."
Fear seizes Zhao Yunlan's heart. "Not just to those around you, to you."
"Yes." Shen Wei admits. "But it's okay!" His face brightens awfully. "As long as I keep releasing the energy, it may dissipate."
Zhao Yunlan really hates that "may", but it's something at least. "And that means cutting yourself."
"Yes," Shen Wei says again.
"So here's the deal. You don't do it secretly, OK?" He looks into Shen Wei's eyes, wanting him to know how serious he is about this. "Tell me when you're going to do it, so I can be with you."
A crease forms between Shen Wei's eyes. "It won't make a difference."
"It will!" Zhao Yunlan's voice cracks. "If you're hurting, I want to know. Maybe I can't make it better, but I can be there."
"All right," Shen Wei says. His eyes go glossy. "Thank you."
Zhao Yunlan's heart feels like it's going to burst out of his chest. "And it's not just that." He thinks about the best way to say this. "I'd like you to trust me enough to tell me when you're going to do something dangerous. Like healing my eyes. If I'd known…"
Shen Wei looks frustrated. "I don't regret it."
Wo de tian, this man. "I know you don't," Zhao Yunlan tries to explain. "But by not telling me you… you took away my choice from me. You didn't trust me enough."
He can tell Shen Wei still isn't getting it. "How would you feel if I'd done the same to you - put myself in danger and not told you?"
A shadow of recognition crosses Shen Wei's face. "That would have been. Awful."
"Well, then." Zhao Yunlan draws his thumb across the perfect line of Shen Wei's cheekbone. "Like I said, we're part of each other's lives now. Don't treat me like some stupid Haixingren that you have to protect."
Shen Wei's voice is rough. "I won't - I don't think about you that way."
Zhao Yunlan forces bravado into his tone. "I mean, I did a pretty good job disarming that bomb, right?"
Shen Wei's eyes brighten. "Zhao Yunlan, you were magnificent."
There's fervent appreciation is his voice and Zhao Yunlan will definitely take it. It's made the shocked, sad expression start to lift from Shen Wei's face, anyway. Zhao Yunlan preens a little. "Feel free to tell me that any time you like."
The way Shen Wei is looking at him - the warmth in his eyes - is making Zhao Yunlan's mouth go dry. He licks his lips, and Shen Wei's gaze tracks the movement. There'd been something in his expression when Zhao Yunlan had been working on the bomb and, now that they're not both about to die, it's making Zhao Yunlan curious. He leans his full weight against Shen Wei - pressing up against him from hip to shoulder, and Shen Wei widens his legs, making space for him between them. Zhao Yunlan bites his lip, making a show of it, enjoying the tiny sting. Shen Wei starts to get a hint of the look that means Zhao Yunlan is doing something that's really working for him.
"Don't tell me," Zhao Yunlan drawls. "You've got a thing for bomb disposal?"
Shen Wei goes pink. "Just for you, Yunlan."
The adrenaline that's been coiling in Zhao Yunlan's belly all day begins to turn into something warmer and more urgent. He sways forward, and Shen Wei puts his big hand behind his head, pulls him in, and kisses him hotly. His mouth is fierce on Zhao Yunlan's like he wants to drink him straight down, and Zhao Yunlan really likes it. He shoves his hands under Shen Wei's blazer, plasters them flat to his sides, and Shen Wei's body quakes under his touch.
Shen Wei plunges his tongue into his mouth - he's usually more tentative than this, and the rare, special occasions when he's worked up enough to just take what he wants are moments to be treasured. Zhao Yunlan yields happily to him, going shivery hot as their tongues touch. Shen Wei drops his hands to his hips, pulls Zhao Yunlan harder against him, and the deliciously solid bulge of his erection presses against Zhao Yunlan’s thigh. Zhao Yunlan is catching up quickly himself, arousal beginning to pump through his tired body.
It would be pleasant to be somewhere more comfortable though - to be able to lay Shen Wei out and get his hands and mouth all over him. He breaks off the kiss and says. "Do you wanna take this home to bed?"
Shen Wei's mouth is wet and already bruised-looking. "I don't want to wait," he says stubbornly.
Oh shit. Despite his tiredness, the words make Zhao Yunlan need him so desperately his head starts to swim.
Shen Wei clears his throat. "I mean. Unless you don't…?"
Zhao Yunlan mouths hotly at his throat, moves his thigh against Shen Wei's hard-on again, and Shen Wei's words cut off on a groan. "Here works," Zhao Yunlan whispers enthusiastically against his skin. He rubs his beard against the tender flesh of Shen Wei's throat, because he knows from lengthy experimentation that it drives him crazy. Sure enough, Shen Wei's breathing stutters and he squeezes his hands around Zhao Yunlan's hips and moves him against his body until Zhao Yunlan willingly gets with the programme and starts to grind against him.
He's fully hard now, the here-and-gone pressure on his erection as he ruts against Shen Wei's hip sending mounting heat through his whole body. Shen Wei's head is tilted back against the wall, his beautiful face beginning to turn lax and pleasure-slack, his breathing hitching with every movement of Zhao Yunlan's body. Zhao Yunlan burrows his face into his throat, marking up his skin with beard burn, mouthing under his jaw with more than a hint of teeth. Shen Wei says "Yunlan," and his hands on Zhao Yunlan's hips go brutal, holding him right there, snug up against his erection as his body starts to shake with climax. Zhao Yunlan leans into him, kissing his throat over and over, gentling his hand down Shen Wei's side as Shen Wei quivers through it and his cock begins to soften against Zhao Yunlan's thigh.
Zhao Yunlan cups him through his trousers, getting a sharp thrill at the feeling of wetness beginning to soak through the pristine grey fabric. When he's properly worked up Shen Wei gets messy, and Zhao Yunlan loves it. He gives his cock an affectionate little squeeze and Shen Wei shudders - blissed out and getting oversensitive. He guides Zhao Yunlan's hand to his mouth and kisses his palm, his fingers, dabs his tongue between his knuckles. It's like there's a line of electricity running between the small, wet touch and Zhao Yunlan's cock, and he bites off a groan and circles his hips needily against Shen Wei's body.
Shen Wei gives his fingers a last, lingering kiss, and guides his hips back so he can unzip Zhao Yunlan’s fly and encircle his erection in his strong, glaive-calloused hand. His face is intent as he looks down at Zhao Yunlan's cock and, like always, being the focus of all his attention intoxicates Zhao Yunlan. Shen Wei jerks him fast and precise, making liquid heat swell in his balls, making his legs go weak. He's so sensitive that without lube it's a little too rough when Shen Wei squeezes around him and Zhao Yunlan breathes in hugely and says, "Wait."
Shen Wei's hand goes still. "Is something wrong?"
Zhao Yunlan smirks at him. "Lend me some slick?"
"What do you mean… oh." Shen Wei's eyebrows shoot up cutely as Zhao Yunlan gets his hand down the front of his pants and onto his messy cock, coating his fingers in Shen Wei's come. He puts his hand back to his own dick, spreading it around, the feeling making precum bead from his cockhead and mingle with Shen Wei's jizz.
Shen Wei's expression is turning from 'I can't believe you did that' to 'fuck, I'm into it.' He looks down at Zhao Yunlan's fingers moving on his own cock, knocks his hand out of the way and replaces it with his own. It's urgent and now just slick enough, and beyond good. He drags Zhao Yunlan up against his body so his dick rubs against Shen Wei's shirt-clad belly as he jerks him and Zhao Yunlan lets go of everything, ruts against him like an animal and then comes all over him, biting down on Shen Wei's blazer collar so he doesn't scream as his orgasm blasts through him.
The wave of release shakes him to his core - his limbs go molten and he has to trust to Shen Wei to keep him falling straight to the floor. He snuggles deeper into Shen Wei's shoulder and gives himself up to the relief of pleasure, and of being held. Shen Wei strokes his hair, murmuring, "My Ah Lan" into his ear.
He's just beginning to feel like a human again rather than a puddle, when there are voices outside. Shen Wei pivots them so his back is against the door, blocking it, and blinks at Zhao Yunlan guiltily. The two orderlies discussing the weird day they've had, and how much of their shift there's left to go, continue right past, luckily not needing anything from the closet.
Zhao Yunlan tucks himself hastily back into his jeans. "Time to go?"
Shen Wei glances down at himself, looking delightfully prim for a man covered so thoroughly in the evidence of both his and Zhao Yunlan's pleasure. "I am not fit to be seen."
Zhao Yunlan kisses him happily. "You're glorious." He borrows Shen Wei's handkerchief to dab at some of the mess on his shirt, then buttons up his blazer over it. Nothing to be done about his trousers, sadly. He thinks quickly. "There's a fire exit right outside - we'll go out that way."
He takes Shen Wei's hand, runs his thumb softly over his knuckles. "Come on, baobei, I'll drive us home."