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she li paints a monstrous figure in front of him, despite only being a few inches taller. like a villain from a movie, holding him hostage against the wall, with just his words and presence. as always, his figure blocks the light and casts a shadow on guan shaun. he feels a bit like he's underwater; everything's going slow compared to his suddenly racing heartbeat. 

"i almost forgot, i was the one who gave you that piercing." she li's words are just as heavy as the hand he's using to crush his shoulder. but he can't show weakness; guan shuan spits out, "what do you want?"

smirking, she li replies, "this is rare meeting, why don't ya come with me?" terror. he has to get away, who knows what she li would do to him, he can't be alone with him and his goons, he needs to get away–

he smashes his bag against she li; the element of surpise can only get him so far, she li's grabbing at his sleeve, guan shuan tries to shake him off, falls.

adrenaline spikes through his veins, he starts running halfway through getting up, there's no time. he knows where he's going without even a single thought, his feet carry him down the stairs. he needs to get to them–get to him. 

he barely hears the security guard's warning, the thundering footsteps behind him drown out everything else. he's almost there, he can see them, see him.

"please, please, i just need to get to him." 

jian yi says something, and it's drowned out by the announcement of the door closing. zhengxi's wide-eyed surpise and he tian's– he tian. he's right there.

he can't focus on anything else, now. all he sees is he tian's face, he tian's face that popped into his head the minute she li put his hand on his shoulder, he tian's face which is just an arm's length away.

he gets through just as the doors close, stumbling into he tian's arms and collapsing against him.

his heart is still racing, and his breath comes out in gasps against he tian's shoulder. he feels a hand against his arm, steadying him. he dimly registers he tian raising his arm–the one guan shuan was clutching– and settling it against the back of his neck, gentle and firm. he tian holds him steady and safe against him, safe, safe, safe, he's safe.

he tian is probably making some rude gestures at she li through the glass and he can feel jian yi's and zhengxi's shocked silence and relief, but all he can focus on is the thud of his own heartbeat as it beats against he tian's chest. 

she li can't hurt him anymore.