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Falling Down

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Zhao Yunlan is aware that most people's reaction to seeing the Envoy wield his glaive wouldn't be he's really too hot, but then most people don't know how sweetly Shen Wei kisses him back, more careful and gentle than usually, any time Zhao Yunlan presses himself against Shen Wei when he's still wearing the mask.

Badass, though. Everyone would agree on that, right? Because Shen Wei definitely is. He's fighting another Dixing escapee (or a soldier, a part of Zhao Yunlan thinks grimly), a man whose power involves summoning deadly black spikes out of nowhere, and he's fast as the wind, making sure that both him and Zhao Yunlan stay safe. The spike-guy seems to be a harder opponent than most, though—he doesn't go down immediately. He does, of course, go down eventually, because no one can measure up to the Envoy.

The moment the rogue Dixingren collapses, Shen Wei's clothes turn from black robes back into his dark blue suit. Normally, Zhao Yunlan would expect the Black-Cloaked Envoy to transport the captured criminal back to Dixing immediately, but with the situation at hand, they're really not sure if he wasn't sent up here on purpose.

"You want to put him in the SID for now?" he guesses.

Shen Wei doesn't answer. He sways on his feet, and then suddenly his glaive is back in his hand. He leans on it heavily, his back to Zhao Yunlan.

Zhao Yunlan feels his smile disappearing. "Shen Wei? Are you—" He cuts himself off, because there's no point in asking if Shen Wei is okay when he very obviously isn't.

"I'm fine," Shen Wei says, because of course he does, like he's constitutionally incapable of acknowledging being hurt.

"Like hell you are." Zhao Yunlan grabs him by his shoulder, tries to bodily turn him around. He's no match for Shen Wei's strength and normally he couldn't make him budge if Shen Wei didn't let him, but now… Shen Wei shivers under his touch, and then he just slides to the ground, the glaive falling from his senseless fingers.

Zhao Yunlan barely manages to slow Shen Wei's fall. His heart is beating wildly in his chest as he takes Shen Wei in: his skin is so pale it's gone ashen, his eyes are half-lidded with pain, and there's blood seeping through his suit on his left side. Zhao Yunlan swears, bats Shen Wei's hands aside to push the material away and check on his wound. The fabric isn't even torn—it was the Envoy's robes which must've been pierced by one of the Dixingren's spikes.

He finally uncovers Shen Wei's skin and hisses. "Why aren't you healing?" he asks, but he doesn't really expect an answer to a question Shen Wei had ignored too many times already. The why doesn't matter right at this moment, anyway, not when there's a fucking stab wound in Shen Wei's side.

The worst part might be that he's still trying to smile, like his mouth isn't full of his own blood.

"Zhao Yunlan. Don't—don't worry." He doesn't even sound completely lucid.

Zhao Yunlan shuts his mouth hard enough that his jaw hurts, but the alternative is yelling at Shen Wei and right now, that won't help anybody. He applies pressure on the wound, wincing when a small sound of pain escapes Shen Wei.

This isn't supposed to happen. Shen Wei is the Black-Cloaked Envoy, the invincible hero. He shouldn't get hurt like this. Zhao Yunlan doesn't even know when Shen Wei got hit, and he starts to think that the reason that the fight took longer than usually isn’t the fact that the Dixingren was stronger than the usual criminals they catch, but the fact that Shen Wei is weakened, his powers somehow diminished. Something's wrong with him, and he won't say what, and Zhao Yunlan doesn't know what to do.

Back-up. They need back-up. He can't do it alone, without even a first-aid kit and with an increasingly pale Shen Wei under his hands.

He needs to call the team, but he can't do it while continuing to apply pressure, and Shen Wei isn't in a state to make the call himself even if he knew how. Zhao Yunlan swears, but he can't let go, not when Shen Wei's blood is still flowing too quickly over his hands. If only the bleeding slows down, then he can . . .

What, exactly, actually? He'd never planned for this. Doesn't have any idea how to help Shen Wei.

"Is hospital an option for you?" he asks. If they even can get to one.

Shen Wei shakes his head minutely, a barely there movement. "Why? I don't need . . ."

"You're bleeding out, that's why," Zhao Yunlan snaps.

"Oh." Shen Wei breathes deeply. "I'm . . ."

"If you say you're fine one more time—"

But Shen Wei doesn't continue talking. His frown deepens, turns into a grimace of pain, but black energy surrounds his right hand. Slowly, too slowly, he puts his palm over Zhao Yunlan's, but suddenly he stops.

"Let go," he whispers.

"Shen Wei . . ."

"I can't—you have to let go." His voice is quiet but no longer as confused as earlier; more certain. Focused on the task at hand—and he's the one who actually knows how his healing abilities work, so.

Wondering if he's not making a big mistake here, Zhao Yunlan takes his hands away.

Blood spurts from the wound in a stronger stream, but Shen Wei puts his palm right over it, the dark energy swirling before seeping back into his body.

His breathing, already irregular, picks up, and he grimaces in pain. The healing seems to take a lot out of him, but they need to stop the bleeding, and fast. He's never seen Shen Wei looking this bad—not even when he was chained to the pillar in Dixing. Shen Wei bites on his lower lip when a hiss escapes him, and Zhao Yunlan strokes down his arm helplessly in an attempt at comfort. He tries to ignore how his own hands are bright red with Shen Wei's blood.

One hand still on Shen Wei's arm, he reaches for his phone with another and finally calls the SID. It's a short call, not even half a minute, just the necessary bring help, but it's long enough for the dark energy in Shen Wei's palm to dissipate completely. His hand falls to his side, and he trembles all over.

Zhao Yunlan drops his phone. "Shen Wei?" He gives his shoulder a light shake.

"Yunlan," Shen Wei answers, and something in Zhao Yunlan tightens at hearing his name like this.

Relieved that Shen Wei is still conscious, Zhao Yunlan checks on his wound. Worry immediately grabs him again. It's better, yes—the bleeding is sluggish now, not something he'd classify as dangerous if Shen Wei hadn't lost a lot of his blood already—but he knows Shen Wei's power. He should be able to heal himself completely. (He shouldn't have gotten hurt in the first place.) The fact that he hasn't is almost as worrying as the wound itself. Zhao Yunlan almost wants to ask if Shen Wei's definitely can't finish it, but he stops himself. It's obvious that Shen Wei is drained.

He squeezes Shen Wei's arm in support one last time and then applies pressure again. Do it for ten minutes, he remembers. Wishing like hell there was more that he could do, he holds on.

He keeps his eyes firmly on Shen Wei's face, so he sees it immediately when his eyelids droop. "Shen Wei," he says sharply. "None of that. Stay with me."

Shen Wei, with what looks like a lot of effort, opens his eyes. "I'm tired," he whispers, and the admission almost breaks Zhao Yunlan's heart. He wants to take him into his arms, hug him, protect him—but all he can do right now is hope to stem the rest of the bleeding.

"I know, Xiao Wei," he answers. "Just stay awake. You'll be fine, I promise." He's aware of the irony of him saying that after being annoyed at Shen Wei's many reassurances to this effect. Shen Wei's too out of it to call him out on it, though, and it's really not funny.

Finally, he hears a car park near them. Tearing his eyes off Shen Wei's face takes a lot of his willpower, but he needs to check—

It's his team, finally there, and Shen Wei will be all right.


Shen Wei's safe in Zhao Yunlan's bed, pale against the sheets and strangely vulnerable without his glasses on and his hair in disarray over his forehead. Zhao Yunlan normally cherishes the moments when Shen Wei takes the glasses off, one layer of his masks gone, but the effect is completely spoilt when Zhao Yunlan was the one who had to slip them off his face because Shen Wei couldn't. Zhao Yunlan wants him back in his suit, sleeve garters and glasses and all, upright and with healthy colour to his cheek, strong and whole.

After the team had arrived and they'd dressed Shen Wei's wound—Zhao Yunlan forbidden from helping both because his hands were covered in blood and because he was shaking—they'd gotten Shen Wei home. Somewhere along the way, he'd slipped into unconsciousness, and Zhao Yunlan had kept one hand wrapped around his wrist, fingers pressed against his pulse point, keeping guard.

Shen Wei was weakened and hurt, but Zhao Yunlan would keep him safe.

Later, in his apartment, he had cut his suit, stiff with blood, off him, and cleaned him up as best he could, knowing how important it was to Shen Wei; then he'd put him into pyjama pants but wasn't about to try and manoeuvre an uncooperative Shen Wei into sleeves and jostle his wound. He'd made sure to carefully put more blankets around him to keep him warm even shirtless and had sat on the floor leaning against the bed, Shen Wei's left hand in both of Zhao Yunlan's.

At some point, Da Qing had come back too, said that Lao Chu handled the other Dixingren (Zhao Yunlan couldn't bring himself to be worried at that statement) and promptly changed into his cat form to lay down over Shen Wei's feet.

Now, they just wait.


Zhao Yunlan is stroking Shen Wei's hand gently, running his fingers over the inside of his palm and then along each digit. He wonders how he'd ever believed Shen Wei was just an ordinary professor: his hands, although obviously skilled at wielding the ink brush, have the callouses that come from long hours spent wielding a weapon instead.

He feels it immediately when Shen Wei twitches, and he pushes himself upright, looking closely at Shen Wei's face.

Shen Wei blinks his eyes open, and Zhao Yunlan can't stop himself from pressing a soft kiss to his lips in relief.

"How do you feel?"

Shen Wei starts to say something, but coughs instead. Zhao Yunlan immediately reaches to the bedside table where he'd set a glass of water with a straw in it and raises it to Shen Wei's lips. Shen Wei drinks a few sips and smiles gratefully.

"Thank you," he says.

Zhao Yunlan sighs. The deflection is so obvious he's got no idea why Shen Wei even bothers trying. "And the answer to my question?"

There's a moment of silence. Then, his eyes carefully turned away from Zhao Yunlan's face, Shen Wei says, "My dark energy isn't replenished yet."

It's pretty much what Zhao Yunlan had already guessed—otherwise Shen Wei would've healed himself first thing—but the lack of surprise doesn't mean worry doesn't edge itself deep into his heart. Something's very, very wrong with Shen Wei, and the stab wound is probably the least of it.

"Will you tell me why?"

Shen Wei remains silent.

Okay. Okay—no, really not okay, but Zhao Yunlan's not going to argue with Shen Wei now. Not when he's still hurt and exhausted and looking so uncharacteristically fragile. Zhao Yunlan wants to keep him here, tucked into his bed and safe from the world, forever. It's impossible, he knows, but the protectiveness is there all the same.

"Let me check the bandage," he says.

Shen Wei nods, so Zhao Yunlan pushes the blankets down his body to take a look. The dressing is still clean, not soaked through, which is relieving, but Shen Wei's skin is almost as white as the bandage. He's warm to the touch, at least, and it's regular body warmth and not the feverish heat of an infection he'd feared, so Zhao Yunlan tucks the blankets back around him.

I'm worried about you, he thinks, but this too he keeps to himself for now. He knows he can't guilt Shen Wei into giving him an explanation, and while normally he wouldn't be above trying anyway—annoyed at the secrets enough to make Shen Wei feel bad about them—all he wants now is for Shen Wei to rest more. Relax, as much as he's able to while he's still injured.

Da Qing helps with that, at least: he moves from Shen Wei's legs to lie next to his face, purring loudly. Shen Wei smiles lightly at him, slowly moving one hand to pet him. He ends up resting his hand against the fur rather than actually petting him, but for once, Da Qing doesn't protest, and just licks at his hand.

"Do you need anything?" Zhao Yunlan asks. Shen Wei is always ready with everything he needs when he's sick, he remembers. "Something light to eat? Tea?"

Shen Wei shakes his head. "Just you."

Zhao Yunlan's not prepared for this answer at all, nor for the wave of warmth going through him at the simple admission.

But then, Shen Wei frowns. He pushes himself up—or he tries to, he falls back against the mattress even before Zhao Yunlan can tell him to stay put, and Da Qing swats his paw at him. Shen Wei's frown only deepens. "Have you eaten?" he asks, and figures he'd worry about Zhao Yunlan when he can't even sit up himself.

"I'm not—"

It turns out Shen Wei's glare is as effective when he's lying down, because it shuts up Zhao Yunlan in a second. He's really not hungry—can't imagine eating when Shen Wei's hurt—but. He knows him by now, even with all the secrets that still remain. Shen Wei won't let himself rest if he's thinking Zhao Yunlan isn't taking care of himself.

"Okay," he just says. "Da Qing, keep an eye on him."

Da Qing doesn't grace him with a verbal answer, his stare simply stating, Obviously.

Zhao Yunlan walks into the kitchen backwards, looking at Shen Wei for as long as he can, and then darts around, picking a random container from the fridge and putting it into the microwave on maximum power. Not the treatment that Shen Wei's food deserves, but he's not wasting more time than strictly necessary.

He almost inhales it while standing up where he can see Shen Wei—he doesn't want to come closer and tease him with the admittedly delicious smell—somehow amused at how easily Shen Wei can manipulate him into eating better when Shen Wei's own peace of mind is at stake. Not something he'd have thought possible, but then, all about Shen Wei is something he never could've imagined.

Shen Wei's eyes are closed again, but his lips curl in a smile when Da Qing butts his head against his chin.

Zhao Yunlan speed-runs through the bathroom then, and finally, finally goes back to Shen Wei's side.

Shen Wei opens his eyes as if he can feel him. He looks at the space between them, unimpressed. "I won't break if you lie down here."

Zhao Yunlan wasn't exactly thinking that, but. There's still a stab wound in his side, albeit dressed in bandages now, and Zhao Yunlan is decidedly not cat-sized like Da Qing. He doesn't want to accidentally make it worse.

"Zhao Yunlan." Shen Wei actually sounds annoyed now.

And yeah, so maybe Zhao Yunlan is not taking this whole new awareness that Shen Wei can get really hurt all that well. But he realises he'd be mad if their positions were reversed. He hates being coddled. He doesn't want to do it to Shen Wei.

So he nods and carefully lies down next to Shen Wei, sliding under the blankets to get closer to him on the side currently unoccupied by a too-fat cat. He puts his arm over Shen Wei's chest the way Shen Wei usually does to him when they fall asleep together and presses a kiss to Shen Wei's cheek. "Good?"

"Better," Shen Wei agrees, and turns his face towards Zhao Yunlan in what is clearly a request for another kiss, so Zhao Yunlan gives it to him happily. He gently pushes away Shen Wei's hair away from his forehead, continuing the movement to stroke down his scalp. An infinitesimal amount of tension leaves Shen Wei's body at that. When he's healed, Zhao Yunlan is going to give him a massage.

"Sleep," Zhao Yunlan tells him. "I'll be here."

He half-expects a protest, but none comes. Instead, Shen Wei obligingly closes his eyes with complete trust in Zhao Yunlan's words.

Zhao Yunlan won't ever give him a reason to doubt him.