After Zhan Junbai shot Chen Yuzhi in the stomach then shot himself in the head, Jiang Yuelou quickly knelt down by Chen Yuzhi and cradled him in his arms.
“Chen Yuzhi, you hold on. You hold on, Yuzhi” he croaked, tears blurring his vision.
“Yuelou…” Chen Yuzhi whispered, reaching up to gently cup Jiang Yuelou’s face in his hand. Jiang Yuelou’s hand came up and quickly covered it with his own as he looked Chen Yuzhi in the eyes.
“Stay with me, Yuzhi. Stay with me. You stay with me, Yuzhi” he begged. Chen Yuzhi just sleepily at him before his eyes fluttered shut and his hand fell away from his face, his whole body going limp in Jiang Yuelou’s arms.
“Yuzhi. Chen Yuzhi! CHEN YUZHI!” Jiang Yuelou screamed as he looked around the empty street.
“Help! Somebody help!” he screamed. However, no one came. Jiang Yuelou growled and continued to hold Chen Yuzhi in his arms, the blood spreading out further, staining his suit vest. Just then, a car began to drive by, causing Jiang Yuelou to look up with wide eyes. He then put Chen Yuzhi down before he shot to his feet and rushed in front of the car, pointing his gun at the driver.
“GET OUT!” he screamed. Thankfully the driver didn’t have to be told twice and quickly got out of the car, Jiang Yuelou still pointing his gun at him before he rushed over to where Chen Yuzhi’s body was lying and scooped him into his arms, carrying him over to the car.
“Open the back door” he barked, the driver quickly coming over to open the back door for him. Jiang Yuelou then carefully placed Chen Yuzhi down on the backset before he pointed his gun at the driver.
“Step back” he ordered. The driver nodded and quickly stepped back as Jiang Yuelou slammed the backdoor shut before getting into the driver’s seat, slamming that door shut before he stepped on the gas, speeding away from the scene.
Jiang Yuelou drove like a madman through the streets and thankfully people had enough sense to get the fuck out of his way as he sped down the street towards the hospital. When he arrived at the hospital, he parked the car before he got out and opened the backdoor, carefully scooping Chen Yuzhi into his arms.
“Hang on, Yuzhi. Just hang on” he whispered as he rushed into the hospital.
“HELP! HELP ME, PLEASE!” he screamed. Nurses and doctors looked over at them and when they saw the blood on Chen Yuzhi’s abdomen, they rushed over, one of them pushing a gurney towards them. The nurses then took Chen Yuzhi out of Jiang Yuelou’s hands and placed him on the gurney before they rushed off towards the emergency room, Jiang Yuelou following after them.
“You’re going to be okay, Yuzhi. You’re going to be just fine. Hang on, Yuzhi. Just hang on” he pleaded, just as he reached the emergency room doors. Two nurses quickly blocked him from entering, causing a surge of rage to course through him, but he didn’t try to fight him and instead stepped back as the two nurses then slipped into the emergency room to start surgery. He stared at the doors for a little while before he stumbled back, nearly collapsing had two nurses not caught him and sat him down.
“Sir, are you alright? Do you need to see a doctor?” one of the nurses asked. Jiang Yuelou shook his head.
“No, I’m fine” he croaked. The two nurses looked at each other, not really believing him, but they decided to leave him be and walked away. Once they walked away, Jiang Yuelou let out a shuddering breath as he leaned his head back against the wall, tears streaming down his face. He had almost lost Chen Yuzhi once, he wouldn’t, no, couldn’t lose him again. It nearly broke him the first time, he was pretty sure that he wouldn’t survive his heartbreak this time. If, and please God let this not happen, but if Chen Yuzhi didn’t make it, Jiang Yuelou didn’t want to be in the world anymore. He knew he had Keying to take care of, but without Chen Yuzhi by his side, life just wouldn’t be worth living. He then let out a heavy sigh before he clasped his hands together and bowed his head, praying to whoever was out there in the universe that would listen to let Chen Yuzhi live. That’s all he ever wanted; more than finding his mother, more than wanting to rid Jing City of opium. He just wanted Chen Yuzhi to live, to be with his sister, to be happy. After everything they had been through, couldn’t the universe just let him have this one little thing? Or would the universe be cruel, just like every other time, and tear the one shred of happiness that he had left, his doctor, his Chen Yuzhi, away from him?
Jiang Yuelou sat there for what seemed like forever, his head bowed and hands clasped together in a silent, almost pleading, prayer, when a doctor walked over to him.
“Commissioner Jiang?” he murmured, causing Jiang Yuelou’s head to snap up before he quickly stood to his feet.
“Doctor. How is he? Is he—” he started, not wanting to say the words. The doctor just stared at him and Jiang Yuelou could feel his heart physically tearing itself in half as tears started to pool in his eyes.
“Doctor. Is he—” he whispered when the doctor smiled softly.
“He’s going to make it. He’s going to recover” he replied. Jiang Yuelou looked at him with wide eyes as a wave of absolute relief washed over him and he had to reach out and stabilize himself against the wall to keep himself from collapsing.
“If you had gotten here a few minutes later, I don’t think we would have been able to save him” the doctor continued. Jiang Yuelou nodded slowly, still trying to take it in that once again, Chen Yuzhi, didn’t die. He cheated death, twice. He then looked up at the doctor and smiled weakly.
“Thank you doctor. Thank you” he whispered. The doctor smiled and nodded before he turned and walked off as Jiang Yuelou collapsed into his seat and let out a shuddering breath, laughing softly as tears began to stream down his face. Chen Yuzhi was alive. He hadn’t lost him. He hadn’t lost him. He then leaned his head back and rested it against the wall as he continued to laugh, tears still streaming down his face. At one point he had to cover his mouth to keep himself from bursting into hysterics but he couldn’t help it; he was so relieved that he hadn’t lost Chen Yuzhi, that Keying hadn’t lost her brother that she had just reunited with. He then looked up towards the Heavens and smiled weakly.
“Thank you. Thank you” he whispered.
A little while later, after Chen Yuzhi was moved to a room, Jiang Yuelou was allowed to visit him. The minute he saw him lying there in the bed, as still as a corpse, he felt his knees buckle and before he knew it, he had collapsed. Thankfully the door behind him was shut, so nurse or doctor or any other person who worked at the hospital couldn’t see him on his knees, sobbing his heart out, sounding like a pained and wounded animal. He stayed like that for a while, just sobbing on his knees, before he sniffled and wiped his eyes, pushing himself to his feet before he walked to Chen Yuzhi’s bed and sat down beside it. He then reached out and gently took Chen Yuzhi’s hand, holding it in his own as he rubbed his thumb over it comfortingly.
“I’m here, Yuzhi. I’m right here” he whispered. As he sat there, Chen Yuzhi’s hand warm in his, he felt exhaustion come over him so he leaned forward and rested his head on Chen Yuzhi’s arms, letting himself relax as sleep took him.
Later that evening, when Chen Yuzhi finally awoke, he blinked in confusion, trying to remember what happened. He remembered walking through the city, then meeting up with Jiang Yuelou and then…he remembered the pain of being shot. He then frowned.
‘I should be dead…how am I not dead?’ he demanded before he finally realized that his arm was numb.
‘Why is my arm numb?’ he wondered before he looked over to see Jiang Yuelou fast asleep on his arm, holding his hand in his. Chen Yuzhi’s eyes widened and he remembered how Jiang Yuelou cradled him in his arms, begging him to hold on with tears in his eyes.
“Jiang Yuelou…he…saved me?” he whispered, stunned. It wasn’t the first time Jiang Yuelou had saved him but this…this felt different. He looked at Jiang Yuelou’s sleeping figure for a moment before he reached out and gently ran his fingers through Jiang Yuelou’s hair, surprised by how soft it was. As he ran his fingers through Jiang Yuelou’s hair, Jiang Yuelou began to stir, slowly lifting his head.
“Yuzhi?” he murmured. Chen Yuzhi smiled weakly.
“Yuelou” he whispered. Jiang Yuelou blinked before his eyes widened and he shot to his feet.
“Yuzhi!” he exclaimed. Chen Yuzhi flinched at the sudden exclamation as Jiang Yuelou reached up and gently cupped his face in his hands, forcing Chen Yuzhi to look at him.
“You…you stupid, selfless, self-sacrificing doctor!” he shouted. Chen Yuzhi frowned in confusion as Jiang Yuelou shook his head.
“Why…why would you…you fucking idiot, taking a bullet for me. What the hell is wrong with you?” he hissed, glaring at him. Chen Yuzhi blinked.
“But…it’s you” he replied softly. Jiang Yuelou growled.
“You just got Keying back and yet here you are, throwing your life away! Did you even think about her?” he screamed. Chen Yuzhi blinked again, his eyes big and innocent as always, making Jiang Yuelou let out a shuddering breath as he leaned forward, resting his forehead against Chen Yuzhi’s.
“I…I almost lost you once, Yuzhi” he whispered before he let out a sob.
“I’ve lost too many; Song Rong, Yongren, Chu Ran, Commissioner Bai…even Zhan-xiong. I couldn’t…I couldn’t lose you too” he sobbed. Chen Yuzhi was quiet, stunned by Jiang Yuelou’s confession, and he didn’t realize he was crying until Jiang Yuelou gently wiped the tears away from his eyes.
“Shh, shh, don’t cry Yuzhi. Don’t cry” he soothed as he pulled away, looking down at him. Chen Yuzhi then let out a choked sob and shook his head.
“I couldn’t lose you either. That’s why I…that’s why I—” he started before he began sobbing as well. Jiang Yuelou quickly released his face as he sat down on the edge of the bed, before pulling Chen Yuzhi in for a hug, careful not to tear the stitches. Chen Yuzhi wrapped his arms around Jiang Yuelou and buried his face in his neck, sobbing softly as Jiang Yuelou reached up and carded his fingers through his hair.
“Shh, shh…shhh” he soothed as Chen Yuzhi tightened his arms around him.
“I’m here, Yuzhi, I’m right here. You saved me, Yuzhi. Zhan Junbai is gone, he can’t hurt us anymore” he promised. Chen Yuzhi nodded as Jiang Yuelou moved his fingers from out of Chen Yuzhi’s hair to gently scratching his back, still hushing and shushing him.
“You’re okay, Yuzhi. You’re okay. You’re safe. Zhan Junbai can’t hurt us anymore” he repeated, making sure that Chen Yuzhi knew that the man that had basically ruined their lives was long gone and he wasn’t coming back. Chen Yuzhi nodded again before he pulled away and sniffled, Jiang Yuelou smiling fondly before he leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Chen Yuzhi’s forehead. Chen Yuzhi shut his eyes and let the feeling of Jiang Yuelou’s lips against his skin wash over him like a balm, letting out a soft sigh. Jiang Yuelou then pulled away, reaching up to cup Chen Yuzhi’s face in his hands, lifting his head so that he was looking at him.
“Yuzhi…promise me…promise me you will not do something so stupid and reckless like that ever again. I can’t…I won’t lose you again” he croaked. Chen Yuzhi nodded before he reached out and gently touched Jiang Yuelou’s cheek.
“Then you have to promise me you won’t be reckless either” he stated. Jiang Yuelou’s eyes widened as Chen Yuzhi smiled weakly.
“Keying needs the both of us, so you can’t do something stupid either” he declared. Jiang Yuelou chuckled softly before he nodded.
“Alright…deal” he agreed, just as the door to the hospital room slid open.
“Gege!” a voice exclaimed, making Chen Yuzhi and Jiang Yuelou turn to see Keying standing at the entrance of the room.
“Keying” Chen Yuzhi breathed. Keying then ran over and stood before them, looking up at them with tears in her eyes.
“Jin da-ge said you were here! What happened?” she cried. Jiang Yuelou glanced over to see Jin Dacheng standing at the entrance of the room, the tall officer dipping his head in greeting. Jiang Yuelou huffed before he looked back at Chen Yuzhi.
“I’ll be right back” he murmured. Chen Yuzhi nodded and watched as Jiang Yuelou slipped off the bed and walked over to Jin Dacheng before he looked back down at Keying, who was still looking up at him with tears in her eyes.
“I’m sorry, Keying. I did something stupid and got hurt. Forgive me?” he murmured, reaching out to stroke her cheek. Keying let out a sob.
“Gege, I just got you back! You can’t leave me” she sobbed. Chen Yuzhi’s heart clenched, Jiang Yuelou’s words echoing in his head. He then reached down and carefully picked Keying up, hugging her close.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, sweetheart. Gege promises to be more careful” he murmured. Keying nodded and buried her face in his chest as he let out a sigh and gently petted her hair. Damn Jiang Yuelou for being right. Meanwhile, Jiang Yuelou walked over to Jin Dacheng and raised an eyebrow.
“Deputy-Commissioner Jin. You brought Keying?” he asked, surprised. Jin Dacheng nodded.
“She all but burst into the police station screaming that she couldn’t find you two and demanded to know where you were. We had been alerted about what happened outside Dr. Chen’s clinic so I assumed that you would be here so I offered to take her here” he explained. Jiang Yuelou huffed.
“That was…very thoughtful of you” he mused. Jin Dacheng chuffed.
“Don’t get used to it” he replied. Jiang Yuelou smirked before his gaze turned serious and he looked at him.
“Zhan Junbai’s body?” he asked. Jin Dacheng sighed.
“We have it down in the morgue. What would you like us to do with it?” he replied. Jiang Yuelou sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, thinking. After a moment of thinking, he frowned and looked up at Jin Dacheng.
“Did you find a shattered string of beads next to the body?” he asked. Jin Dacheng nodded.
“Mm” he replied. Jiang Yuelou sighed.
“Restring the beads and bury them with him. Find a nice quiet place that’s out of the way where no one can disturb it and bury him there” he ordered. Jin Dacheng nodded before he raised an eyebrow.
“Is there any reason why we’re giving him this burial instead of just burning the corpse?” he asked. Jiang Yuelou sighed.
“Zhan Junbai deserves at least a little respect in death. He was once…after all…a friend” he murmured. Jin Dacheng hummed before he nodded.
“I’ll get on it” he declared. Jiang Yuelou nodded in reply.
“I’ll leave it in your hands” he replied. Jin Dacheng nodded again before he turned and headed out of the hospital room. Jiang Yuelou watched him leave before he sighed and turned back to look at Chen Yuzhi, whom he saw hugging Keying comfortingly. He smiled softly before he walked back over to the bed and sat down on the edge, reaching out to pull Keying and Chen Yuzhi into an embrace. Chen Yuzhi let out a heavy sigh and all but slumped against him while still holding Keying in his arms, Keying sniffling as she leaned against both him and Jiang Yuelou. The three of them sat in silence, Jiang Yuelou holding Keying and Chen Yuzhi tightly, never wanting to let them go. And he wouldn’t. As long as he was alive, he would protect Chen Yuzhi and Chen Keying with every fiber of his being until his last dying breath. They were his last rays of happiness in the dark and tumultuous world and if he didn’t have something to hold on to, he would be swept away. They were his lifeline, his reasons for living. And he wasn’t going to lose them. Ever. Again.
That night, as Jiang Yuelou laid in his bed, he dreamed. He dreamed of Zhan Junbai shooting Chen Yuzhi and Chen Yuzhi collapsing into his arms but instead of getting him to a hospital to save him, Chen Yuzhi doesn’t make it and instead quietly dies in his arms. In his dream, Jiang Yuelou screams and howls, clutching Chen Yuzhi to his chest, as he rocks himself back and forth, tears streaming down his face. He lost him. He lost Chen Yuzhi and he was never coming back. He was alone. He was alone again and he had no one. Jiang Yuelou then sat up with a gasp, tears streaming down his face as he panted harshly, the dream still vivid in his mind.
“Yuelou?” a voice murmured from beside him, making him turn to see Chen Yuzhi blinking sleepily up at him. After he had been released from the hospital, Jiang Yuelou had insisted (more like ordered) that he and Keying stay with him until Chen Yuzhi had fully recovered because if Chen Yuzhi wasn’t within Jiang Yuelou’s sight, he might go fucking ballistic. Jiang Yuelou let out a choked sob as he looked down at Chen Yuzhi, who slowly pushed himself to a sitting position, a frown on his face.
“Yuelou, what’s wrong?” he whispered. Jiang Yuelou shook his head as tears continued to stream down his face, his shoulders shaking.
“Yuelou, you can tell me. What’s wrong?” Chen Yuzhi murmured, reaching out to gently grab Jiang Yuelou’s hand. Jiang Yuelou sniffled and wiped his eyes as he shook his head.
“I dreamt of you dying” he croaked. Chen Yuzhi frowned.
“What?” he whispered. Jiang Yuelou looked at him.
“I dreamt of you dying and I couldn’t save you. I watched you die in my arms, Yuzhi. And I couldn’t save you” he sobbed. Chen Yuzhi’s eyes widened and he quickly bundled Jiang Yuelou into his arms, hugging him tightly.
“It’s just a dream, Yuelou. It’s just a dream. You did save me. I’m right here, aren’t I?” he murmured before he pulled away and gently cupped Jiang Yuelou’s face in his hands.
“Look at me. Yuelou, look at me” he whispered. Jiang Yuelou didn’t look at him and instead kept his eyes downcast.
“Yuelou, look at me. Please” he begged. Jiang Yuelou slowly lifted his gaze to see Chen Yuzhi smiling tearily at him.
“You saved me, Jiang Yuelou. Do you understand? You saved me. I’m here, right now, because of you” he declared. Jiang Yuelou let out another sob and Chen Yuzhi sobbed too, and soon both men were crying, the both of them feeling relief and gratefulness that the other was okay, that they were here, that they were alive. Jiang Yuelou then reached out and pulled Chen Yuzhi in for a hug, hugging him tightly (but carefully due to the stitches). Chen Yuzhi let out a teary laugh and buried his face in Jiang Yuelou’s neck as he hugged him back, Jiang Yuelou smiling softly before he carefully laid back down, still holding Chen Yuzhi in his arms. The two men then snuggled closer, Jiang Yuelou’s arms wrapped protectively around Chen Yuzhi as Chen Yuzhi rested his head on Jiang Yuelou’s shoulder, the two of them soon drifting off to sleep.
A few weeks later, when Chen Yuzhi completely healed and got the stitches removed, the first thing that they did was go out to eat tang yuan. They, of course, brought Keying along because they thought that she deserved to eat the sweet dessert with them. As they sat down and sat the sweet dessert, the three of them laughing and smiling, Chen Yuzhi looked over at Jiang Yuelou, only to find Jiang Yuelou looking back. They flashed each other a fond smile before they went back to eating their dessert, savoring the sun on their backs and Keying’s voice in their ears. This was what life was about. Being alive, being with someone who made you feel alive…that made life good. That made life happy. And Chen Yuzhi and Jiang Yuelou? They were happy.