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Everything's not lost

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The main thing Zhao Yunlan continues to be very clear on is that Shen Wei will show up soon. He's a little blurry on the details, but Shen Wei will show up and sort everything out, just you wait.

"Yes," says the man in the white coat, "Yes, all right," which is a bit rude — no one is forcing him to stay and listen; no one's got him strapped to a bed.

"It's not my fault," the man says, sounding equal parts scared and annoyed. "And who's Shen Wei?"

Zhao Yunlan actually gapes at him. How could he — Shen Wei is so very — the idea of not knowing him is baffling.

The white-coat-man — he's still very young actually, maybe he's only a grad student or an intern — groans. "Look, can you just shut up for a bit? I'm not even asking you any questions."

"I should hope not," says the woman sweeping into the lab, hair pulled up into a taut bun, lines on her face pulled every bit as tight. She's followed by the man who did most of the strapping Zhao Yunlan to the bed (assisted by the intern). Zhao Yunlan doesn't like any of them very much.

"Rest assured, we're not asking you to like us," the woman says, briskly. "In fact, you won't even remember this tomorrow."

"I bet I will," Zhao Yunlan says, reflexively argumentative.

She flicks the IV line with her finger. "I really bet you won't."

Yeah, Zhao Yunlan had actually made up his mind about her already when she first injected him.

"I'm happy you're feeling so chatty," she says. "I've got a few things I'd like to talk to you about."

"What's your name?" Zhao Yunlan asks.

"None of your concern," she says.

"No, but I need to know your name," Zhao Yunlan says. "It's harder to think about people when you don't know their names. Have you ever noticed that?"

"No," she says, firmly.

"Maybe it's different for you. You don't look like a very relaxed person. Would you like a lollipop?" He goes to fish for one in his pocket, but his hands are tied down. He tugs on them experimentally. "Oh."

"He's been like this for the last half an hour," Intern says. "Just babbling about everything."

"I am not babbling," Zhao Yunlan says, with dignity. "I was talking about…" He can't actually remember what he was talking about. Which is odd. He knows he talks a lot sometimes, certain people and cats are always complaining about it, but it's strange not to remember it.

Intern groans. "You see?"

"No, it's good," the other man says. He has some very old-fashioned glasses on which made him look like a kid's caricature of a doctor. "It means the drugs are working. He's in exactly the state to talk."

So he's going to call them Doctor, Intern, and… Zhao Yunlan squints at the woman, and grins. He'll call her Happy.

"You will not," she snaps.

He smirks back. "Too late, Happy. Should have told me your real name while you had the chance."

She glares at him, and advances. Zhao Yunlan tries to wriggle out of the way, but apparently he's tied down. "I'm going to ask you some questions," she says. "You're Zhao Yunlan from the SID."

"That's right," he says. It isn't a secret, and they clearly already know. "I can't tell you about our cases, though. Confidential."

"I don't care about your cases," Happy says.

"You don't?" Zhao Yunlan asks, surprised. "Most of them are very interesting."

"I'm sure they are," Happy says, with an eye-roll. Rude.

She opens her mouth to ask more but a thought occurs to Zhao Yunlan then, one that lurches through him from the pit of his stomach. Is this about Shen Wei?

"Who's Shen Wei?" Happy asks.

Zhao Yunlan's thoughts are already running down awful rails. This could be a trap. Zhao Yunlan has been waiting for Shen Wei to show up, secure in the knowledge that he absolutely will sooner or later, but what if that was the plan all along?

"Who's Shen Wei?" Happy asks, much more impatiently.

"He keeps going on about him," Intern says. "On and on and on."

Zhao Yunlan huffs at this ridiculous claim. He is being very patient with the whole situation, really. He has an idea that usually he would be much more angry or upset. There's a possibility that he's not clear about everything which is currently going on, but he does continue to be certain that when Shen Wei arrives everyone here will be very sorry.

Intern groans heavily.

"We're going to talk about the Hallows," Happy says firmly.

"We are?" Zhao Yunlan asks, surprised. "I thought we were talking about Shen Wei." He has a lot to say about Shen Wei. He'd far rather talk about him.

"No, we're talking about the Hallows," Happy says, beginning to sound irritated.

"Oh," Zhao Yunlan says. Ok. If she's sure.

"Our scans show traces of their dark energy integrated into your body," Happy says. "We've never seen anything like it. Do you know how that happened?"

Zhao Yunlan narrows his eyes at her. "How do you know what the energy of the Hallows is like?" he asks.

"Historical data," she says, quickly.

That's odd. Since the Hallows, as far as he knows, were first lost to everyone and then were only at the SID and — "Did you steal data from the lab at Haixing Inspectorate?" Zhao Yunlan asks in surprise.

Happy jerks back. "Of course not," she says, but she's a very bad liar.

"Oh wow, you're going to be in so much trouble," Zhao Yunlan crows. Stealing data from Haixing Inspectorate? Shen Wei is only going to be the start of it.

"Can you please shut the fuck up about Shen Wei?" the second man, Doctor, snaps. Zhao Yunlan had almost forgotten about him.

Happy shoves Doctor back impatiently. "The Hallows, Zhao Yunlan," she says. "How did you manage to integrate their energy? The potential of that —"

Zhao Yunlan grimaces. Energy from the Hallows is integrated into him? That sounds… a bit alarming, frankly. And rather like something that's his own fault, because Shen Wei had told him not to touch them, and had in fact been very angry about — No, he's supposed to be shutting the fuck up about Shen Wei. Oops.

But Happy actually looks interested now. "Shen Wei is someone who knows about the Hallows?" she asks.

"Oh, yes," Zhao Yunlan says. As much as anyone knows, probably, although he does suspect that when it comes to the Hallows, like everyone else Shen Wei is also going by his best guesses most of the time.

"Does Shen Wei work at the Inspectorate lab?" Happy asks.

Zhao Yunlan snorts with laughter. Happy looks annoyed, and that only makes him laugh harder.

The door slides open. Zhao Yunlan stops laughing and makes a noise of delight instead because there, just as he's been expecting from the beginning, is Shen Wei, with Lin Jing trailing him.

"See!" Zhao Yunlan exclaims, triumphantly. "I told you Shen Wei would be here. Didn't I?"

"At great length," mutters Intern.

Lin Jing's mouth starts twitching.

Zhao Yunlan tries to sit up. Although he's tied to the bed, so he can't.

Shen Wei doesn't advance. "If you release Chief Zhao now, then things will turn out the best for everyone," he says, mildly.

"Are you from the SID?" Happy asks.

"A consultant," Shen Wei says.

Zhao Yunlan grins at him, so widely that it threatens to swallow his face. He hadn't been worried, not really worried, but —

"What have you given him?" Shen Wei demands. He's frowning now.

"What, me?" Zhao Yunlan asks.

Shen Wei ignores this and keeps staring at Happy. It makes Zhao Yunlan feel somewhat left out. He wants Shen Wei to be looking at him.

Shen Wei's ears are turning pink. "Answer me," he says to Happy.

"It's only something to make him talk," Happy says, dismissively.

"They didn't actually ask me many questions," Zhao Yunlan says, trying to be helpful because he can see Shen Wei holding himself increasingly tensely.

"Because no one could get a word in edgeways," Intern mutters.

Lin Jing puts a hand over his mouth and appears to very quietly start to choke.

"This is over," Shen Wei says. "You are operating without authorisation. Haixing Inspectorate is here to shut you down."

Intern and Doctor both sigh, slumping slightly with the semi-relief that the game is up and they are out of choices.

Happy, however, steps completely in front of Zhao Yunlan. Blocking his view of Shen Wei, which is annoying. "No!" she insists. "No, I need to understand. The Inspectorate can't just suppress all research into the Hallows! It could be vitally important!" She lifts her chin suddenly and focuses in Shen Wei's direction. "He said you knew about them."

"He seems to be saying rather a lot," Shen Wei says, mildly. "I'm not sure much of it makes sense."

That seems rather unfair. He hasn't been talking that much.

Happy spins around. "Zhao Yunlan!" she snaps. "Tell me about Shen Wei!"

"Shen Wei?" Zhao Yunlan asks.

"What does he know about the Hallows? And how?"

"Shen Wei," Zhao Yunlan says. He wonders where to start. Shen Wei just is. Important. Like no one else Zhao Yunlan has ever known.

"Hallows," Happy says.

Yes, Shen Wei knows lots about the Hallows, isn't that why he kept telling Zhao Yunlan not to touch them? He went on and on about that.

Hidden somewhere behind Happy, Shen Wei makes a rather inarticulate sound.

"You used the Hallows?" Happy asks. "That might explain — No, not enough."

"He used them so many times," Lin Jing says, having been silent until now. His voice is somewhat muffled by the way he's still holding his hand over his mouth.

"Shen Wei," Zhao Yunlan says, because it's already been too long since he's seen him. He tries to sit up, but comes to an abrupt stop because apparently he's tied to the bed. He wants Happy to move because he wants to see Shen Wei's face again. Shen Wei's face is one of his favourite faces. So serious most of the time, but Zhao Yunlan loves it anyway, even when it's half-hidden by his mask.

"By what?" Happy asks.

Lin Jing starts making a series of chopping motions directed at his throat.

"Stop what?" Zhao Yunlan asks him.

Happy moves a bit to see what on earth Lin Jing is doing, which is much better because now Zhao Yunlan can see Shen Wei again. Shen Wei looks… concerned. And his ears are still very red, but that's a lesser concern than the puzzle of what has him so worried.

Lin Jing puts his face in his hands.

"Oh!" Zhao Yunlan says. "Yes. It's a secret."

"What's a secret?" Happy asks. Zhao Yunlan suddenly notices what she has been doing next to him all along. Standing with something in a syringe ready to inject into his IV.

Probably that's why Shen Wei hasn't come near him yet, even though Zhao Yunlan has been really wanting him to. At least there's a proper explanation.

Shen Wei shoots him a look of pure exasperation.

Happy is looking more and more like a woman with one focus left in life, which is to extract the information she wants before the Black-Cloaked Envoy come for her.

"Who's the Black-Cloaked Envoy?" she demands, with a sharpness that tells Zhao Yunlan she's caught the importance of this point.

"Shen Wei," Zhao Yunlan answers. "I love him." His breath hitches. The secret. The secret.

Happy does not react how Zhao Yunlan expects to a slip of this magnitude. "Will you shut up about Shen Wei and tell me something important!" she shouts, and turns to slap him across the face.

An inky blur in that instant and Zhao Yunlan is still staring stupidly as Shen Wei glitches to being behind Happy, twisting her arm into a tight hold behind her back until she drops the syringe. "Surrender," he says.

She hesitates, draws it out for long seconds. Finally she nods, tightly.

Zhao Yunlan's boyfriend is awesome.

"Show me exactly what you gave Zhao Yunlan," Shen Wei demands, and Happy does, grudgingly.

Lin Jing starts herding the other two out of the lab. He hollers through the door, and apparently there's support out there because they're quickly taken off his hands. After some more glaring, Shen Wei offloads Happy the same way.

Then he's back. "Zhao Yunlan," he says, his hands fighting with the buckles of the restraints, and finally giving Zhao Yunlan his attention. "Zhao Yunlan, are you all right?"

"I think so?" Zhao Yunlan says.

"I apologise for taking so long," Shen Wei says. "We had to be certain that you were being held here, and we were asked to operate discreetly. I'm sorry you were at risk."

"It's ok, I'm fine," Zhao Yunlan says. He reaches for Shen Wei as soon as his hand is free, landing on his arm. "I knew you'd be here."

Lin Jing has been carefully looking over what Happy put in the IV. "I think you're going to be ok, Boss," he says.

"She said I'm not going to remember this," Zhao Yunlan says. He's a bit worried by that concept.

"I think she was going to give you these drugs at the end for that," Lin Jing says. "As far as I can tell, what you've actually had is just stuff to make you relaxed and very talkative."

"I agree," Shen Wei says. He's working on the restraints at Zhao Yunlan's ankles now.

"Am I being very talkative?" Zhao Yunlan asks. Puzzled.

Lin Jing collapses against the lab bench and breaks down into laughter. Shen Wei turns completely away for a moment.

"You haven't stopped talking," Lin Jing wheezes. "You've been saying literally everything running through your head. Continually."

"Are you sure?" Zhao Yunlan asks. He feels like he would have noticed.

"Very sure," Shen Wei says, with more than usual deadpan. He snaps open the last restraint.

Zhao Yunlan gets to his feet, and finds to his surprise that his legs don't seem to be working properly. Luckily Shen Wei is there to catch him and hold him up. "Whoops," Zhao Yunlan says, and snuggles into Shen Wei's arms.

"Um…" Lin Jing says.

"I'm going to take him home," Shen Wei says.

"Yes, that's probably for the best," Lin Jing agrees.

"Did I bring my car?" Zhao Yunlan asks. He can't actually remember how he got here. Actually, he's not even sure where he is.

"Uh, you're absolutely not driving anywhere," Lin Jing says. "Even if your car was here, which it isn't."

"Will it cause difficulties if we leave directly?" Shen Wei asks.

Lin Jing shrugs. "I'll sort it out."

"I'll see you tomorrow, then," Shen Wei says. He tries to push Zhao Yunlan into standing more upright, but Zhao Yunlan very much resists this. "Zhao Yunlan," he says, exasperated, as Lin Jing snickers.

Zhao Yunlan doesn't see what the issue is.

Shen Wei sighs deeply, and portals them neatly into Zhao Yunlan's apartment, near the door. The jolt of transition shakes Zhao Yunlan around and he really is clinging to Shen Wei now. Shen Wei tries to get him to balance on his own feet but Zhao Yunlan can't manage it.

"You should lie down," Shen Wei says, "It's not far…"

It might not be far, but Zhao Yunlan has apparently lost all his coordination. Shen Wei continues to support him, stable and strong and the centre of the universe just then, breathing against Zhao Yunlan's ear as he guides him carefully around the furniture and over to the bed.

"I'm so glad you came," Zhao Yunlan says — he's so glad, he can't describe the relief he felt when Shen Wei appeared, although of course he had known all along that Shen Wei would arrive soon.

"Of course," Shen Wei says, very tenderly. He lowers Zhao Yunlan carefully onto the edge of the bed and crouches down to unlace his boots and pull them off.

Zhao Yunlan looks down at his arms. "Where's my jacket?" he asks.

"I'm sure Lin Jing will find it," Shen Wei says. He gets Zhao Yunlan out of his t-shirt and jeans and into pyjamas with surprising efficiency — Zhao Yunlan isn't quite sure how it happened.

Shen Wei sits beside him again with a glass of water. "Drink this," he says, and Zhao Yunlan obeys. "Do you want to lie down?"

"Yeah," Zhao Yunlan says, and flops himself onto the bed. Then wriggles around so that his head is in Shen Wei's lap. Shen Wei makes a surprised sound, but then lays his hand on Zhao Yunlan's head and, after a few moments, begins stroking his hair.

It's good. It's all good.

"Are you feeling ok?" Shen Wei asks.

"Yes," Zhao Yunlan says, drowsy and a little surprised. "Why wouldn't I?"

Shen Wei laughs a little. "Oh, no reason."

"Don't go anywhere," Zhao Yunlan orders him. He can't remember exactly why, but he knows that this is important.

"Of course not," Shen Wei assures him, very fondly.

Good. Then everything's all right. "I knew you'd come," he says.

"I know," Shen Wei says. He keeps on stroking Zhao Yunlan's hair, and his other hand cups around Zhao Yunlan's face. "I'm here."

"I love you too," Zhao Yunlan says, and Shen Wei's answering smile warms him, head to toe.