The abandoned mills form a maze of places to hide. It feels like they've already been tracking their suspect, and the woman he kidnapped, for days through the derelict buildings. Yutong has been trying to reach out with his hearing, but the heavy rain is a persistent white noise that he's struggling to filter out. The echoes as the raindrops hit old metal make finding anything out of the ordinary an almost impossible feat.
He curses under his breath as they clear another building, and he knows they're running out of time. He pulls the earpiece from his ear and holsters his gun.
"What are you doing?"
Yutong turns to Zhan Yao. "I can't find them. I need to dial up my hearing more." Predictably Zhan Yao frowns, and when he opens his mouth to no-doubt protest, Yutong holds his hand up. "I know we haven't tried pushing senses to their limits, but that girl doesn't have time."
"And if you zone when you're that deep?"
Yutong smiles. "Then you'll pull me out of it."
Zhan Yao doesn't look as confident as Yutong feels, but they don't have a choice. Finally he nods, and Yutong gives him what he hopes is a convincing nod in return and takes a deep breath as he closes his eyes.
He concentrates on Zhan Yao's heartbeat at first. It's a rhythm he knows better than his own. It's with him more often than not and he grounds all of his other senses on that one metronome. This time he's going to have to let that go and hope Zhan Yao can find another way to pull him back.
He spends time filtering out the rain and the thundering cascades of water from roofs. He locates his team, scattered through the old mill complex, and pushes those sounds to the background. He spreads his hearing out in zones, trying to filter through unfamiliar sounds, looking for the human among the animal and the inorganic. Eventually he picks up what sounds like whimpers.
Zeroing in, he picks up the rapid heartbeats, two of them. There's a snarled "shut up", but it's the following slap against skin that blows his control, harsh and way too loud for how focussed he's been. He loses himself, his mind turned around and disoriented, and echoing around the maze of buildings outside of his head. He feels like he should be panicking, but he can't even sense his own body to know if his turmoil is outwardly showing. He loses his filter on the white noise of the rain, and feels like he's drowning.
But then there's a spark of familiarity amid the maelstrom. Not a sound but a scent. There are layers of warm spice and expensive cologne, and underneath it that feeling of home he recognises as Zhan Yao. He feels a touch, muted and numbed by the wall of sound, but relief washes over him that he's not completely lost. It's the sudden burst of flavour on this tongue that drags Yutong all the way back to himself. It's nothing he's experienced before, but it tastes so good that he needs more of it.
He blinks his eyes open, and realises that every single one of his senses is now centred on Zhan Yao; the beat of his heart, his hands against his skin, his scent wrapped around him, the worried expression on his face, and his taste lingering on Yutong's lips.
"Did you kiss me?" he blurts out.
Zhan Yao's face colours and he drops his hands from Yutong's face. Yutong grabs him as he steps back and yanks him back into Yutong's space, curls his arms around him and chases that exquisite taste with his mouth until he recognises he's in danger of zoning again. He pulls back reluctantly, and as he licks his lips and as the flavour bursts over his tongue again he shivers.
For the first time, all five of his senses are alive and keyed into Zhan Yao, and it's a heady mix of pleasure and home. But right now he has to let go and turn those senses outward again. After, when the woman is safe, Yutong is going to take as much time as is needed to imprint Zhan Yao onto every one of his senses so neither of them ever get lost again.