Shao Fei was at the police station when he got the call.
Now that Tang Yi had managed to reform Hsin Tien, things had been quiet, routine. Tang Yi worked mostly at home or was in the suit store. He kept a relative quiet life, normal, without drug dealers complicating his endeavours and revenge plans to carry out.
Shao Fei was now accustomed to a certain kind of lifestyle. His lease was up at his apartment and it was just a natural decision to move out of his apartment and into Tang Yi’s home; he spent all his free time there anyways. His apartment was more of a storage room at this point. After work he’d go to his new home and spend the evening with his boyfriend. It was his favourite ritual: going to sleep every night next to his boyfriend.
God, he had a boyfriend!
Sometimes it was still difficult to believe his luck. He hadn’t been looking for love, but somehow it snuck up on him. And a former gangster at that - it was like a TV drama come to life!
Settling in with Tang Yi was surprisingly easy. He was afraid their history might make things difficult, but Tang Yi was serious about reforming. That’s not to say they haven’t butted heads at times, but Shao Fei refused to let things fester and would encourage Tang Yi to open up. Sometimes it took a few days, but he always came around. Now that he was a legitimate business owner, there wasn’t much excitement to disagree about.
Of course, he should’ve realised peace would only last so long when your boyfriend had made unsavoury enemies.
“Hey Jack, what’s up?” Shao Fei was working on some paperwork for a case he had recently wrapped up. He was a bit distracted but figured Jack was trying to get a hold of Zhao Zi. The two were generally inseparable, but Zhao Zi could be a bit of scatterbrain sometimes and wasn’t always easy to reach.
“Shao Fei, something happened…” Jack’s tone immediately put Shao Fei on high alert.
“-What’s wrong?” He interrupted.
“Don’t freak out.”
“Jack, just say it.” Shao Fei knew he sounded curt but worse case scenarios were already running through his mind and his heart was beating a mile a minute.
“Boss is in the hospital. He was attacked on his way to lunch by some disgruntled gangsters.”
“I’m on my way.” Shao Fei was already running out the door without so much as a goodbye to his coworkers.
He met Jack outside the hospital. He had a couple of bruises forming on his face, but otherwise seemed untouched. Jack stopped him before he could rush inside. Shao Fei didn’t want to waste time but knew Jack was only trying to reassure him.
“He’s fine. He fought back and we were able to subdue them. They were low tier guys.”
“When you say subdue…” Shao Fei’s police instincts always kicked in when Tang Yi and Jack “handled” things.
“Don’t worry, I called Zhao Zi and he’s taking care of it.” Jack smiled, hands up innocently. “Dr. Jiang is taking care of Boss now.”
Shao Fei didn’t really want to think about Dr. Jiang touching Tang Yi, but he grudgingly respected how good the doctor was at his job. Although he’d never admit it aloud.
“Look, Boss doesn’t know I called you. He didn’t want to worry you, but I know he’ll have to stay overnight so he’d have to tell you sooner rather than later.”
Shao Fei was impatient to see Tang Yi but he held himself back from running past Jack. Jack was only trying to calm him down before he barged in demanding answers. “What’s his condition?”
“He was stabbed -”
“Stabbed?!” Shao Fei could feel his blood pressure rising and was ready to fight his way to his boyfriend. He barely held himself together.
“-But they didn’t hit anything vital, thankfully. Dr. Jiang was able to stitch him up and Boss is resting now. He’s on painkillers so he’s a bit out of it.”
“Thanks Jack. Can you take me to him now?”
Jack nodded and led him into the hospital. Somehow the trip Tang Yi’s room felt too long and he had to physically stop himself from running ahead of Jack, mostly because he wasn’t sure what room to go to.
Before he could walk into the room Jack grabbed his arm to stop him.
“One more thing - Andy surprised Tang Yi with a visit earlier so he’s inside with him.”
Shao Fei felt a familiar green rush but bit the inside of his cheek to keep himself from saying anything. He nodded to Jack and entered the room.
The first thing he was aware of was the sound of machines, and his nostrils flared at the familiar scent of disinfectant. But all that mattered to him was the sight before him; Tang Yi was on the hospital bed, in a patient’s robe, face paler than normal. Andy was sitting next to his bed, holding on to Tang Yi’s hand.
At the sound of the door opening, Andy lifted his head from where it was bent over from talking to Tang Yi. Shao Fei felt a bit like an insect being inspected, wary about making a move.
Tang Yi was the first to break the sudden tension when he smiled slowly and hoarsely said, “Shao Fei, you’re here.”
The moment broken, Shao Fei was instantly at his other side, grabbing Tang Yi’s other hand in his tightly, eyes taking in everything. Tang Yi had a bruise forming on his cheek where he must’ve taken a hit, his knuckles were also red and bruised, and his eyes were slightly glazed.
“Hey Tang Yi,” Shao Fei said softly, emotion making his voice thick. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine. Nothing to worry about.” Tang Yi’s words were slightly slurred. The doctor definitely had him on the good stuff. At least he wasn’t in any pain. A small consolation.
Shao Fei exhaled in relief, the action dragging his body down onto the chair. Like a puppet’s strings that had been abruptly cut off. Tang Yi is okay. Tang Yi is alive. Tang Yi is going to be okay. His mind was racing, catching up with emotions he’d been holding back. He was starting to feel the prickle of tears behind his eyes.
“He’s been asking for you.” Shao Fei froze, having forgotten all about Andy on the other side of the bed. Andy continued when Shao Fei looked at him curiously, “I mean, he’s pretty out of it. But he kept calling your name.”
A wave of affection bubbled up at that and he took a moment to admire Tang Yi’s face. He was nodding off, but the ex-gangster had a small smile on his face and his grip on Shao Fei’s hand was light but firm. God, Shao Fei was such a goner for this man.
“I guess congratulations are in order.” Andy said, after a moment of silence.
Andy nodded towards where Shao Fei had his hands linked with Tang Yi’s. “You finally told him how you feel.”
“How did you know?” Shao Fei felt his ears turning red, but didn’t let go nor argue his claim. Although they had been together for a while they had decided to keep their relationship a secret until Tang Yi was completely cut off from known criminals and associations. Keeping it from Andy was not particularly easy, but Shao Fei thought they had been doing a decent job - until now.
Andy smiled slyly, “I’ve known Tang Yi for years. He’s always been reserved about his feelings - even though he acts confident, in this, he’s not usually one to make the first move. Besides, you literally pulled me off of him. I know you’re bold enough to reveal your feelings - which were so obvious by the way.”
Shao Fei could tell Andy wasn’t being malicious, he seemed to be fairly unbothered about it all. Shao Fei let his hackles fall - they weren’t rivals here.
“Yeah, I kissed him.”
Andy’s face morphed into delight. “Really? I would’ve paid to see that!”
Shao Fei suddenly felt confident, he sat straighter on the chair. “I kinda jumped at him. I didn’t think it through at all, but I don’t regret it.”
“You dog you. I’m glad someone was able to burst through his walls.”
Shao Fei carefully chose his next words (Tang Yi would be proud of him). “Were you trying to...burst through his walls?” He would fight to keep Tang Yi if it came to it, but he did feel a little bad about possibly being the reason for another person’s heart ache.
Andy looked at him for a moment and then answered, “Not in the way you think. I’ve known Tang Yi for years; he’s my closest friend. I’ve been a bit protective of him in the past because I know he’s a gentle soul underneath it all, and in his line of ‘work’ it’s easy to take advantage of it.” Shao Fei nodded gravely, he’s seen it and has been the cause of it as well.
“But,” Andy continued, “I’ve never seen him so smitten over someone before, so I know you’re very important to him. I wouldn’t want to destroy that kind of relationship for him. Besides, I also have a boyfriend I love very much, thank you.”
Shao Fei laughed, a tight knot in his stomach suddenly coming loose. “Thank you for taking care of him.”
Andy smiled, “Of course. Don’t get mad at him today - he was going to call you before everything went down, to tell you that I had surprised him.”
Suddenly Shao Fei’s police instincts kicked in like he was in the middle of a case. “Are you okay? Do you remember what happened?”
“I’m okay. Tang Yi made sure I was safe. We were just leaving to get lunch from his store when these couple of rough looking guys jumped us. Luckily Jack had noticed one approach and was able to ruin their ambush. Tang Yi immediately pushed me back into the store and went to help Jack. Unfortunately it’s all a bit of a blur, but I remember seeing one of the guys get close enough to him and that must’ve been when they stabbed him. But he managed to pry the guy off somehow and Jack knocked him unconscious. It all happened very quickly.”
Shao Fei will have to look at the case later, but he’s just glad that everyone is safe, if not a little unscathed. He doesn’t condone violence but in this circumstance, self-defense is a necessity.
“Anyways, I have to head to work now. Please let me know how he’s doing, okay?” Andy said as he got up and made his way out.
“I’ll keep you updated.” Shao Fei agreed.
Shao Fei wasn’t really paying attention to the time. All he was focused on was Tang Yi. A couple of nurses came and checked on him a few times, and Dr. Jiang came in once to go over Tang Yi’s condition.
“He was stabbed in his abdomen and luckily the thug missed any vital organs. We’ll keep him overnight to make sure there’s no complications, but he should recover in a couple of weeks. I’ve left instructions with nurses that will go over home care in more detail during discharge. He’s on some powerful painkillers at the moment, so he shouldn’t be uncomfortable. When he gets home he should be on bed rest until his follow up appointment.”
“Thanks doctor.” Shao Fei was already mapping out how he’s going to take care of a bedridden Tang Yi.
“That means no bed activities, if you catch my drift.” Dr. Jiang said cheekily.
Shao Fei could feel his face heating up as he stared at him in shock, “O-of course not! I wou-wouldn’t do that!”
“Just messing with you!” Dr. Jiang left after that with a spring in his step.
When he couldn’t avoid it anymore, Shao Fei called Hong-Ye to let her know what happened to her brother. After a heated conversation and finally convincing her not to drop everything and return to Taiwan, Shao Fei promised to give her daily updates on Tang Yi’s condition.
Shao Fei had been absentmindedly caressing Tang Yi’s hand, wondering when he’d wake up, when he felt a touch at his shoulder. He startled at first but relaxed when he saw Zhao Zi’s concerned face.
“Hey A-Fei, are you okay? You didn’t hear us come in.” At that Shao Fei noticed Jack standing just at the end of the hospital bed.
“Sorry, I was lost in thought. What are you doing here?”
Zhao Zi perked up and lifted up a duffel bag for Shao Fei to see. “We brought you some clothes so you can stay overnight. And Jack made you some dinner.”
Jack pointed to a lunch bag he had placed on the table and Zhao Zi walked over to put the duffel on the couch. Shao Fei was touched by his friend’s consideration. He honestly hadn’t thought about anything other than being by Tang Yi’s side.
“Thanks guys. I really appreciate this.” Shao Fei reluctantly let go of Tang Yi’s hand and stretched, finally realising how stiff he felt. How long had he been sitting in that uncomfortable chair?
“Don’t worry about chasing after the guys that attacked Tang Yi. Jack brought them to the station and I filed their arrest report. Just make sure he’s healing up, okay?”
“Thanks A-Zi, you’re the best.”
Zhao Zi beamed, obviously happy to be of help to his best friend. “That’s what brothers do! We’re going to head off, but let us know if you need anything else.”
Jack nodded to Shao Fei as he followed Zhao Zi out of the room.
It was sometime in the middle of the night when Shao Fei heard movement coming from Tang Yi’s bed. Shao Fei had managed a couple hours of sleep, but any sound had him on high alert. He quickly got up from the couch and sat in the chair Andy had been in previously, automatically taking Tang Yi’s hand in his.
“Hey, hey, are you awake?” Shao Fei whispered, hoping his boyfriend would finally wake up this time.
“Mmm, Sh...Fei?” Tang Yi mumbled, his eyes slowly opening, adjusting to the muted light in the dark room.
“I’m here. I’m here. How are you feeling? Do you need anything?”
Tang Yi coughed, clearing his throat. “Water.”
Shao Fei got up to grab a glass of water with a straw, and delicately helped Tang Yi sit up enough to drink a few sips. Tang Yi moved slowly but was able to drink and then settle back onto his bed. He was more alert now and Shao Fei let out a sigh of relief, it was a great improvement from unconsciousness. He didn’t realise how much he’d missed Tang Yi’s voice, even if it was slightly hoarse.
They were quiet for a moment, both in their own heads. Shao Fei had so many things to say but he wasn’t sure where to start. Tang Yi at least seemed to be waiting for Shao Fei to decide how to proceed.
Finally, Shao Fei settled on his loudest thought. “You scared me Tang Yi. When Jack called I literally thought the worst had happened...that I wouldn’t...that I...lost you.”
It was like a pin had been removed, holding all the emotions Shao Fei was desperately pushing down, and tears came flooding up. He coughed, trying to keep his composure but Tang Yi seemed to sense his impending breakdown and opened his arms to receive Shao Fei.
Shao Fei held on to Tang Yi tightly. He knew it was probably uncomfortable for Tang Yi but being able to hug him, tuck his face into his neck and feel his heartbeat against his chest, Shao Fei couldn’t be bothered to move. Shao Fei cried, feeling his boyfriend’s hands gently soothing his back.
After what felt like ages, Shao Fei was able to compose himself enough to stop clinging to his boyfriend.
“I’m sorry Shao Fei. I didn’t mean for this to happen.” Tang Yi said softly.
“I know. I know. I just wished I could have been there to protect you.” Shao Fei admitted.
“You don’t think I can handle myself?” Tang Yi mocked.
Shao Fei smiled slightly, “I wouldn’t have let some gangster get close enough to stab me.”
Tang Yi rolled his eyes, taking the joke as it was meant to be, morbid as it may be. “At least I’m not always getting shot.”
Shao Fei raised his hands in surrender. “Okay, okay, I get it. We both lead dangerous lives.”
“Yeah, and it’s nice not to be on the other side of it for once.”
Shao Fei wanted to keep the light atmosphere but that comment made him flinch. He didn’t want to be reminded of how terrified he was earlier, how anxious he was waiting for Tang Yi to wake up.
“I don’t like being on this side. It’s not easy to see you in pain.” Shao Fei took a deep breath, he wanted Tang Yi to understand how serious he suddenly was. “I swear I’ll be more careful - if this is what you feel every time I get hurt it really sucks.”
Tang Yi reached for Shao Fei’s hands, ”I know that your job involves risks, and I hate it when you’re hurt or in a dangerous situation. I know you can’t promise me that you will always be safe, but I would appreciate visiting the hospital less - for both of us.”
Shao Fei nodded, bringing up Tang Yi’s hands to kiss softly, “I’ll try my best.”
They conversed softly for a while, Shao Fei going through what his day was like before all of this happened. Even though he was in a hospital with his boyfriend lying prone on the bed, Shao Fei felt more at ease now that he was able to talk to Tang Yi. It was early in the morning when Tang Yi fell asleep again and the sounds of the waking hospital drift through the walls.