take this burden - 47
[ keep or lose - bronze radio return ]
‘It’s time to make some choices’
Mo Guan Shan woke up thirsty.
He Tian shooed the nurse from the room, promising to hydrate him.
He Tian handed Mo Guan Shan the glass of water she’d left, watching him take a small sip and put it down on the table next to the bed.
Dark bruises were slowly forming under his eyes.
He looked exhausted.
He Tian wanted to hurt someone.
Before he could so much as open his mouth to speak, Jian Yi knocked lightly on the doorframe.
‘Zhengxi has some questions for you, He Tian.’
‘Can it wait?’
He Tian assured Mo Guan Shan he’d be back as soon as he could and left the room.
Jian Yi took his place next to the bed, fixing the tangle of tubes and wires on the bed.
‘Mo Guan Shan, what the fuck were you thinking?’ He asked quietly.
‘What do you mean?’ Mo Guan Shan asked, surprised by the question.
‘Why would you go outside with him? What good could possibly have come from that?’
Mo Guan Shan looked away.
‘I…I thought if I talked to him I could get him to leave.’
Jian Yi took a deep breath, trying to keep him temper under control.
‘Really? Because your track record of being alone with him is just fucking stellar, right?’
‘No, I mean-’
‘No.’ Jian Yi interrupted.
‘You put yourself in danger, you put Zhengxi’s job at jeopardy because we all know he’ll tell whatever lie he deems necessary to keep this from becoming a real fucking problem and, worst of all, you put He Tian in a situation he can not handle rationally. I don’t know you well, Mo Guan Shan, but I didn’t think you were that fucking stupid. That fucking selfish.’
Mo Guan Shan’s blood ran cold. His heartbeat was the loudest thing in his head as he fought the childish urge to cry.
He didn’t know what he’d expected from this conversation, but it wasn’t this.
‘I didn’t ask for this, Jian Yi. I didn’t ask for He Tian’s help. Or yours. Or Zhengxi’s. You didn’t have to do any of this. You still don’t.’
Jian Yi laughed bitterly.
‘But he did. We did. He Tian clearly cares for you, so we do too, but this is the second time in less than two weeks that we’ve all covered for you and your recklessness. I don’t know about them, but I won’t be doing it again.’
Mo Guan Shan searched for the right response, for any response, but came up empty.
‘Jian Yi.’ Came He Tian’s voice from the hallway.
Mo Guan Shan turned his face away as Jian Yi stood, pushing the chair back, and shoved past He Tian.
He Tian followed him down the hall, nearly running into him when he stopped suddenly.
‘What the fuck are you doing?’ He Tian demanded.
‘You’re being fucking stupid, He Tian. This shit between the two of you, it’s not healthy.’
He Tian raised his eyebrows.
‘I thought you’d understand this, considering…’
‘What Zhengxi and I have was born our of years of friendship and patience. Yours popped into existence in an alleyway a fucking week ago. He was hurt. You rescued him, hurting his abuser in the process. Have you considered that, possibly, this has been fueled by adrenaline? Loneliness? Perceived obligation?’
He Tian cocked his head to the side, nostrils flaring.
‘I have, yeah.’ He Tian tried to keep his tone indifferent.
‘This is chaos, He Tian.’
‘You shouldn’t want a relationship like this. You shouldn’t be so ready to go back to how you used to be.’
‘Shouldn’t I?’ He asked.
‘For fuck’s sake, I don’t HAVE anyone that’s loved me since I was a kid. Even if I still knew anyone I’d met when I was five years old, do you think they’d still be around? In case you haven’t noticed, people don’t seem to like me much once they get to know me.’
‘You caught me on the tail end of that shit, believe it or not.’
‘You almost fucking died.’
‘It was hardly the first time.’ He Tian spat.
Jian Yi blinked at him in shock.
That’s right, fucker, here’s some devastating news I’ve fastidiously kept from you for years to avoid breaking your heart.
He continued, knowing he was making it worse bin unable to stop himself.
‘I haven’t always been quite this likable and pleasant, you know. Why do you think I never bring anyone to dinner? Never tell you about anyone I bring home? I don’t know anything about them and they don’t know anything about me. I don’t care and neither do they. They like the way I look and I like that they don’t ask questions.’
‘So, what’s different now?’ he demanded.
Jian Yi was on the verge of tears, still reeling from his confession.
He hated it when Jian Yi cried and hated himself for being the reason.
‘I don’t know. Maybe is IS the adrenaline. Or the loneliness. Maybe I’m just going soft, but it feels an awful lot like what you assholes call love. It is chaos. I’m working on that.’
‘I just want you to be happy.’ Jian Yi argued, breath hitching mid sentence.
‘I know you do. Thank you. But your idea of happiness doesn’t exist in my world right now.’
‘You’re going to fuck this up. Everything you have going for you, everything you’ve worked so hard for, you’re going to throw it away on someone you barely fucking know.’
‘You’re not exactly in a position to give me relationship advice.’
That was a low blow.
He Tian wished he could snatch the words from the air the second they slipped past his lips.
Jian Yi flushed, quickly wiping away the tears that fell onto his cheeks.
‘Fuck you, He Tian.’ He whispered.
He Tian walked around him, giving him a wide berth, only to be stopped by Zhengxi as he rounded the corner.
‘What’s going on here?’ He demanded, looking past He Tian to where Jian Yi stood, shoulders hunched and shaking with silent sobs.
‘Move.’ He Tian told him.
‘Tell me what’s going on.’ Zhengxi insisted, stopping him with a hand on his chest.
He Tian shoved his hand away.
‘What the fuck is going on?’
‘Are you going to arrest me, Zhengxi?’
‘Then get the fuck out of my way, and stay away from him.’
Zhengxi held his hands up in passive surrender and watched him go.
He Tian drove back to the apartment, gathering Mo Guan Shan things.
It took three trips and a short struggle with the cat to transfer everything from Jian Yi and Zhengxi’s apartment to his.
He worked quickly, ignoring the tears that blurred his vision.
made his way back to the hospital and to Mo Guan Shan’s room.
Mo Guan Shan stiffened when he entered the room but didn’t look up from his hands in his lap.
He Tian rifled through the cabinets before perching on the edge of the bed.
In a practiced motion, he placed a cotton ball over the needle holding his IV in place and removed it carefully.
He cleaned the area with an alcohol wipe and applied a bandage.
‘What are you doing?’ Mo Guan Shan asked.
‘Do you want to stay here?’ He Tian’s voice was much harsher than he’d intended.
Mo Guan Shan shook his head.
‘Then we’re leaving. The hospital can bill me and we’ll pick up your prescriptions later today.’
‘Where are we going?’
‘Back to my place. You’re going to get some rest and I’m going to end this shit. This is never going to happen again, I’m going to make god damn fucking sure of that.’
He Tian cut him off, gently taking Mo Guan Shan’s face in his hands.
Mo Guan Shan hesitated, still a little dazed.
‘Do you trust me?’ He Tian asked.
‘Completely.’ He answered without a beat.
He Tian helped him to his feet and into his jacket.
‘Then let’s go home.’