“He took everyone off into the woods to build a dynamic team ethos,” said Ponder. “It’s one of the Archchancellor’s Big Ideas. He says that if the faculty gets to know one another better, they’ll be a happier, more efficient team.” “But they do know one another! They’ve known one another for ages! That’s why they don’t like one another very much!”
– Rincewind finds the flaw in team-building |
Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld II: The Globe
Remember the mourning roses and all else shines
Religious temptation will feed the starving children
Impale our innocence with lies inbred
The witch that sings made us angelic wings
Our dolor lies in rejuvenation
We watch afraid while filming
Children’s tears floating miserable and sad
Among dreaming clouds again
All I intended to scribble are just words of love and loss
Forgive me and please forgive this unfinished poem
‘Care to tell me what that was about?’ Zhengxi asked a few minutes into their drive home when Jian Yi managed to catch his breath.
‘He Tian is a fucking idiot is what that was about.’
‘Well, yes, but that is not a new development.’
Jian Yi scoffed, staring out the window as they drove.
‘He’s going to get into serious trouble one of these days. She Li could easily press charges and that is the last thing He Tian needs right now. He was doing so well with all of this before Mo Guan Shan came along. He’s making a mistake here and we all fucking know it.
‘Jian Yi, you’re being a little harsh. I thought you were the nice one here.’
‘Who’s side are you on here, Zhengxi?!’
‘It’s not that simple. I don’t blame He Tian for doing what he did. I can’t say that’s how I would have handled, it but this is He Tian we’re talking about.’
‘What about Mo Guan Shan? Can you blame him?’
Zhengxi thought for a moment.
'It wasn’t a good move-’
‘IT WAS A FUCKING HORRIBLE MOVE!’ Jian Yi interrupted, voice rough.
When Zhengxi didn’t respond Jian Yi asked ‘how can you defend him on this?’
‘I’m not defending his actions, I’m defending our friend.’
They pulled into the parking lot and Zhengxi killed the engine. He reached for Jian Yi, thought better of it, and dropped his hands into his lap.
‘Our friend is ready to get fucking killed for this shit and drag you right along with him.’
Jian Yi didn’t give him a chance to respond, unbuckling his seatbelt and letting himself out of the car.
Zhengxi followed, locking the cruiser and walking quickly after his boyfriend.
‘Jesus, Jian Yi, is that what this is about?’
‘It’s a big fucking part of it. What you do is dangerous enough without you jumping into the messes he gets himself into by being reckless.’
‘I would do the same if I wasn’t a cop. You know that.’
Jian Yi whirled around.
‘Is that supposed to make me feel better? He had a gun, Zhengxi! You could have died.’ His breath hitched on the last word.
‘The same thing could have happened in any other situation.’
‘Is THAT supposed to make me feel better?!’
‘I have no idea what I could say right now that would make you feel better, so, no.’
Jian Yi turned to look at him.
‘That you’ll quit. That you’ll quit and do what you actually want to do and be safe. But you’re not going to say that because you’re not going to fucking do it.’
‘This isn’t about me.’ Zhengxi said.
‘It is to me.’Jian Yi told him, eyes wet again.
‘Why are you acting like this?’ Zhengxi asked. ‘I understand you’re upset and I don’t blame you, but He Tian is your best friend. And I thought you liked Mo Guan Shan.’
‘That’s…that’s not the point.’
'Then what’s the point?’
'The point is that his selfishness puts the people around him in danger.’
‘Jian Yi, this is uncharted territory for him and he needs you.’
Jian Yi opened the door, stepping inside and flicking the lights on, ready to argue.
There was a key on the kitchen table.
A neon green, glow in the dark, key.
He Tian’s key to the apartment.
‘Yeah.’ Jian Yi agreed, bitter and sarcastic.
Jian Yi stormed off, slamming the bedroom door behind him.
So Zhengxi was going to have to be the adult here?
He grabbed the key, dropping it into the junk drawer with a sigh and making his way to the guest room.
Any trace that Mo Guan Shan had been there was gone, save the note on the bedside table.
In messy, unfamiliar, writing: