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The Gambling Man

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Shen Wei turns around and smiles at him. It suddenly occurs to Zhao Yun Lan that if he knew they would die like this, he wouldn't have been as careful in love. Maybe then he could slip into the old comfort of a familiar hug. Instead it feels more natural to look into Shen Wei's eyes. They're uncommonly beautiful with long thick lashes. Truthfully, it is not easy to see such a handsome man and not feel slightly resentful. Maybe it was the reason he felt suspicious of him in the beginning. Or maybe already then it was attraction. Shen Wei is right of course, their deaths were meaningful. And yet he is regretful. He feels connected to the whole of space and time as he stands here tethered to Shen Wei. He feels like he wasted the universe. They didn't have that much time together, less than a year if you count the days. Yet it doesn't feel wrong to say that they have known each other for 10 000 years. Yes, their deaths were meaningful. It hadn't taken him long to realize they shared a willingness to give their life for the people they love. It is what he loves most about Shen Wei; also what he fears and hates the most. In the end, his life hadn't felt like much of a sacrifice, with Shen Wei gone.
Shen Wei is saying something else now. To make a bet they will meet again. Despite how it may appear to others, Zhao Yun Lan is not really a gambling man. If he plays the odds he makes sure they are in his favor. To stand here together now; to have reconnected on so many occasions during their brief time together; this connection he feels, like he is a magnetic needle and Shen Wei is a pole; surely, if there are soulmates in this world they are it.
"Good," he affirms. They will meet again. Shen Wei is smiling through tears. Though his own vision is blurry, Zhao Yun Lan looks into those beautiful eyes until he fades from consciousness.
It is some 25 years before the next time he remembers who Zhao Yun Lan is. He walks into the coroner's office, distracted with the case file. When he looks up, he sees the new coroner and it all comes rushing back.
"Shen Wei," he says. Shen Wei looks confused for a moment. That is not his name of course, though it hardly matters. And then, as if taking off a mask, there is that familiar smile again.
"Xiao Lan," he breathes. They look at each other a moment longer, Zhao Yun Lan feels like his heart might burst out from his chest from happiness. And then they laugh.