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Shen Wei blinks and shakes his head. His vision is blurry, partially because he has no glasses and partially because of the blood oozing from his forehead. Looks like he has a concussion. His hands are tied behind him, he is sitting on a chair and his legs are tied as well.

 

He slowly moves his hands and legs, looking for ways to escape. The ropes have been tied tightly, he doesn't have a sharp object with him, he can't wiggle
his hands or legs at all. Hell, he can't even move freely.

 

He smiles to himself as he remembers Yun Lan's nagging. "You should wear contacts, it will be better in this line of duty." Why is he smiling in this situation? Yun Lan would go nuts if he knew of Wei's reckless side.

 

Yun Lan is the chief of CSI and Wei is just a consultant. Technically Wei shouldn't be in a situation like this at all, he just helps with profiling criminals, interrogating criminals/victims' family and solving clues at the back side. Yet, he has been captured by the criminal they have been trying to hunt down the past three weeks.

 

This man has killed five women in the past three weeks, they were brutally beaten and tortured in every possible way. There were no signs of sexual assault. There was a contradicting point though, even though they were treated cruelly, the way their bodies were cared for, clean and wrapped in plastic showed guilt and remorse. These two different MO's made Wei think that there was another person involved.

 

And of course, he had been right. There was a woman involved in this situation. The criminal, the man, wasn't doing it alone. But the million dollar question is, who is this lady and why is she involved? Has she been forced or is she doing it on her own free will?

 

He sighs. How did he get into this situation? And why is he thinking of Yun Lan now instead of trying to find ways of escape? Yun Lan always is a part of what Wei does, he doesn't know when it happened but Yun Lan has become one with Wei's actions, thoughts and every day life so easily, he has integrated himself, tangled himself with Wei with absolutely no point of return in sight.

 

Wei shakes his head and hisses. His head hurts, his left shoulder has stopped bleeding but the knife stab hurts. Feels like he has forgotten something important. A sudden shock leaves him shuddering as the haze lifts and his memories return. Is Yun Lan safe? Did they hurt his Yun Lan? He will kill them if they had laid hands on his Yun Lan.

 

**********

 

/* FEW HOURS AGO */

 

Wei had clearly made the connection that the first victim was very important, somehow meaningful to the criminal. The MO had been slightly different, the first victim hadn't been viciously treated, unlike the others. One could argue that since it was the first kill, the criminal had been hesitant but the patterns on the second to fifth victims were similar, so unlike the first victim.

 

It doesn't take just one kill to become an expert. The second and third kills should have been a little sloppy as well. However, the second to fifth victims - the level of violence had been very high and there was no hesitation at all.

 

The first victim had been an accident, the criminal hadn't intended to kill her, in a fit of rage, he had killed her and that had unleashed the beast in him.

 

Even though he hadn't intended to kill her, she was the source of his grudge, she was the target, the trigger, the one that had caused him to do such cruel things. He has been killing others who look similar to her but in a crueler way. Is it because he wants to relive the moment or because he wants to change something, Wei hasn't gotten to that part yet. He needs more information to process things.

 

Since the first victim had been killed in such a different way, Wei had decided to investigate the people surrounding her. There's a likely possibility that the criminal knows her personally.

 

Wei and Yun Lan are at the first victim's house. They just finished interviewing her husband, he hadn't been very co-operative because he had been treated as the suspect. He had been released later, after the other victims were killed when he was in custody.

 

Yun Lan shakes his head. He is angry. "I get he has been wronged by cops but doesn't he want to find out the one who killed his wife?"

 

Wei sighs, "They weren't in a good relationship."

 

Yun Lan doesn't ask how Wei knows that. Wei is a very good observer, he must have seen things at their house which Yun Lan hasn't connected and realized yet. Wei was quicker and efficient that way. Yun Lan never questions Wei. He doesn't have to. He trusts him blindly. There's no reason not to.

 

Of course, work and personal feelings are different for Yun Lan. The fact that he is dating Wei doesn't factor into this though Wei might argue otherwise. It's not easy to differentiate those in this line of work, especially when they can be in danger in the blink of an eye. Yun Lan is getting there. He is the chief, he can't compromise the safety of others just for Wei.

 

Yun Lan just nods.

 

Something strikes Wei suddenly. "There's a possibility that the criminal is related to the first victim's husband. He could have gotten away with it, he could have let the husband be framed but he didn't. We should investigate further. As we are already here, let us start with this neighborhood. We can ask the others to look into the husband's relatives, friends, colleagues."

 

Yun Lan doesn't waste time in giving instructions to Hong, Lin Jing, Da Qian, Chu and Guo over the phone.

 

Wei and Yun Lan start looking around the neighborhood. Lin Jing had called back to tell them that he had found a black van with a license plate near three of the five victim's locations. He is trying to connect the car with the other two victims as well.

 

The license plate is fake and not registered.

 

They won't be able to find it anywhere in the neighborhood, Wei is sure. Wei drags Yun Lan back to the first victim's house. There's another garage at the back side which he had noticed. "Let us check here first before we check elsewhere. Lin Jing can keep looking. Not sure if he will be able to identify the people inside the car so quickly, he has to go through a lot of CCTV footage first."

 

Yun Lan silently calms down his beating heart. He can't help but admire Wei, when Wei understands something, he gets excited and cute, he doesn't stop till he has figured out everything.

 

They don't have a warrant, they shouldn't be doing this but they are running out of time. Yun Lan stays on the lookout as Wei opens the garage door and wiggles inside. And they find the black van with the plate. Wei looks like a kid with a candy, his eyes sparkle and Yun Lan's damn heart doesn't listen to him.

 

Yun Lan is about to call for back up when things go so wrong in a split second.

 

Wei is pulled back inside the garage from behind by a big guy, Yun Lan drops his phone in a hurry to help his Wei. The guy is huge, even with Wei and Yun Lan's training, they are not sure if he can take them down easily.

 

The guy's punches are wicked. Yun Lan is already down and Wei is struggling not to be taken down as well. Wei is pushed down. The guy decides to take Yun Lan first because he has a gun and is already half down.

 

The guy rushes towards Yun Lan with a knife, Yun Lan can't move, he closes his eyes but never feels the pain even after a minute. He opens his eyes and screams, "Shen Wei, NO!"

 

Shen Wei's face is in front of him, of course, he had shielded Yun Lan with his body. Wei smiles through the pain and Yun Lan can feel the wound. Why? Wei, Why?The knife is protruding from Wei's left shoulder. He coughs a little blood and falls on top Yun Lan.

 

Yun Lan catches him gently. The guy snatches the knife from Wei's back and hits Yun Lan's head hard with the hilt. Yun Lan loses his consciousness. Wei gently tries to wake Yun Lan up, "Yun Lan... please... wake up, Yun Lan? Answer me... Yun L-an..."

 

It's not long before he slowly loses consciousness as well.

 

**********

 

Why did the guy take him? He is confused, he is not a girl. What did they do with Yun Lan? Yun Lan isn't hurt, right? He better not be! Even if it meant he were to end up in a hell hole, Wei will kill the guy with his hands personally.

 

There's a girl whimpering next to him. She is the girl who went missing two days back, the sixth to be victim. She is bleeding and hurt. Looks like the guy had already started doing a number on her.

 

He whispers, "Don't worry. We will get out of here." He believes in his team. They will be here somehow.

 

The girl shakes her head. "N-o way." Of course she doesn't believe the words of a tied up guy.

 

Wei doesn't know what to say. "I am Shen Wei, consultant for the CSI team, we have figured out who the criminal is. The profile will help in guessing his next moves, they will find us."

 

What Wei doesn't tell is that he doesn't know whether they will find them before it's too late. Looks like Shen's ramble about the profile and their investigation is keeping the girl distracted from the pain and worry.

 

He asks her name, he forces her to talk about mundane things as well. Her name is Zhu Jiang. She works in a software company, she isn't married, she is only 25 years old.

 

Wei maybe good with investigation and profiles, he is never good with human interaction though. He sighs and keeps rambling, it distracts him from the pain in his head and shoulder as well. His mind is running a lot of scenarios to keep him and her safe.

 

He tells her not to provoke the criminal, not to talk to him, not to scream. He doesn't like women much, he blames them for something, he doesn't respect them, he doesn't see them as human beings. Why is he keeping another woman by his side? Why is he letting her tend to the victims? What is so different and special about her?

 

Another girl walks in, she slowly starts tending to Jiang's wounds gently, after she is done, she moves to Wei and starts treating his wounds as well.

 

He whispers, "Will you help us escape?"

 

She looks startled and a flash of fear can be seen in her eyes. She shakes her head desperately, "I am sorry, I c-an't..."

 

She is frightened to death of the guy. How did she even get into this mess? Wei's mind starts working in overdrive, thinking of all possibilities.

 

The guy comes in. He makes a beeline for Zhu Jiang and starts beating her harshly. The girl rushes away from Wei and runs outside the area, they look like they are in a basement of some kind of building. Wei can see old broken cars outside and a wire fence. Is this an abandoned auto shop?

 

Wei says, "Let her go. Why don't you show how manly you are to me instead of beating her up? She is tied as well."

 

He told Jiang not to provoke the guy but Wei can't help it. He is curious, he has to figure this guy out. What does he want? Why is he doing all this?

 

The man glares at him. "It's a good thing I am testing waters, should you be really saying that to me? Aren't you worried about your safety? Aren't you worried why I took you when you are not a girl?"

 

The guy talks too much but he is not dumb. There weren't any DNA evidences left in the five crime scenes. He is violent, he must have basic knowledge of forensics, he is probably an experienced fighter as well, not that experience is needed with his humongous and muscular build.

 

Wei knows wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai well. He is small, size maybe a disadvantage but he has speed on his side. He is a quick thinker and very light on his feet. He has a good stamina as well. He remembers the way the guy fought with him and Yun Lan. If given a second chance, Wei can probably try to take him down.

 

"I am very curious, why don't you tell me?"

 

It works. The guy stalks towards Wei. He unties Wei and drags him towards the abandoned cars by his injured hand on purpose. He doesn't want to do this in front of Jiang? Something clicks in Wei's mind, he is starting to understand certain things.

 

Wei's stab wound throbs. His head feels like it's being split open.

 

The guy hisses, "Do you want to fight with me? I have other plans for you though. You don't look like you can handle violence, sugar, if you don't struggle, I won't hurt you."

 

Wei feels disgusted at the implication. That's when he realizes certain things. The man is struggling with his sexuality. He killed those girls because they failed to invoke feelings in him. He killed them in rage because he couldn't love them, he blamed them for not being able to make him fall in love or at least have sex with the opposite gender.

 

The first victim was probably someone he loved but he couldn't physically have her because he likes guys and also because the first victim was married. This guy has been fighting against his desires, trying to go after women, trying so hard to NOT go after men. He must have had homophobic relatives or friends while growing up. He must have been a homophobic bully himself.

 

Is that why he is keeping the woman with him? It looks like she knows, is she trying to help him? How can she help him not be gay? Does she think she can stop him somehow? She is so afraid of him yet Wei also saw the love and devotion in her eyes, does she want him to fall in love with her? Does he think she can help him somehow? How is that even possible?

 

Wei shakes his head and smiles, "I can take you down."

 

But Wei is very afraid. He can buy time but will his team arrive on time? Is Yun Lan fine? He shakes his head.

 

The guy lunges at Wei, he growls as Wei side steps. Wei keeps dodging the guy's punches, he cannot keep this up for long because he is feeling dizzy because of the hit to his head.

 

He has to finish this soon, this is only angering the guy. The guy already looks like he wants to hurt Wei not only physically but in that way as well. Wei hates being touched by anyone other than Yun Lan. He doesn't want this at all. He wants to get away from the guy, so far away. The guy is normally filled to the brim with anger, why is Wei worsening the condition? What does he want to achieve? Can he come up with a plan soon?

 

He cannot run away abandoning Jiang. He doesn't want another victim on his hand. He doesn't want the guilt to eat at him. He won't have time to untie Jiang unless he takes this brute down. There are not much choices here.

 

He searches for objects nearby. He finds one. He runs swiftly around the guy, changing his sense of direction at the last minute on purpose and picks up the bonnet and smashes it as hard as he can on the guy's head. He keeps on hitting the guy as hard as he can. He is frustrated, he is scared, he is tired, he cannot move or think anymore. He just wants to go home and be with Yun Lan. He wants to get out safely, desperately. This is a nightmare and Wei is shaken.

 

The guy falls down. Wei's knees give up in relief, he sits down and holds his head. He is shivering, he is sweating. Everything hurts like hell. The guy is down but Wei has to find something to tie him up with, he won't be down for long and Wei doesn't have that much energy or confidence left to take him down again.

 

He half crawls and half gets up on shaky legs to go in search of the ropes that had held him down.

 

His leg is pulled from behind and he falls down smack on the ground. Rule 1: "Never turn your back on your enemy even if it looks like he is down." Hasn't that been drilled into him by Yun Lan when he was taking safety lessons? Yun Lan forced him to take all those lessons and yet Wei has failed both himself and Yun Lan.

 

The guy drags Wei towards himself. The grin on his face sends chills down Wei's spine. The next second, the guy has thrown dirt in Wei's eyes and Wei can't see anything anymore, this is a dangerous disadvantage. He claws at air uselessly, he can't land a single hit on the guy in this crucial moment and it's already too late.

 

"I told you I will go easy on you. Not anymore, little guy."

 

The guy's hands are all over Wei and Wei feels like he is going to throw up. He struggles and struggles but the guy is on top of him, he is heavy and Wei's hands are pinned behind him. His left shoulder screams in frustration. His left ankle looks like it is sprained and the guy keeps jostling it on purpose. He can't breathe.

 

Wei's jacket is ripped. The guys hands are under his shirt and Wei doesn't want to but he can't help but plead feebly, he will take a chance, any chance, it kills him but he does it anyway, he wants to survive desperately, he wants to do a lot of things with Yun Lan. "Please... don't..."

 

The pleading isn't helping. Where's Yun Lan? He screams, "Yun Lan! Help!" Where's his Yun Lan when he needs him the most?

 

The guy stuffs something in his mouth. Wei still doesn't give up. He won't plead anymore, not like he can with the dirty cloth in his mouth anyway. He has his pride. But what can he do? The guy's hands are disgusting.

 

And then suddenly the hands are not on him anymore. He sighs in relief. Somebody is leaning next to him, "I will kill him! I will rip him into pieces. Are you alright, Xiao Wei?"

 

He sags into the person's arms. It's Yun Lan. "Yo-u are fi-ne. I was so wo-rried that he had done something to you."

 

Yun Lan hugs him tightly, "Worry about yourself first, Wei. I am sorry I am late. Back up is on the way, Chu and I couldn't waste anymore time. If something were to happen to you!"

 

"I was unconscious for a while wasting precious time, damn it. Screw it! Lin Jing and Hong were done with the geographic profile thankfully and I remembered the guy's conversation with the girl about their destination as they loaded you into the car. Sorry I let this happen, this is all my fault. I shouldn't have-"

 

Wei gently stops him by placing his finger on Yun Lan's lips.

 

Wei rubs his eyes, Yun Lan helps him get rest of the dirt out. He can see Chu struggling with the guy. Guo isn't of much help. "Go help them."

 

Yun Lan hesitates but he gets up to help Chu.

 

Wei turns his head and throws up. He cannot breathe properly. He doesn't want Yun Lan to see him like this. Wei always prides himself in not showing his emotions, he can handle his emotions well. The fact that he is so shaken from the guy's touch leaves him feeling disgusted. Wei is not weak at all. Why? How?

 

Wei takes a deep breath and tries to calm his feelings down.

 

He hears a sudden shout. Guo and Chu are down. The guy kicks Yun Lan down and Yun Lan's gun flies away and lands near Shen Wei. The guy picks up something sharp and runs towards Yun Lan.

 

Wei sees a red cloud of anger. He doesn't even hesitate, despite his body's protests, he rushes forward, picks up the gun and screams, "Leave my Yun Lan alone, you bastard!"

 

The guy doesn't stop and Wei pulls the trigger without any second thought, the bullet hits the guy's shoulder and he drops on his knees, he turns towards Wei and mumbles, "You are not a sheep after all. Why couldn't I have had you?"

 

He is not giving up. He drags himself towards Wei and Wei's steps falter, he steps back unconsciously. Before the guy can reach Wei, Chu and Yun Lan grab him from either side and cuff him. Yun Lan punches the bastard thrice, hard, the guy just laughs outrageously and spits out blood.

 

"Sad you came just on time to protect your little lover. The things I could have done to him!"

 

Yun Lan hisses, "He can take care of himself just fine. Shut up, you bloody bastard!" Yun Lan kicks him in the stomach and the guy wheezes. Before he can say anything, Chu and Guo drag him out.

 

Yun Lan looks at Wei with a sad look, he whispers, "Love, put that down."

 

Wei looks at him with tears, he brokenly whispers, "Y-un Lan, Y-un Lan... Y-un Lan..."

 

Yun Lan doesn't want to hear this kind of voice from his Wei. He wants to do so much violent things to the bastard for doing that to his innocent, precious Wei. Nothing will be enough.

 

Wei realizes that he is still holding the gun and that his hands are dangerously shaking. Yun Lan isn't worried, he knows Wei won't hurt him. He walks towards Wei and gently takes the gun out of Wei's hands and kisses his forehead. He hugs Wei who promptly faints in Yun Lan's waiting safe arms.

 

Yun Lan picks Wei up bridal style and starts walking out. The back up is here. Hong and Zheng are untying Jiang. The guy's woman is already in custody. Yun Lan feels worried, at the same time he feels happy and content as Wei's head rests on his shoulder, as Wei's hand lies on Yun Lan's chest even in Wei's state of unconsciousness. Wei trusts him no matter what.

 

**********

 

Wei groans and sits up on the hospital bed.

 

He smiles at Yun Lan who is asleep with his head in between his arms on top of the bed. Wei doesn't want to wake him up but somehow Yun Lan wakes up at that exact moment.

 

It's moments like these that amaze these two. They have an uncanny ability to know if the other is OK or if the other is looking at them sneakily. They have the weird ability to know what the other is thinking or about to say or do at times. It's like an irresistible pull, like a magic touch.

 

Yun Lan wastes no time. He grabs hold of Wei's hand and starts scolding him. "You shouldn't have provoked him! Why would you do that? You should take better care of yourself. I am not taking you with me next time."

 

That's when Wei realizes that the guy probably confessed everything with glee. Wei feels disgusted. And the fact that Yun Lan won't be taking him is easier said than done.

 

Yun Lan sighs. "I was very much worried, this time, you aren't hurt a lot but it could have been worse if we had been late, Xiao Wei. Don't put yourself in danger, please. My heart can't take it. Especially, not for me."

 

He pulls Wei close and kisses him. "Those moments when you were not with me, God! And this guy, you figured out his reason, didn't you? That gave me a heart attack. He took you because he couldn't control himself anymore."

 

Wei nods. He tries to joke, "Because I am more beautiful than you, Yun Lan."

 

Yun Lan looks like he is punched. "Don't... joke about your safety, Wei."

 

Their roles are reversed this time.

 

Usually it's Wei who always scolds Yun Lan because Yun Lan is reckless, Yun Lan always gets hurt and Wei always has to pick up the pieces. Wei always looks like he has a heart attack when dealing with Yun Lan because the love of his life, his Yun Lan doesn't know how to keep himself safe. He has so little regard for his own personal safety, Yun Lan jumps in without thinking to help others.

 

Wei always takes care of the aftermath, has to clean up after Yun Lan. He doesn't mind doing that, he will do anything for his Yun Lan but he cannot bear to see him in danger.

 

Wei sighs, "Now, do you know how I feel whenever you jump headfirst into danger?"

 

Yun Lan nods seriously. "I will try to be more careful."

 

Wei nods. "I want to go home."

 

Yun Lan chuckles, "Soon enough."

 

Yun Lan hesitates a bit. "Do you want to talk about it? I have never seen your frightened expression even while facing death."

 

Wei knows what Yun Lan is getting at. "I just don't like being touched, especially with those kind of intentions. I don't like giving control to others."

 

Yun Lan's heart melts. He realizes how precious he is to Wei. Wei may feel shy or embarrassed but not once has he shied away from Yun Lan's touch.

 

Even when they had first met, Yun Lan had fallen for Wei first, he let the whole world know about his crush, he didn't mind. He initiated a lot of touches, whenever he could, however he could. Wei had never once felt disgusted. Yun Lan was special to Wei from the beginning. Wei has always given into Yun Lan, Wei doesn't mind Yun Lan being in control. Yun Lan would never abuse that.

 

And he is not alone, Wei has Yun Lan wrapped around his little fingers as well and he doesn't even realize it! Why does his Wei have to be so adorable? His Wei.

 

Wei whispers, "I am stronger than that."

 

Yun Lan nods, "I know. You are the strongest in the team."

 

Wei nods. How does Yun Lan say things he always wants to hear?

 

"You don't always have to be strong though. I will always be there to share the burden with you."

 

Wei's eyes can't hold the tears anymore. Yun Lan gently holds him. Wei grips Yun Lan's shirt tightly. "I know."

 

And it's true, they will be together always.

 

Wei finally lets go of Yun Lan after an eternity. "Don't let the girl go, she loves him. She wanted him to love her so much that she let him do those things to the other girls. Even though she was jealous."

 

Yun Lan isn't surprised. Something felt off about the girl and he smiles to himself.

 

Yun Lan sighs, "Sleep, get enough rest. I will be here." He doesn't even have to say the last part out loud.

 

Wei doesn't have to be afraid anymore with Yun Lan by his side. It will take sometime for him to get over what happened but he will get over it with Yun Lan's help. Yun Lan weaves his fingers through Wei's and that's how the entire team who came to visit Wei find them.

 

They don't want to wake up the sweet couple. They place the gifts on Wei's bedside table and silently leave smirking to themselves. Wei would be blushing beet red if he were to read the messages of his team mates' on the cards.