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Loyalty and Betrayal

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Wei Wuxian woke to the sound of rain.

 

The first drops calmly splattered through the glass door of the balcony. Snuggling into the pillow, he shielded his eyes from the sunlight with one hand and yawned lazily.

 

The scent of sandalwood was there in the pillow, hovering, lightly enough to tease him. Lan Wangji had spent the night by his side, caressing his back while he cried. Wei Wuxian didn't see when he left the room, but judging by the warmth on the sheets, it was not long ago.

 

His mind was clearer now, the headache was gone and his heart was calm and steady. He breathed deeply and spread his arms, he really wanted a long, hot shower and some strong coffee. Wei Wuxian shifted to the side and patted Wen Yuan's head, with care and gentleness, rubbing his little nose and poking his cheeks. The little boy slept, peacefully, his breathing was quiet and serene, curled under the blanket with his stuffed bunny.

 

“Come on little monkey, it's time to get up.”

 

“Don’t wanna.”

 

“It's time for breakfast and you need to shower.”

 

“Still don’t wanna.” Wen Yuan pouted, with his eyes still closed.

 

“If you don't get up by yourself, I'll take you up and toss you in the tub myself.” Wei Wuxian pinched his nose.

 

“Go awaaay.” He slapped his tiny hand over Wei Wuxian's face.

 

“No, you're going to clean up and eat, you can sleep more after that.”

 

With only one arm, he wrapped the boy and lifted him over his shoulder, then he rose and went into the bathroom, dragging Wen Yuan with him. Wen Yuan tried to squirm away, throwing a futile tantrum. All in vain.

 

“Xian-gege you’re so mean.” He pouted at him, looking like he would scratch or bite at any moment. “I don't wanna take a shower.”

 

Wei Wuxian lifted his head to blink at him. “Look at you, all noisy and smelly, what will Lan-gege think about this stubbornness of yours?”

 

“I'm not smelly!”

 

“Yes you are, let's take a shower.”

 

“Okay.” He said relaxing a little.

 

The bathroom window was open, so the wind danced through the curtains and brought with it all the sweet scents of the garden outside.

 

The tub was surely big enough to fit three people. The sides were filled with natural soaps that smelled like coconut and plums. There were pretty bottles holding colorful bath oils and bath salts lining the counter.

 

Wei Wuxian filled the tub with warm water and some salts and slowly put the boy inside.

 

“See? Not that bad, you can stop sulking now.”

 

“I’m not.”

 

“Wanna play with some bubbles?”

 

“Yes!” Wen Yuan finally smiled, with a gleam in his eyes.

 

The boy cheerfully watched the bubbles rise in the water, Wei Wuxian took advantage of his distraction and lathered the soap over his face and body with both hands, washing him calmly. Wen Yuan toyed with the water, making small splashes, and Wei Wuxian pressed his lips together to hold back a chuckle. The boy looked up and grinned at him with a lively twinkle in his eyes, and Wei Wuxian felt his heart getting warmer.

 

“Pretty good, much better now, let's dry you up.” Wei Wuxian lifted him and wrapped him in a towel. After he was properly dried, he tucked him inside clean clothes and gently brushed his wet hair. “Dry your hair while Xian-gege takes a shower, okay?”

 

“Okay.” He grinned.

 

“That’s my boy.” He said pinching his plump rosy cheeks before letting he leave the bathroom.

 

Wei Wuxian took his time and quickly called into Jiang Cheng's phone, to tell him he would work from home that day and that he would call again to give him an update later.

 

Then he went back to the bathroom, slowly stripped down and stepped under the hot stream falling from the shower. He washed his hair with some woodsy-scented shampoo and for a moment he just immersed himself, deep in his thoughts, trying to organize the case in his head.

 

He had to remain focused, they had some leads to go on, but it was far from enough, none of them were really going anywhere.

 

He shook his head clear, then pushed his thick, dark hair out of his eyes, rubbing the soap out of them. He turned off the water and looked around the bathroom for a clean towel to dry himself up. After a few seconds, he spotted two of them on the sink counter, he leaned out and grabbed one.

 

He wrapped the towel around his waist, brushed his teeth and dressed himself in a black sweater and ripped jeans. Then he took the same towel and wrapped around his hair, letting it dry for a while. Satisfied with just that, he went to the bedroom to check on the boy.

 

But when he stepped out of the bathroom and saw the tiny little boy sitting on the floor, playing with his bunny and making cute noises, his heart began to thump. He said nothing for a moment, and just stood in the doorway, in deepest appreciation at the scene in front of him. Then, he quietly sat on the floor beside him, hauling Wen Yuan onto his lap, and the boy smiled at him, sheepish and charming, sliding his arms around his waist and pressing the bunny between them in a fierce hug. When they parted, Wei Wuxian quickly swirled him, exposing his belly.

 

“Look at this little belly, just calling out to be tickled.” Wei Wuxian said smiling sweetly at him.

 

“Xian-gege! No-oh-hoho hahahaha, stop it, stop it!” Wen Yuan gave a laughing shout. “It tickles, it tickles! Hahaha”

 

The sounds of laughing echoed through the house, and Lan Wangji could clearly hear them from the kitchen. He, himself, had a tender half smile in his lips.

 

“That’s where the fun is.” Wei Wuxian laughed in a rumble of amusement, holding the small trembling body in his arms. “You know?” He paused. “I gave Lan-gege two rabbits once, many years ago.”

 

“Really?!” Wei Wuxian saw something glinting in his eyes. “Uhum, I should get you a real rabbit too, what do you think?”

 

“I want it!” Wen Yuan sent him an adoring look as he pushed to his feet, with a jolt of electricity.

 

“But only if you eat properly, four-year-olds require a lot of protein to grow up healthy, okay?” Wei Wuxian raised his finger and Wen Yuan entwined their fingers together.

 

“Pinky promise, Xian-gege.” The soft, pure smile Wen Yuan gave him, surely made his heart melt.

 

“Good. If you break the promise I’ll plant you in the soil like a radish.” The smile vanished in the blink of an eye and Wei Wuxian started to laugh. “Let's eat, Lan-gege must be waiting for us.”

 

Wei Wuxian took his hand and they both walked down the stairs heading to the kitchen. He peered around the doorway, looking around the large space just to find Lan Wangji already finishing up the cooking. The house smelled like cinnamon buns, coffee and blueberry pancakes. As they sat at the kitchen countertop, Lan Wangji poured him a cup of coffee and placed a glass of orange juice in Wen Yuan's hands, along with a plate full of pancakes.

 

Wei Wuxian held the cup in both hands and slowly sipped the coffee, letting the caffeine bolstered his system, pure and strong, just the way he likes, just the way he remembers. “Hmmm, you still make the best coffee in the world.” He said and turned to Wen Yuan, giving his cheek a little pinch. “That looks pretty damn good, eat, little monkey.”

 

Momentarily distracted, Wei Wuxian didn't realize when Lan Wangji pushed a similar plate of pancakes toward him.

 

“What’s this?” His brow arched and he grinned guilelessly.

 

“For you.” He simply said, pouring himself a cup of tea.

 

“Spicy pancakes?!” Wei Wuxian looked at the red dish in front of him humming with happiness. “The ones you used to do when we were in high school?!”

 

“Mn, dark chocolate, ginger and red pepper, mixed with strawberries.”

 

“Hmmmmm, you didn't have to, thanks Lan Zhan, it looks really good.” He added with a mouthful of spicy strawberries in his mouth. “It's so good to finally appreciate a decent meal, hmmm, really, so good.” He licked his fingers.

 

Wei Wuxian was grateful for the beautiful sight, the warming effects of the coffee and the delicious food in his belly. Lan Wangji sat in silence in front of them, holding the cup of herbal tea in his hands.

 

“Glad you like it.” Lan Wangji reached down, raking his fingers over his dripping hair. “Dry your hair properly.”

 

Wei Wuxian looked up and laughed at him. “You haven't changed at all, have you?”

 

Lan Wangji just looked at him, his eyes were direct and intense. Even when he was silent, he was telling everything. With the lightest of touches he stroked his cheek. “How are you feeling?”

 

Something in his tone had him glancing down. “I'm fine, just a little tired, that's all.”

 

“Do you-”

 

Wei Wuxian froze and set his fork down with a clatter. “No! I don’t wanna talk about it, sorry.” He picked up the fork again and fought off a shudder. “But I appreciate your concern, let's- just forget that last night ever happened, okay?” He shook his head, fighting for composure.

 

“Mn, as you wish.” Lan Wangji sipped the tea and kept his voice soft.

 

“Thanks for that, Lan Zhan.” He managed a smile, while finished up his breakfast.

 

“No need.”

 

He’d been vulnerable, and he couldn't let it happen again. He wouldn't become a victim of his own emotions, not again, not this time. He needs to be rational, reasonable and resilient. None of this matters now. Only the job matters.

 

“Well, we have a homicide investigation to proceed.” He set the plate aside and turned to affectionately pat Wen Yuan's head. “It's time for me and Lan-gege to work, Is that alright? You'll be okay by yourself?”

 

“I’ll be fine, Xian-gege.” He nodded, excitedly.

 

“Okay.” He rose, taking both plates to the sink.

 

Wei Wuxian insisted on cleaning up the dishes while Lan Wangji went to the living room to put on some new zombie movie A-Yuan was dying to watch, on his premium movie stuff.

 

After some time, Lan Wangji bolted through the kitchen after him.

 

“Let’s go, the office is on the second floor.”

 

“Sure.”

 

Wei Wuxian followed Lan Wangji to his office quietly. Lan Wangji opened the door and they stepped inside. The office was painted in white, the desk in the center had a high-top computer and a notebook lying open. The wall had bookshelves from one corner to the other, the couch was beautifully designed in white leather and the floor had a welcoming blue carpet, everything was clean, bespoke and neat. It looked comfortable and practical. It really suits him, it matches the owner. He thought to himself.

 

Lan Wangji moved one of the chairs around the table for Wei Wuxian to sit by his side. At first, he felt like arguing, but then he just gave up and laughed, sitting beside him and spreading his files on the desk. Lan Wangji silently pulled some papers out of one of the files and spent some time examining every inch of it.

 

Wei Wuxian watched his every movement closely, the way his lips twitched ever so slightly, the way his throat moved when he swallowed, even in his emotionless stance there was a sense of force, an intense gaze brewing through his eyes every time their eyes met.

 

“I like your face. You're very handsome, you know that, right?” He admitted. “Why you're not married yet, Lan Zhan?”

 

Their eyes met quickly and held.

 

“Why aren't you?”

 

“What?” He blinked, waking from his emotionally drunken stupor.

 

“Married.”

 

“Oh, hm, I can't get married with just anyone, right?”

 

“Do you like someone?” The gold rims around his pupils gleamed with such intensity that Wei Wuxian felt kinda… breathless.

 

“Yes… I do, but this person doesn't like me back, not the same way, I mean.”

 

“I see.” He averted his eyes, his voice was flat and cool.

 

“You didn’t answer me, Lan Zhan, what are you waiting for?”

 

“Love.”

 

Yeah. That single word had his heart trembling.

 

“Yeah, you really deserve to be loved, Lan Zhan, the girl who marries you should be considered the luckiest girl in the world.” Wei Wuxian winked and gave him an elbow bump on his arm, but inside, he felt his heart breaking into hundreds of pieces.

 

“I'm not looking.” He said and turned back to his computer.

 

“Why not?” The tremor was evident in his voice.

 

“Why do you want to know?”

 

“I guess I'm just curious.” With a beaming smile, Wei Wuxian moved slowly closer, his left arm stretching out against Lan Wangji's chair, their knees almost touching with how close they were.

 

“I already found it.” Lan Wangji turned his head and their lips almost touched.

 

Wei Wuxian shifted a little and straightened, ordering his heart to chill and his mind to clear, but when he was pulling away Lan Wangji grabbed his hand before he could shove away. Wei Wuxian swallowed hard, lost in the dangerous and hypnotic gleam of his eyes.

 

“Keep sweet-talking and touching me like that, Lan Zhan, and God knows what could happen.” He watched his golden eyes go dark as midnight.

 

“Shameless.”

 

He got a little hot, but quickly laughed it off. “We should start with financial activities from big corporations which have divergences on the data record.”

 

“Mn.” Lan Wangji gently squeezed and released his hand.

 

When Wei Wuxian glanced at the computer system, Lan Wangji was already scanning some public financials data on some search mechanism.

Oh. That was close. He wiped imaginary sweat from his forehead.

 

They spent the past five hours searching from a series of files and profiles of many of the country's largest corporations, until dozens of papers were piled on the table and the computerized database was full of information, however, their chances didn't seem to increase, and Wei Wuxian looked mildly annoyed.

 

“This is taking so long, Lan Zhan, can't you just access all the information in the world with that powerful computer of yours?” He said impatiently. “You could easily get to the root of our issues if you wanted to.”

 

“I'm not a cyber-criminal, Wei Ying, I can't use my knowledge to do this.”

 

“But you sure have the skills, though, you can just – you know, use it.” Wei Wuxian leaned back in his chair sounding more bored than concerned.

 

“If you want my assistance, you'll have to settle with what we have at hand, I will not break the rules nor go over the law. Those are the terms.” Lan Wangji angled his head to look at him, his eyes were dark, cold and commanding.

 

Wei Wuxian swivelled around in his chair for a while, then he got up and walked to the window, impatient, he swirled around the room muttering. Lan Wangji lifted a brow as he watched him kick half-heartedly at the couch.

 

“Lan Zhan! Do you have a cool hacker name?” He said already lifting his spirits.

 

“Ridiculous.”

 

“What?! People can never underestimate a good hacker name.”

 

“I'm not a hacker.”

 

“Of course not hahaha, from what I know, you're the most reputable, prominent, and not to mention, the best well known agent in this professional field. No one could ever be compared to you, let alone some half-assed hacker.” He tapped a finger on his cheeks, then his nose. “Look at you, I’m so proud of you.” He grinned at him.

 

When his eyes lifted to his, he cursed himself. He knew that expression on his face, or rather, the lack of expression, that showed nothing but meant everything. He was so sternly beautiful, those golden eyes full of secrets, telling him everything he wanted to know.

 

He sat down in his chair again and stretched his legs out, rubbing against his, trying to avoid the obvious and violent wave of feelings that flooded through his body. He closed his eyes, feeling a little uneasy, they've been working on this for a long time now, and Lan Wangji's intense presence was making things difficult.

 

He glanced at his case files and took a moment to collect his thoughts again, then, he took a deep, deep breath.

 

Victim identified as: Wen Mei Yu, born 05/10/1988, ID number: 498.821.546-0X. Parents deceased. No known siblings. Marital status: Married. June 2012. Spouse: Wen Hai Qiu, age 35 - deceased. One child from marriage: Wen Yuan, Status: Missing.

 

“The medical and scientific communities respected and honored her.” Lan Wangji said respectfully following the track of his gaze.

 

“Yeah, such a waste, she was a revolutionary brain in the field.”

 

“Wei Ying.”

 

“Mn?” He felt compelled to lift his eyes... and their eyes met again. There was a gleaming in Lan Wangji's eyes that Wei Wuxian knew really well. Leaning toward him, he caught his face in his hands.

 

“Oh boy, what is that higher brain functions of yours thinking?”

 

“Koi Tower enterprises, what's your suspicion probability?”

 

“I don't have a single piece of evidence against them, at least, none of the evidences points that way, I couldn't find any trace of anything at all. But, my professional instinct is always telling me that something is really wrong with them.” Intrigued, Wei Wuxian ran a finger in his cheekbones and released his face.

 

“I don't have a direct evidence, but I may have a connection.”

 

“What?!” Wei Wuxian shot him a look

 

Lan Wangji leaned forward, quickly typing a series of commands on the keyboard, but then, suddenly, his fingers stopped clacking, and he lifted up his hand, turning the wide flat-screen monitor in Wei Wuxian's direction.

 

“I started working with their company previous month, for external eyes, the Lan company is still a technology and cyber security company. So, in special cases, I need to work with companies, locating security flaws in corporate networks.”

 

The screen in front of him had a lot of numeric codes. “I'm confused as hell.” He said, completely unable to focus.

 

“Jin Zixuan came to me with some ‘insecurities’ about his employees, he was suspected of fraud and money laundering.”

 

“Why didn't he tell us about this before?”

 

“He didn't want to involve your family, not after what happened to your nephew.”

 

“I see.” He tapped a finger on his own chin.

 

“Every network maintains something called Address Resolution Protocol and it is basically an internal IP address, anyone can write this data, it's completely unsecured and easy to hack.”

 

Wei Wuxian shifted his attention to were Lan Wangji was pointing on the screen.

 

“The protection software his company uses in his IT system is weak and common, but there's one division that uses a different software and it is currently one of the strongest systems in the market.” He explained.

 

“The Stem Cell and Genetic study division.” Wei Wuxian exclaimed with a hostile groan, following the structural mapping on the screen.

 

“Mn.”

 

“Are you able to access these records?”

 

“Mn.”

 

“How did you get all these internal documents from Koi Tower?”

 

“Zixuan gave me access and total permission, but this specific system is too encrypted to access, I'm still working on that.” Lan Wangji said making some notes.

 

“I'm storing all the encrypted data I can find and trying to decrypt it, I'm already nearing a breakthrough, yesterday, I installed a back door in their system, so I can get utter access to every function the program has, but it takes time.”

 

“What is a backdoor?” He asked.

 

“Something I can use to bypass all authorization and be able to fire a nuke.”

 

“A nuke?! What the fuck?!” His eyes widened.

 

“Mn, it's a computer language, it means I can access or delete their system and accounts without warning. And also, access the database and all the components stored directly from my personal equipment.”

 

“This is quite impressive.” He moved closer and absently took his hand, playing with the traces of his palm, while studying the screen data. “It’s so complex that it really makes me want to turn off my computer and live in the woods.”

 

“This sector has some of the top scientists of the country and Wen Mei was the chief research officer from the team.” Lan Wangji stared at him.

 

“Remembering now, some days before their death, she was acting strangely, is it possible to find any connection between Koi Tower and the Wens?”

 

“She was working with stem cells for cancer research, if I'm not mistaken, cloned stem cells can be inserted into organ systems to regenerate them. The risk of the body rejecting them is lower than with transplant, especially in bone marrow cancer. But, what if someone tries to use it to commercial endeavours?”

 

“Oh… so that's what the mafia wants, cloned DNA! DNA evidences are unique and extremely complex, just a droplet of blood is enough to incriminate someone.”

 

“DNA match proves the defendant's guilt or innocence, with the right biological samples, the mafia can incriminate anyone, from politicians to confederate generals, agents, personal enemies and all inside the law and court rules. It's irrefutable, not to mention the legal repercussions.”

 

“Especially if the sample is already on file.” Wei Wuxian eyed Lan Wangji sternly. “DNA cloning conspiracy, it's a dangerous business.”

 

“Mn. Its smart and clean.”

 

“I bet Wen Mei found out and they decided to eliminate her.” With a boiling rage burning in his eyes, the brutal reality of it hit him like a fist.

 

“I’m sorry for your loss, Wei Ying, it’s outrageous what they’ve done to them.”

 

“My only duty was to serve and protect, but look at me, I couldn't even do that.” He said with a mix of sadness and refusal all over his countenance.

 

“You couldn't have known.” Lan Wangji gently gripped his chin and kept his eyes focused on his. “I know how devoted you are Wei Ying, how many innocents have you stood for? Trust yourself, you'll bring them justice.”

 

Lan Wangji laid his hands on his shoulders and unexpectedly pulled him against himself, and Wei Wuxian only hugged him closer, burying his face on the curve of his shoulder, digging his fingers on the length of his back, almost ripping the fabric underneath them.

 

“It's a beginning, we're connecting the dots.” Lan Wangji murmured next to his ear, caressing his hair.

 

“That was the connection all along. Their tactical system is obvious, I’m so stupid.”

 

“You're not.”

 

“Of course I am.” He laughed and poked Lan Wangji's rib, slowly pulling away from him. “Who’s the head leader of the sector?”

 

“Jin GuangYao.”

 

“I imagine, the peacock doesn't get along with him.”

 

“You believe he planned the kidnapping.” Lan Wangji stated.

 

“Mn. The peacock is the one who manages the money, after Jin GuangShan's death, by law, he's the one responsible for the company and all the assets. Maybe the research got too demanding and the money too scarce.” Wei Wuxian slammed his fist on the desk. “A child's kidnapping is easy money, even more so when it's known that the family would do anything to have him back.”

 

“As soon as the money was received, they sent Wen Xu to deliver the child.”

 

“Who would have thought Wen Xu would try to take opportunity as well?”

 

“It's unacceptable, what they've done, it is a horror no child should know exists much less experience.” Lan Wangji lowered his voice, trying to contain himself not to hit the table as well.

 

“Lan Zhan, I killed him.”

 

“I know.”

 

“That doesn't worry you? That I took a life? That I have blood on my hands? You have a murderer under your roof, inside your house.”

 

“No, that doesn't concern me.” Lan Wangji gently stroked his still moist hair.

 

“Why?” Wei Wuxian studied him curiously.

 

“Your safety is the only thing that matters to me.”

 

“I can kill again, Lan Zhan. I'm going to kill anyone who dares to touch the people I love.” His eyes went dark and his voice was soft and terrifyingly gentle. “I won't hesitate again. I won't let anyone touch them. I won't let anyone touch you.” He gripped Lan Wangji's hand unconsciously and Lan Wangji interlocked their fingers. Wei Wuxian leaned in the warmth of his skin. It’s warm, he feels safe, but what is the price?

 

Lan Wangji opened his mouth and shut it again, he knew the delusional stupor that clouded Wei Wuxian’s eyes. He had seen it before. He was losing himself again, in this sheer madness of fury that gleamed inside his wild and devastated eyes which seemed nearly crimson under the lights.

 

Sometimes he seemed moved only by resentment and this triggers of fear blinded him in so many different ways that it was hard to count. First, he freaks out, then, he tries to hide. In sleep, in silence and solitude. And eventually, he loses his mind, moving only by emotions, always ready to snap a vicious and mindless attack, like a wounded beast. And Lan Wangji had only one explanation for this strange behavior.

 

“Wei Ying.” Wei Wuxian turned when he heard his voice, blinking in surprise. “Wei Ying, do you blame yourself? For what happened?” Wei Wuxian retracted his hand, his voice trembling weakly.

 

“What?” He asked, a little confused, then shook his head. He was in a very dangerous state of mind.

 

“How many sacrifices you have to make in order to serve?"

 

“Do you really wanna talk about sacrifices? What about you, uh? How many, Lan Zhan? Everyone have to serve at some point, right?” Wei Wuxian responded without hesitation and Lan Wangji became silent.

 

“That's why you left me, Wei Ying?” Lan Wangji quietly whispered, looking down to meet his eyes.

 

“Sorry, Lan Zhan. I don't want to hold you up, you must have other things to do.” He said, already getting up from his chair, ignoring him, in some obvious crisis. Lan Wangji got up, scrambling around the desk and dragging a hand over his face, and then through his hair.

 

“Wei Ying, please, talk to me.” Lan Wangji spoke quietly, almost sadly.

 

“That's why you brought me to your house? To put me against the wall? To interrogate me?” He shouted, in frustration and fury.

 

“No, I just-”

 

“Just what?!” He yelled angrily, the numbness falling over his being. “You know, Lan Zhan? Pain doesn’t hurt if it’s all you have left, so why care about it?”

 

He turned, looked straight at Lan Wangji, eyes completely bleak and dark. But before he could answer, a bell began to reverberating through the house. They remained silent for a few seconds, then Wei Wuxian exhaled a weighty sigh.

 

“Must be Mo Xuanyu.” He managed a weak smile.

 

“I will open the gate.” Lan Wangji kept his voice flat and expressionless and slowly let go of him, walking across the room to check the security system.

 

He looked at the black car parked in front of his gate and shot an uneasy glance at the monitor when he spotted Mo Xuanyu leaving the car, heading toward the security panel outside the gates. The infrared detector hadn't detected any other thermal images registered in red other than Mo Xuanyu. The surrounding area also looked clear.

 

He activated the panel speaker. “Have you been followed?”

 

“No sir, I've been careful.” He kept an even tone.

 

Lan Wangji checked the security cameras, feeling a growing nervousness by the interruption. He unlocked the gate remotely and told him to enter. When Mo Xuanyu was driving in, the surveillance system scanned the car looking for hidden GPS tracking devices.

 

Clear. Good.

 

Lan Wangji crossed the office toward the door, where Wei Wuxian was and held out his hand for him, with a security key card ID access in his palm.

 

“When you trust me enough, when you find that needing help isn’t the same as being weak and dependent, you can talk to me.” He said as politely as possible. “You can use the notebook, I'll be in my room.”

 

Lan Wangji left him alone in the room.

 

There was sorrow in his eyes, or perhaps it was pity? It was hard to tell. But in that moment, all the words fell silent inside his head. What was he doing? What was the point? All the effort, the risks, all the plans and promises, all those years, lost.

 

They had lost eight years, and for what? Because he can handle his fears? Or because he can't get his fucking shit together? Neither of them can change what happened, so why is it so hard to forget? Why is it so hard to move on? Everything went wrong because of him, that was true, but even now, a grown man like him, couldn't be able to put an end to this burden he'd been carrying for the past eight years?

 

He knows he can't take back the time they already lost but, would he be able to give the future a chance? Everything was so fractured and ruined, they’d gone from boys to men and everything changed, they didn't even know each other anymore. For now, their professional relationship was mutual, but it was just that, would they be able to cultivate a friendship again? It was impossible to know if they didn't try.

 

Well, tough choices were necessary, so whatever the universe's twisted plan are, to led them on the same path again, they'd better take it. It was given them a second chance for a reason, right? He should talk to Lan Wangji later, they should clear this up, once and for all.

 

Wei Wuxian took the stairs down and unlocked the wide wooden door from the main entrance with the ID Card, Mo Xuanyu stepped in and tossed aside his shoes.

 

“Sir, I think I found the undercover officer.”

 

“What?!”

 


 

“I brought you a copy of all data, report and interview discs.” Mo Xuanyu said gathering up the files and discs on the desk and Wei Wuxian quickly went through the discs and files, flipping through them with his fingers.

 

“Any private concerns?”

 

“Actually, yes, I took some time this morning to verify, research and well, speculate, and this is the only logical conclusion I could reach.”

 

Wei Wuxian snatched the security disc and shoved it into the notebook slot. He looked tired, Mo Xuanyu noted.

 

“There was a huge glitch on the security discs, the image shifted precisely at 02:35 and returned to surveillance at 05:00. The anonymous call was at 7:25”

 

“So, we have two hours and twenty five minutes wiped from the system. What was the time of death?” Wei Wuxian's cat eyes were sharp on the screen.

 

“The time of death was determined by Wen Qing at 3:18 A.M. for Wen Hai and 3:33 A.M. for Wen Mei. The process of the torture and the heart burst method are included in the report.”

 

“They'd spent nearly three hours inside the house after their deaths, probably to make sure they hadn’t left any trace behind.” Wei Wuxian slowly tapped a finger on his chin, thinking about the wiped records. “Toxicology results?”

 

“All within normal range.”

 

“Okay, so far, everything is sort-of-normal. Tell me about the cop.” Wei Wuxian sat back and stared up at the ceiling.

 

“Well, when I read the reports this morning, I immediately went back to the crime scene, as you’ll see in the autopsy report and as far as the examination could conclude, there was deep wounds on both throats, from screaming. There's no city noises in the complex, everything is remarkably silent. Anyone would clearly hear the screams and the shots from miles away, especially at night.”

 

“You went there to see if the walls where thin or sound proof.” Wei Wuxian stated.

 

“Uhum, only the safe room is sound proof and the officer who interviewed the victim’s neighbours, claims in his report that, from all the follow-ups on the list, none of them had heard a thing.”

 

“They lied during the interview?! All of them??” Wei Wuxian lurched out of his chair and almost yelled, completely restless, unsettled.

 

“I think so?” Mo Xuanyu said a bit weakly. “I checked with the neighbours again, and everyone I've managed to interview, stated the same story. I couldn’t get one single soul to refute what was on the report.”

 

“What the fuck?! They were all bought?” Wei Wuxian's eyes shifted, went cold. “There was anyone behaving in a suspicious manner?”

 

“An old lady across the street, her voice was trembling as nervously as a thief’s hand. And also, I heard this afternoon that a family on the back street saw a small fire in the woods outside of their house, called the fire department, and after putting out the flames, they found their dog burned to the bones.” Wei Wuxian met his eyes and he sighed resolutely.

 

“Christ, that’s sick.” He rubbed the center of his forehead, trying to ignore the headache that was building in his head.

 

“They lived in a nice, suburban home, and for what I could see, they loved their neighbourhood, and the complex is really calm, I live there for Christ sake, whatever is happening there, is haunting the poor neighbourhood.”

 

“For how long will they keep playing this game?” Wei Wuxian hissed. “They are probably being blackmailed or threatened.”

 

Wei Wuxian realized that the small problem had become a drama, and the drama was a step away from becoming a commotion.

 

“Why do you think the cop is involved?”

 

“He's new in the department, I accessed his public archive and he has high connections at nearly every level of business, he was a high-level personal security officer, so, what is he doing as a low officer in the department? Who would trade that kind of salary for a public job? And also, he wasn't the officer in charge of the interviews, but then again, the other cop called in sick and he was conveniently in charge of everything.”

 

“And Jiang Cheng approved this shit?!”

 

“The order came from the federation, it was out of the commander's order.”

 

“What’s the cop's name?”

 

“It’s Su MinShan, sir.”

 

Wei Wuxian's eyes went sly. “I know that name... There's something about that name that sounds familiar...”

 

“He was my half-brother’s personal security.” Mo Xuanyu made a disgusted face.

 

“Do you mean…?”

 

“Uhum, Jin GuangYao.”

 

Wei Wuxian's eyes blinked, then widened. “I'll send Jiang Cheng an authorization request for Su Mishan's files and ask A-Li to write up a preliminary psychological profile about him.”

 

“Oh, speaking of which, Doctor Jiang must have established a profile of the killers by now.”

 

“Great, we can meet her at her office tomorrow morning, Shijie opens her office at 9 A.M. so we can go at 10.”

 

“Sure.” He slid his hands into his pockets. “Hm… Sir?” He paused, struggling a little with his emotions.

 

“Mn?” Wei Wuxian only lifted a brow at Xuanyu's nervous tone. “Oh boy. What have you done?”

 

“Okay, before I tell you, you have to promise not to scold me.” He said flipping back and forth on his chair. Xuanyu looked anxious and a bit worried, Wei Wuxian noticed.

 

“I promise.” Wei Wuxian said in a calm tone then put a hand on Xuanyu's shoulder, squeezing lightly.

 

That small measure relieved Xuanyu's anxiety a little. He took a steadying breath.

 

“I kind of... sneaked into his office at lunch?!” He looked over at him nervously.

 

“What?!”

 

“There was no one there and I thought it was a good opportunity to look at some connections and appointments in his agenda?” He explained anxiously, his voice trembled now, just like his hands.

 

“That was for sure a pretty lousy idea.” He rolled his eyes and chuckled. “Oh my, look at you, you're so sunken in disgrace, just like me, you're so adorable, my pride and joy.”

 

“I'm very confused, Sir.” He gave him a look.

 

With a full laugh, he slid an arm around his shoulder. “What have you found?”

 

“You got plans for tonight?” His eyes seemed full of mischief. “He has a meeting at the center, at a club named Nightless City.” Xuanyu showed his teeth in a full smile. “To meet the owner.”

 

“You can't be serious!” Wei Wuxian smiled along with him.

 

“I bet my fine ass, Sir.” He pointed his nose greedily.

 

“Your skinny ass, you mean.” Wei Wuxian started laughing.

 

"Mean!" Mo Xuanyu said, pretending to pout.

 

“What do you think about we just hit a night club on a Friday night? Wouldn't that be fun?”

 

“That's the most fun.” Mo Xuanyu grinned at him.

 

“Let's go out to celebrate and get drunk.” Wei Wuxian said, rising from his chair.

 


 The sky was pitch-black and the wind whipped through his hair. The moonlight flickered as if it was a flashlight, it was a bit cold and the chill crept into his bones.

 

Xuanyu rubbed his chilled hands as they headed toward the car.

 

Wei Wuxian aimed his eyes to the house one last time, a sad smile ghosted around his mouth. He closed his dark eyes in the night breeze and heaved out a breath, it’s really cold. He shivers, in a sudden wave of vertigo.

 

Our conversation will have to wait until tomorrow, Lan Zhan.

 

For a moment, he had a deep sense of foreboding, but he chose to ignore it. He jumped in the car, lifted the ID card to the panel and used it to open the gate. The shrill beep of the security system instantly caught Lan Wangji's attention. But, when he was halfway down the stairs, they had already gone.

 

 


 

Wei Wuxian parked in front of the Club, and his eyes met Mo Xuanyu’s in the rear-view mirror.

 

“Let's go kick some ass, Xuanyu.”

 

“Oh Sir, I love when you say that.”