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Afire Love

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YOU DID WHAT?!” Xiao Zhan’s voice echoed through the dark alley as he ruffled his hair in frustration.

“I’m turning in, be there in 5 minutes.” he hanged up and fastened his footsteps almost breaking into a run.

The last thing Xiao Zhan would like to hear after his exhausting 36 hour on call shift was his best friend, Zhuo Cheng (Jiang Cheng) telling him that their house cat, Jian Guo got stuck in the tree after being chased up by a stray in the neighborhood. And the day gets worse, Zhuo Cheng called the fire department.

The freaking fire department to rescue his cat from the tree.

Xiao Zhan’s convinced that despite being the older half, Zhuo Cheng’s primitive thinking just further proves that age is just a number, because people do not call firefighters to rescue cats from trees anymore. Heck, they are not even supposed to do that.

“A-Zhan!” Zhuo Cheng waved his hand widely upon spotting the sleep deprived man at the alley exit.

“What the hell, do you really have to call the firefighters……” he sighs “For this?” pointing at the distraught Jian Guo on the tree meowing non stop after seeing the arrival of his owner.

“Enough Jian Guo, stop over reacting, I know you can come down easily.”

You sneaky shit.” he says louder while glaring at the cat.

The meowing halted as if the animal understands what his owner was saying. Then turns back to Zhuo Cheng, whom flashed a genuinely confused face as if not calling 911 for animal emergency is rocket science as the younger male scratches his head.

Argh I just want to get this over with and go home.

Xiao Zhan then decided to take action and head back home as soon as possible. He lifted his arms and held firmly on to the tree bulk trying to climb it despite having a lean build. “W-What are you trying to do?!” Zhuo Cheng yelled tugging on to the other's feet to stop the older male. “What do I look like I’m doing?!” He replied as he tried kicking Zhuo Cheng’s hands off his feet, reaching further up closer to the cat and ignoring Zhuo Cheng's snort.

“Jian Guo!” Xiao Zhan shouted as he waved a tree branch picked from half way up the tree, hoping to annoy the cat down.

Xiao Zhan’s vision blurred as the sweat drip into his eyes but muffling of footsteps beneath the tree can be heard. It was soon covered up by the loud yelling voices of Zhuo Cheng to get his ass down, contributing to that, he himself was also shouting for Jian Guo’s attention. They basically look like idiots yelling up a tree at midnight, he won’t be surprised if any of the neighbors called the police due to the commotion they are making.


“If you don’t come down, no breakfas-"

Before Xiao Zhan could finish his sentence, Jian Guo hissed and jump into his owner’s face making him loose his grip. He squints his eyes screaming at the top of his lungs as he spirals down the tree with his “beloved” cat in his embrace.


“S-Sir…….”

The screaming continues.

“Sir, you can stop screaming…….” a deep voice was heard followed by a hard smack at the back of his head.

“Stop yelling! You are gonna wake the entire neighborhood!” Zhuo Cheng interrupts.

“You are safe now.” the voice assured again

The sound of his heartbeat drummed his ears and pressure filled his body, Xiao Zhan felt his face pressing deeply into a smooth surface, what seems like a waterproof gear or uniform and shifted for a better view. With Jian Guo still fidgeting in his arms, he opened his eyes slowly revealing a pale young man most probably the age of Zhuo Cheng with sharp and delicate features.

Wow, he’s really handsome.

Just as he was gawking too much at the younger male, his eyes met a pair of warm mocha brown eyes staring down at him and that was when his brain finally registered the position they were in for the past few minutes.

The firefighter was carrying him, bridal style.

“Say cheese!”

His thoughts interrupted when a camera light flashed across and Zhuo Cheng’s laughter filled the empty road.

“A-Cheng you idiot!” Xiao Zhan yelped and flipped himself out of the stranger’s arms abruptly, he felt an object fall flat on the ground along with him but his priority was to get hold of his best friend. Holding on to the ground, he got up rather ungracefully and pounce on to Zhuo Cheng trying to get this phone. While the two best friends were out right trying to strangle each other, someone spoke up.

“Sir, if there isn’t any problems we will be leaving.” Cute firefighter’s partner said with a smile as the best friends pry off each other immediately looking like disheveled puppies.

“T-Thank you so much for your help today,” Zhuo Cheng muttered as he ruffled his hair shyly “Even though it’s not an emergency, we’re very sorry about this.” as if he wasn't the one insisting on calling 911 in the first place. Xiao Zhan turns to Zhuo Cheng raising an eyebrow thinking when was this brat ever that courteous. 

“It’s okay, we are always here to help.” the partner said with a dashing smile again making Zhuo Cheng fidget awkwardly. Xiao Zhan turned back to the cute firefighter and realized.

He’s still staring.

As if being caught, the cute firefighter then muttered with his deep voice

“Erm….ya we should go.” he bowed then tugged on to his partner’s sleeve and hurried back to the vehicle, almost dashing across the road, his partner followed behind.

The road was once again silent when the vehicle drove off, leaving the best friends on the empty pathway.

“What the hell Zhuo Cheng?!” Xiao Zhan said as he smacked him on the back.

“Do you really have to check someone out in front of his face?!”

“Weren’t you doing the same thing with the other guy, Ge-ge?” he retorted.

Xiao Zhan covers his face and sighs as exhaustion starts taking over. “I think my brain is too tired to function, Cheng let’s go home.”

But the firefighter was indeed cute.

He picks Jian Guo up and something reflected light across his vision.

“A watch….?” He thought as he flipped it over and saw an engraving.

Wang Yi Bo

 


 

Still annoyed with the disappearance of his favorite watch, Yibo closed his eyes and rested on the table with frustration. The watch was the only thing his dad left for him.


It was precious.


The cafeteria was filled with soft sounds of people mummering and Yibo felt as if he was floating in the darkness slowly seeping into sleep. That was when the alarm blared across the system.

“Team Bravo activated. Multiple collisions at Shanghai-Chongqing Expressway.”

The mention of his team sent Yibo straight up dashing towards his protective gear by instinct and towards the fire engine followed by the rest of the members hurriedly, the door slammed shut and the vehicle sped.

“Team Bravo roll call.” Liu Hai Kuan (Lan XiChen) , captain of the team announced.

“Cao Yu Chen.” (Jin ZiXuan)

“Wang Yi Bo.”

“Guo Cheng!” (Lan JingYi)

“Zheng Fan Xing!” (Lan Sizhui)

The juniors exclaimed as the alarm blares through the streets.

When they arrived, the expressway was barricaded with multiple collisions and on the other side, reporters and passerby filled the edges of the barricade trying to take a glimpse of the collision. Four vehicles including a tour bus with dozens of trapped casualties were involved and nearer towards the barricade the ambulance arrived with paramedics rushing down to treat the injured. 

“Captain, no sign of code red (fire)” Yu Chen reported.

The rest felt a sense of relief while extracting the emergency tools from the vehicle, because despite being the best team in the department, they definitely cannot handle code red alone, with a five men team.

“Good.” Hai Kuan glanced over to his team with an obvious sign of relieve as well.

“Yu Chen, continue to look out for signs of code red,” he paused “And if there is the slightest sign……even the slightest, notify me immediately, understand?” Hai Kuan said sternly.

“Yibo lead the juniors to extract the trapped civilians, I will stay put in case the fire hose is needed.”

“Yes sir!”

Yu Chen placed one of the civilians up the stretcher while keeping tight watch on the vehicles, “One two up!” he struggled as he carried the injured towards the paramedic section.

“This is the second last civilian trapped.” he winced turning to head back.

“You’re injured.” a female paramedic said gesturing to the wound on his left leg.

“It’s fine, I need to go back to my team.”

“It will only hinder your team if you go back hurt,” she shrugged “Speaking from experience.”

“Come, I will tend to your wounds, will be over in a sec!” as the petite girl is reaching out to Yu Chen a voice interrupts.

“Xuan Lu!” (Jiang Yanli)

“We have a red tag (immediate treatment) here!” Xuan Lu perked up and replied, “Alright, I’m coming over!” as she turned back, Yu Chen was already gone.

“Stubborn.” she muttered under her breath.

Extracting the civilians was easy work, but what Yibo and the others were uneasy about was the probability of a code red. Not that he was afraid, he’s been dealing with fire for most of his career but with the severity of the damaged cars, a single flare of flame and petrol can engulf the area within seconds, taking the lives of the victims, paramedics and themselves. And he knew, the captain, his brother was well aware of that but there was nothing they could do. Because, it is the call center that allocates the team down to emergency locations, they have no say in allocation of manpower.

Unless we call for backup.

“Last guy found!” Guo Cheng shouted beneath the overturned bus. “Halligan axe needed for extraction!” Fan Xing grabbed the axe and run into the bus to assist Guo Cheng. Before the team could catch their breath, Yu Chen spoke in the walkie talkie.

“Captain, signs of smoke coming from the first car.” the team tensed. “Yibo, bring the juniors out now.” Hai Kuan demanded while preparing for the first sight of flame. “T-The last guy……he will be extracted soon!” Guo Cheng plead.

“GUO CHENG!” Yu Chen yelled as he dashed towards the bus where his teammates were.

Yibo placed his hands onto Guo Cheng’s, tightening the grip on to the axe as they pull the debris upwards. Fan Xing immediately pull the victim out in a second. Just when they felt a sense of relieve after extracting the victim successfully, he popping of the engine from afar could be heard.

Sparks

Yibo thought.

GET OUT NOW.” the captain shouted

Yu Chen made it to the bus and shouted, “OUT NOW!

Yibo and Yu Chen held the shocked Fan Xing and Guo Cheng along with the victim and dashed out of the bus, before making out of the danger zone, an explosion was heard behind them. Yibo and Yu Chen immediately pushed the juniors away to safety before the explosive force sends them both flying and crashing into the paramedics tent.

Water droplets sprayed onto his face as Yibo could see the flames under control a few meters away. However, the gushing of water was not heard but the ringing from the explosion filled his head. He got up on his back and glanced towards Yu Chen who did the same and was equally wounded as him, they both grinned as if they did not scrape pass lady death a minute ago and give a thumbs up to the team.

We didn’t die.

Hai Kuan stumbled, holding on to the rails for support and breathe a sigh of relief while Fan Xing and Guo Cheng ran towards their seniors almost breaking into a sob. 

The paramedics rushed to the firefighters and carried them into the ambulance, sending them to the nearest hospital, Chongqing Hospital.

 


 

“A-bin, I swear to god,” Xiao Zhan sighs and took a deep breath, “You cannot do this to me.”

“I haven’t fed Jian Guo for days!” he yelled. “What if……what if Jian Guo got stuck on a tree again?!”

“A-Zhan…” Yubin mumbles under his breath lifting both arms to grip his friend's shoulders.

"Am I the only replacement?" 

Yubin crossed his arms with a small raise of his eyebrow.

“Fine, fine!" the younger male gave up, putting his hands up for surrender. "The only reason I’m covering your shift is because A-Qing got sick alright.” Xiao Zhan sighs and pats Yubin on the shoulder.

"Thanks Zhan." Yubin flash a smile, "You are the best bro." and punched lightly onto Xiao Zhan’s chest as he walks towards the locker room.

Just as Xiao Zhan was about to head towards the on-call room to take a nap, his pager buzzed  "Dr Zhan," a voice chimes from his pager, "Patients are sent in from an accident nearby, we need you down at the ER."

"Got it, I'm coming." he got up and make his way to the emergency department.

What a good way to start his shift.

Xiao Zhan flipped the curtains and spotted Zhuo Cheng already diagnosing the victim as the nurse pass him the patient’s file prepared by the paramedic in charge.

“External wound of head, weird,” Xiao Zhan thought as he glanced at the unconscious man lying on the bed. “Yellow tag (not in need of immediate treatment), even weirder.”

“Found it!” Zhuo Cheng exclaimed, “There is another wound at the back of his head.” Xiao Zhan immediately reached over to examine the wound.

Working by the side of his best friend was easy, guy is way too smart to be a nurse.

“Vitals?” he questioned worriedly.

“BP 60/40mmHg.” The intern nurse squeaked and Xiao Zhan saw Zhuo Cheng’s face froze as they stared at each other.

Arrange for CT scan NOW!

He shouted as they pushed the patient away, noted silently on the mistake the paramedic made. The results were out within 15 minutes, and Xiao Zhan and Zhuo Cheng’s prediction were correct. The patient had brain hemorrhage and needs immediate operation.

“Someone is getting into big trouble after this.” Xiao Zhan says.

“Yea gona get his ass whooped I tell ya” Zhuo Cheng replied, before both of them entered the operation theater.

After a good 10 hours in the operation, Xiao Zhan stumbled weakly into the cafeteria. He finally could eat and rest after stabilizing the wrongly diagnosed patient, and it’s only he’s first patient through the shift. He spotted Zhuo Cheng and Xuan Lu at one of the tables and joined them.

“What?!” Xuan Lu shrieked in shock, “You mean one of the paramedics misdiagnosed your patient?”

“Yes A-Lu, and we just finished cleaning up his mess.” both guys visibly tired from the operation. Seeing this, the female paramedic whipped out two lunch box and the boy's eyes immediately lightened up.

"Eat up!"

“A-Jie! You are the best!” Zhuo Cheng exclaimed as Xuan Lu patted his head 

“Good job my boys.” she says, "A-Jie is always proud of both of you." 

The moment was short lived as half way through the lunchbox, Xiao Zhan’s pager buzzed once again signalling that it was time for his rounds. He got up restlessly and bid his farewell to the siblings.

"A-Zhan, take care of your body okay?" Xuan Lu said warmly as she slipped a granola bar into Xiao Zhan's coat. 

Back at the wards, it is probably the millionth time Xiao Zhan checked his watch, 30 minutes till the end of shift and the last patient to visit before heading home to sleep. He opened the door and strides in as if he is in a rush.

“Hi Mr Wang, I am your doctor in charge Dr Zhan.” he states not looking up while flipping through the patient's files for his condition, briefly glancing over the patient's occupation.

Firefighter

He looks into the patient details and saw

Wang Yi Bo

And his thoughts trail back to the watch he found but was interrupted by a voice.

“J-Jian Guo?” a familiar deep voice was heard almost regretting what he had said out loud.

The young doctor looked up immediately and was greeted by the same warm eyes and delicate face. "My cat?" he stuttered almost breaking into laughter. "Sorry, Jian Guo is the only name I've caught on the entire time." the younger male replied, eyes on his fidgeting fingers.

Xiao Zhan clears his throat, "How are you feeling?"

"Any pain, bleeding or allergies you are experiencing?" the doctor place the file down the table and examine the bandaged wounds of the firefighter. Yibo shakes his head slightly without having eye contact, Xiao Zhan wanted to ask how the firefighter had ended up in the hospital but decided not to pry.

"Good, stay away from water and avoid any strenuous exercise okay?" he states with concern.

"I will," there was a long awkward pause, "Thank you, Dr Zhan." he smiled earnestly and the doctor looks back at him with wide eyes and ruffled his hair.

I think I'm in love.

"You are welcome Yibo, erm.... page me if you need anything alright, I will come over." he place his hands onto the younger male's shoulder giving a light grip and turn fleeing towards the door.

"W-Wait!"

Xiao Zhan's footsteps halted as he turn walking towards Yibo's bed. "Yibo?" the doctor ask with worry plastered around his face, "Are you feeling pain? Uncomfortable?" Yibo indeed look uncomfortable as if he was trying to hold something in.

"Yibo, tell me if you have any problems." he pressed again nudging onto the patient's shoulders lightly, sitting on the side of his bed.

"Eat lunch with me." a mumble was heard

"Sure sure, I will eat lunch with you." he assured, "Now will you tell me what the real problem is?" 

Yibo's confused face turn into a frown, "Eat Lunch With Me." he repeated trying to emphasize to make the other party understand. "Yes, I will eat lunch with you so...." the doctor interrupted himself.

"You are asking me out for lunch?"

"Yes." the firefighter deadpanned

Xiao Zhan breathe a sigh of relief, almost fainting from worrying too much for the younger male and he suddenly realized. "Is he asking me out for a date?!" he's mind was in chaos when he glance over to the untouched meal left on the table. "He just doesn't fancy hospital meals, that's all." Xiao Zhan assures himself.

Nobody will love me that easily.

Yibo chokes, "So....tomorrow at the cafeteria?" as if he was really nervous "That's if you don't mind eating at the cafeteria, seems like I won't be discharge in a week's time."

“Sure, I will be working anyway!” Xiao Zhan agreed.

“See you, Yibo.” he said eyes squinting as he smiles.

"S-See..you."

It was the last thing Xiao Zhan heard as he fled the ward with heart almost beating out of his chest and a visible blush on his face.

Xiao Zhan lied, he does not have a shift for the next 36 hours.