It's honestly a stroke of luck that Zhao Yunlan is in the main room when Ye Zun slips inside the doors. He slams them shut behind himself before leaning back against them as if to physically keep them closed.
Zhao Yunlan is on his feet before he's aware of having moved.
Ye Zun is wearing a long, white coat Zhao Yunlan hasn't seen before over a hooded sweatshirt he thinks Ye Zun probably stole from him. He's got the hood up, and a few errant silvery strands of hair are sticking to his neck. His face is flushed, and he's breathing like he's been running for a while. The latter is honestly concerning. The twins' stamina is nothing to scoff at, after all. He flashes a smirk at Zhao Yunlan. "Sorry to drop by unannounced."
"Where's the fire?" Zhao Yunlan finds himself asking, distantly aware of the fact that he actually might not be speaking figuratively.
"Somewhere behind me," Ye Zun says. "They're a little angry. And have guns. Sorry."
It takes Zhao Yunlan a moment to realise Ye Zun isn't using a turn of phrase. He's saying sorry and means it. Well, as much as he can, anyway. And that – that doesn't happen very often. Zhao Yunlan doesn't think he can remember the last time.
"Right," Zhao Yunlan hears himself say. "Right, well, we should get you away from the door, then."
"I thought you'd never ask," Ye Zun says and strides across the floor.
"My office," Zhao Yunlan points. "I'll be there in a second."
"Your office?" Ye Zun says, arching an eyebrow and lowering his voice because not even people coming after him with guns will stop Ye Zun from being Ye Zun. "Xiao Zhao, what will gege think?"
"That you're being a brat, as per usual." Zhao Yunlan shoos at him.
Ye Zun snickers. He takes the time to wriggles his fingers at Zhao Yunlan's team as he walks past them because of course he does.
Zhao Yunlan waits until Ye Zun's ducked into his office to speak. "You heard him. Angry people are coming here with guns. Let's ask them to show us their permits while they're at it, huh?"
The team is staring at him. Da Qing, notably, looks like he's seen a ghost. Zhao Yunlan isn't worried. Da Qing would have already taken it up with Zhao Yunlan if he recognised Ye Zun from a case. After all, he would have mistaken Ye Zun for Shen Wei long before it would have occurred to him to check if Shen Wei has an evil twin walking around somewhere, and he definitely would have asked Zhao Yunlan about his husband's extracurricular activities before alerting someone higher up the chain of command.
"Chop, chop," Zhao Yunlan says, gesturing at them sharply.
Zhu Hong narrows her eyes dangerously before heading for the labs. Zhao Yunlan knows he's going to be getting a few choice words from her later.
Chu Shuzhi sends him a look as he stalks off. He grabs onto Guo Changcheng as he walks past and pulls him along towards the armoury. Zhao Yunlan hopes Chu Shuzhi remembers to grab bulletproof vests on his way out, not just his prize shotguns.
Lin Jing opens his laptop and starts typing away. Zhao Yunlan decides to give him the benefit of the doubt, but if he finds that Lin Jing is googling Shen Wei instead of checking CCTV, Lin Jing can say goodbye to his bonus.
Da Qing walks over and stares up at Zhao Yunlan. He doesn't speak, but the look on his face says volumes. Zhao Yunlan decides to ignore it until such a time that they don't have gunmen about to kick down their door – or until Da Qing hopefully forgets the whole debacle.
Guo Changcheng is wearing what looks like two vests when he comes back. He starts distributing them among the others as Chu Shuzhi heads for the doors, one shotgun slung over his shoulder, and another pointed at the ground. Zhao Yunlan is just glad that Chu Shuzhi took the time to put a vest on beforehand because he doesn't look interested in going back to grab one.
Guo Changcheng doesn't linger when he gets to them. He just hands Zhao Yunlan two vests before darting off to stand next to Wang Zheng and Sang Zan. At least the kid has finally learned when it's appropriate to ask questions, unlike others Zhao Yunlan could name.
"Boss, who was that?" Da Qing says finally, making no move to take the vest Zhao Yunlan holds out to him. "He sort of looked like -"
"Shen Wei's twin? Yeah, funny story." Zhao Yunlan sets one vest aside as he bullies Da Qing into the other and does it up for him. Da Qing just stands there and let it happen. Zhao Yunlan doesn't know if Da Qing is trying to make it so awkward Zhao Yunlan will feel compelled to fill the silence, but he's going to have to try harder than that for Zhao Yunlan to crack.
"Well?" Da Qing says when Zhao Yunlan doesn't continue. "Aren't you going to share? I like laughing, especially at you."
"Funny," Zhao Yunlan drawls as he puts on his own vest. "No, I think we should focus on the angry people and their guns first."
Da Qing narrows his eyes at him. "Then you'd better not get shot. As your right-hand man, I deserve to know what's going on."
Zhao Yunlan pats him absently on the shoulder. He glances over at his office, but the blinds are still down from the last time he took a nap in there. It doesn't mean Ye Zun isn't spying on them, but at least it should mean that anyone storming the station won't immediately be able to spot him.
"Go see if Lao Chu needs help holding down the fort."
Da Qing glares at him. He pulls his firearm and points at him angrily with the other hand. He looks like a kid playing with a water-gun, but Zhao Yunlan knows Da Qing's aim is second only to Chu Shuzhi's on their team. No one dared to laugh at Da Qing as he aimed a gun at them more than once.
"Crazy hair?" he says after Da Qing's slipped away.
"Angry people with guns are right around the corner," Lin Jing says as he gets up. "Lao Chu is facing the wrong way. I'll -"
"Yeah, you go tell him."
Lin Jing is already halfway out of the room. Zhao Yunlan opens his mouth to remind him about his missing gun when Zhu Hong intercepts him. She forces one into his hands and scolds Lin Jing without even opening her mouth. She sends Zhao Yunlan the same glare before stalking after Lin Jing, heels clicking with every step.
"This isn't the best place to be standing unless you're all right with the possibility of getting shot," Zhao Yunlan tells his remaining team members. "Head to the lab. You should be safe there."
Guo Changcheng nods shakily. "W-Wang-jie, S-Sang-ge, t-this way," he says, gesturing for them to go ahead.
This is Sang Zan's first incident where weapons might get drawn, and it shows. Wang Zheng is murmuring to him as Guo Changcheng herds them towards the lab. Guo Changcheng glances over at his shoulder frequently as he goes, always right at Zhao Yunlan.
Zhao Yunlan pretends not to see. He waits until he's alone to sit down onto the couch arm. He rubs his thumb over the two rings on his ring finger, digging his nail in and out of the gap between them ever so often.
Right, he tells himself. Might as well get to it. Lin Jing's laptop is still open on the table. He drags it over and checks the CCTV. His team are all in position, and a group of thugs are smashing open doors in the area around Bright Street 4. Chu Shuzhi is waiting at the fruit seller next door. He looks far too eager to start shooting.
Zhao Yunlan shakes his head to himself. He pushes himself up and reaches to pull his firearm when he's stopped.
"You're not going out there with them."
Zhao Yunlan is proud of the way he only startles a little at Ye Zun's voice. "I told you to wait in -"
"Gege will kill me if I let you go out there," Ye Zun says, talking right over him.
"Then maybe you shouldn't have brought your friends to my workplace, hm?"
Ye Zun rolls his eyes. "They're not my friends. Obviously. Or did you miss the part where I said they want to kill me?"
"Hard to miss that," Zhao Yunlan says, crossing his arms over his chest. "And I have to say, I kind of understand where they're coming from."
They've come far enough that Ye Zun isn't – visibly at least – fazed whenever Zhao Yunlan fucks up and says something stupid like that. He takes a breath and reminds himself to apologise when they're at home and can't be accidentally walked in on by his team.
"I have to go," he says. He can apologise later, just to be safe. "I'm the chief, and those are my people."
"Too bad," Ye Zun says and grabs his arm. He's pulling Zhao Yunlan towards the office before Zhao Yunlan thinks to fight back.
"You can't just -"
His desk phone starts ringing almost the moment Ye Zun pushes him into the room. Zhao Yunlan wages his chances of getting past Ye Zun against how important the call might be and reluctantly finds himself reaching for the phone.
"Please tell me you're in your office because you're calling for reinforcements," Da Qing says from the speaker before Zhao Yunlan can even say 'hello.'
Ye Zun arches an eyebrow at Zhao Yunlan. He's practically daring Zhao Yunlan to say why he and Shen Wei don't take too kindly to Zhao Yunlan 'seeking out dangerous situations' unnecessarily. Their words, not his. One of these days, he's going to beat it into their heads that he's the only one in the house that has a licence to carry a gun.
"No," Zhao Yunlan makes himself say, "I'm in my office because Shen Wei would stop dropping off food here if I got shot while on duty."
Da Qing pauses. "Thank you for thinking of our stomachs, Boss," he says quickly, and dammit if he doesn't sound grateful too. "We appreciate it. Stay in there until we give the all-clear."
Zhao Yunlan is rolling his eyes long before Da Qing hangs up.
"I like him," Ye Zun says as he decides to make his home on the edge of Zhao Yunlan's desk.
"Of course you do. He's basically you, just without the -" Zhao Yunlan gestures vaguely at him.
Ye Zun arches his eyebrows slowly. "Height? Stunningly handsome good looks? Skills in -"
"Personality quirks," Zhao Yunlan interrupts before Ye Zun can finish the sentence.
Ye Zun smirks. "You're adorable."
Zhao Yunlan decides to let that slide. They have more important things going on than Ye Zun acting like the brat he is. "So, what did you do, and why didn't you bring this to Shen Wei?" he asks.
"Because I figured it was better to bring angry idiots with guns to a police station than to a college campus," Ye Zun drawls.
"All right, fair point." Zhao Yunlan doesn't even want to think about what a nightmare that would have been. "But you still haven't answered the first part of the question."
"I haven't," Ye Zun agrees.
A pause. "Fucking brat."
"I'm not fucking one currently," Ye Zun says, eyeing him pointedly, "but I could be."
Zhao Yunlan has to physically bite back his first reply. "I'm telling Shen Wei you said that."
Ye Zun grins. "By all means."
The only sane option is to move the conversation along before Ye Zun starts to get handsy about his proposals. Zhao Yunlan hasn't even introduced Ye Zun to his team. He's not letting Ye Zun start anything that can be misunderstood if they were to be walked in on, no matter how much Ye Zun pouts at him.
"As much as I don't want to know what you get up to when you're...off doing your thing..." for the sake of his sanity, if nothing else, "I thought you were good at getting away unseen," Zhao Yunlan says. "So how the hell did you get a bunch of gun-toting maniacs after you?"
Ye Zun clicks his tongue. The look in his eyes says he knows what Zhao Yunlan is doing and isn't happy about it. He surprises Zhao Yunlan by leaning back slightly and crossing his arms over his chest rather than aggressively flirting some more. "I may have run out of bullets," he says like he doesn't have a care in the world. "Just a little."
Zhao Yunlan is sorry he asked. "You mean you went there to -"
"I don't like drugs," Ye Zun says, voice deadly serious. "Be glad that they weren't peddling in flesh, or gege and I would have made sure you never heard about it."
The notes from Ye Zun's kidnapping and later retrieval are practically written onto the back of his eyelids. The kidnappers tried to convince Ye Zun that his family had sold him into slavery. They kept Ye Zun on while they kidnapped and ransomed other kids – and sometimes sold them to the highest bidder, regardless of the ransom had been paid or not. Ye Zun confessed that he would probably have believed them if Shen Wei hadn't been with him the day he was kidnapped. 'I still remember gege screaming as they dragged me away,' Ye Zun said. 'Some days, it was the only thing that kept me sane.'
To some degree, he understands where the twins are coming from – even if his definition of 'making them pay' involves a lot more time in prison than theirs do. He's guilty of having thought that some people might have been better off dead than alive, for sure, but Zhao Yunlan doesn't think he'll ever be able to physically pull the trigger outside of a life-or-death situation.
He opens his mouth but forgets what he's about to say – if he ever knew – when the phone starts ringing again. Zhao Yunlan reaches over and presses the button for the speaker again.
"All clear," Da Qing says over the line. "You can tell your husband that I – we, that is, the team, everyone here – especially liked those dumplings he made last week."
Zhao Yunlan snorts. "I'll be sure to do that." He doesn't bother to wait for Da Qing to start crowing before hanging up. "Crisis averted," he says, perhaps a little unnecessarily.
Ye Zun hums. "For now."
Zhao Yunlan turns towards him and finds himself pauses at the thin chain hanging out over his Ye Zun's collar. Ye Zun must have been toying with it while Zhao Yunlan was talking to Da Qing. The two rings hanging off it feel like they're calling out to him. He's stepped in-between Ye Zun's legs and closed his hand around them before he's aware of having moved.
Ye Zun arches an eyebrow at him.
"You could have gotten yourself killed today," Zhao Yunlan says, tugging faintly at the chain.
Ye Zun shrugs. "Story of my life."
Zhao Yunlan tugs a little harder, until Ye Zun's leaning down towards him. "That isn't an excuse, and you know it."
Ye Zun just stares at him. The intense look shifts into something like a smirk when Zhao Yunlan starts leaning in. "Why, Chief Zhao," he purrs, "right in front of all these windows?"
"The blinds are down," Zhao Yunlan says before he kisses him.
Ye Zun slips his arms around Zhao Yunlan's waist as he kisses back, already caressing Zhao Yunlan's tongue with his. Shen Wei's kisses are either soft and almost shy or deep and biting. Ye Zun, however, likes to keep things firmly on this side of filthy. As if Zhao Yunlan needs any reminders of what Ye Zun cab do with his mouth – or other parts of him.
When he pulls back, Ye Zun's hands are on his ass. He's only a little surprised, considering who he was kissing.
Zhao Yunlan arches an eyebrow. "I thought you didn't like my ass."
"No, I said it was flat," Ye Zun says, squeezing it for emphasis. "I never said I didn't like it."
Zhao Yunlan rolls his eyes.
"I could show you how much." Ye Zun doesn't have to slip his voice into the familiar purr of his to get the meaning across, but of course he does it anyway. With his flair for the dramatic, Zhao Yunlan doubts anyone has ever accused Ye Zun of being boring.
"I'm at work," Zhao Yunlan counters. "Also, I need to deal with the drug cartel you led to our doorstep."
"Responsible," Zhao Yunlan corrects.
Ye Zun smirks faintly, like he thinks the word is funny when Zhao Yunlan says it.
"You have to stop doing stupid shit like this," Zhao Yunlan says before Ye Zun can speak. He'd probably just mock Zhao Yunlan for being the only properly responsible adult in their household. "Shen Wei is going to be mad when he hears about it."
"Between the two of us, he does have his hands full," Ye Zun says, rubbing his thumb over Zhao Yunlan's bottom lip. "Poor, poor gege."
"If you felt so badly for him, you'd stop -"
"I'll stop when you stop," Ye Zun says like that's a fair bargain.
Zhao Yunlan pinches the bridge of his nose. "This is my job."
"And I consider cleaning up Dragon City's underbelly one of mine." Ye Zun tilts his head. "Gege approves, you know."
"Xiao Wei doesn't have a leg to stand on in that department."
Ye Zun snickers.
"It's also not the same thing, and you know it," he continues.
Ye Zun does. Or so Zhao Yunlan thinks. There's no way Ye Zun can't see the difference between the unpredictable danger that Zhao Yunlan encounters on the job versus the kind that Ye Zun seeks out deliberately. But arguing with Ye Zun is something saved for home. If someone walked in while Zhao Yunlan was trying to explain why Ye Zun hunting someone down is not the same as Zhao Yunlan firing his weapon to protect himself or his team...
Zhao Yunlan takes a step back and starts undoing the vest. No point in wearing it anymore now that his team have taken care of the danger without him.
Ye Zun takes that moment to slip the rings back under his shirt, tugging faintly at the chain to make it lie the way he likes it.
Zhao Yunlan did offer, back when they got the rings, to wear his on a chain as well. They'd get less in the way of work then, he said. Shen Wei clearly hadn't liked the idea, even though he made sounds of interest when Ye Zun suggested it for himself. Zhao Yunlan isn't stupid. He knows how much his lovers like to see that proof that he's off the market. But it still feels a little weird that he and Shen Wei are the only ones wearing theirs out in the open.
Ye Zun must notice his mind wandering because he takes that time to throw a wild question at him. "Do you think I could trick your goons into thinking I was gege?"
"Absolutely not," is Zhao Yunlan's gut reaction. He's not going to ask why Ye Zun would want to because he's legitimately scared of the answer.
"I'd just need to dye and cut my hair again," Ye Zun says, tugging on an errand strand in front of his eyes. "The rest is easy."
Ye Zun gives him a look before reaching up to pull down his hood. He runs his fingers through his hair a little absent-mindedly before folding his hands in his lap and sitting up straight. He crosses his legs and pulls up a mild expression that almost sends Zhao Yunlan stumbling. Suddenly, the only thing he can focus on is the almost disorienting lack of glasses on Ye Zun's face. "Zhao Yunlan," he murmurs, and even just the way Ye Zun says his name is different.
The whole picture sends a shiver down Zhao Yunlan's spine. He points at Ye Zun and says, "No," empathically.
Ye Zun's mouth twitches faintly. "I told you," he says, thankfully using his own voice. "Easy."
"Twins aren't always identical, even if they're born that way," Ye Zun says. "Gege and I are a prime example of just that." He further proves his point by reaching forward and starting to dig through Zhao Yunlan's pockets.
Zhao Yunlan's eyebrows shoot up. "Really?"
Ye Zun pulls out a lollipop and bops him on the nose with it. "Really," he says before unwrapping it and slipping it into his mouth.
"Well, it's the most action you're going to see for a week, so I'll let you have it." Zhao Yunlan pushes away from him and throws himself into his chair. He knows he should probably go out and make sure his team have things handled with...whatever shit Ye Zun stirred up, but he honestly isn't ready for the million questions his team are going to have for him.
Ye Zun pouts around the stick. "Xiao Zhao."
"No." Zhao Yunlan points at him. "I'm not falling for that face."
"Meaning that there is a face you'll fall for." Ye Zun smirks. "Should I try to figure out which?"
Da Qing knocks on the door as he's opening it – in true Da Qing style – and saves Zhao Yunlan from thinking of something to say to that. "Ready whenever you are, Boss," he says, though his eyes are on Ye Zun.
Ye Zun smirks at him and wriggles his fingers in greeting.
"Da Qing, Ye Zun," Zhao Yunlan gestures between them. "Ye Zun, Da Qing."
"It's a pleasure," Ye Zun purrs. "I have heard so much about you."
"I've heard exactly nothing about you," Da Qing counters.
Ye Zun flicks the lollipop stick to rest in the other corner of his mouth. "I'm not surprised. That's what happens when you're the black sheep of the family."
"Don't you mean 'white sheep?'" Zhao Yunlan counters, gesturing at Ye Zun's hair.
Ye Zun's mouth twitches like he's trying not to laugh. It's something Zhao Yunlan is used to seeing on Shen Wei – not as much on Ye Zun. He'd be tempted to say Ye Zun is trying to behave in front of Da Qing, who he has never met before, except that doesn't sound like Ye Zun at all.
Zhao Yunlan could spend hours trying to figure out Ye Zun's reasonings, but he does have a job to do. One that his team is waiting for him to do. "Stay here while I deal with your not-friends out there," Zhao Yunlan says, pointing at Ye Zun as he heads over to the door.
"Yes, yes," Ye Zun says, sounding bored, "as Zhao-di commands."
Zhao Yunlan almost trips over his own feet on his way out.
Ye Zun is still cackling when Zhao Yunlan slams the door shut.
So much for Ye Zun trying to behave, Zhao Yunlan thinks to himself as he stalks towards the interrogation rooms.
"I don't even want to know, do I?" Da Qing says as he falls into step with him.
"You really don't," Zhao Yunlan agrees.
Ye Zun doesn't have the good grace to look apologetic as Shen Wei stares down at him. Zhao Yunlan would have caved in seconds – and not because he's afraid of Shen Wei. It's that he doesn't like to see Shen Wei looking disappointed. It's a critical hit, if not a one-hit kill.
"At least I asked for help, gege," is what Ye Zun says.
Shen Wei's mouth tightens ever so slightly. He still hasn't looked away.
Either Ye Zun realises his mistake – unlikely – or he wants to wipe off Shen Wei's disappointed look – far more likely – because he tips his head to brush their lips together. "Sorry, gege."
Shen Wei pulls him into a biting kiss that makes Zhao Yunlan's lips tingle just from watching them. It's a long, long time before Shen Wei pulls back.
Ye Zun purrs and licks his lips. "With a punishment like that, how could I ever dare do such a thing again?"
Zhao Yunlan wants to bury his head in his hands and scream. He settles for placing them on his waist and reminding himself to keep breathing as he stares at the ceiling.
Ye Zun is right, is the thing. If Shen Wei keeps doling out punishments that seem like rewards, they're going to encourage, rather than discourage, certain behaviour. And if Zhao Yunlan knew how to say it without raising his voice, he'd be in the middle of explaining that by now.
When he finally feels calm enough to look back at his lovers, Ye Zun is grinning wickedly at him. Shen Wei, of course, is the picture of calm and collected. Oh, if only his colleagues and students knew what was lurking under that façade...
"Having you two in my life is like herding cats," Zhao Yunlan tells them bluntly.
"But you like cats," Ye Zun points out, and Shen Wei actually smiles.
Zhao Yunlan would crack a joke about swapping them for better-trained models, but even he knows that's bad form. So what he says instead is, "I'm sleeping on the couch tonight, and neither of you is allowed to join me."
"Oh, come on -"
"Neither of you!" Zhao Yunlan stresses. "You mentioned punishment? Well, this is it. So take it."
There are a blissful ten seconds of silence before Ye Zun has to go and break it.
"You know, there's something else I could take if you'd rather -"
He ends up in bed with them anyway because the couch is a nightmare to sleep on, but it's the thought that counts. He'll think of a new punishment for them in the morning.