Lin Nansheng let out a gasp as Chen Moqun struck into him again. He could take it, he could always take whatever Chen Moqun gave him, but pain, no matter how pleasurable, was still in the end pain. He gripped the bed sheets tighter, knuckles going white as the tension continued to build. Chen Moqun said something next to Lin Nansheng's ear but he was too far gone to comprehend anything outside of each thrust between his legs. At some point his gasps had become moans and he struggled to shut his mouth as he gasped for air. He felt a hand slide under his stomach and he shifted his hips obediently to allow for a better angle. He didn't care about his moaning anymore, couldn't hear each tortured tone, so close he was to that looming pinnacle. Chen Moqun's hands dug deeply into his hips, moving forward and back until finally--
Lin Nansheng woke stiff and sore. He didn't want to wake up but his body refused to let him continue reliving that memory. The memory of their last time together. He lay there with his eyes shut, but try as he might, he couldn't chase away the knowledge of everything that had happened since.
Finally the soldier in him won out and Lin Nansheng rolled onto his back and opened his eyes. Above him was a sea of white. He could recognize a hospital ceiling anywhere but the sight still confused him. Why was he here? Where even was here?
He made to sit up but flinched as his muscles screamed in protest. He stilled and held his breath and waited for the pain to subside. He took a few deep breaths, then tried to sit up again, though this time much more slowly. He was rewarded for his persistence and soon had himself propped up against the metal headrest.
He looked around for his glasses then at once remembered that he did not need them. Not anymore now that he no longer had to play the role of 'Xu Liwen'. Three months had passed since that chapter of his life had ended and nearly a month since the fallout from Zhu Yizhen's case had resulted in Chen Moqun being recalled back to Nanjing.
That day flashed before his eyes again, Chen Moqun sitting at his desk with an unfamiliar look. In all the time Lin Nansheng had spent with him after having been selected by him to be his special agent in Shanghai, he had seen many expressions cross that face. Annoyance, boredom, anger, scorn, but never that look of uncertainty, of fear.
Chen Moqun's voice echoed in Lin Nansheng's ears. He was to stay in Shanghai. At the time Lin Nansheng had taken it as an order to wait for Chen Moqun's return, something he was completely willing to do, but now as he thought back on it, the more it sounded like a farewell.
A pain stabbed through Lin Nansheng's chest and he raised a hand to guard against it. Chen Moqun had meant for him to stay in the Shanghai Section of the Secret Service, yet nearly as soon as the new Station Chief had moved into Chen Moqun's old office had the order for Lin Nansheng's reassignment back to the Special Training Course had been issued. The loyal dog was to be evicted right after its master.
Lin Nansheng lowered his hand, making a fist of it. He could feel the strain of the muscles and the brief movement earlier told him that he would find bandages if he pushed up his sleeve. But he didn't. Instead he raised his head and looked to the side where he could see a door. He could hear footsteps approaching.
The door swung open and a man came walking in.
"Oh good, you're awake."
The man had a certain jaunt to his step and seeing it coupled with that distinctive side part had Lin Nansheng feeling as though his heart was in his throat.
But just as quickly as the moment came, it also passed and Lin Nansheng was able to tell that this man was not Chen Moqun.
Lin Nansheng quickly looked down, unsure what kind of an expression had just passed over his face. This didn't seem to bother his unexpected visitor. As though this was the usual procedures, the man picked up a chair from the opposing wall and set it down next to the bed. He sat down in it and crossed his legs.
"How are you feeling?"
Lin Nansheng decided to risk a look and glanced up to find the man smiling pleasantly at him. He had a moustache and beard and apart from the hair, looked very different from Chen Moqun. They had different chins, different mouths, different bone structures but perhaps the thing that was most different between the two was in the eyes.
Chen Moqun's eyes were large though he often kept them half closed, expressing his general dissatisfaction with the world around him. By contrast this stranger's eyes practically glimmered with life and curiosity, so surprising this was to Lin Nansheng that he was rendered speechless.
"I feel fine," Lin Nansheng managed to say after taking a moment to find his voice.
"That's good to hear," the man said. "So, Secret Service or Central Club?"
Lin Nansheng tried to school his expression but he knew he'd failed to conceal his shock. The man gave him an apologetic smile.
"The rioting ended up crossing into the French Concession so I'm here to help clean up."
Lin Nansheng gave the man another look. He was on the thin side, wiry, certainly not good police material. Then again, he himself wasn't exactly the strongest either, yet Chen Moqun had chosen him. Chen Moqun...
Lin Nansheng cleared his throat. "Neither," he replied. "I was just passing by."
"Then threw yourself into the fight." It was a statement, not a question. Lin Nansheng blinked hard and looked down.
"You were seen actively choosing to take part in the unrest."
"By who?" Lin Nansheng looked up, expression full of scepticism.
The man shrugged and gestured to himself. "By me," he said.
Lin Nansheng pursed his lips and sat stiffly. In the past he would have been able to get out of most things by contacting a superior to vouch for him, but right now, he really wasn't a part of any organisation. All he was now, was an ordinary civilian. He tried to think of an excuse but he'd only just regained consciousness and his head was starting to throb.
A hand patted him on the arm. He looked up and saw the man was smiling again. "You've sustained some pretty bad injuries. I'll stop bothering you so you can get some rest." He rose and deftly brushed out the wrinkles on his trousers. "The food here's really quite good. Quite above average for a hospital. I recommend just about everything in the menu, except the fried eggs. God knows what goes on in the kitchens but whatever it is the cooks think they're doing, it's an abomination to the gods of egg related cuisine. I'll catch you later then, Lin Nansheng."
Lin Nansheng was taken quite by surprise by the sudden change of topic, not to mention the casual revelation that this stranger knew who he was, so it was a moment before he could react.
"Sorry but," he called out. The man stopped and half turned to look at him. "Who are you?"
The man laughed and despite all the tension and confusion that was spinning around in Lin Nansheng's mind, he found himself relaxing as he looked at that sunny expression.
The man walked back toward Lin Nansheng. He pulled a business card out of his breast pocket and lightly tapped it onto the bedside table.
"Luo Fei," he said. "Private detective."