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Turned on a Dime

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It's been, without a doubt, the best month of Zhao Yunlan's entire life. Shen Wei is...well, everything. In his years of serial monagamy, he never rushed to get home, or counted the minutes until he'd see them again. But with Shen Wei, it's so different. He finds himself waiting impatiently for the end of the day, to get home to Shen Wei, crowd up behind him as he's making dinner or tea, just for a kiss hello.

But today is going to be extra special. It's been exactly one month since they started this, and maybe it is too soon, but he doesn't care, and anyway, it's a done deal. He bought a house. It's not far from the university, has a large kitchen, newly renovated. There's three bedrooms, so Da Qing can have his own space when he wants. Behind the house is enough space for a vegetable garden, and maybe a patio. And he's telling Shen Wei about it tonight. He can't wait to see the look on his face.

It seems like it's been a whole week since this morning, so when the clock (finally!) strikes 1700, Zhao Yunlan practically leaps out of his seat, like he's made of springs, and locks his office door. "It's all you, Dead Cat!" he shouts as he strides right out the main door.

His bouyant mood carries him the whole way home. Too impatient to wait for the lift, he bounds up the stairs two at a time. Finally, finally home! He takes a few breaths to steady himself, before the grin returns to his face, and he unlocks his door. "Shen Wei! I have to tell you something, it can't wait!" he's nearly shouting as he steps across the threshold. And stops cold.

The apartment is dark, and while it's normally neat these days, there's things missing. Shen Wei's things. A terrible sense of foreboding runs through him. Much quieter now, he questions the room, "Shen Wei?"

"Yunlan."

And he knows that voice. His father is in his apartment. Where he's never been before. Yunlan takes a deep breath as he flicks on the lights. "Dad. To what do I this unexpected visit?"

The disapproval is simply radiating off of Zhao Xinci from the sofa. It's even evident in the sigh he exhales. "Come round here and sit down. I'll not crane my neck to have this conversation with you."

Yunlan braces himself with a deep breath and sits on the sofa next to his father. "What is it, then."

"I didn't know you were...involved with Professor Shen, or I'd have taken steps to warn you off long before now. But it's enough to say that he will no longer be in your life."

That sense of foreboding was back with a vengeance and making Yunlan queasy. "Where is he, Dad? What's happened?" He forced his face to be calm and not react to the things his father said. It wouldn't get him anywhere. Stay calm, stay cool, he repeats to himself.

"There was an accident. The Professor was struck by a car leaving the university campus. He hit his head and was knocked unconscious. He's missing the last 3 years. He doesn't remember you at all. I've had him moved back into his old quarters in the teacher's dorm at the university."

Yunlan feels cold all over. He's having trouble processing what his father is telling him. It doesn't make sense! Shen Wei was surprised enough by a car that he was struck? No, no, this isn't....this isn't happening.

"And you just...did this. You took it upon yourself to rearrange the life of someone wholly unconnected to you. This is a whole new low."

"Not unconnected! I know who Professor Shen is, and you. Do. Not. He is not to be trusted, he is dangerous, and he will get you killed! I will not stand by and allow you to be such a dangerous position!"

Yunlan jumps from his spot on the sofa. "That's not your call to make! And I absolutely know who Shen Wei is. And I certainly trust him more than most! More than you!"

Zhao Xinci closes his eyes and breathes. "It doesn't matter. What's done is done. He is out of your life for good."

Yunlan scoffs."Really. What's stopping me from going to him now? Nothing, because I'm an adult, and you may be my dad, but you couldn't control me as a child, so..."

"You will not contact Shen Wei in any way, shape or form. If you do, I will know, and there will be consequences."

"Oh yeah? Like what? Gonna fire me? Actually, that's what you're probably going for, here, isn't it. A way to get me out of the SID."

"No, I know that won't stop you. But you've been surrounding yourself with the wrong people, Yunlan. You contact Shen Wei, and the SID will be dismantled. Zhu Hong and Da Qing, arrested, Chu Shuzhi returned to Dixing. And don't think I don't know about the...energy beings. They will have no place to go."

Well, those threats are certainly more effective. Yunlan cares deeply about his people, and there's no way he'd allow those things to happen to them, his family.

He closes his eyes in defeat. "Fine," he bites out at barely more than a whisper. "I won't contact him. You win. Now, with all due respect. Get the hell out."

Much to his credit, he thinks, Yunlan holds hid composure until the door to his apartment closes softly.

It's then that his breath starts coming fast and harsh, and he more falls than sits on the sofa. He leans forward, elbows on his knees trying to get the breathing thing under control. It's not working, and the sob that tears from his throat barely sounds human. He knows this feeling, this horrible sense of something missing and the overwhelming grief. It feels like his entire chest has caved in and is squeezing his heart and lungs. But there's nothing there. His heart is gone.

He can see the absence as he looks up and around his flat. The medical journal Shen Wei had been using for research is gone from the nightstand. The computer he hated using isn't leaning against the coffee table. No fancy shoes in the shoe rack by the door. Hell, the shoe rack. The fucking shoe rack is gone, too, and Yunlan can't handle the place anymore.

He wipes at his face with his hand, and stands up. He grabs a duffel bag from under the bed and makes his way to his closet, resolutely not looking at where Shen Wei's suits should be and most certainly aren't. He packs several changes of clothes. He's not staying here by himself. He'll stay at the SID until Da Qing can come back with him.