Heine leaned over Xiao and gently kissed his forehead. The sensation of Heine's lips grazing against his skin was more distinct than his own heartbeat.
Xiao's mind gradually disordered until it was complete chaos. His head fell limp and Heine gathered him into his arms.
Xiao felt that he had entered a labyrinth. As he wound through his memories, he found himself caught in one in particular. He recalled leaving Heine in the reaction chamber and saying goodbye to him. This image circled through his mind, replaying and looping endlessly.
He understood now how much he desired to stay beside Heine Burton.
No longer is Colonel Heine Burton an untouchable myth or an elite legend, to Xiao, Heine belongs to him.
Heine interfaced with the terminal in the room so he could scan data pertaining to Xiao's physical condition in real time through the process. All of his vitals were closely watched by Heine.
Xiao's body temperature rose higher and higher. Heine carefully picked him up and placed him on the bed. He opened his locker and removed a packet of nutrient solution. He skillfully injected it into Xiao Yan.
Late in the nigh, amid the arduous process, Xiao ran through all the nutrient solutions stored in the room.
Liv arrived at Heine's door early in the morning, her arms full of replacements. She looked up at the Colonel with worried eyes.
"Boss...I know that Xiao has injected himself with the x-virus. It is not that I think you will hurt him...it is just..."
"He needs more energy." Without explaining any further he grabbed the packs and closed the door, leaving Liv standing helplessly outside in the hall.
For three days straight Xiao Yan did not return to his lab. His reason for leaving was quite ridiculous. His paperwork cited that he required time off to take his 'medication.' Colonel Heine Burton had applied for the leave in his stead.
(*sorry to interrupt* This actually translated as 'meditation' but then I thought 'medication' had more innuendo to it, but it did not fit in all instances so just pick whichever word makes the most sense to you.)
Loch and Ritz's reaction to Xiao's reason for his absence made Lauren a bit uneasy.
"Oh, ho...so Major Xiao Yan needs some 'med-i-ca-tion'?" Ritz dragged the word out with heavy meaning and winked lasciviously at Loch.
Lauren understood that 'medication' must have other meanings.
Loch stood with squinted eyes, after a long pause he finally spoke. "Or conducting a study, under the eyes of Colonel Burton."
Lauren began to whisper excitedly, his indignation was edged with confusion. "That Xiao Yan must be lazy... His 'medication' is probably drinking and strippers. What does that have to do with Colonel Burton?""
Ritz turned to give Lauren a strange look. "Major Xiao Yan has no hope to see a stripper in this life. Only Colonel Burton will provide him with any 'medication' he needs. He will give him several days worth."
"What?" Lauren scratched his head as he struggled to digest the nature of their relationship.
Loch grabbed Ritz by the back of his collar. "Let's go. Don't teach bad things to kids. I'll take you out for beer and strippers."
" "You! I don't want to go with you! Let go!"
The two made their way down the hall still struggling with each other.
____ Xiao Yan's skin was coated in a thick layer of sweat and his body temperature continued to climb.
Heine turned on the tap in the bathtub and removed his lab coat and clothes. He then picked him up and set him directly in the cool water.
The comfortable feeling against his flushed skin caused Xiao to moan out loud.
Heine continues to provide him with nutrients as he needed them.
Xiao's brain is caught in an endless cycle detailing his separation from Heine. Each time he turns to leave Heine in that reaction chamber, his heart splits open. As the memory tumbles through his mind, his hands frantically grab onto the edge of the bathtub. With the assistance of the x-virus a small gap was quickly grooved out in the tub from his grip. Heine secured his wrist and laid side ways in the cold bathwater, gathering Xiao Yan into his arms, holding tightly onto Xiao Yan.
"I am here, right next to you." Heine's breath covered Xiao Yan's ear as he whispered.
As though his presence were the source of all his strength, Xiao no longer seeks to grip onto anything but instead turns in Heine's embrace and clings to his body. His strength caused small cracks along Heine's skeleton and his body continually repaired as it was fragmented.
Heine did not so much as furrow a brow or attempt to release Xiao's grip on him. From beginning to end he endured his hold and settled Xiao's head on his shoulder.
As the night wore on, Xiao's high fever gradually decreased and his breathing evened. The chaotic thoughts rolling through him began to clear and settle.
He opened his eyes slightly and saw the Heine's profile. Heine slowly turned to face him and his fingers tangled through his hair, then moved to gently massage his brow. His cold tone was welcomingly familiar.
"Are you awake, Major?"
Xiao Yan suddenly turned his body over and straddled Heine. His hands pushed against Heine's shoulders and the water sloshed violently over the rim of the tub.
His wide eyes were full of greed and his gaze connected fiercely with Heine's.
"I don't regret leaving you in that reaction capsule. If I had to redo it 10000 times, I would make the same decision."
Water droplets ran down Xiao's face and plink onto Heine's. Heine leaned against the bathtub and looked up at Xiao's intense eyes, he made no move to avoid his gaze.
"I know." Heine raised his hand and wiped the water from Xiao's face to better see his
"No matter if I can compeltely connect all past memories...even if I am afraid of your strength or chasing behind you. No matter how much I am affected by your discipline or loss of self control, I have always wanted you."
"I am not as strong as you think."
Whatever needs to be said, Heine manages to do so simply and concisely. He did not say what he meant by his words, he simply relied on Xiao Yan to understand.
"I know that you love me Colonel. Yet you didn't take advantage of that. You could have kept me weak and vulnerable so that I would dependently cling to your wings. Yet you took me out to see the beauty and cruelty of the world. You used freedom to lure me into a more powerful direction in life. I wonder have you ever thought about what would happen when I achieve this freedom? Will I surpass you?"
"I will give you everything you want. If you move past me then I will run to catch up."
Heine's chin tilts arrogantly and his expression is ferociously determined and confident. No matter what... he is Xiao's pillar of strength.
Xiao looks down and then leans to roughly kiss Heine. His lips press against him with such strength that Heine's bones began to crack and Xiao felt the stirrings of complete domination well inside of him. Heine attempted to support his body and grab ahold of Xiao Yan, but Xiao persistently continued to push Heine back.
The strength of their kiss moved back and forth, as his partner, Heine accepts the oppressive force of Xiao's mouth.
For the first time, Xiao felt that he was about to crazily lose control. That memory fragment of leaving Heine has deeply defeated something within him. He will always struggle to find this other half of himself. He tried to fight back against the memory and struggled to find Heine to complete him.
Now that he is in front of him, Xiao hugged Heine in reality.
Xiao's control snapped and he holds Heine's head against the edge of the tub. His strength can easily shatter his skull. Heine is forced to stretch out a hand and grab Xiao's wrist. He sat up forcefully and pushed Xiao back.
At Heine's movement Xiao angrily glared. "Are you rejecting me Colonel?"
"That will never happen, I just don't want you to crush my head."
Xiao realized, now that he had accepted the x-2, the virus has increased his strength by a significant percentage. For the first time he really has the ability to shatter Heine's skull.
Heine's hands slid down Xiao's slick skin to settle at his waist as he picked him up.
Xiao realized that he wasn't wearing anything and Heine's shirt was soaked and tightly adhered to his body. The wet material clung to the muscular lines of his form, exaggerating their appearance. Heine placed Xiao's body heavily on top of his and Xiao reached out to take Heine's shirt off, stretching the wet fabric over his head to toss it aside.
"Are you seducing me Major?" Heine's palm moved past Xiao waist kneading then roughly kneading his flesh.
"Do you want me to?" Xiao's lips widened into a provocative smile.
"It seems that I have spoiled you."
Heine's lift fell on his and Xiao impatiently lifted his chin to magnify the contact between their mouths. His body moved over Hein's wantonly and Heine pushed into him suddenly. His thrust was strong and powerful, the collision dizzying and his mind fell into chaos. This stoic man who expresses the emotions, that he never speaks aloud, with his body. Each thrust was heavy and rough, Xiao's bones seem to rattle and clang as their bodies collided. Each time Heine pulled out, Xiao greedily sought to pull him back in.
This time Xiao did not beg for mercy. He tried his best to feel everything Heine offered and meet his explosive desire with his own. They frantically grasped at each other, doing their best to eliminate any space between them.
Eventually Xiao's nerves could no longer take the sensation and he passed out.
Heine pulled Xiao's body close and kissed his sleepy brow. Xiao murmured faintly and burrowed closer to the man who owned all he had to offer.
Lauren sat despondently in the lab. Winn was practicing using the simulation system in front of him. As a specimen, Lauren can sense that Winn's combat ability is beyond superb. Everytime he enters the system, he beats his former record. All day Lauren watched the effect the training had on Winn.
Lauren was swaying in fatigue when Winn suddenly appeared in front of him, the edge of his blade was poised at the tip of his nose.
"Hey brat! Your system upgrade is quite good!"
Lauren took a deep breath and hastily exited the system. Winn also removed his terminal and stood up. He was cold and sweaty, his palms were completely soaked.
"Haha. You don't have much courage. I am surprised that Xiao took you as an assistant. Perhaps if you fall into the hands of the Surge, you will betray us in less than a second's time."
"You...Y...YOU...well...Xiao Yan is a Major! OF course he is better than me? If he didn't have the x-virus do you think that he could survive those zombies?" Lauren was acutely aggravated at Winn's attitude. He felt as though he were looking down on him.
Winn looked at Lauren with his arms crossed. The smile on his face disappeared and his eyes sparkled with a cold frost.
"Really, this is not about the x-virus. Xiao has had a dozen lives to face a dozen zombies. Before he accepted the x-virus his combat ability was still better than most of the soldiers in the armed forces. He left one surge member in a pool of blood to enter the control room. He shot the killer to save Maya's life. At that time he was the same as you, just a simple student."
Lauren swallowed; he did not know Xiao Yan had such an experience.
"Don't act a fool thought. Even if you are in danger and have the courage to rush to death, I hope that you can at least protect yourself."
"Would you be my instructor?" Lauren asked, looking up.
Winn's palm suddenly slammed hard against the back of Lauren's head. Lauren's body couldn't take the force of the hit and he crumpled to the ground immediately. Winn laughed so hard his stomach muscles strained.
"You are fun kid. I won't be your instructor. Ling is on break next month so he will probably be the one to teach you rookies from the academy."
"Yeah, that guy is quite ferocious! You will be begging Ling to let me train you."
"Are you messing with me?" Lauren stood up and glared at Winn.
"Yup. And it is fun!" Winn suddenly bent down and loudly kissed Lauren's cheeks before turning and walking away.
Lauren stood rooted with widened eyes as the door slid closed. He held his cheek in shock.
"Xiao Yan - When are you coming back... I can't wait in this lab!"
Xiao Yan slept the whole day. He turned slightly to feet Heine's shoulder beneath his head. At that point he felt something slip out of his body. His eyes grew wide and the sight of Heine filled his gaze.
He didn't know how long Heine had been watching him.
Heine lips grazed Xiao Yan's forehead.
"How do you feel?"
Xiao Yan whispered as he bit Heine's nose. " It was good."
He never dreamed in a thousand years he would say such things to Heine Burton.
Suddenly Xiao's contact sounded and a picture of General Ervel popped up. Ervel watched as Heine's lips lingered over Xiao's brow.
Ervel coughed awkwardly.
"Major Xiao Yan. I am sorry to disturb your medication, but the Academy requires your research. I don't know when your medication is finished.
Xiao Yan didn't know what Heine was using for his excuses to apply for vacation. He could only smile in response. " My 'medication' is finished."
"I am very happy to hear that. Don't tell me that your whole week of medication was being with Colonel Burton."
"No, I was going to report to you. I have already injected myself with x-2."
Ervel raised his brows stunned.
"Then the most important thing for you to do now is monitor your vitals and collect blood samples to ensure that the X-2 is conforming to your physiology."
"If everything goes well I have already applied to deliver the developed X-2 strains for Liv, Mark and Winn. I will use their response to the x-virus as a template to fit them for the X-2."
"Your request is approved."
The connection terminated and Xiao Yan let out a sigh of relief.
"In fact you don't need to use them as the first line for compatibility studies."
"I need to do so. " Xiao Yan looked at Heine with a serious expression. "They are your most powerful and important subordinates. I have a feeling that Valentin will not stay quiet for much longer. When the Surge and Shire inevitable clash I want your subordinates at their best."
The next day Xiao Yan returned to the lab. He collected blood samples from Mark and began to rigorously analyze it.
Using his previous data and current analysis, the x-2 was ready in just a week.
Liv, Mark and Winn gather in Xiao research room as well as Gordon and Heine.
Xiao spoke very seriously to all of them. "Although Colonel Burton and I have had success I cannot guarantee a 100% success rate. This may even be fatal."
Gordon looked over at his men, his brows tightly knitted together. "You are an elite special missions force. I cannot imagine losing any of you. Every time you leave on mission, I stress, always hoping every one of you make it back on report. You may choose to not take the risk of accepting the x-2 virus. This is a choice that the Academy has provided for you, but it is ultimately up to you."
They all looked at Heine waiting for an order. But Heine's response was calm and unexpected.
"The choice to accept the x-2 or not will not change your mission, the assignment or alter the trust I have in you."
For a time, the entire lab fell silent.
"I accept. Everyone needs to take a different formulation. There is no one that can replace me in trying it."
Liv stepped forward first and took the bottle with her name. She pushed it into the injection gun and pressed it to her body without hesitation.
Mark watched with big eyes and then took a deep breath before grabbing his own vial.
"Hey Mark. Think very carefully..." Xiao is aware that Mark is a guy who rarely deeply contemplates his decision. He wants to be sure that his choice isn't impulsive.
Mark scratched at his face and chuckled. "Xiao Yan you are not a rookie anymore. You have a good head on your shoulders. I believe in your ability."
Winn tapped Mark's head and took his bottle. "You obviously made your choice based on Liv's. You see the name on this bottle. It is clearly mine. Idiot."
"Ah! It is yours!" Mark suddenly realized that he had mixed his and Winn's vials up.
The tension in the lab suddenly relaxed.
Mark and Winn also injected the x-2 and were sent to a special observation room where they were jointly monitored by Xiao Yan and General Ervel.
Mark anxiously looked over at Liv as he was lying in the observation room.
"Hey...wait until I wake up...you see me after...right?"
Looking at Mark's worried expression Liv couldn't help but to laugh. "You look like it is the end of the world. I thought you were about to propose to me."
Mark's face suddenly turned red. Before Liv lay down in the reaction chamber she smiled. "See you later!"
Winn was surprised to see that Lauren showed up.
"Are you completing your obligation as Xiao Yan's assistant and monitoring our vitals?"
Lauren just shook his head as the worry filled his eyes. With a liquid gaze he burst out yelling awkwardly. "I heard you might die...so I came to see you for the last time."
"Ah. Well rest assured I have already informed Major Ling that when I wake up I will personally take over your training." After speaking, Winn closed the chamber.
Lauren took a tense and tentative step forward.
"Hey!...you won't really die right?"
Win's lips widened into a giant smile and he playfully punched Lauren's nose as the door began to close completely.
"Do you want to give me a kiss?"
The chamber sealed before Lauren could respond. Winn lay prone inside the capsule.
"In your dreams." He shouted.
Winn laughed until he pulled a stomach muscle.
As expected the three soldier's body temperatures spiked, their heart rate became irregular and a gradual confusion clouded their senses.
General Gordon stood worried. "Perhaps I should not have approved all three of them accepting the x-2 at the same time. Of course...it is meaningless to be concerned about it now."
Maya stood next to them and smiled as he looked at Xiao Yan who was concentrating on his work. "The three of them are very special to Xiao Yan. They are more than just comrades, they are his close friends. When Xiao said that he had developed the best formula to fit them, it showed that he had great confidence in his ability. Do you think Xiao Yan is just a careless and useless researcher?"
Gordon looked at Xiao Yan's back. He was scrolling through all of the data and keeping in constant contact with General Ervel. He stance and expression were both calculating and capable. He sat next to Heine, who protected Xiao Yan's mind from any blockers as he worked.
"No. He is the elite of the elite." Gordon said with stern certainty.
The first to wake up was Mark. The minute the big guy opened his eyes, he yelled at Liv's capsule until Xiao Yan's expression darkened.
"Mark! What..are you rushing over there to propose to Liv?" Xiao could see from his vitals that his body has completely adapted to the x-2 virus. Looking at him rushing about he sighed helplessly.
Mark didn't even spare a moment for sheepishness or embarrassment. He quickly reached toward Liv's reaction chamber and looked through the glass. Seeing that Liv's eyes were still closed, his meaty hands tightened into fists. Xiao was worried that he wouldn't be able to control his temper or actions once the tank opened. Fortunately, although Mark was in a hurry to get to Liv, he didn't make any impulsive moves. Xiao looked over Liv's data. He figured that she would wake up in about 2h. The person he was really worried about was Winn.
The virus in Winn's body is still quite active. Its replication rate is directly proportional to his combat abilities.
Xiao sighs and repeatedly calculated the nutritional content that Winn's body required. Although he knew there was nothing wrong with his math, Xiao's confidence still wavered.
Cool fingers wrapped around his hand. Without disconnecting from the terminal, Xiao knows exactly who has reached out to him. Only one person in this world could calm him so completely. Even if he were to face the complete destruction of the earth, as long as Heine is there he can face any disaster.
Unlike Liv and Mark, Winn's virus replication rate is the similar to Heine's. The acclimation is reaching a critical point. Despite continually injecting Winn with nutrient solutions, his body will be completely consumed unless the x-2 can replace the x-virus in his body. Xiao hoped that Winn's body could hold out for the process to complete.
*See there was a bathtub scene just like everyone wanted! Also, someone left a comment about the question I asked about the author's motivation in Xiao's amnesia. They came to the same conclusion I did. The author doesn't seem to do things gratuitously so it took me a minute to figure out why the amnesia arc appeared, seemingly out of the blue.
Remember when Jane was mentioning to Heine that his meddling with Xiao's subconscious could have subliminally planted his feelings and confused Xiao's? By Xiao's mind rebooting, it clarifies that Xiao's feelings for Heine were not swayed by Heine hacking into his terminal and invading his subconscious. Anyway it was a nerdy question, but at least one person thinks about things that way so I don't feel so weird (I would put their username here but I don't know how anyone feels about that so I didn't). I was going to reply to the comment that I thought they were spot on but with... everything...you know....Speaking of 'you know'...I didn't want to ruin anyone's reading with my own pain so stop here if you just want to enjoy the story and move on.
I am going to emotionally unravel and ramble. Feel free to skip, and I am sorry for even tainting this chapter with my troubles. I wanted to keep it separate so people could just enjoy the story. So stop here if that is what you want. I just need to vent everything.
I warned you...
My Grandma did pass. I still can't believe it. She was fine and then sick and then gone. I didn't know how awful all of this would be. Watching her suffer, not knowing what was the right action... She eventually made the choice to stop treatment and so I was able to be there when they took off the oxygen and stay with her as she passed. Emotionally I couldn't even function for a week. I tried to go to a friend's for thanksgiving and sobbed all over the turkey right when I walked in the door and tried to speak. I am pretty sure I shot snot all over their food....Just a glumpy spray of sad mucous it all over the Thanksgiving table spread.
I have never been through anything like this. My grandma was like a parent to me. Now everything is moving so fast and slow at the same time. I knew that was how this would go and that I would have to rush to secure a job once she passed and move out.
I just...I don't know how I expected it would all go. Everything is so expensive, not much is hiring and there is NOTHING to rent in my budget (There is almost nothing to rent at all). I don't know how people do this. Not to mention I have never packed up a house with 85 years of accumulated knickknacks, clothes, pictures, childhood memories. I guess as painful as it is I have to throw most of it away. Except I don't know where I am going to live! So I don't know what to keep. It is all so overwhelming and painful. I am not the personality type that does well flying by the seat of my pants. I like to have my ducks in a row...but...It is what it is. I am in a small town and hoping for a chemist position...Can I even make that happen? I don't want to go back to the city because I am moving my mom in with me and I want to keep her in a small town...I don't know how people do this?
Sorry to vent...I am scared and mad at everything. I thought I would have more time with her (I don't really know how much more I expected from an 85 almost 86 y old.) I just keep thinking to myself that people do this all the time. How else do they care for dying loved ones right? They handle the emotional pain, and get back to things. So it can be done...Of course a lot of people end up homeless too...My mind is racing...How could there be nothing to rent?! I didn't expect that! Rent shot up so high here and I didn't even notice. I would just really feel better if there was some property to inherit...or a house would fall from the sky...that sounds weird. Ugh, I hate divorce, I hate death ... I hate feeling alone...I hate...everything right now...Such a horrible mindset. I hope it passes. I'm sorry. I feel like I have tainted a great story with my childish selfish whining. I'm sure it will all work out. I just feel like I am going crazy right now. I read that you are not supposed to keep things in at time like these. So I am blasting it all over the internet like a crazy person. Great idea I am sure. If you have hung in this far, bless you. I think I am done freaking out in TNR. For now...