Jian gleamed through the files he brought with him as he waited for LeeAnn to arrive. A business proposal to renovate one of the abandoned buildings in the slums into an affordable living space for the local residents. Jian trusted that Yuelong made sure that no 'trouble' remained on that property and he knew it wouldn't take Emmy long to delegate the needed paperwork to get the city's approval for that plot of land. Speaking of the right-hand man, he didn't see much of the other when he returned home after the whole Yamadachi debacle.
"All work and no rest? You must really want to test LeeAnn's patience." Jae chuckled, entering the patient room with two cups of hot coffee. Probably nothing in comparison to the kind of coffee Jian was used to at the Ouroboros estate, but it was caffeine and that was enough.
"I'll take my chances." Jian smirked a small chuckle escaped his lips as he placed the file aside and took the cup of coffee. Jae took a seat beside the mobster on the tough, vinyl hospital couch. The lawyer took a glance at the other, seeing the fresh bruises of last night now a shade of purple even under the makeup they put on him.
"Jeez, Jian, you're never this reckless," Jae frowned. "What happened? You should have been in and out of that disgusting brothel," Jian merely kept quiet, closing his eyes and taking in the cheap coffee. A small amused grin tugging at the corner of his lip thinking back on exactly what happened. He went against his better judgment and decided to see what a certain mischievous puppy was up to, that's what happened. Jae's frown deepened at the sight. "You need to keep your distance from that quack detective. Every time he's involved, everything seems to go to hell. Remember that time you were trying to 'convince' the Hisao group to end their gambling dens but then it ended in a farce of a police raid? The whole thing became such a mess. "
"It's part of his charm." Jian scoffed, placing the coffee aside on the small table next to the couch and grabbed the file once more.
"I'm serious, Jian. I know you're doing all of this to fulfill Zemin's wish, we all owe a debt to him but-"
"I don't need you lecturing me, Jae." Jian side-eyed Jae, his eyes warning the other that he was treading on dangerous waters.
"We're just worried about your safety," A pout formed on Jae's lips. "I'm worried about you." Jae reached to gently caress Jian's cheek. "I don't want to see the person I lo-" Jian caught Jae's hand before the other could reach him.
"I can handle myself. Did it then and I'll do it now." Jian's now cold and empty eyes staring straight into Jae's. The past warmth gone. Jae recognized those eyes, they were the same when they were children. When they had no one to rely on but each other.
"Ahem, I'm here to see the patient now. Unless I'm interrupting something?" A tall, full-figured African-American women entered the room. Her braids were tied up in a high pony-tail and her comfortable dress pants and shirt were adorned with a white physician's coat.
"You're not," Jian released Jae's hand. "Wait outside, Jae. It shouldn't take long." Jae opened his mouth as if were to retort but quietly closed it, knowing that his words would fall on deaf ears. Jae got up from his spot on the couch and left the room, LeeAnn giving him a squeeze of the shoulder before his departure.
"You shouldn't be so cold towards him," LeeAnn sighed, shaking her head in dismay. "You know his feelings towards you. Out of all of us, he's the most attached."
"It's because I understand his feelings towards me that I have to douse those affections. He's like my younger brother, nothing more and nothing less." Jian sighed as he got up from his spot on the couch to move to the patient bed. He began to remove his suit jacket and dress shirt for LeeAnn to examine him. Jian wasn't a blind or a fool. He wasn't oblivious towards Jae's gazes, his stares, his craving for skinship, but it was something that Jian could not give him in return. Jian cared and loved Jae like family as he did with LeeAnn and the others.
"He still clings to that false hope from two years ago." LeeAnn grabbed the needed gauze, antiseptics, needle, and thread that she required from the cabinet.
"That...that was my mistake." Jian's brows furrowed together.
"Zemin had just died, the weight of Ouroboros suddenly falling on your shoulders, you were emotionally distraught. No one is blaming you for seeking comfort and warmth," LeeAnn placed a hand on Jian's shoulder. "Just understand where Jae's coming from is all, I hate dealing with emotionally constipated children." She rested her cheek in her hand, letting out an exhausted breath.
"Matriarch as always," Jian let out a small chuckle, putting his clothes aside and turning so that he was facing LeeAnn. "How are Louis and Thanh?"
"Someone had to be while you were out there getting into trouble," LeeAnn let out a giggle as she began to prep all she needed on the overbed table. "They're both doing fine. Louis just opened up his own architectural company and Thanh's now head pastry chef of some fancy restaurant and she's engaged to the head chef. They're flying in next month to come to the wedding."
"I'm sorry that I can't attend." Jian flashed a sad smile.
"I mean, I figured that the head of one of the most notorious mobs in the city wouldn't have free time to be going around attending weddings," LeeAnn let out a snort. "But I'm still expecting a wedding gift, Mister."
"Of course," Jian couldn't help but smile. "Luke is a lucky man."
"Yeah, tell him that," LeeAnn rolled her eyes before turning around to expect Jian, a whistle escaping her lips. "Wow, they did a number on you," LeeAnn carefully inspected the bruising on Jian's abdomen, back, and face. Jian letting out a small hiss or two when she would add too much pressure. "Fortunately, nothing is broken. You're just going to be sore for a few days so I'll prescribe you some medication for that. Now that cut…" LeeAnn gently turned Jian's arm so she could have a better look. Here eyebrows stitched together upon closer examination. "Whoever did the stitching, did a damn good job given the circumstances."
"How good exactly?" Jian raised a brow. He had been bothered by Westly's skill of stitching up wounds since he discovered it last night. Again, the fact that the other was so calm and seemed well-versed in what he was doing made Jian think that the detective must have had experienced dealing with these sort of wounds.
"Well…" LeeAnn pondered as she carefully began unstitching Westly's work. "I'd say this is on a level of a beginning first-year medical student, which for your average person is not bad."
"And where would you learn how to do something like this?"
"Medical school obviously or…" LeeAnn tapped her chin in contemplation. "Theoretically it could be self-taught, but you would need a hell of a lot of practice. Most wounds that need stitching are usually ones that are either too deep, too far apart, or too jagged for it to naturally heal." Again, this left Jian with more questions than answers. It was given at this point that Westly has had a lot of experience stitching up wounds, but where and why this experience was developed was a whole nother puzzle.
"Why suddenly so interested? Usually, you come in here looking like a mess, leave all the hard work to me then mosey yourself out." LeeAnn raised a brow, a playful smirk on her face. She knew Jian long enough that when something piqued his interest it wasn't for no reason. Jian averted his eyes, keeping silent as LeeAnn gave him new stitches. Now LeeAnn was very invested. "I heard from Emmy that you were caught up in this fiasco with Detective Le, perhaps you and him were playing doctor?" Jian quickly turned around and shot a glare along with a scowl towards LeeAnn, his ears becoming a shade of red. To LeeAnn, he looked like a disgruntled cat, which only made her burst of laughter more warranted. "Well, you can thank Detective Le for making my job easier. If your wound wasn't stitched up and kept relatively clean, I might be sawing off your arm right now instead of patching it up." LeeAnn gave a playful wink as she put the final bandaging on. Jian's scowl slowly morphing into something more similar to a pout.
"You looking a lot better than I expected, young master." Yuelong stuck his head from around the corner of the staircase leading to the office portion of Jian's floor.
"And where have you been?" Jae grimaced at Yuelong's sudden appearance, enjoying the alone time he had with Jian even if they were simply sitting in silence as Jian worked.
"Being an oh so faithful guard dog, of course" Yuelong smirked, enjoying the irritation that was brewing on Jae's face. Yuelong had a bad habit of teasing others as his past time, the bigger the reaction the more entertainment he found. The right-hand man walked towards Jian who was sitting behind his classic modern gray washed desk. "Did ya miss me, young master?" Yuelong grinned putting an arm around Jian. The right-hand could practically see steam coming out of Jae.
"I suppose you had some doing in the police showing up at the docks along with Emmy and Jae?" Jian snorted.
"I didn't worry too much. Your favorite Shiba Inu was with you after all." Yuelong let an all-knowing grin spread across his face. Jian shot him a warning glare as he took a sip of his coffee, an upgrade to whatever brown stew he had at the hospital.
"You're his guard, Yuelong. Instead, you let him get caught up with some incompetent cop who got him stabbed." Jae hissed, eyes narrowing at the right-hand man. A banter formed between the lawyer and right-hand man. One criticizing the other, while the other adding fuel to the fire with his teasing. At some point, Jian simply chose to tune out the feud until it subsided.
Jian's eyes trailed to a scrap of cloth that was left on the window sill of the large glass window facing towards the cityscape. The remains of a black sweater covered in blood that Jian had tossed there after dressing his wound in a proper gauze. He thought back to the night of the warehouse where Westly had stitched and dressed his wounds. His hand unconsciously grazing over his stitches. What Westly did was unnecessary, Jian had gotten various types of wounds under worse conditions. If it was any other cop, Jian would have been left to fend for himself. Honestly, if it was any other cop, he would have let them rot on the floor of that factory. Jian sucked in his lips, his brows knitted together. He had a faint inkling of a detective's salary. Enough that he knew Westly probably shouldn't be going about cutting his clothes to be bandaids.
"Jian! JIAN!" Jian eyes darted back to the bickering duo. "Are you okay?" Jae shot up from his seat and ran over towards Jian. "You were spacing out. Is your wound acting up? Are you feeling warm?" Jae reached out to press the back of his hand against Jian's forehead. Jian waved Jae's hand away, nodding his head.
"I'm fine. Just thinking." Jae's hand weakly fell at Jian's release.
"Overprotective much?" Yuelong snickered.
"Well someone isn't doing their job properly and running off doing God knows what or who knows what." Jae sneered.
"Once I knew Jian was going to be safe, I went off to deal with 'other' business." Yuelong flashed a Cheshire grin. Innocent on the surface with something more devious and mischievous underneath.
"Jae, go downstairs." Jian ordered.
"Jian, I'm your lawyer. Keeping me out of the loop is going to make it a lot harder to defend you if the cops decide to be stupid." Jae tuned into his lawyer's voice. The lawyer knew that acting spoiled wouldn't get him far with Jian at this moment.
"Jae, it's because you're a lawyer that you should go downstairs. You know exactly why you can't be here when Yuelong and I are discussing certain Ouroboros matters," Jian let out a small exasperated sigh. As much as he cared about Jae, he wouldn't deny that the other's clinginess was tiresome. It's even worse when the other decided to use his lawyer logic. "You still need to unpack your stuff into the guest room, right? I'll be downstairs shortly and we can all have dinner." Jian's voice becoming soft and gentle. Jae scrunched his face together in a pout, not even trying to hide his unhappiness as he removed himself for the distressed navy blue Phoebe chair. He fixed the collar of his light blue button shirt before glaring at Yuelong who was playfully waving goodbye to the other.
"I didn't know you were taking in spoiled kittens, I thought you were more of a dog person." Yuelong chuckled, taking over Jae's spot on the chair.
"Stop pushing his buttons," Jian warned Yuelong who simply made himself comfortable and putting his hands behind his head. "I didn't want him to get involved, but Jae insisted on staying until this incident with the Yamadachi's is completely clear since Interpol seems to believe that I have been colluding with Ginzo. It should only be a few weeks before this subsides," Jian picked up his pristine white ceramic mug to intake another sip of coffee, closing the folder of paperwork he was working on. "So what other business have you been up to?"
"Ginzo got picked up by the cops a few hours after they found you and Detective Le," Jian's eyes lifted up from his mug to Yuelong at this interesting tidbit of information. "So while you and Detective Le were eloping," Jian immediately threw a balled-up piece of scrap paper at the other. Yuelong let out a small snicker at Jian's expense. "I made a little stop by Ginzo's house and did some snooping on my own before he got back. I've never seen the old man look so pale and ballistic in my life," Yuelong shrugged at the memory of seeing the head of the Yamadachi's as pale as a ghost, barking out orders to his men as they were about to enter Ginzo's estate. Jian's brows knitted together, remembering how distraught Ginzo was after receiving a mysterious phone call. The yakuza boss whimpering and groveling like some underling to the person on the other line. "I couldn't find a single trace of Marion at his residence. The place was practically immaculate."
Jian brows furrowed together, understanding Yuelong's insinuation. Understanding Ginzo's behavior, there was no doubt that Marion was in the yakuza boss's house. If not for sale, then his own private stash for his enjoyment. Someone had arrived at Ginzo's residence prior and cleaned out any stock of Marion that Ginzo could have possibly kept. Jian's and Westly's suspicions affirmed that there was some outside force headway the Marion drug ring and they had implanted an agent within the Yamadachi gang.
"Did you get anything from the backtrace of the shipping details?"
"Backtrace showed pings in random locations across the globe, I'm sure that someone tampered with the information," More wrinkles began to form between Jian's brows. Everything was leading to a dead-end, and the mob boss felt like he was falling back onto square one. "Ginzo's place wasn't a total bust, though. I managed to get a little something before the police came to haul his ass to prison." Yuelong dug into the pocket of his jacket and slid a computer hard drive across the desk.
"Have the techs had a chance to take a look at it?"
"The hard drive was completely wiped," Jian raised a brow at Yuelong's words. "When I gave it to our techs to try to recover the data, they said the disc was encrypted was layers of security measures that would take them months to figure out and it's no guarantee that if they mess up, the drive won't erase the data completely."
"So you brought me basically a metal brick." Jian picked up the useless brick, an unamused expression painted on his face.
"Pfft, have faith in me, young master," Yuelong scoffed. "I know a guy who is definitely skilled enough to take care of this for us."
"Are you waiting for my permission then?" Jian stared bored at the other.
"No, just letting you know that it may take me some time to convince him is all. He's a stubborn, smart mouth, who knows no shame." Yuelong snorted.
"Sounds like your soulmate," Jian smirked, giving the phone back to Yuelong. Yuelong let out a snort, tucking the phone back into his pocket. The mob boss removed himself from his chair and walked towards the bookcase at the back wall to access the hidden safe. "Have Dr. Wu analyze this for me and tell him relay the results directly to me." The mob boss tossed the small bag of the Marion pills.
Ginzo's words rang through his mind. When Jian first received the autopsy report and case details of that night, anger had blinded his judgment and he took every word given to him as truth. Zemin was shot with a police rifle issued to Detective Carter. Detective Carter was found with high levels of drugs mimicking morphine. There was no evidence of any other drugs except for Marion at the scene. At the time, it was simply easier to blame the death of his brother on the officer. To accept that a corrupt officer had taken his admirable brother from him than to accept that Zemin had become a snitch for the police or even worse a dealer himself. If Ginzo's words were to be taken as truth, then Detective Carter's tox screen should have come up negative.
"I know Detective Carter, and he would have never bought drugs from your brother or murdered him!"
The familiar voice of a certain detective stirred through Jian's conscious.
"I also need you to get as much information as you can on Detective Scotty Carter. Background, history, financial status, anything."
"Jeez, so demanding." Yuelong smirked, getting up from his spot on the chair. "I'll get it done. Don't work yourself to death, Jian." He placed his hand on Jian's shoulder, giving it a tight squeeze before leaving.
I am so sorry this is late and such a short chapter! I was pretty busy this week since I've been travelling, but I honestly should have got this done a while ago. In light of how my snail pace is kicking in, I decided to change the update schedule of this story to once a week. That way ya'll can get long chapters, hehe. Thank you all for giving time to this story and I hope you can vote, review, comment, and just let me know how you are liking it so far! Any comment can help me become a better writer and help these stories get better :) Thank you again!
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