First Published on Chaleuria
11.2 – This Is How Friendship Works
The facts proved that Hu Lin had made the wrong decision. If this had been Su Mu under ordinary circumstances he might still have had a chance at winning. But Su Mu, his reason lost, did not defend at all and only attacked, his strength was double what it would have been under ordinary circumstances. Fighting with a madman like that, there was no chance of winning at all. Within several moves Hu Lin was flat on the ground, but Su Mu still did not let up. With his knees he trapped both Hu Lin’s legs against the floor, punching him brutally on his face, his chest, his stomach—he seemed to have decided to kill this bastard.
“Stop, Su Mu… you’ll kill him.”
Yao Yuan’s voice was very weak, but Su Mu heard it and finally stopped. He let go of Hu Lin, an icy glare in his eye. “Take note of this. If something happens to him I’ll kill your whole family.”
With these words, he gave the bastard no further regard. He walked straight to Yao Yuan’s side and squatted in front of him, attentively wiping the seat from his forehead. He did not dare look down at Yao Yuan’s stomach, knowing the knife was still embedded there. He knew the wound must be drenched with fresh blood, and he did not have the courage to see Yao Yuan bleeding. He circled around behind Yao Yuan, carefully avoiding his wound, and hugged him tightly, murmuring into his ear, “Why?”
Why? You should hate me and resent me, but why did you take a knife for me?
“You’re still… my friend. And this is… how friendship works.” Yao Yuan was beginning to grow dizzy, but Su Mu still heard and understood his words. No matter how angry Yao Yuan was, Su Mu was someone he had decided to call a friend, and it was in Yao Yuan’s instincts to protect his friends.
“Friend.” Su Mu murmured, repeating the word. His education from a young age had taught him that all people were selfish, and nobody would be nice to someone else without a reason. Everything is given with the expectation of receiving something in return. But since meeting this person a suspicion had slowly started to grow: was it possible for interpersonal relationships to be very straightforward?
“What happened today… don’t tell my sister for now.” With these words, Yao Yuan fainted in Su Mu’s arms.
“Yuan, don’t go to sleep! Wake up!” Su Mu immediately panicked. He put his face against Yao Yuan’s sweaty cheek and said, “Yuan, wake up. You’re angry at me, right? Get up and punch me. Yuan, I was wrong. I won’t ask you again to come to the Su Group and help me. I’ll be your friend—your friend for life.”
When the ambulance arrived, Su Mu was still clutching Yao Yuan tightly and talking to him, and he followed the stretcher into the ambulance in a daze. He watched the paramedics give Yao Yuan emergency treatment and a blood transfusion, then wheel him into the operating theater. Instinctively he tried to follow, but a command from the nurse woke him up.
“Wait outside! Don’t get in the way.”
Su Mu finally came to his senses a little, and he recalled Yao Yuan’s words before he fell unconscious. Today was a school vacation day and Yao Qian must be waiting for Yao Yuan at home. But phone calls were not allowed in the operating theater waiting room. Never mind; he would call her later. He sat on the floor, leaning against the wall of the hospital. Now that he had emerged from his stupor he finally felt pain: where Yao Yuan had hit him, and also in his heart. He felt as if even his soul were hurting, and even worse than the pain was the fear—fear that the knife had gone too deep and injured his organs, fear that they had taken too long and he had lost too much blood, and fear that he would never wake up again and say to him, “You are my friend.”
Su Mu buried his head between his knees. He really was pathetic today. Su Mu had felt such panic only twice in his life; the other time was five years ago when his brother had left. Look, Yao Yuan. No matter what my initial intentions were, I care about you as much as I care about my brother. So, please, forgive me, and wake up.
When Zhang Chen and Wang Jiya got the news and rushed to the hospital, they almost didn’t recognize the person sitting against the wall. In their minds, Su Mu was a spirited man, not the pale and exhausted person they were seeing now. There was even a streak of dried blood by his mouth, and the lower half of his shirt was stained with a large patch of blood. Zhang Chen and Wang Jiya exchanged a glance, then walked up to Su Mu and patted his shoulder lightly.
Su Mu glanced up at them but there was no anxiety in his eyes. After a long time, he finally made out who they were. “You’re here.”
“Leave this place to us. Get some rest…”
Su Mu shook his head, suddenly remembering something. “Where is that bastard Hu Lin?”
“You don’t know?” Zhang Chen looked at him with surprise. “Someone in school saw the paramedics take Hu Lin at the same time they took our boss.”
Was that so? Su Mu nodded woodenly. All his attention had been on Yao Yuan and he hadn’t had the wherewithal to notice what had been happening to the other people at the scene.
“Su Mu, you have to rest.” Wang Jiya tried to help him up from the ground but was forcefully pushed away.
“Leave me alone. I have to make sure he’s fine.”
Wang Jiya looked at Zhang Chen, who helplessly shook his head. They didn’t know what exactly had happened there, but they knew very well that, right now, Su Mu would not leave. All they could do was sit next to him and wait with him.
For a long time, the door to the operating theater did not open. Zhang Chen could no longer sit still. He got up and paced along the corridor, murmuring something—it seemed like a prayer. Wang Jiya, who had already been anxious, grew even more distraught seeing him like this, until finally he called out for him to stop.
Su Mu still sat there in silence, head buried between his knees so that no one could see his face, and as a result no one was able to tell what he was thinking, either. He seemed to have gone numb. But when the door to the operating theater was pushed open, Su Mu was the first to react. He rushed over and asked anxiously, “Doctor, how is he?”
The doctor pulled down her mask. “Fortunately he was brought here in time. Relax, he’ll be fine.”
In that moment Su Mu felt that he had come back to life.
When Yao Yuan was wheeled out, he was still unconscious from the anaesthetic. Su Mu rushed up to him, looked at his bloodless face, and couldn’t help catching hold of his hand and following the nurse into the ward.
“Su Mu, now you can go rest, right? I’ll keep watch over Yuan-ge.” Wang Jiya consoled him lightly, worried that when Yuan-ge woke up it would be Young Master Su’s turn to faint.
“No need.” Still holding onto Yao Yuan’s hand, Su Mu turned back and shot Jiya a smile that could barely be called elegant. “I’ll wait for him to wake up.”
I’ll wait for him to wake up, then tell him that I finally understand how to be friends with someone. That I finally understand that between people, aside from mutual use and calculation, there can also be beautiful feelings. I want to tell him that from now on, I’m sticking to him, and he can forget about getting rid of me.
Jiya helplessly shook his head. When Young Master Su was being stubborn, who could stop him? Forget it. He would go out and buy some food for them. When Jiya got to the door of the ward, he saw Zhang Chen standing there deep in thought.
“What’s the matter?”
“Jiya, don’t you think that Su Mu’s reaction was overboard?” Zhang Chen looked through the glass on the door and his gaze fell onto their linked hands. “Are he and Yuan-ge really…”
“Don’t imagine things.” Jiya flicked a harsh forefinger against Zhang Chen’s forehead. “You weren’t also brainwashed by those girls, were you?”
“But Su Mu is acting so oddly.”
“I think Yuan-ge got injured because of something to do with Su Mu.” Jiya, who had led a difficult life from a young age, naturally had more insight into the situation than Zhang Chen did. “Let’s go and buy some congee. Yuan-ge will be hungry when he wakes up.”
Before leaving with Jiya, Zhang Chen looked back and glanced at the two people in the sickroom again. Was he imagining it? He hoped so.