“Remaining Time”

a wangxian modern au thread for 1,111 screenshot winner @/mitsuyukki!

-set in a world where current events are NOT taking place 😔
-see content notes in the next tweet of this thread
⚠️content notes
-genre: sickfic
-warnings for illness/panicking. please take care and mute thread if you need to <3
-taking several artistic liberties here so apologies if things are a little inaccurate n_n’
-good spoiler: nobody dies

updates will be intermittent~
so here’s the thing.

wwx+hospitals? not really a good mix. it’s not quite a phobia, per se, but he will absolutely go out of his way to avoid them when at all possible.

(ironic, considering his best friend is a doctor.)
when he gets a tickle in his throat and starts coughing, he makes a quip in the group chat about his tragic side-character story arc coming to a close in the near future, and doesn’t think much of it after that.
he's got the next four days off work anyway due to a lucky quirk in the schedule. it'll go away.
his cough is a little more insistent by the time he goes to bed, and the next morning... ah. that’s some throat pain, isn’t it.
he whines about the sore throat and his headache in the group chat. jc accuses him of having ‘man flu,’ jiejie offers to bring soup (‘yes, please!!! 🥺’).

ahhh, his siblings care so deeply for him <3
and no he’s not mentioning this to wq, cuz what if she wants to poke him with needles?? no can do no thanks. he’s fine. it’s just a cold or something. he can totally get over a cold.
wwx probably has a mild fever, so he decides he can use that as an excuse to text lwj, aka former-classmate-turned-neighbor.

also-aka /hot/ former-classmate-turned-neighbor. who probably still hates him a little bit for that time in uni when he... well.
that’s a story for another time. suffice it to say, he still glares at wwx whenever they see each other in the hallway despite wwx’s attempts to Move On Already, one missed assignment after a night of drinking is no big deal, Lan Zhan!
so yeah, he texts lwj. says something along the lines of ‘when you go to the store, could you pick me up some cold & flu medicine pretty please? 🥺🥺🥺 i’ll pay you back later!’

and then he promptly passes tf out, asleep.
as expected, he feels even worse the next day. now he’s aching all over, and when jiejie comes to the door with his soup, wwx can barely move to let her in.

she sternly guides him back to bed. and discovers his phone on the floor, halfway under the night stand.
she hands it to him and goes out into his kitchen to heat up some soup for his lunch. (speaking of lunch, when was the last time wwx ate? he can’t remember. is he hungry??? is that why he feels like he can’t move?)
he unlocks his phone and discovers the wechat message he sent to lwj (which he’d forgotten about till that moment) which never received a response.

and no wonder. wwx can barely decipher it.
‘lann zhsb ifb ur gijng to the stire csn u get ne som cokd mwdicinw 🥺 ill pau u back’

he laughs, even if it kinda hurts his chest a bit cuz of all the coughing he’s been doing.

ok, he thinks. let’s try again.
‘lan zhan,’ he types, ‘sorry!! i had a fever last night!! haha u must’ve thought i was drunk’

this time, there is reply and it is almost immediate. ‘are you okay? do you need anything?’
wwx sends a string of 🥺 emojis in response and then retypes the message he meant to send in the first place.

lwj: ‘anything else?’

wwx: ‘a new skull if u can? mine feels like it’s about to split open 😩

lwj: ‘hm. i do not think the grocery store carries skulls.’
wwx giggles.

jiejie returns with warm soup, and he sits up in bed for her and does his best “i am sad and sick please feel sorry for and feed me” pout.

(he knows she’d do it anyway, of course.) but even that much is exhausting when all he wants to do is lie down and sleep.
jiejie asks if he has a thermometer so she can check his temp.

“does a meat thermometer count?” he asks (it doesn’t), and jiejie hums.

(wwx is probably going to receive a new thermometer soon, isn’t he.)
she leaves after making him promise he’ll reach out to her or lwj if he needs anything or starts feeling worse (‘already on it! 😊’).

and then he gets a piercing pain in his temple.
it’s there like a flash in the pan, excruciating for a couple of seconds and gone without a trace.

he decides to google his symptoms.

..........that’s never a good idea, is it. 😬😬😬
so now he’s got a bad cold AND anxiety, but also possibly a very concerning autoimmune disorder? OR his brain could be about to, like, explode or something??? it definitely feels like it’s gonna.
shit, what if it IS some sort of brain-explodey thing? how long would it take before somebody notices if he.......???

oh, and now his heart feels like it’s gonna escape his chest cuz why would that act normal now of all times, right?
he stares at the ceiling and wonders when all those weird patterns started /moving/. wonders when his head will stop throbbing like this every ten seconds.
feels like someone’s taking an ice pick to the side of his face whenever it hits.

some undetermined length of time later, his phone rings. which is weird. had jiejie turned on his ringer?? usually it's on silent.

‘mmm ‘llo?’ he mumbles once he figures out how to answer it.
‘wei ying?’

it’s lwj.

‘are you home? i’m at your door.’

‘mm. why?’

‘you asked me to bring you some cold medicine.’

‘...i did?’
//okay good night <3
‘are you able to let me in, or should i get my key?’

oh yeah, wwx’s swimmy brain remembers. lwj has a key for like, emergencies n stuff. cuz even if he doesn’t like wwx he’s still trustworthy, and also his neighbor.
he must have answered, and it must have been “get your key” or something because the next thing he knows, lwj is next to him, holding a cold cloth to his forehead.

he looks concerned! maybe he does care about wwx after all!!
“mm, hi lan zh-/ah/,” he gasps, gritting his teeth at the pain and waiting it out until it abruptly releases its grip and he can breathe again.

“hi, lan zhan,” he tries again, a whine present in his voice. “i’m sick.”

“mn. are you in pain?”
well. lwj’s already seeing him at his weakest, so there’s no need to lie. “yeah,” wwx breathes.

“only sometimes,” wwx says. he stares up at lwj, silhouetted by the light from the doorway like some sort of radiant hero or something. come to save him from... whatever this is.
“i brought the medicine you asked for. yanlie-jie also asked me to get a thermometer,” he says, holding up the tool in question. “open up.”

wwx doesn’t even argue. normally he fusses up a storm when he’s sick because he likes being difficult, but he does not have the energy rn
it’s a fever. obviously wwx is not surprised, but lwj hums. he leaves the room, comes back with more water.

wwx takes some medication.

it kinda helps. once it kicks in, his body seems a little less achey. lwj has opted to stay in the room in case wwx needs anything, too.
feeling a little better, wwx sits up in bed and watches some videos on his phone. every so often—and with increasing frequency—he gets another stabbing pain in his skull.

ok, so he tries not to panic, generally, but...
(ah. there goes his heart rate again. skyhigh, breathing already kinda difficult as it is but growing even moreso.)

“...wei ying?”

he looks over at lwj, who’s looking at him with a mildly horrified expression on his face.
wwx realizes he is basically /gasping/ for air. it’s partially panic, partially the fact that he can barely get a lungful, or half a lungful, on a given inhale. bad combo.

a couple of tears prick at the corner of his eyes as his mind runs through a million scenarios a second.
it suddenly seems imperative that lwj Stay here with him.

“lan zhan,” he whimpers. lwj stays silent, but his attention is on wwx with a laser-like focus. “i think. um. my head, it’s. it’s hurting, a lot, and i don’t know if something’s gonna happen, or if. if—”
(deep breath, wei ying. well.) “i’ve never felt this awful,” he says in a tiny little voice. “what if. what if it’s something really bad, and i...? lan zhan, what if...”

lwj comes and sits on the bed next to wwx. “you’ll get through this,” he says. but he’s still worried.
“should we take you to the emergency room?”

“no, no, i... well. I...”

oh, jeez.

wwx is actually contemplating visiting a hospital voluntarily. hm. ok. ok. ok. cool, it’s fine. that’s fine. he’s. yeah.

another pain stabs his temple.
when he opens his eyes again, he finds the tears have fallen. he hates crying in front of people, but lwj doesn’t seem, like, disgusted by him or anything.

and wwx is sick. he should totally get a free pass.

“i’m glad you’re here,” he whispers. “cuz if it’s bad...”
“wei ying.”
“lan zhan. i know it’s... it’s the fever, it’s whatever, but if it IS bad, i would want... I DO want, to spend my remaining time. with you. i’m. i’m glad it’s you, here. with me. thank you.”

lwj lets out a short, tense sigh. “wei ying, are you sure I can’t take you to the ER?”
wwx takes a breath, grounding himself. “i’m sure. I’m gonna sleep, so you can... uh.”

“i will stay.”

it’s hard to tell in the dim light, but wwx thinks lwj’s eyes might look a little... nah. wwx is just projecting. (even if he did display a moment of... heartfelt whatevers.)
wwx gets a bit of sleep. mostly he wakes up whenever the pain hits him again, and by the time it’s dark outside, lwj has had enough.

“wei ying. hospital.”

“nooo,” wwx whines. and winces, and holds his breath, and.... “...okay. fine. but lan zhan will have to help me.”
“come on,” lwj says, and he doesn’t even sound put-upon. he totally gets brownie points for that. maybe a spot on the “should take care of wwx if sick” list, right below jiejie.

wearing a ratty pair of sneakers and a hoodie, wwx lets himself be led out to lwj’s car.
//i am very sleepy and i have a lot to do tomorrow so good night <3
//reminder: this is sickfic, be aware <3

the hospital isn’t too far from their building, thankfully. lwj drops him off at the front entrance and helps him get checked in, then leaves to park the car.
he returns in short order to wait beside wwx, who’s wearing a mask and poking miserably at his phone.
wwx would rather be anywhere else. the sights, smells, sounds... yeah. no thanks.

it's not long before he’s called in to speak with the triage nurse, who takes his BP and heart rate and asks some questions. she has kind, sympathetic eyes whenever he gets another stabbing pain.
not too long after that, he’s called in by another ER nurse. lwj stays by his side the whole time without wwx even having to ask, and they’re led past a corridor of curtained off ‘rooms’ before being shown to the one he’ll be occupying.
there’s a chair next to the bed and lwj promptly sets himself up there as wwx lies back on the bed and closes his eyes.

“Mr. Wei?”

he opens his eyes to see the doctor standing in front of him with a clipboard. off to the side, lwj watches him silently.
“present,” wwx mumbles.

he gives the spiel of his symptoms to the doctor—with lwj interjecting his temperature, which had been at 104.2 F—and grimaces with the knife-in-skull sensation probably three times during.
thankfully his fever has gone down quite a bit. it’d probably been that high for a while. but he still feels /awful/.

the dr. does some stethoscope stuff (it’s cold against wwx’s bare skin. he shivers) and hums a little bit.
wwx can’t tell if it’s an ‘oh, interesting’ hum or an ‘oh, yikes’ hum.

“the head pain you’re experiencing can be a rare symptom of pneumonia in men your age,” the dr. finally says. “but i’d like to have some bloodwork and a chest xray done to make sure.”
wwx’s mind snags on /bloodwork/ because... /needles/ (‼️‼️) and he must have flinched pretty hard because next thing he knows, lwj takes his hand and holds it tight.

he backtracks and takes in the rest of what the doctor said.

wait. pneumonia??
“so i’m /not/ gonna have like, an aneurysm or something?” he whispers, afraid to be hopeful.

“most likely not,” the doctor says with a reassuring smile. “i’m afraid you normally wouldn’t get this much warning, if it were.”
wwx is sure he would feel something like a weight being lifted from him if he weren’t feeling so achey and terrible.
the agonizing wait for the bloodwork is the worst part. lwj holds his hand the whole time (⁉️), and makes sure he drinks water, but the minutes tick by so slowly that wwx’s anxiety is on a steady upward climb.

“sucks you gotta see me all gross like this,” he quips.
lwj squeezes his hand. he looks about to say something when the nurse comes in with a cart.

once he’s been poked full of holes (approximately three more than necessary, he thinks, but he’s no medical professional so what does he know?), lwj resumes his place next to him.
wwx, lightheaded from the whole Needles thing as well as everything else, flops his head to the side and mumbles, “what’re you still doin here, lan zhan.”

“I want to take care of you,” lwj says.

well. what can wwx say to refute that.
“you don’t even like me.”

lwj’s lips press into a thin line and his eyebrows do that thing where they twitch even though he’s trying not to give anything away.

“that is not true,” he says quietly.
he twists his hand so he’s holding wwx’s palm to palm, intertwining their fingers. “it has never been true.”

“oh,” says wwx. he squeezes lwj’s hand back and smiles at him as best as he can. “well. do I have to rethink the context of all our past interactions?” he tries teasing.
lwj takes a deep breath. “if you wouldn’t mind. i will try to express myself more clearly," he says.

“i know you don’t like to talk much,” allows wwx. “but. you know. thanks for staying. thanks for not thinking out loud that i’m a big wuss cuz I can’t handle a little pinprick.”
“you have been very brave, wei ying.”

wwx pouts at him and is about to come up with a witty rebuttal—already difficult in his state—when he is interrupted by another nurse who leads him to get his chest x-rayed.
after getting himself nice and blasted with radiation and stuff, it’s another hour or two of IV antibiotics (“just in case, best to get you started on those right away”) and being checked on.

at some point, out comes the IV (which hurts like a bitch).
then the doctor returns and says “there’s pneumonia in your right lung!” so it turns out he was correct on a wild hunch, which wwx is pretty sure only happens in american tv dramas but whatever.

even the nurses are impressed about it.
so. it’s like, 2am. wwx is actually feeling a bit better because now he knows his head’s not gonna explode, and he’s pretty sure he napped despite the awful overhead fluorescents.

they pumped him full of some medications to help the symptoms, too.
when wwx is finally discharged, lwj goes and brings the car around to pick him up.

on the ride home, wwx watches streetlights out the window and tries not to fall asleep. no use in making lwj have to wake him or carry him inside or something.
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