Hellos sorries for the delay guys, ** happened :)
When he woke up early the next morning, Qi Jing could feel his head throbbing slightly in pain. Glancing at the alarm clock, he realised hes only had four hours of sleep.
Even though he had clearly wanted to sleep until it was time to get up for work, he couldnt fall back asleep despite tossing and turning around in bed. So he decided to get out of bed to get himself a cup of water.
He was running a slight fever.
He had probably caught a cold from sleeping on the sofa for two hours yesterday when the jacket he had used to cover himself had somehow slipped onto the floor at some point.
Qi Jing was rather averse to taking medicine. And thats because his body reacted strongly to Western medication. The effects usually made him weak for the entire day, constantly on the verge of dozing off. Hence, he would normally avoid taking them unless he was seriously ill. When met with low fevers like such, he would often just endure it and wait for it to pass.
At this time, the community is still immersed in the tranquility of the morning. The pale faint white light that shone in from the windows was unable to warm up the room.
A person running a fever was very sensitive to the cold. He had just gone to the kitchen to get himself a cup of water but after finishing his drink, his extremities were already trembling from the cold that washed over his whole body. Qi Jing had no choice but to burrow back under the covers.
“I have to gather information in the morning, do an interview with the Department of Transportation in the west of the city in the afternoon, produce the Mid-Autumn Special in the evening...”
He mumbled his schedule for the day.
The source of this content is n/ov//el/bin[./]net'
Although this quiet pocket of time before work was prime time for recording, Qi Jing couldnt find it in him to do that today. He simply lied in bed with his eyes wide open.
He took out his phone, opened his messages, and typed in the words “Im sick”. Then, he stared blankly at the list of contacts.
He couldnt think of anyone to send it to—
The Director Hed probably think that its just an excuse to skip work.
My colleagues Theyd probably complain about having one less person to help with the workload today.
My junior Shes probably still asleep at the moment. Even if she receives a text message, she will definitely give a reply like “See This is karma for not listening to me when I tell you to take care of your health normally hahaha.”
The doctor Unfortunately, I am not a cat.
Qi Jing froze for a moment when that last thought crossed his mind before hurriedly shaking it out of his head. Generally speaking one should be thinking of a regular doctor, shouldnt they
Ah, my brain is fried from the fever, its fried...
Qi Jing started muttering to himself, his brows furrowing together as he got ready to wash up and find something to fill his stomach before heading for work.
Whenever a holiday approaches, the TV station virtually becomes a war zone—all the various departments were busy as a bee.
Especially when theres the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day happening back-to-back. The entire province was bustling with all kinds of activity, leading to the interview team being virtually stuck in a perpetual state of being away on business trips.
However, the director probably felt sorry for Qi Jing whos had too many business trips. This time, he deliberately arranged for the latter to have several interviews located within the city as a form of compensation. And Qi Jing could finally find some slight comfort in that.
“Youre sick” A colleague finally noticed that something was off, seeing Qi Jing reach out to feel his forehead for the umpteenth time.
“I have a slight fever, but its nothing.”
Qi Jing had a large glass of water with some salt added to it on his desk. He wanted to keep his body properly hydrated and his body temperature down in the morning when he didnt have to run out for interviews.
“Why dont you get someone to take your place for the interview with the Department of Transportation in the afternoon Its windy out there today, better not run the risk of worsening the cold.”
“Who would be free at a time like this Everyone has their work arrangements, I cant mess it up because of me,” Qi Jing politely declined his colleagues kind offer with a smile, “Ill get these files done as soon as possible, then I can take a nap during lunch break to recuperate.”
Just as he was about to get back to his mountain of work, the director sauntered into the office with a cup of tea in hand, and announced, mimicking the tone of a newspaper boy selling newspapers on TV, “Extra! Extra! The Mid-Autumn Mooncake gift boxes that the station ordered have arrived in the mailroom! Everyone remember to pick one up before going off today!”
It was the Tv stations practice to give out mooncakes in advance, before the Mid-Autumn Festival.
According to a well-informed source, the vendor chosen this year was very good, the packaging was exquisite and the contents were good value for money.
Hearing the directors words, some of Qi Jings more impatient colleagues immediately left the matters they had on hand for the mooncakes.
The atmosphere in the office instantly became lively for a while, everyone was in a hubbub, excitedly discussing their favourite mooncake fillings. Qi Jing too, cheerily engaged in their chatter as he typed away on his computer.
“Qi Jing, heres your share.” A colleague had heard that he was unwell and graciously brought his share back for him.
“Oh, thanks so much,” Qi Jing said and received it with a smile.
The packaging of the mooncake gift box had a vintage design, with light grey as the background, it was a lightly painted Chinese court style painting of a lotus pond and a full moon hanging over it. The name of the brand was also written in Chinese calligraphy.
Other than that, the gift box also came with a silver-coloured high-end gift bag, so it appeared that the unit is really generous this year.
“By the way, Qi Jing, the person at the mailroom said that there was a letter addressed to you so I brought it along as well,” as he spoke, that colleague took out a number three envelope that was slightly larger than a normal envelope and placed it in front of Qi Jing.
“A letter for me” Qi Jing was slightly surprised.
When he cast a sweeping glance at the letter, his eyes froze when they landed on the words “Veterinary Hospital”.
This was an envelope specially used by hospitals. Besides the name and address printed at the top, there was a pink cat paw print which was the logo of this hospital.
Under the recipients place, his name was neatly written with a pen, while the sender wasnt written, probably because it was already printed at the top.
After three seconds of hesitation, Qi Jing carefully opened the envelope with his letter opener, only to find that there was yet another letter inside.
The envelope inside was slightly smaller and had a layer of plastic wrapping over the exterior. Looking at the size and style, it should be a card.
Qi Jing kept calm and opened the second envelope.
Sure enough, it was a card. The size of the card was relatively large compared to the ones sold in the market, and the workmanship was also pretty exquisite. In the front was a print of realistically drawn fluffy kitties. The brushstrokes were so detailed, every strand of fur was drawn on one by one, it looked so lifelike like the cats were about to pounce right out of the paper.
“Kuku.” Qi Jing felt his mood ease up a lot and the corner of his lips curled up when he saw that image.
However, the moment he opened the card, he was stunned momentarily.
There were cat paw prints in the card as well, but these were real. These were made by dipping the cats paws in soluble pigment and stamping it on the card. He counted them and there were a total of sixteen, all arranged in chronological order.
Beside each paw print was an entry neatly written in pen.
“Local special, Cage No. 14, discharged on August 22nd, adopted.”
“Tabby cat, Cage No. 6, discharged on August 24th, adopted.”
“Siamese cat, Cage No. 31, discharged on September 5th, adopted.”
And many more.
It appeared that each paw print was stamped on the card when they were officially discharged.
In other words, the card had at least one month in the making.
The postmark on the envelope was yesterday afternoon, and he remembered that the last kitten mentioned in the card had been dropped off yesterday morning, so the card had been finished around that time as well.
Some of the paw prints looked a little wonky, probably because of the little ones moving around, there were also some that were crooked and didnt look like anything.
Even so, he was so happy.
Qi Jing couldnt help but gently press his finger against his lips to hold back any sound that was on the verge of escaping his lips. He turned his back to his colleague and gently stroked those tiny, colorful paw prints with his fingertips.
What do I do, Im so happy—
That was the first time he had received such a unique gift and he was over the moon.
The card ended off with a message written with the same pen and handwriting:
“To Mr. Qi,
Before we met you, we couldve never imagined that we would be able to find new homes for the little ones so smoothly, and receive so much help from passionate individuals during that time. The aftermath that we had a hard time dealing with before was made a lot easier with your suggestions. Thank you for your feature report, thank you for taking the time to patiently reply to my emails every time, and thank you for incorporating them into a post on the forum. Thank you.”
Then starting with a new paragraph.
“This card is a little personal token in hopes that I can express the deep gratitude I have in my heart for you through these little ones.”
And with that, he concluded the letter. Unlike the previous emails they shared, this time, he did not sign off with the hospital but with the name of a person.
Like the context of the text, his handwriting had similar comeliness.
Qi Jing took a deep breath and stared at the card for a few more minutes before suddenly closing it and putting it back into the envelope. Then, he turned back to his computer and started typing rapidly.
The work of sorting out the information was tedious and lengthy. Moreover, since he was unwell, it could already be considered efficient for him to complete it before lunch break and actually take a break.
And yet, he had completed all the scheduled work ahead of schedule just after 11 AM.
He saved the files, organised them, and sent them out.
After finishing up with the finishing touches in one breath, he picked up his mooncake gift box, informed his colleagues, and got ready to leave.
“Im done with my work for the morning, so Ill be leaving for a bit. Ill be back before the interview in the afternoon.” Qi Jings speech was as hurried as his steps.
“Eh Didnt you say you were going to take a good rest and recuperate during lunch break” His colleague was pretty surprised by the change.
“Im heading out to give something,” Qi Jing said briefly.
Before, as it was for work matters, he could just hitch a ride from the office, but now, since it was for personal matters, he couldnt request for a ride and could only take the subway and bus on his own. Even if he left early, he would have to give up his lunch break on traveling to and fro.
Due to the need for changing between the train and bus, it took over an hour to travel from the city centre to the north of the city, where the hospital was located.
When Qi Jing arrived at the place, the hospital also happened to be on lunch break.
“Oh, Reporter Comrade, why have you dropped by today” Ms. Pang had completely dropped any qualms she had about him and greeted him warmly as an old friend.
She was just about to enter the nurses lounge with food that she had just heated up when she bumped into Qi Jing, who was hurrying down the corridor, so she called out to him in surprise and delight.
Qi Jing quickly stopped in his tracks and politely responded to her with a smile, “Good day to you, Sister Pang.”
“Good good good,” Ms. Pang beamed as she excitedly told him the good news, though this was news he had already known, “By the way, Reporter Comrade, the last cat had also successfully completed the adoption procedures yesterday and was picked up by its new owner.”
Qi Jing put up a smile and accompanied her for a bit before his smile faltered and his throat started to feel a little dry.
He had to clear his throat before continuing, “Erhm... Is Dr. Shen in I have something for him.”
“Yes, but he should be having his break at this time.” Then, Ms. Pang gave him directions to the doctors lounge on the second floor to look for the man.
“Alright.” Qi Jing heaved a small sigh of relief when he heard that that person was in and immediately headed for the stairs.
The second floor was where the wards and the labs were, and also where the vets usually rested so it was much quieter than the first floor.
After walking up to the second floor, Qi Jing followed the signs and walked down the hallway. Along the way, he didnt really meet anyone; the nurses probably went out to have lunch. As the hustle and bustle of the traffic outside the hospital gradually faded away, his footsteps slowly lightened as well, trying his best not to disrupt the rare silence in here.
The doctors lounge was at the end of the corridor.
And further back, Wutong trees could be seen beyond the window. The leaves were half green, half yellow, not completely wilted, and gave off the cool refreshing scent of autumn.
Qi Jing had not heard a single sound since a while ago that made him a little worried. Could that person have gone out to eat too
With a little nervousness, he came to the door of the lounge.
The door was slightly ajar. And just before his hand knocked on the door, Qi Jing took a cautious peek inside. Taken aback by what he just saw, he promptly put his raised hand back down.
The curtains in the lounge, like the door, were slightly ajar, leaving only a slit to let in a tiny amount of light.
There was a desk and a chair in a room of only roughly ten square metres and the rest of the space was taken by a sofa.
That man rested his head on the arm of the sofa, He appeared to have maintained this position for quite some time.
—So he was taking a nap, huh.
No wonder there wasnt any sound at all. Qi Jing was somewhat glad he didnt knock on the door and wake him.
Just then, a gust of wind came in from the window at the end of the corridor. It was neither strong nor weak, just enough to sway the leaves of the Wutong tree and also open the slightly ajar door a little more. There was now just enough space for a person to pass through.
As if it was a silent prompt.
Qi Jing stood blankly while facing the open door for a while. As expected... its better to deliver the item to the person rather than leaving it at the door, wasnt it
Then, with that thought in mind, he quietly stepped into the room.
He thought the room was completely silent when he was standing at the door, but now that he was inside, he found that there was still some sound—the faint sound of steady breathing that followed the rise and fall of that mans chest—lightly passing through the air and into his ears.
This time the other party wasnt wearing a mask, so not only could Qi Jing hear him clearly, he could also see him.
So thats how he looks like...
Qi Jing lowered his head slightly to observe that mans face. He appeared to be sleeping very peacefully. He had straight brows and when a thin ray of light was cast on his face, under such low light conditions, it gave the outline of his facial features a rigid and cold appearance. However, the air that he radiated was very soft, like a clear stream rushing past a hard rock. Although his eyes were closed, Qi Jing was able to fill in the pieces based on his memory of the other partys eyes.
Thank goodness his eyes werent open.
Since Qi Jing didnt know what kind of eyes he was gazing at the other with right now, nor did he know what got into him to reach out a hand and gently move aside a lock of hair that had fallen in front of his forehead.
Please dont open your eyes.
Itd be bad if you do.
All of a sudden, a soft meow could be heard nearby.
Qi Jing jumped at the sound and quickly retracted his fingers. Holding his breath, he looked to the source of the sound—a small, furry head emerged from under the blanket that was covering that person.
Its a cat.
So that blanket was not for himself but to keep the cat warm. That little fella was probably being mischievous and needed his constant care, so they took a nap together during lunch break.
Qi Jing dare not move a single muscle.
He had even forgotten how to breathe as he watched the cats next move while holding his breath, for fear that it would roll over and wake the man.
Fortunately, the little guy seemed to still be relatively weak as it closed its eyes once more after staring curiously at Qi Jing with its big, shiny black eyes for a while. It then rubbed its head against the doctors button-down shirt, pressed its puffy paw pads against his chest, and went back to sleep after getting all nice and cosy.
Qi Jing could feel himself breaking out in a cold sweat in this mere matter of seconds.
His heart was pounding so violently it felt like it was about to burst out of his chest. Probably because he got such a shock, his fever seemed to have worsened.
Qi Jing stood rooted in his place and soft laughter couldnt help but escape his lips when he finally managed to calm himself down. Seeing the image in front of him, he couldnt stop his mind from thinking ofA portrait of father and child.
The pictures of the kittens in the emails from before were all taken while they were asleep but the doctor himself was never in the shot. It was a rare sight to see a human and a cat snuggling together for a nap. Just as rare as... his subconscious action just now that clearly overstepped the boundaries.
Qi Jing moved the hand on his lips and gently patted his face to get his expression back in order, but one could still see the faint smile in his eyes. Without making a sound, he took the phone out of his shirt pocket and opened the camera app. So as not to wake the other party, he disabled the auto flash option and adjusted the brightness with the help of the subtle glow of light shining into the room. Then, with a press of a button, the screen on the phone flashed lightly and the perfect composition had been captured.
He knew that one couldnt take that step forward for certain things.
So it was nice to keep a memento of himself before he walked away.
“Yeah, thats just what it is.” Qi Jing sighed and chuckled to himself after saving the moment he captured.
He calmly put his phone away and put down the mooncake gift box he had been carrying in his other hand, not noticing that the tassel cord of the gift bag had left a deep mark in his palm.
Pulling out the notepad he always carried on his person, he flipped passed the three pages that had once recorded phrases to describe that man and tore out a few blank ones.
“Sorry, I didnt have time to prepare a card,” he muttered while walking over to the desk to pen down his reply.
Once he was done with that, he quietly placed the pieces of paper filled with his handwritten response in front of the man. The cat seemed to have sensed something, stretched out its paw, and happened to press it right against the edge of the paper. Qi Jing smiled and mouthed the wordsthank you to the little guy waving his hand to say goodbye.
The cat looked at him blankly, eyes hazy with sleepiness, before falling back asleep without a care.
Meanwhile, he had already straightened himself up. He stood there for another minute or so, tilting his head to the left and running his left hand through the messy bits of hair around his ear.
As I thought, you really wont be able to figure out the true temperature of a person running a fever.
As long as the fever subsides, I will naturally cool down—
Qi Jing lowered his eyes and turned his head away. He quietly walked out of the room, not forgetting to politely close the door behind him.
A/N: Qi Jings special skill in the 3D world is promptly exterminating the first signs of something off sprouting the moment he notices them.