However, Qian Wei didn’t stop her questioning there, she still had too many things she wanted to verify.
“In the past, your dream was to be a judge, wasn’t it?”
Lu Xun paused uncertainly, but then nodded.
“Then why didn’t you follow that dream? Why did you become a lawyer?”
For a long moment, Lu Xun stayed silent. Finally, he began to tell the story: “Back at the beginning of the summer vacation in our second year, during the time when most of the students had already returned home and there were only a few people still on campus, one of the girls in your dorm lost an expensive necklace. In order to find the necklace, the dorm mother of your dormitory searched your room at the girl’s prompting while you were away and without your consent. The result was: she found the necklace in your drawer.”
Qian Wei bit her lip and asked, “Why don’t I remember anything like that happening?”
“Because I happened to still be on campus at the time, and I took care of it for you.” Lu Xun lowered his head and briefly closed his eyes wearily. “To this day, I still don’t know why that girl framed you. However, there was sufficient evidence from the dorm security cameras and a few other sources to prove that you hadn’t stolen the necklace. Because it was easy to prove that you were innocent, and also because searching your dorm room without your consent in the first place was dubious behavior at best, the school decided to just quietly bury the incident. After all, at the time there weren’t many students on campus, so very few people even knew that an incident had even taken place. In the end, you never found out even after you came back to school.”
“‘If a judge has to put aside his personal feelings and always be cold and impartial, I can’t do it. If I can’t even defend the person I love, I’d rather not have such a dream.’” Qian Wei quoted softly, “That was why you chose to be a lawyer, right?”
Lu Xun froze: “You heard me say that?”
Lu Xun was a little embarrassed: “Those things that I said by your bedside while you were still in a coma.”
He went on to explain, “Your attending physician told me that because you had suffered a blow to the head you were likely to remain in your coma, and the best way to prompt your recovery was to talk with you. He told me that receiving external stimulation had been shown to be very effective in helping to prompt recovery in coma patients. But I didn’t really know what to say. In the end, I just wanted to tell you that you were the reason why I chose this career path, and that the only person I have even been willing to change my dreams and the overall trajectory of my life for, was you. ” Lu Xun averted his eyes, his ears slightly red, “If I had known that you could hear me, I wouldn’t have said such stupid and idealistic words. I was just flustered at the time and a little irrational.”
“So you also told me about how you confessed to me when you were 19 while I was sleeping?” Qian Wei blushed and murmured, “Actually, this kind of irrationality, I like it a lot.”
Lu Xun seemed stupefied, frozen except for his slightly trembling eyelashes. Eventually, he replied in a low voice, “No.” By this point, not only his ears, but his entire face had begun to turn red. “I only said a lot of messy words back then. It’s better if you don’t remember.”
By now, some of Qian Wei’s doubts had been resolved, while other new doubts had surfaced, so she decided to tell Lu Xun the whole story: “While I was in my coma, I had a long dream. In my dream, instead of falling into a coma from the fall, I died. But somehow I was then reborn back to the time when I was 19. During my ‘rebirth’, many things happened. For instance, the incident where you wrote me a love letter, but Qian Chuan found it first and mistook it for a letter from a girl who was pursuing him, and many many other such incidents all happened during my ‘rebirth’. At first, I thought that all of these things were just the product of my own imagination, and that they had never really happened in this time and space, but as I’ve investigated a little bit I’ve found that is not the case at all. I went and talked to Qian Chuan and he was able to corroborate that many of the things really happened, and he was even able to fill in the details that I didn’t remember properly myself. So I’ve started to think that maybe I was never ‘reborn’ at all, but rather that everything had happened in reality. But… that’s impossible.” As Qian Wei spoke, she couldn’t help but grab her hair in frustration. “So what’s going on? Am I losing my mind? Did I really break my brain when I fell down that time?” She glanced over at Lu Xun. “Could this conversation that I’m having with you right now actually just be a figment of my imagination?”
“Qian Wei, let me tell you something. In fact, ever since you came and said what you said to me at the airport last night, I have also been filled with the same sort of doubts. A feeling like, maybe this is all just a hallucination. Maybe, after spending so many years loving you too much, something finally snapped and I just dreamed all of this up.”
Qian Wei was stupefied. She had never seen this side of Lu Xun before. Right now, he looked like his usual powerful and well put-together self, but somehow also terribly fragile. Right now his body was emitting a strange and contradictory impression, but despite that, maybe because it was him, it all seemed natural and right. And when she looked up at his eyes, she found that he was looking at her with a gaze that was soft and gentle, as if he had been waiting for this moment all of his life.
“However, I’m now sure that it’s all real.” Lu Xun’s bright black eyes stared at Qian Wei, and his voice was strained, as if he couldn’t calm down at all. “Right now, I think that my heartbeat has probably already exceeded 150BPM. And when I was in the car on the way here, I pinched myself fiercely, and it hurt a lot.”
“Everything that happened to you wasn’t just a figment of your imagination, much less something like rebirth.” Lu Xun lowered his head, and lines of his arms were slightly taut, as if he were experiencing great tension. “Everything you’re going through right now is the result of your treatment plan.”
“My treatment plan?”
Lu Xun paused: “When you were first sent to the hospital, the situation was not very good. The hospital tried two different traditional treatment methods, but they both seemed to be having no effect. At that time, the attending physician had already talked to your parents and told them to brace themselves for the worst result: that you may never wake up again.”
Qian Wei was a little unsettled. Had her situation back then really been so dangerous?
“Of course, I could never accept for the result to be that you would never wake up.” Lu Xun’s voice turned a little bitter as he recalled the situation back then. “I tried everything to find another treatment method and, perhaps due to the will of the heavens, just as I was on the verge of despair, your attending physician told me that a new drug had appeared on the market that might be effective for your condition. It was called ACF-02, and it had just passed through the relevant regulatory bodies and began sales in China. This new drug was said to be very effective in stimulating the brains of coma patients, but it also had some obvious side effects and, because it was very expensive and had only just been put on the market, there were many people still waiting on the sidelines to see if it would be proven safe and effective before trying it out. In the end, your attending physician explained all the pros and cons of the drug to me and, because I know that the longer you stayed in the coma, the less likely it would be for you to ever wake up, I went to your parents and convinced them to try this radical new treatment plan, and also volunteered to cover the expenses.”
Lu Xun’s eyes were clear, and his tone was as calm and steady, but Qian Wei could clearly hear an undercurrent in his voice that spoke to just how critical the situation really had been back then.
In these sorts of situations, it was already quite difficult for loved ones to make decisions for patients who were in a state where they may never wake up again. And that wasn’t even mentioning that Lu Xun wasn’t even an immediate family member. Qian Wei realized that, when he had made that decision, he had undoubtedly been shouldering more psychological pressure and burden than anyone else.
“If the treatment from the new drug was successful, it would certainly be a good thing, but Lu Xun, did you ever think about what might have happened if the drug had failed? It would be quite possible for my parents to start blaming you, thinking that your proposed radical treatment plan was what led to the bad result. ” Qian Wei whispered, “You should know better than anyone that, at times like that, trying to do more is always the wrong decision. If you had just provided financial support and let the doctors handle the treatment plan, things would have been much safer for you.”
“There’s no way I could have thought that much.” Lu Xun’s voice was flat and numb, “If there was a chance, even if it was only 1/10000, I would try it. Even if it meant I had to lose everything. Even if it meant that I had to bear the blame.”
Qian Wei somehow felt that the gratitude she had shown to Lu Xun was too light when compared with the immense amount of dedication he had shown and the struggles he had gone through on her behalf.
“In the end, what kind of thing did this new drug do?” As she asked that question, Qian Wei had a premonition that the truth of all the issues that had been plaguing her could be traced back to this drug.
Lu Xun pursed his lips: “A person receives all kinds of messy and practically useless information every day of their lives. For instance, the casual chat they have with the driver when they take a taxi, or the time they haggle with an old lady at the vegetable market, and store it all in their short-term memory. Then, as you receive this information, your brain picks out all the parts that you distinguish as ‘unimportant’ and discards them in order to leave room to make more subsequent memories. The principle behind the new drug we gave you is to greatly stimulate the cells in the brain in order to wake you up, and the cells responsible for storing memory are especially affected. Thus, under the influence of this drug, your brain will be activated to its full potential, and short-term memories that have been discarded have a chance to be restored. The goal is to force your brain to surge with new energy, thus stimulating the patient to the point that they wake up on their own.”
After digesting this information for a long time, Qian Wei finally managed to react. She asked tentatively, “So, in other words, all of these memories of mine really did happen? For instance, Qian Chuan told me about something, but I didn’t think it was very important at the time so it was filtered out, ‘discarded’, and then quickly forgotten. But then after taking this new drug I suddenly remembered everything thanks to the drug’s stimulation?”
Lu Xun nodded: “Right. However, the side effects are also very obvious. Because your brain is suddenly overwhelmed by a huge influx of memories, it inevitably makes errors as it tries to retrieve and catalog them, in the end, things like mistaking the timelines of events or other minor details can happen easily. Also, the over stimulated brain will sometimes get confused and create hallucinatory memories that are invented out of nothing.”
This explained why Qian Wei misremembered some things. For instance, although it was true that the 19-year-old Lu Xun had sent her a love letter, it had actually been sent on an ordinary weekend, and not on her mother’s birthday. Finally, she understood why the big events in her memory all seemed to be right, but many small details were different. It seemed that while she was in her coma the overwhelming influx of recovered short-term memories, coupled with the illusory side effects of the drug, had cobbled together an illusion of ‘rebirth’ using her memories.
At this point, Qian Wei finally comprehended what had happened.
She felt as if she had been walking through a dark maze for a long time, confused and troubled by its size and difficulty, but now someone had finally reached out to take her hand and lead her out of the dark one step at a time.
She looked straight at Lu Xun and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
She had to ask. Why hadn’t he told her? Why did he bear it all alone? Why was he so determined to fight by himself until the end? Qian Wei really couldn’t imagine how Lu Xun could withstand all of this pressure alone. He had done so much for her, but had never asked for anything in return, only firmly and silently protecting her in a place that she couldn’t even see.
“Your attending physician told me that because the side effects of this new drug were a bit troublesome to identify, he didn’t recommend explaining everything to you immediately after you woke up. He was afraid that the stimulation may be too big, and that there was a chance that you might collapse if you were unable to withstand the illusory false memories.” Lu Xun lowered his head again, and Qian Wei couldn’t help but think that his profile in the dim light was very handsome. “Frankly speaking, if you hadn’t asked me on your own initiative, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned anything about this matter again for the rest of my life.”
“Because I don’t want you to be with me out of some sort of feeling of obligation or gratitude.” Lu Xun looked up and met Qian Wei’s eyes, “Qian Wei, if all you feel for me is gratitude, then you need to push me away and reject me now. Because I really don’t have any resistance or self control when it comes to you.”
Qian Wei didn’t say anything. Instead, she directly cupped Lu Xun’s face in her hands and took the initiative to kiss him on the lips: “I love you, but not out of gratitude.” She stared into Lu Xun’s eyes. “Why would you think that I only wanted to be with you because of gratitude?”
Lu Xun was flustered by the sudden and unexpected kiss. He tried to keep calm and conceal the reddish tinge rising to his cheeks as he responded: “Because even when I confessed to you the second time, you rejected me again. Even until now, I don’t know why you’ve changed your mind.”
Qian Wei was shocked: “What second confession? When did you confess to me?”
Lu Xun seemed stupefied for a moment, but eventually, he muttered: “Didn’t you see it?” However, he quickly seemed to have realized something, and he rolled his eyes and said in a slightly interrogative tone: “Qian Wei, have you still not looked at that pro bono case even until now?”
“Did… d-did you put a love letter in that pro bono case?”
Lu Xun pressed his lips into a thin line and didn’t say a word, but his stormy expression said it all.
Wow, she really guessed it right!
For Qian Wei, even until now, she was still swamped with a strong feeling of unreality, so her voice trembled a bit as she asked her next questions: “That is to say, you loved me the whole time? From 19 to 28? You always loved me? For nine years? You’re actually so devoted?”
Lu Xun turned his head and looked out of a nearby window at the slowly setting sun.
At this moment, Qian Wei almost wanted to smash her head with a piece of tofu. How had she never known? She wanted to laugh but also wanted to cry. She hadn’t known, she hadn’t known at all! She hadn’t known when the 19-year-old Lu Xun had written her a love letter back then, and she still hadn’t known even when the 28-year-old Lu Xun had written it again!
It was hard for her to imagine how a proud man like Lu Xun, who had his first confession ignored when he was 19, still went on to silently wait for nine years before confessing his love again when he was 28.
“Qian Wei, this pro bono case, look at it right away.”
“Qian Wei, have you seen the pro bono case?”
“Have you looked at that pro bono case yet Qian Wei?”
Qian Wei felt regret. She really should have realized that Lu Xun had been unusually enthusiastic about that pro bono case. He had gone out of his way to remind her about the pro bono case many times, and even that text message that had caused her to fall into the pit had been about it. Now everything seemed to have been explained. Lu Xun hadn’t been urging her to do her work, but instead urging her to give him a response!
After finding out that Qian Wei hadn’t even seen his second confession, Lu Xun’s face couldn’t help but turn a little black: “Qian Wei, although this is a bit unpleasant to say, at the very least I am your boss, right? Even if you knew that I liked you, you can’t just always rely on my favor to completely ignore your boss’s instructions, can you? Just how many times did I remind you to look at that pro bono case? In the end, you even lied to me about looking at it?”
Qian Wei mumbled, “What do you mean ‘even if I knew that you liked me’? I had no idea you liked me!” Suddenly, something else occurred to her, “Also, what ‘like me’? You never showed it, right?! You never even brought me along for those big and lucrative cases! You call that liking me?”
“Do you remember the Chenyang Machinery merger?”
Qian Wei was briefly stunned, but then she nodded angrily: “Remember! Of course, I remember! I remember clearly that it was the only case you ever brought me on board for!”
“While working on that case, I made a mistake in the final draft of our legal document that nearly cost the customer tens of millions of yuan. Fortunately, I happened to spot the mistake at the last moment.” Lu Xun pursed his lips. “The error in that document was an error that would be very fatal to any lawyer’s career. If I hadn’t discovered it in time, not only would the client have lost a vast sum of money, it would have also completely ruined both my and your professional careers. Qian Wei, I really can’t work on the same cases with you, because just having you standing next to me makes it so that I’m completely unable to concentrate. When you’re in the room, it’s all I can do to control myself, and focusing on the case is impossible. As long as you’re around, I lose all my professionalism, and it makes it impossible for me to get anything done.”