The screams reached his ears as they drew near the infirmary. Screams of his name. Kung Lao broke into a run, unthinking. He burst into a sickroom in chaos, but had only a moment to take it in before a pale figure threw itself into his arms.
“Kung Lao!” Liu Kang clung to him, shuddering like a leaf in a stormwind. “Kung Lao, make them go away! Don’t let them hurt me!” Kung Lao could feel Liu's heart pounding, could see the flutter of his pulse at his skinny neck. He was burning up, his desperate eyes glazed and over-bright, nightshirt soaked with sweat.
Kung Lao was very used to being scolded for his transgressions, but Healer Lê’s lectures were subtly different. The round, heart-faced little nun’s stern corrections never included his great ancestor, his responsibility to the world, or all that was expected of him. She put him in his place as if he were the rawest novice, and the sheer novelty of her huffy egalitarianism was what kept him coming back to indirectly offer his services to her domain.
He catches the others out of the corner of his eye- Jax's stunned eyes, the wary way that Sonya's hand hovers over the holster on her belt- but none of it matters with Liu Kang crushed in his arms, shoulders shaking, cheek wet against his neck.
It is not until years later, when Kung Lao begins to slow, lines deepening in his face even as Liu Kang remains smooth and untouched and strong, that he truly begins to comprehend the weight of his mistake.