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02 August 2011 @ 11:59 pm
This can only end in tears  

It's been a while since I wrote a fic that isn't MGS-related, eh? (Let's ignore the fact that this is exactly how I started myself on BB and Zero last year, and I still haven't written everything I want about them, so doing the same bloody thing in another fandom is probably not advisable. Well, here I am, doing it anyway!)

Trying my hand at Xiahou Dun and Cao Cao for the first time; you be the judge of how well that's worked out or not. This is primarily based on the games, namely Dynasty Warriors 7, for two reasons: 1) I safely know the whole thing by now so I can write about it, and 2) these two have more screentime in the game series than in novel-canon anyway, so like hell I'm going to pass up on that. For some context, DW7 is the game that tries to keep closer to the history in principle, though its really big divergence is that it makes everyone die so young. (And good-looking.) Anyway, I've watched through all the cutscenes and couldn't resist framing some of them in a story. The Wei storyline is half what's made explicit on-screen and half everything that they're explicitly not saying.

The fic is split into three sections, the first and last of which are based directly on two cutscenes from the latter part of the game (here from 16:15 and 18:58; contains spoilers) because I'm that much of a canon-referencing junkie. The direct speech in those two scenes is quoted verbatim.

I've used a different (more pretentious less subdued) writing style for this than I mostly do, given every adaptation of this history seems to be almost over-the-top dramatic, so I'd love to hear whether that works at all. And that's pretty much it.

Title: Lives beyond Words
Pairing: Cao Cao/Xiahou Dun
Rating: PG-13 (Or a very tame R; I'm hesitant to use it since the sex isn't that explicit.) Slightly NSFW
Word Count: ~940
Summary: Intimate knowledge comes at the highest price.
Warning(s): Canon character death, unfortunately.
Notes: Style names are awesome.
Disclaimer: The Dynasty Warriors series belongs to Koei. I make no profit and intend no copyright infringement.

Lives beyond Words

“Before you die, I will at least show you a glimpse of your dream.”

His voice is even at the words; a hollow determination, which Xiahou Dun can only hope translates into certainty. There is nothing for it. His knowledge, while enabling him to show that he understands the gravity of the situation, is at once a token of closeness and a death warrant for the one person he cares about most. Guan Yu need not try to claim his lord's head, after all—not that he shall be permitted to. In the rain, Xiahou Dun spurs his horse on past the gate, his purpose clear. Single-minded to a fault, as ever.

He makes a point of not looking back.



That is what there once was between them, but now, nights like this one are extravagant. The reason has nothing to do with their surroundings, lavish as they may be; neither of them even registers the embroidered curtains or the gilded walls. What truly shines is familiarity, still intact despite everything. That is why Xiahou Dun can act on intuition, bypassing the need for anything more accurate to be stated out loud.

He only just remembers to take the golden headpiece off his lord's head—allowed to do it still, though not without a glare in response—before they fall into bed, their whole presence little more than a knot of fabric and flesh and desperation. Neither is keen on admitting that, though, so they more move than talk as the clothes come off, or mostly do, and it has indeed been too long. There is no word for what they are doing except writhing; they hold and fight each other all at once.

Then Cao Cao is finally trapped beneath him, the press and slide of skin on skin enough to drive them both to distraction. Xiahou Dun tries his best to concentrate, bracing his elbows on either side of the other's head—they sink into the bedding like stones thrown into water. Stroking his thumbs over Cao Cao's temples, he's exceedingly, inhumanly gentle, watching those eyes fall shut followed by a sigh, deeper than any of the gasps that escaped before in the heat of passion. So Xiahou Dun keeps up, rubbing with the tips of his fingers, until he finds himself bold enough to loosen the band still holding the mass of dark hair in place. As soon as begins to unfasten it, Cao Cao's eyes are on him again, and there is no mistaking even in his current rumpled state that here is the man whose reputation has sent all the land trembling.

“My lord,” says Xiahou Dun as if it explained everything—and with the lilt in his voice, the longing in his body, perhaps it does.

“Go on,” comes his permission or command. They amount to the same when Cao Cao's hair tumbles free, which would have made a splendid sight had Xiahou Dun not chosen that moment to pull him into a kiss, unable, unwilling, to honour measure anymore. He tastes the lips, then skin as his attentions veer off course to map out the other's cheek and neck, arms welcoming, legs entangled, hips meeting all the while.

He loses restraint first but regains his composure quickly, not satisfied until he has rendered Cao Cao the same service using mouth and hands. They lie together afterwards, silent, for a long time.

Shifting onto his side for an unobstructed view with his good eye, he notices his lord's hand well within reach and takes it, only to be privately astonished by the answering grip like iron. This could be a concession, but Xiahou Dun knows better than to take such a gesture as anything beyond a tacit confirmation of reliance of the kind they so often share. He squeezes back, resting their joined hands on Cao Cao's chest, and he dreads to think of the day when that firm grasp and the heartbeat beneath it may have become sheer willpower.


“You need your rest. Just leave it be.”

At least no one can ever say that Cao Cao's ambition was without dedication. Scrolls and maps remain strewn around his bed and clutched in his hands, even as his speech grows irregular and his tone heavy, quiescent. Accomplishment cushions his resignation, but all Xiahou Dun can see is the dying sun, swathes of light shaped by the ornate window in perfect accord with the tired man's countenance. It is a sad display, yet one that fills him with a tenderness that alone might fuel years of unassuming duty.

As if he's ever minded keeping Mengde company. A reward for past struggles is more like it.

Marvelling at the prospect, he finds it easy to converse, to hover about the room, to turn around without worry as he carries some of the documents away. One trifling attempt to relieve his lord's burden, but he is ready for a thousand more.

“Xiahou Dun...”

He neglects to think that great changes, for better or for worse, seldom come with as great portents.

“I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you.”

Still he manages to joke, “What nonsense is this?”

He is content to listen after that, painful though the names of old comrades are when invoked without warning. It is the ensuing silence that makes him leap to his feet, the realization so sudden that its first form is plain disbelief. A scroll has fallen, rolling seamlessly towards him on the floor, while sitting motionless in his bed—

Xiahou Dun crosses the chamber, drops to his knees, and weeps.

Cherry: Kaz Eyescherrytruck on August 3rd, 2011 10:58 am (UTC)
See you later, instigator: Kaz Miller - morale faceoudeteron on August 3rd, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)