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01 October 2011 @ 11:48 pm
You know what would be totally unexpected?  

A Three Kingdoms spur-of-the-moment story. Right? Guest starring: LJ's altered HTML editor, now with a fancy font!

Title: For This One Time
Characters: Cao Cao/Guan Yu, background Cao Cao/Xiahou Dun
Rating: Slightly NSFW
Word Count: ~900
Summary: Guan Yu only has thoughts of home, whereas his host craves the unattainable.
Notes: Last night, I saw this picture (original source here) and it made me want to write out the situation. Though I love the AU clothes in the artwork, I didn't want to make it an AU and just gave him something that would be time era-appropriate. Also based the whole thing on Ro3K canon, namely chapters 25 (quoted below) and 26. You barely need to add anything in there, unless you're like me and straight-up make it a new scene. The fic would be taking place in the latter chapter, probably during the last period of banquet-throwing (when Dun is conveniently posted outside the capital; interesting). I wanted it to read like just one added episode to what's already in the book, so I hope the style works to that effect. Gee, it's been a while since I did omniscient.

     One day Cao Cao noticed that the robe Guan Yu was wearing was old and frayed. Taking his measurements, Cao Cao had a new one made of fine brocade and presented it to him. Guan Yu took it and put it on under the old robe, so that the latter covered it.
     "Why so very thrifty?" laughed Cao Cao.
     "It is not thrift," was his reply. "The old robe was a gift from my brother, and I wear it because it reminds me of him. I could not allow the new gift to eclipse his old one."
     "How very high principled!" said Cao Cao, sighing.

For This One Time

One evening Guan Yu was taking some refreshments at his residence, only to be surprised by a visitor.

Entering the chamber was Cao Cao, a mysterious package under his arm. Always less formal than one would expect of a man of his status, he only uttered a short greeting before he sat down across from Guan Yu, cheerfully thanking the attendant who poured the tea. She was one of the handmaids Guan Yu had been given earlier, though it did not seem that he was any more keen to employ her than the others, for he indicated her dismissal as soon as the tea had been served. The two men sat quietly for a time, taking measure of each other much like they had done since the beginning. At length, Cao Cao opened the conversation.

“I see your humility has not waned.”

Guan Yu bowed his head. “There is little sense in getting accustomed to glamour. We don't enjoy the abundance of the capital at brother Liu Bei's court.”

The implication in the statement was clear, almost a rebuke to Cao Cao's ears. But his face remained inscrutable as he lifted the package at his side and offered it to Guan Yu.

“Still, some indulgence can't hurt.”

Guan Yu accepted the gift, but his expression faltered. “The Prime Minister is most kind. I feel unworthy of his attentions.”

“Dispense with the formality, my friend. All my presents so far were carefully chosen. Riches to show you were an honoured guest, servants to make your stay pleasurable, the Red Hare to match your might in the field. This one is simply from me to you.”

Finding the speech impossible to defy, Guan Yu opened the gift with trepidation he did his best to disguise. The item was an embroidered robe of a deep green hue, even more exquisite than the last he had received. He touched it with a hesitant hand, tracing the design. The material was so fine that the mere thought of putting it on seemed to be enough to soil its perfect smoothness.

The question was written in Guan Yu's features when he next looked at Cao Cao. “This is not the first time you gave me a robe.”

Cao Cao was smiling softly. “Please. Show me.”

They both remembered how the previous instance had gone. Guan Yu's dedication to his brother had impressed Cao Cao then, but he had never stopped wishing that he could have seen the man wear a garment he had chosen for him with pride. Now, Cao Cao's only chance to make that idle dream come true lay in repeating the demand, which he hoped he was handling with the appropriate subtlety. Used though he was to commanding his own men, he did not fancy assuming the same attitude towards a guest who deserved admiration.

He was in luck. Before he knew it, Guan Yu was standing in front of him and slipping out of his old robe with meticulous care; he set it aside and reached for the one just presented. Cao Cao's gaze lingered upon him, taking in the gloss of the fabric and the all-too-brief glimpses of skin. When Guan Yu turned to face him again, Cao Cao rose too, watching as the other man adjusted the fall of his beard over his chest.

“Beautiful,” Cao commended him.

Guan Yu took the assessment in stride, even if his eyes told a different story. “You overestimate me, Prime Minister.”

“Never,” said Cao Cao as he moved confidently forward, treating the discarded tea things as if they weren't there. “Thank you for humouring an overwrought man.”

It was understood in the dwindling space between them that the thanks extended to favours not yet rendered. Guan Yu did not resist when Cao Cao embraced him, hands wandering—first over the robe, then underneath. The silence mounted and broke, replaced by the low noise of intimacy as the two groped their way to bed.


“Are you so determined to repay me?” Cao Cao asked as they lay sated together. The robe still clung to Guan Yu's shoulders, only rumpled and marred with sweat.

“I should be. I have already ruined your gift.”

The laughter in Cao Cao's voice was genuine as he spoke, pulling at a stray piece of green cloth, “I would have a thousand more of these made if it granted me another night like this. Please, worry not.” He could afford the luxury, after all; the truly unattainable thing in his world was Guan Yu's company free of the constant threat of separation.

There was a substantial pause before any response came. “You have not bought the loyalty of your generals, Mengde. Why be any different with me?”

Cao Cao sighed, and sighed again.


Dawn was stealing along the walls. It was a time for parting, albeit not for long while their agreement was still in effect. Neither of them had said a great deal more while the night was fading; they had been content with languid touches as their chief mode of communication. Now even that was over, and Cao Cao hastened to go his way.

He was unprepared to concede defeat. Nevertheless, drinking in the fresh air of the morning as he walked, he had to admit to himself that the man he so coveted was many things, but certainly no second Xiahou Dun.

Cherrycherrytruck on October 1st, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)

Godamn why is this so easy to ship xD I MEAN WHY IS IT SO DAMN CUTE AND HOT EVEN THOUGH OUR OTP IS MEANT TO BE CAO/DUN? Loving the dialogue between them, it feels very intimate and yet so secretive at the same time >B)

Actually you know what, I love everything about this fic and now I'm trying to imagine what they did on bed in between those intervals, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW XD
See you later, instigator: Xiahou Dun - smackdownoudeteron on October 1st, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)

I think it's extremely ironic we're shipping this, but then again, pretty much half of Ro3K consists of "giving the reader reasons to ship [X] with [Y]" so I refuse to feel bad about it. Your comment about the dialogue makes me very happy since that's exactly how I wanted it to come across. >B)

YES. I'd have written it out but keeping some of the tension seemed the more fitting choice for the mood of this. XD


Edited at 2011-10-01 10:34 pm (UTC)