Yes yes yes yes yes. And thank you rasetsunyo for giving that snippet of dialogue:
F: Fan Li repents of his error.because the subtitles had Fan Li saying 'I almost lost my cofidant' (sic. As per Dorothy Parker, "as in, sic as a dog.")
G: Error? More like transgression.
F: Fan Li has transgressed, but he has erred as well.
G: Erred in what manner?
F: In that I almost lost one who knows me truly, such as a man meets with difficulty in one lifetime.)
OTOH I never knew why he left for Chu in the first place. Subtitles being as they are, it could as easily have been because he'd heard his mother was being ill-used by the king of Chu and wanted to see if she was OK.
OK, look. Sword. Sheath. Gou Jian has the sword. He puts it in Fan Li's sheath. How in sweet blue blazes does that make Gou Jian uke???
OTOH I never knew what was meant by sending Fan Li an empty sheath either. A sword without its sheath is a dangerous sword, apt to cut anyone. Gou Jian needs Fan Li to restrain his ferocity. I'm sure that's not what's meant but that's how I read it.
On the other other hand the scene still makes me very very happy. But I can't help putting my cultural monocles to my eye in turn and seeing how things look through them. And the first thing I see is that Gou Jian *doesn't* do pissy pissy flounce flounce here. He does suave and terrible, and if he were Japanese you *know* no one'd be even whispering 'uke.'
I just can't see Fan Li as being the active or dominant or anything in this relationship. If I must assign roles, I find it erotically far more satisfying to have the lower status uke kneeling outside his seme's bedroom for forgiveness because as yaoi goes, ukes don't do that ever. Best you can get is them loving their abusive seme in spite of him being abusive, and they rarely do it with Fan Li's kind of dignity and stillness. But really- no, seme and uke won't work here at all. It's another ethos entirely.
And that's partly because by me one of the hottest scenes to date was the one between Gou Jian and Ya Yu after Fan Li leaves. I mean, it was hot in all sorts of lord and retainer ways, willful king and admonishing councillor fashion, and that's simply impossible because these two people are married. It must be the subtitles screwing my vision. But man, did I feel like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes he star'd at the Pacific, and all his men look'd at each other with a wild surmise. My god, it can be done. You *can* do m/f that's free from the defaults and that references relationships between men. Woot! Female dragons here we come!
Also to say: Wen Zhong is love. (And now I do hear his accent.) 'God grant every gentleman/ Such hawks, such hounds, and such a friend.' While the masculine idiocy and double-guessing-triple-dealing ambition of the other kings and councillors depresses me more than a little- they *will* go to war because in dreary RL fashion none of them trusts the others enough not to- Wen Zhong's utterly unbudging, totally unstuffy, and purely adorkable integrity is like sunshine and blue skies and ground beneath one's feet. A little younger and a different species and the man would be Temeraire. (I want a Wen Zhong icon. Must steal from rasetsunyo's caps.)