Thus last Wednesday's prompt, my way. Purposely referencing the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer in the translated bits, is why it's not rasetsunyo's version.
Title: The Way to a Man's Heart
Day/Theme: Wed Feb. 20 - "Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars"
Series: Woxin changdan/The Great Revival
Character/Pairing: Gou Jian, Fu Chai
Spoilers: Ep 26
Death is everywhere. Today, tomorrow, the next day: Gou Jian knows it can come at any time. Wu Zi Xu wants him dead. History has demonstrated that Wu Zi Xu never stops till he gets what he wants. Vengefulness goes deep with him, and Gou Jian's general killed Wu Zi Xu's king. A sensible man- and Gou Jian is having sense pounded into him at a great rate- will know it's only a matter of time.
Between him and Wu Zi Xu's hatred there stands only the word of Fu Chai: a promise to the high king of Zhou and all the nations that he'll keep Gou Jian alive. Or rather, that he won't kill Gou Jian outright. But the king of Wu is a bloody-handed barbarian and the son of a bloody-handed barbarian: justice in that family is as thin as the powder that dusts a woman's cheek. Some day Fu Chai may decide to listen to his chancellor, snap his fingers under Zhou's nose, and put Gou Jian's head on a pole.
But Gou Jian cannot die. Too much depends on his life for him to let go of it. Gou Jian must give Fu Chai what he wants to keep him satisfied with his prisoner. Luckily Gou Jian knows what that is.
The father was autocratic and violent. The son, for all his assumption of right-dealing courtesy, is the same. The father was a lickerish rutting goat. What chance that the son is any different, beneath the awkward masculinity that betrays only the depths of Fu Chai's inexperience? Gou Jian has known the profound complexity of love and sex with another adult. There's no comparison: Fu Chai is a pop-eyed country farmboy, going hard-cocked and giddy-headed at the mere sight of breast or thigh. Easy pickings.
Gou Jian has always been aware at some level of the effect that his eyes and voice and bearing have on others. Withered generals and mummified ministers may be immune to the fascination- indeed, they may be so resentful at their inability to respond that they become hostile to Gou Jian himself- but any man with sap in his veins reacts. Even someone as experienced and clever as Wen Zhong, say. The little flicker of the eyes, the thinning of the mouth: it happens. One look from under Gou Jian's lashes and he's hooked. What chance does a virgin like Fu Chai stand?
Gou Jian sends a message to the King of Wu. He will declare his submission openly, openly repent his arrogance before his own people and the ambassadors of the nations. The King of Wu is pleased. He instructs his chamberlain to make the arrangements. The Yue prisoners will need to be properly garbed for the event: their rough slaves' robes are out of place in the Great Hall of Wu.
Gou Jian gives precise instructions to the tailor's man who comes to measure him. The man is too overawed to do anything but what he's told.
And so it is that Gou Jian bursts in upon the king's dull and civil audience.
Oh the shame of my transgression!
Oh the shame of my past arrogance!
Oh the shame: better for me to die than to live!
The black and white figure sweeps up the hall. The dark voice resonates in beautiful cadences that render the listeners motionless. The long arms, the graceful hands, lift beseechingly to the king who sits enthroned above them all, until Gou Jian falls, overcome and prostrate, at the feet of the King of Wu.
The ambassadors are struck dumb. Fu Chai is struck dumb. Ya Yu's eyes meet Fan Li's for a moment and both look consciously away. Wife and favourite have never expected to see the secrets of their respective bedchambers revealed so much to the view of strangers.
And Wu Zi Xu, being not nearly as mummified as he appears, stalks from the chamber to find a place where he can jerk off in irascible privacy.