Day/Theme: Sat Feb.14 - Blindness and desire
Series: Woxin Changdan AU cont'd
Character/Pairing: Fu Chai, Gou Jian
Gou Jian answers the king's summons that afternoon. At least his resistance hasn't reached the point of flat disobedience, and for that Fu Chai is relieved. He doesn't know how he'd handle open rebellion from his royal prisoner. Gou Jian sits across from him, stiff and ungiving, and places his pieces in silence. Fu Chai smiles to himself, observing the man's inward battle, and looks up to meet Gou Jian's look of cold disgust. The anger behind those eys, like fire beneath a rock, makes Fu Chai very happy. Close to conquering Gou Jian- not Yue but Yue's king. Magnanimous in victory, Fu Chai smoothes his expression and returns his face to the proper gravity.
But the other thing Fan Li said tickles at his mind still.
"The Chancellor tells us your body servant followed you to Wu."
"Do you want to have him by you? We have no objection."
Gou Jian hesitates, placing a stone. "What are those barracks like, that our generals are in?"
Fu Chai shrugs. "Barracks, we imagine. Not a palace, not a jail either."
"Old, we heard. Falling into ruin? Cold? Are there rats? Do our men get enough to eat--"
"We have no idea," Fu Chai says, impatient at this digression. "Not falling into ruin, certainly. Gong Sun Xiong wouldn't encourage escapees. Your men eat what you eat. Why does it matter?"
"Ku Cheng is a palace servant, not a soldier."
"Ah. You're concerned for his well-being." Fu Chai nibbles at his lower lip. "He's your favourite, yes?"
Gou Jian looks at him in surprise-- quite genuine surprise, if Fu Chai's to judge.
"No, our servant. Our favourite was Fan Li."
"Oh, not again." Fu Chai sighs in exasperation. "No, never mind-- you're going to blame us forever for taking Fan Li to our service. Even if we send him back to yours."
"And when will you do that?"
"When you go back to Yue."
A barely registered pause. "And when do we go back to Yue?"
"When you finally accept that we mean you well."
"No." Gou Jian puts his head to one side. Fu Chai has the uncomfortable sensation that the narrow black gaze is looking straight through his head. "It will be when you finally believe that we mean you well."
"Yes." It's a revelation. "Yes, you're right."
"And when will that be?"
Fu Chai thinks. "When you do mean us well."
Gou Jian's lips twitch in a small smile. "And how will you know that? How will you ever be sure, with your Chancellor telling you we can't be trusted ever?"
Fu Chai takes a deep breath. "We'll know because we'll know. We'll know the way a king knows if his courtiers are with him or against him, if his generals are of one mind with him, if the people feel love for him, and loyalty, or are simply indifferent. How *do* you know these things? You just know."
Gou Jian's eyes widen in brief, startled admiration.
"Good. Very good." Gou Jian nods thoughtfully. "You surprise us. We hadn't thought you could."
That stings, far more than it has a right to. "The man you found sitting on your own throne in your own great hall is incapable of surprising you." Fu Chai looks away in fury and the obscure mortification that he associates more with his chancellor than his prisoner. Out the side of his eye he glimpses the pattern on the board between them. Something turns over in his head and he looks back with a huge grin of pleasure.
"Gou Jian, you still have so much to learn. We think you'll be here quite a while."
And places his stone so that five of Gou Jian's die on the instant.