Proud of my Loneliness

by Gingivere the Shadowreaver


Disclaimer: I do not own any characters in this fic. Blah blah blah, yakka yakka, dribble dribble dribble. You know the routine...

Author's Note: Inspiration of this fic goes out to lacitar13 for telling me to do a Meng/Xun ficcie, and guess what... I am finally doing it! HAHA! Okay, other inspiration for this fic are from the actual game, especially DW4 as it REALLY tends to lean towards that coupling (not intentional I'm sure... then again the Japanese are more open about homosexuality then America is). So, enough jabber from me... on with the short fic! BTW, this is told through Lü Meng's POV... makes you wonder what the guy is thinking about and such when he's keeping to himself.



I don't deserve this celebration... I don't care what anyone else says, but this celebration shouldn't just be... well, like it is! A celebration like this would be what that lazy pirate Gan Ning would want, but this is a bit too much, don't you think?

Sigh. I guess it's what's to be expected. As I walk into the main hallway of Jian Ye, I see heads turn to look at me, smiles that shouldn't belong to me, congratulations and pats on the back that aren't truthfully mine. I tell them, over and over again, that this victory wasn't just mine, but do they listen?

By their drunken expressions and cheers, they call it modesty?

I sigh again. It can't be helped... after such a victory, who was I to spoil the fun? That's what I was known for... worrying, ruining the parties with my over protectiveness. Maybe they're right... maybe I do take things too close to heart. Maybe this is what I needed... a little bit of time to relax!

So I'll accept the drink, for now anyways. What harm did a little wine do?

Granted, looking into the goblet and just thinking of what lingered around in there made me a bit hesitant. But, I shrug, taking it down before that pirate could run in and take it from me.

Speaking of the devil, where was he?

It suddenly struck me that he was sick. I give, yet, another sigh, looking at my already empty goblet and wondering where did the wine go? Too bad Gan Ning couldn't join me at Jingzhou... but what he needed was rest, I suppose. He DID put up and excellent effort at He Fei, so it was perfectly understandable why he wasn't here at all.

What did he have?

That's right... dysentery. I cringe to even THINK about it, and I never realized I said this out loud, "I pity him..."

Luckily, no one heard me, as I scanned the crowd for familiar faces. Zhou Tai could be seen in his usual spot, standing next to our Lord Sun Quan, staying his silent self as our Lord was talking to the Qiaos about something. Exactly what? I knew what... he was praising me, and I quickly turned, to look for more faces. How many times do I have to tell them that it wasn't just MY victory?

They wouldn't listen to me, even if I told them.

Was I the only one that knew? Surely, I couldn't have been! Surely SOMEONE else knew!

I continued searching the crowd for that one face I wanted to see, yet he was not there. Was he still at Jingzhou? I cursed mentally, then without even meaning to, I began walking through the crowd, merely nodding and forcing a smile onto my lips as various soldiers and generals congratulated me. I... just can't accept all of this praise... it wasn't mine to take!

"Great strategy, Lord Lü Meng!" I heard one say, and I turned to look at him, hoping to see that face. When I didn't see the golden eyes or the childish features of the one I was looking for, I forced that smile to stay on there, plastering it to fool everyone. "Lü Meng, defeater of the God of War!"

Don't get me started...

For ANYONE to proclaim themselves as a God is just... well, wrong! He was a great general, but he was no God!

So, I kept my mouth shut, kept the smile on until I was in physical pain, and continued looking for the one I wanted to see, to bring out for everyone to know who shared this victory with me, with us. Where was he?

"Lord Lü Meng!"

Gritting my teeth for a second, I stopped, preparing to shout at whomever called me until I turned around, seeing Kan Ze's gaze. Did I know the man? Yes, I remember him well... surely HE knew of the location of the one I seek! Before I could even ask, he seemed to take the words out of my mouth, "Are you looking for someone?"

Thanks Heavens! "Yes... would you happen to know where the general Lu Xun is?"

His eyes sparked with recognition; he definitely knew, as he gave a slow nod. He rose his robed hand in the direction of the garden where Lady Wu and the maidens would often spend their time during the day. He saw my smile, as he grinned as well, "Sir, may I just warn you that he seems awfully quiet today."

Quiet? He was always the quiet type.

"How so?"

Kan Ze lowered his gaze, "All I can say is that he did not wish to come to the celebration at all."

Somehow, as much as I myself did not want to come here, this bit of news hurt more than just my ego... I did not mean to badger the poor man, but I just had to know... "Why?"

"Oh sir... I do not know, but he just seemed very quiet. I may be looking too deep into it, but he will be in the garden should you seek him." Kan Ze... he was such a relief to see! Finally, a guy that knew the truth... He smiled, patting me on a shoulder and giving me a wink, "You should go to him; he's quiet fond of your company and he might tell you what's bothering him. You seem to be the only one he warms up to for some reason."

I knew why...

I thanked him, giving him a small bow before literally sneaking away from the celebration. I swear, if I hear one more person besides my lord give me an undeserved congratulation, I was probably going to scream!

"Lord Lü Meng!"

Oh no...

Once again, I thanked Kan Ze, as he jumped in front of Ling Tong, keeping him preoccupied as I dashed out of the doors. Finally, I was free! It seemed all too quiet once I escaped from the main hall, and the feel of the chilling night air was refreshing... I could hardly breathe in there!

I hated this feeling... as if I was trying to avoid people. I'll admit that I was never really outgoing or ever wanting to grab other people's attention. That was the pirate's job, NOT mine. I guess that's why I could relate to Lu Xun so much. He was quiet, calm, to himself unless called upon to do a task. Many called me aloof... if that's the case, then what about Lu Xun?

Hardly anyone knew him beyond the knowledge that he was the great-nephew of Lu Kang and that he had joined Sun Quan's forces to fulfill his family's tradition of protecting the territory that was once part of the Lu family.

That day was clear in my mind, seeing what LOOKED to be a little boy upon a beautifully decorated white horse. I wasn't a big general then, but I was stationed at the gates, standing next to my young lord as the boy approached. I'll admit, I didn't think too much about him at first sight. Was he a messenger? Messengers don't have such elegant horses...

By the way Sun Quan looked at the boy, he seemed to have known of his arrival, as he wore a welcoming smile. I wasn't too sure then, as the boy introduced himself to his lord, dismounting quickly and bowing before his presence. That was when I knew his name and age, and I was surprised. Seventeen years old, and all ready for war!

Thinking about it now, I could not blame him at all for joining the army at such an early age. His home was no better... he was running from something.

But... it was not my business to know, so I never asked. He seemed content to distant himself away from the others, so I wanted to respect his privacy. I would have wanted others to do the same...

'Look at the kid... you think he can even talk?'

I can remember that conversation well, seeing the boy standing at the end of the boat, looking into the distance at the sunset. He seemed so alone, so different, that I could not help but wonder as Gan Ning and a few other generals spoke about him, as if the boy couldn't hear them. Of course he heard them... with every negative thing they said, I saw his hands clutch his elegant red fabric, as if to keep himself still and silent as they continued. 'And I thought you were aloof, Lü Meng! At least you talk and socialize!'

I can't even remember who said that... but I was surprised when I heard Gan Ning snort, 'Hey, come on... no need to be so cruel! He has ears, and if he has ears, he has a brain! Where there's a brain, there's a heart, and emotions! And right now, they look hurt...'

And what did the pirate go and do? Just what I was expecting him to go do! He gave the fellow generals an impish grin, and turned about, to face the boy. I wanted to stop him, to tell him to leave the boy alone. I feared that the boy would become a part of a foolish prank, and I didn't want that to happen...

But I wish I had Gan Ning's guts, as he called out to Lu Xun, making the boy turn his youthful face ever so slightly, as if he had been waiting for so long for someone to acknowledge his existence. 'Hey, kid! Lu Xun, that's your name, right? Is the sun almost down?'

What did the boy do? He seemed emotionless, as he merely nodded before turning back to the warm red and orange collage in the west. The pirate made such a face that it took everything I had NOT to laugh, as he called to him again, 'Can you tell me when the golden part touches the sea? That's the best part, and I don't want to miss it.'

And again, Lu Xun nodded, his silent reply enough to make Gan Ning turn around as the others laughed. God... I still wish I had the strength to approach him sooner, but my nerves of steel only appeared on the battlefield, deserting me at the one time that I wanted it. Instead, I glared at the other generals, and I was surprised how strong my voice was, fueled by the injustice being done here. 'Gentlemen, I think we have more important things to do than to badger at someone. There are chores that need to be done.'

There I was again, the one that ruined the fun. I didn't care; I didn't want to hear them speak so badly about a man they did not know. My eye caught the boy turn towards me, looking at me with those amazing golden eyes. There was just... something about that gaze, and I did not mean for a smile to creep upon my face, but it did, and I think that was what he was looking for. That was all that he needed, as he smiled back.

I don't know why I didn't go talk to him... perhaps that's all that he wanted, was to be acknowledged. At Chi Bi, I heard that his ambush party was a success in catching the retreating Wei forces off guard, but I did not hear any praise given to his name for it. It seemed overshadowed by the fact that Cao Cao had gotten away; still, he should have been rewarded with something.

I approached him right before going off into battle at He Fei, after watching him pack the boats with the soldiers. He seemed surprised to see me, but he did not show it too much, though I could see it in his eyes. It was as if he was screaming from the inside 'FINALLY... someone noticed me!'

'You're not stationed at the front, why?'

I didn't mean to sound as if I was belittling him... was I? He looked at me, a rather humble look upon his face as he simply told me that he didn't care, just as long as he served his lord and nation. The answer itself did not surprise me at all, but still... there was just something about it that made it seem like a cover-up to me. This boy was crying out for attention, but there was something holding him back.

And he looked up at me, as if waiting for me to continue or leave. I didn't know what else to say, and I curse myself even to this day for my lack of social skills. Why did I approach him again? 'The river is a bit rough and shallow around here. It could be dangerous.'

'I will be careful sir.'

Still, he beckoned me with those eyes, and I lost all nerves, giving him a nod and leaving without as much as a goodbye. What drew me to him? Was it those eyes? Was it the aurora of loneliness that encircled around him?

Whatever it was... I think it was what saved me. The battle did not go well, as I could clearly see our front line breaking. Arrow after arrow could not hold back the force, and even I had to admit that it was a frightening sight to see the Wei forces coming closer and closer. I was pretty close to sounding the fall back, but something in my gut told me not to. Someone was coming, and, lucky for me, that someone was Lu Xun. I wasn't sure what made me happier... seeing the boats drift down the river with the archers and Calvary on board, or if it was Lu Xun at its bow, twin sabers in hand and one raised above his head, to show the troops that he was there.

Perhaps he wasn't announcing it to the troops, but to me...

'Look, I'm here! I've come to relieve you!'

Well, he did just that, as he wasted no time, as the second their boat stopped, Lu Xun kept off of the bow with his light tan horse, wasting nothing against the Wei forces. I was thankful, to say the least, and I wasn't afraid to show it that night. I told myself that I would approach him, thank him for coming at the time he did. However, he turned to look at me, to give a silent warning of danger. Thankfully, Gan Ning was there to intercept the arrow, leaping like a freak and cutting the arrow in two with his sword, as if it was nothing but a gnat.

Even as I promised myself to give Lu Xun the proper recognition, the change eluded me... after I had finished breaking up the dispute between Gan Ning and an angered Ling Tong, I went in search of the boy, to thank him personally at least. When I found him, I was struck in awe at the sight of a lone fire, and an even lonelier boy that sat on the stump, warming himself with the flames. Seeing the moon illuminate by slender back and the flames light up his face, arms, and legs, I could not move... and, even in his loneliness, he was smiling.

How could someone be happy to be alone? I just couldn't understand it, at least not back then. I felt like a criminal to bother him, but if I was the one who would be guaranteed to ruin a party, then I accepted that role with pride. 'The rest of the camp is over there... it's not safe to be on your own in territory that's not your own.'

Lu Xun looked up at me, one half of his face to the moonlight and the other to the flame, causing the oddest effects that I've ever seen, and that image is still vivid in my mind. At that moment, hell, even now, I wish I could paint that picture, though I know I could never do justice to the real thing. Nothing could replace that image, and perhaps it was then when I realized how precious a young boy in loneliness could be... I wish I was that age once again, so young, yet so grown up!

His golden eyes seemed alive, as he smiled, turning away to look at the flames once more. 'Last time I had checked, all of the seats around the fire were taken.'

'You like the flames?'

Smiling, he nodded, 'For some reason, the color red and its many hues calms me... I look into the dancing flames, and I see peace.'

Now that... was odd. What peace came from flames? Without even realizing it, I had looked at the fire, trying to see what the boy saw in them. I saw light to clear away the darkness so you could see the path you were traveling at night. I saw fire that was used as beacons, or used to destroy boats and supplies. I saw pain and misery from those flames, and to this day, I still could not see where he saw 'peace' in those flames. However, I said nothing, instead looking at him again, to see that warm smile... was it the fire or my presence that made him smile? 'Look... I came here to thank you for coming earlier.'

Something sparked in his eyes, as he nodded, 'It was part of my route, and I did not want to let down the soldiers or my fellow generals. You were too valuable to Wu to afford to be lost...'

As honest as that answer was, it seemed empty, yet another cover-up. I felt that there was a shield there, a shield that I had not the wits or the strength to combat. So, defeated by my own lack of courage, I retreated from him, allowing him to have his loneliness. Someday, I would overcome that barrier... someday...

Now, as I entered the garden, I searched for the boy, hoping to find him. Perhaps now I had the courage to talk with him, to express my own confusion as to why the boy was so distance, so aloof. Tonight, I'm going break through that barrier, to make up for all the times I could not. Now, I had the strength to, and there was no chance that I was going to let it pass by me again!

I called out his name, "Lu Xun, are you here?"

No reply... my heart felt like it tied itself into a knot, yet I couldn't explain why. No, I probably shouldn't worry... that's my biggest fault, I worry, and I shouldn't worry, at least not now. Lu Xun was used to being alone... so he knew what he was doing.

I sighed... why am I getting so worked up over this? Yes... I DEFINATELY worried too much!

Finding the closest bench, I took a seat, to test out Lu Xun's love of the loneliness. If Lu Xun found it enjoyable to do it all the time, then I might as well try it out to his extent, to see the pleasure that came from it. So, I rested one hand over the back of the bench and allowed the other to rest on my lap, and I sat there in the lonely garden, staring at the stars and the moon above me. Quarter moon...

So quiet... so dark...

No wonder Lu Xun was so silent... hearing your own breath would sound too loud here.

What was it about the loneliness that brought Lu Xun so much comfort? I didn't get it back then... no, I wasn't into large crowds, but no one could survive in this... it would drive a man insane!

I sighed, keeping my gaze at the stars as I started to think of things that one shouldn't have to think of during his own celebration. To think, I could be inside the main hall, laughing, enjoying the company of others, but instead, here I am... sitting alone on a bench, depressed as if I lost the Jing province. What's wrong with me?

Resting a hand over my eyes, I enclosed myself in darkness, closing my eyes to think of happier times, anything to stop the tears from coming. Maybe Lu Xun went out on his own to cry? And I know why he is probably crying... I know it's my fault for taking all of the praise for this success.

'Our lord Sun Quan has sent me to inquire after your honorable complaint,' said Lu Xun.

I can see myself laying in that bed now, dressed in my robes and pretending to play sick as the boy overlooked me now. Why was I faking my illness? I merely lied to him, in fear of him seeing through me, though a bit alarmed that it was he who came to see me. 'How distressed I am that the state of my wretched carcass has caused our Lord the inconvenience of inquiring...'

There was a twinkle in his eyes, as if he knew, but was merely toying with me, aware of the servants there were there in the room. 'Our Lord has placed a very heavy responsibility on your shoulders, but you are not making the best use of the opportunity. However, what is the real origin of your distress?'

Now I knew he knew, but I did not back down. I remained silent... allowing him to take a glance at the servants before taking one carefully thought out step at a time, his hands behind his back, and that look on his face, as if waiting for something to happen. When I did not speak, he brought one hand to his chest, giving me such a look, 'Sir, I have a remedy for your discomfort... however, I hesitate to give it to you unless you think it might be of some use to you?'

The way he said remedy told me that he knew something, and so, with a nod, I dismissed the servants, saying nothing until the two of us were alone in that white room, his bright red fabric standing out just as his golden eyes did. That image could not replace the moonlight and flames one that was implanted in my imagination earlier, but it was a sight to see, as I asked, 'The remedy... what is it?'

'Your ailment is due simply to the efficiency of the Jingzhou soldiers. I know how to keep the beacons from flaring, and I can make the defenders of Jingzhou come to you with their hands tied. Would that cure you?'

I was amazed... he looked at me, his golden eyes dazzling and twinkling, as if for once he was enjoying the company over his own loneliness. Any thoughts of him being shy seemed to have slipped my mind, as I realized something about this boy that I never realized before... or anyone else at that matter!

'My friend, you speak as if you saw into my inmost heart. Pray unfold your good scheme.'

And did he ever... Lu Xun knew everything! I remember it so clearly, him describing in detail about turning Guan Yu's own ego against him, like telling a story. He knew that I was the cause of Guan Yu's distress, and so I continued to feign illness, to put a lesser known general in my stead that would cause no fear in the God of War. He had everything planned out perfectly and without fail, and his plan was what I liked... civilian and soldier loss would be at the bare minimum, something that was hard to do at this day and age. He took everything into consideration, and that was when I grew envious of him. All this time, when he was alone, he was not just sitting there and thinking idle thoughts, or whining, or just doing nothing, but he was scheming, plotting, thinking of tactics from all angles.

And all this time, I was clueless of this boy's talent... hell, everyone was clueless! How could we miss something like that?

My hand slipped down from my eyes, resting on my mouth as I looked at the quarter moon again. At that moment, Lu Xun was doing something he seemed to love, and there was without a doubt in my mind that this one would bring nothing but good to Wu.

And still, no one knew?

Giving a mournful sigh, I sat up, resting my elbows on my knees as I hunched over, to look at my feet. I couldn't let that happen... I've made up my mind now. Lu Xun was to be given the credit he deserved...

And so, I stand again, to look for the boy, but there was no need to. I could see him standing right across from me, the only thing between us was the fountain. He held his hands at the side, his fists clenched tightly, and his eyes told me a sad story, that he had indeed been crying. My heart shattered at the sight of this sparkling golden eyes, and yet, like all times before, I lost all nerve, my words killing themselves within the throat. Why? Why does he always stun me into silence?

"Lord Lü Meng... do you not have a celebration to attend?" Lu Xun spoke up, his voice so soft that I could hardly hear him over the trickling of water. There was just something wrong... something had spooked him, and even i could tell. "It's in your honor."

Finally, I forced the words out, surprised with how smooth they came out at all. "You know well that it's not just my victory, but it's yours, too. It was you who came up with the plan, after all, and it would be criminal to accept the praise that is not rightfully mine."

"I.... I hold no victory..." Lu Xun stated simply, and I couldn't believe he had just said that, as he turned away, to leave. "You should return, Lord Lü Meng, before they notice your absence."

But I didn't leave, and instead, I followed him, stopping in his tracks, "Lu Xun... we need to talk."

I saw him tense up, and his voice sent bolts of pain to my heart. Was he about to cry? "We can't talk... what is there to talk about?"

"... I want to know why you are always alone..." I blurted out, seeing one hand finally uncurl itself and rest on his hip in a stance I did not understand. I could not contain my curiosity anymore... I NEEDED to know this. "You love the loneliness, you love to be in the shadows of others, and I... don't see why. A man of your talent deserves to be noticed, and I think you know that... and you want that."

"Now is not the time to talk about such issues, sir..."

"And why not? We're alone, there is no battle going on right now."

I saw him flinch, as he muttered lowly, "Not now... but... there will be... and soon."

Well, of course there would be another battle soon... this was war, and I didn't think that Shu would back down so easily. I was expecting all out war to break out, but the peace that was here now was worth it. Lu Xun continued, shaking his head, "The credit of this is yours, Lord Lü Meng. Right now, I am safe in the shadows... proud of my loneliness."

He tried to escape again, but I did not let him, once again calling to him, "Why do you avoid people? Or is... it just me?"

Dammit... I cursed myself mentally, as the boy turned around, to give me an indescribable look. His eyes hinted pain, though, and my soul was tearing apart as he sighed, "Because people hurt other people... no one intends to hurt one another, yet it cannot be helped. Through hatred of war, others are hurt by blades, politics, gore that no one should have to endure. And those who they love... there should be no love in war. The loss... is too great for anyone to bear. That's why I hate people... people hurt one another, and they will continue hurting one another, as long as we fight for what we love."

The silent star-filled sky and the twilight of the moon could not compare to the boy's angelic look right now, nor could the soft, calming trickle of the fountain compare to the boy's delicate voice. No victory could sum up just the fact that I was there to see him, standing before him as he released his heart and soul in those words alone. And in this moment, I realized something... had he just confessed his inner most thought to me? And... that inner most thought... was it a confession?

"Lu Xun..."

"I... don't want to love... I want no ties with anyone, for I know that I will lose them." Lu Xun admitted, bringing his hands to himself, to hold himself in a lonely embrace. I saw him shudder, as he began to cry. "And now this... this war that is to come. I know already... the pain that we will all feel, and I cannot help but feel that it is my own doing."

I could hardly breathe. "Lu Xun..."

But he did not give me the chance, turning to look at me as tears streamed down his face... I had never seen him cry before... I had never seen another man cry before until now. He did not want the glory... he didn't want the praise! Then, what did he want? "I'm... I'm sorry, Lord Lü Meng... I suppose I let it get to me too deeply. I guess... I really am a child."

Now that was not true... I took a step closer, as he took a step away. "You know how I told you that looking into the flames of a fire gave me peace? I see peace there because I see life, life without that pain. Pain can only last for so long, before it eventually goes away, and all of us seem to feel pain, over and over again. It never goes away, but... flames... they can be so warm, so comforting, and hot, it numbs the pain for good after awhile. When I look into the flames, I can see victory... victory that will be mine someday, victory from this struggle that I'm losing. That's why I see the peace in the flames... of all the pain a love can bring, the pains of hellfire seems blissful compared to this."

And I was witnessing his heart of ice melt before me, and yet, I could do nothing. Dammit! There he was, vulnerable, but yet at the same time, an unreachable stone statue that a mortal man like myself could not reach. Why couldn't I move? Why? I wanted to rush to him, to embrace all of the pain out of him, to his the flames he longed for so desperately! Yet... was I that ice mountain? Could I offer no warmth?

This... this was defeat. There was no such bitter feeling that was worse than this, and I knew it, and he knew it. Yet, he understood it, and seemed to welcome it. Somehow, a smile reached his angelic face, as if to tell me that my weakness and inability to reach him was okay. "One day... the flames will come, and maybe when the flames come... I can find that blissful happiness that I ling for. I... I only hope that I can share it with the ones... the one I love."

"Lord Lü Meng, Lord Sun Quan wishes to propose to you!"

I heard Kan Ze shout, but I did not move towards him. Instead, I swallowed down my own fears, breaking past that barrier and in one swift movement, wrapped my arms around the boy and gave him something I had never given to another man, a hug. I could hear his gasp, but I did not back down, even as his body stiffened under my hold. I could heard his raspy voice in my ears, as I whispered in his own, for him and only him to hear. "I hope you find your flames then..."

And like that... it was over. Just as he loosened up, to accept the embrace, I foolishly let go. He looked at me, his eyes wide and glistening with tears. I sent him a smile, a warm smile, then turned to leave, knowing I could not escape my lord any longer. At least now... I felt fulfilled.

"Lo...Lord Lü ...Meng..."

I could not stop for that voice, not even when he repeated himself. "Lord Lü Meng... please..."

Was it then when I realized that I loved him? No...

No sooner had I returned to the main hall was a greeted by my lord, who's face was brightened with a smile from ear to ear. It was a welcoming sight, yet... Lu Xun was not there to celebrate it with me. We cheered, we filled out glasses, and Lord Sun Quan held my own goblet, though I wasn't too keen on even drinking it. I wanted to remember this night...

And so began the speech, and though I knew it was for my honor, I just could not follow along with my Lord's words, only smiling when the others laughed or cheered. They could not tell my mind was elsewhere... my mind was set on Lu Xun, and I could not get it away from him. He was so depressed, so alone, and I shuddered involuntarily, though I wasn't sure if it was just the thought of seeing Lu Xun depressed like that that caused it.

How I wanted to hold him in my arms once more... at least when I did so, he was more protected from the others. As my thumb made little circles on my goblet, I looked to Sun Quan, just for the sake of looking. I tried to put up the 'I'm paying attention' gimmick, though I wasn't even sure if it was working. Sun Quan's words would fade in and out at certain moments, but that didn't bother me.

I sighed... shuddering once again and feeling my stomach knot up in anticipation.

I wanted Lu Xun to be here...

As Sun Quan went on and on, I decided that I was going to obey Lu Xun's wishes and keep silent about his part in the plan. If that was what he wanted, then... I could at least offer him that much if I could not give him his blissful fire.

Again, I shuddered, except this one... it hurt...

"....he advised me to summon my good Zhou Yu to oppose and smite Cao Cao. That was the second instance of his keen insight. He made only one fault: He advised me to let Liu Bei occupy Jingzhou. Now today my good Lü Meng has succeeded, and in that he far surpasses both his predecessors."

Sun Quan's words had faded away after that part, and the instant he gave me the cup, I felt my fingers tighten around the glass, bringing it upwards before an angered shout broke through my clenched tight mouth. I dashed the cup to the ground without even realizing it, and that same hand that threw the blood red wine to the ground now reached for my Lord's throat, wrapping my fingers tightly in an instant.

"Oh green-eyed boy! Oh purple-bearded rat! Do you know me?"

That... that was not my voice...

In an instant, Sun Quan was on the floor, being tended by Zhou Tai and a few others, and I found himself sitting in his chair. No... this wasn't me... this wasn't me at all... then came the voice again, and the pain it brought me to see the fear that rose from the soldiers and generals faces. My wanted to rise from the chair, to rush to my lord and beg for forgiveness, but my body... did not obey.

"After I quelled the Yellow Turbans, I went hither and thither for thirty years. Now I have fallen victim to your base plots, and you have overcome me. Living, I have been unable to gorge upon the flesh of my enemy; dead, I will pursue the spirit of this bandit Lü Meng. I am the Lord of Hanshou, Guan Yu!"

Then, I remembered Guan Yu's last words... before the axe fell and ended his life. 'If I cannot kill you when I am of the living... then I will kill you through my death! My revenge will not go unappeased!'

At last, I finally gained control of my body, rising from the chair only for the world around me to be coated in blood red. Sun Quan trembled at the sight of me, and countless others stared, looks of horror upon their faces. And I felt blood... blood ran down from my ears, I could not swallow the blood that poured through my mouths... my nose gushed, but none as much as my eyes... the world... it was red...

Then came the pain...

One last face came to my vision before it was coated in the ruby red blood, and even through the shield of red, I could see the boy's golden eyes. By his expression alone... I knew my fate, and... my only regret was now, as I laid on the puddle of blood I left myself... was that I failed... I could not give Lu Xun his flames...

"Lord Lü Meng! Lord Lü Meng!"

Lu Xun... I'm so sorry...

"No... Lord Lü Meng! P-please! No..."

I could feet his hands grasp me in spite of the blood, and though I could see nothing but the blood, I felt by head rest in his arms, my bloody cheek filthying his robes as he held me to his chest. I felt his tears, and I wanted to wipe them away... but my hands... that would not move.

This death... was it fit for one such as myself? Was this the price I would have to pay... for taking the life of the God of War? And the pain to come...

Oh God... why didn't I see this before?

The tears increased, and I felt a tear touch my eyes... running past it and along my cheek, to rest in my blood-filled mouth. I did not see my life flash before my eyes, but instead, I saw Lu Xun sitting in front of the fire at He Fei, the fire lighting up one side of his face, and the moonlight lighting the other, in that one moment of beauty, and peace... his words... they were distant, but death wasn't too scary, after I heard them.

'I see peace there because I see life, life without that pain. Pain can only last for so long, before it eventually goes away, and all of us seem to feel pain, over and over again.'

I felt his hands touch my own, and I called upon my strength... please... just one last embrace.

'It never goes away, but... flames... they can be so warm, so comforting, and hot, it numbs the pain for good after awhile.'

Please... just one last embrace... one last word... something... anything. God... if you could grant Guan Yu the satisfactory of slaying me through death... then please... grant me this one last wish...

'When I look into the flames, I can see victory... victory that will be mine someday, victory from this struggle that I'm losing. That's why I see the peace in the flames... of all the pain a love can bring, the pains of hellfire seems blissful compared to this.'

My arms... finally, they obeyed, and I could only use one hand, reaching it upwards and resting my bloody fingers on Lu Xun's tear stained cheek. I could not see him, but instead...

'One day... the flames will come, and maybe when the flames come... I can find that blissful happiness that I ling for. I... I only hope that I can share it with the ones... the one I love.'

I saw flames. Any fear that the fire brought were long since gone, thanks to his words, and as the flames engulfed my body, I spoke my last words, despite the blood that threatened to drown me...

"The flames... I... I see..."



Then nothing...


*wipes away tears*

Okay... I got... too emotional with this one. Inspiration for the most part of this fic is from listening to Rufus Wainwright's version of 'Hallelujah'. Okay, you guys may kill me now.