This can't be! Another chapter? What is the world coming to! Anyways, Toxic-Chocolate guessed who the person was in the previous chapter, so I should have her oneshot up within a week. It was Guo Jia. He may make an appearance later on, depending on what happens.

Chapter 49

"So, you and he are friends now?" Sun Ce asked for what was perhaps the hundredth time since he and Lu Xun had caught Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang making out. While it had been several days since they'd found out about this development, this was the first time the three had really been able to sit down and talk about it for real. The three of them were in one of the private studies with two parallel couches facing each other, Zhou Yu in one and Sun Ce and Lu Xun in the other.

Zhou Yu sighed. Normally, he'd have refused to answer simply because his best friend had asked the question so many times, but in this case he knew he couldn't. "I guess you could call it that," he replied. "I mean, we get along now and of course we.."

"Make out frequently," Lu Xun finished for him with an odd smile.

"Yeah, you do that. I don't get it. You've always been really careful about who you get involved with. I can only think of two or three people in the entire time since I've known you," the Wu heir said. He screwed his face up, trying to remember if there had been any others he could have missed. "You hate…hated Zhuge Liang for such a long time. How could you even trust him?"

"It's hard to explain, Sun Ce. I just…I think he might be for real this time," the Wu strategist answered, feeling his chest constrict at the thought. He'd known having this talk would be difficult, but it was difficult for none of the reasons he'd thought it would be.

"Zhou Yu, I know you. Don't underestimate me, okay? I've known you for longer than I've known anyone. The kind of hate you felt for him doesn't just go away. No jokes, okay?" It was one of the only times Zhou Yu had ever heard his friend so serious and it struck a cord with the swordsman. "I've never seen you in so much pain before than those times when you were helpless to beat him. I'm not trying to rub it in, but everything he did was to embarrass and destroy you. You can't tell me that you're okay now. You can't. I'm not stupid, Zhou Yu."

The Wu strategist kept his eyes locked with Sun Ce's, feeling that his friend deserved it. Still, he couldn't help the terrible clenching of his gut at what Sun Ce said. His best friend was absolutely right, of course, but it was something Zhou Yu had been trying to push out of his mind. He sighed. "You're right. I guess it does still hurt…a lot, really. Only, he's different now. Not in the way he talks really, or how he treats the people around him, but something's different. It's like the look in his eyes when he looks at me is so drastically different than it was before."

"Different how?" Lu Xun asked, tilting his head slightly. He had been relatively quiet throughout the conversation, letting Sun Ce ask most of the questions.

"It's like he finally recognizes me now. Before it was always like I was just an enemy, someone who he could easily defeat without much thought. Now, it's like he sees me."

They were silent for a while. Sun Ce seemed to be taking this in and was, surprisingly, nodding. The Wu heir knew his best friend could take care of himself and if Zhou Yu really thought it was worth being with Zhuge Liang, then he wouldn't stop him.

"If Wu and Shu became enemies…" Lu Xun spoke up again, but trailed off.

"They won't," Zhou Yu told him firmly.

"But if they do…"

"He would choose Shu," came the response. "I know that. I cannot hate him for it, Lu Xun. I would choose Wu. That's just how it is. I've accepted that and I'm not afraid of what could happen."

This seemed to be the right response and both of his friends grinned. Their worries had been allayed and Zhou Yu couldn't help feeling better too. He knew there were a lot of risks with him getting involved with Zhuge Liang, most obvious of which was what would happen if their kingdoms went to war. Another worry he had was what would happen to their kingdoms if they allied and he and Zhuge Liang were no longer together. Still, he thought that maybe they could pull it off. There were some things about being with and talking to Zhuge Liang that made him feel amazing and made it all worth it to try.

"So, you want to hear what's been going on since you've been spending so much time with Zhuge Liang?" Sun Ce asked excitedly.

"Tell me," Zhou Yu said, knowing his friend would do so whether he wanted to know or not.

"Well, you know how everyone's been sparring together since the other kingdoms got here?"

"Yeah," the strategist answered with a wry smirk.

"Xiahou Dun beat up Cao Pi!" Sun Ce exclaimed excitedly. "It was so awesome! He got it so bad we thought he was going to cry. I've never liked One-Eye so much!"

Zhou Yu chuckled, remembering his friend's problems with the Wei heir. "Why did they fight?"

"Who cares?"

"Cao Pi's been driving the Wei officers almost as crazy as Sun Ce," Lu Xun answered. "I think Xiahou Dun just finally snapped. They got into some kind of fight, with Cao Pi saying he didn't need any bodyguard to protect him and, well, you know how he is. Next thing they're in the middle of the sparring grounds. Xiahou Dun had turned his sword over in his hand to hit Cao Pi with the dull side. It was pretty interesting."

"We found out earlier that Cao Cao found the whole thing funny," Sun Ce added. "Even his dad laughed!"

They spent several hours together, with Sun Ce and Lu Xun regaling Zhou Yu with every minute detail they could of what had been going on lately. There were quite a few things the strategist had already known about, but he sensed that his friends missed him and did his best to have fun with them. Things had certainly been happening since he and Zhuge Liang had been spending all their time together. Zhou Yu knew that as soon as he saw the Shu strategist again, they needed to decide what their next course of action was concerning the fate of their kingdoms. After all, talking to Sima Yi earlier that day had told him things could not stay as they were for very long.

AN: Blah, that chapter was more interesting to write than I think it is to read T.T Anyways, for anyone who's wondering, Zhuge Liang is having his own doubts about their situation to, which I may or may not address depending on how I feel next time I update. Oh, and does anyone have any requests for characters they'd like to appear/appear more in the story. I want to get more involvement from other characters, but I've been having a hard time just picking ones to stick in XD