Author babble: Hello folks! Long time no write! But many of you authors out there know how it can be--life happens, and hobbies like these take a back seat. I'll try to get back into fic writing, but we'll see.

This is a fic I've been itching to write. I know I have a lot of unfinished works, but since I've been playing DW6, I wanted to get this ball rolling and see where it goes. There is not a whole lot of Gan Ning x Ling Tong fanfics out there, which is surprising as much as it is disappointing! They're the best (and most obvious) couple in DW, I think. Even if you don't think they're in love, their camaraderie is truly charming, especially in DW6.

So yes, this will be a GN x LT fic primarily, so abandon ship now if that ain't your cup o' tea!

Some disclaimers: This fic will fuse elements from DW6 and DW5, and I'm liable to use events from true history. I say that so I may ask that readers allow any inaccuracies or outright disregard for facts and reality. Oh, and did I mention that I shamelessly hide behind artistic license?

Final but no less important note: I do not own Shinsengoku Musou/Dynasty Warriors or its characters, and of course don't own the actual heroes they were inspired by. Just borrowing for fun, not profit.

Those still with me: enjoy!!

The Mourning

Ling Tong hated parties. Even from his perch upon the interior palace wall outside his quarters, the boisterous clamour of celebratory glee and excessive indulgences bit into his ears like an orchestra out of tune. They were in the opposite wing, for Heaven's sake.

What really bothered him, though, was the reason for this evening's festivities: Xia Kou was a success. In the objective sense, it was--Huang Zu's naval threat was no more. Also no more, however, was his father's long and honorable service to Wu and the Sun family. Sun Quan eulogized him quite eloquently after the battle when services were conducted: Ling Cao, the most painful and terrible loss among the dead, remembered as a true hero, and as treasured as any member of the Sun family. That was the jist.

What struck Ling Tong most bitterly was the fact that his father had foretold his own death. Before the battle, his father confessed to him privately that he had seen multiple omens that suggested an ill fortune: a dead songbird he discovered just outside the entrance to his tent; a violent thunderstorm that disturbed his sleep; his bow breaking while he was training. Like the fool that his son was, Ling Tong had brushed off his old man's misgivings as mere happenstance.

That was the last chance I had, Ling Tong thought. He would pray until the day he died that his father thought of him as a good son. Even if he had, Ling Tong vowed that he would prove his worth as a son by continuing to serve and guard the Sun family as his father did, and to the best of his ability. Only through that vow could Ling Tong forgive himself as well.

And what other families had the chaos ruined while it continued to exist unabated? he thought.

"Ling Tong, there you are," a gruff voice said behind him. Ling Tong twisted to look behind and downward to the speaker.

"Master Lu Meng," he said. "What can I do for you?"

"Come with me."

His terse demand created questions unspoken, yet Ling Tong followed him without a sound to the conference room. There, he swept the room, noting Lu Xun's and Zhou Tai's presence as well. Ling Tong was slightly miffed when they failed to greet him.

"What's up?" Ling Tong asked.

Lu Xun and Zhou Tai looked at each other and around the room, but never at him, as if they weren't exactly sure how to get the ball rolling. Ling Tong grew genuinely preturbed, realizing that the subject of this meeting involved him directly.

"We want you to meet someone," Lu Meng finally said. "But you might want to sit down."

Ling Tong fixed his eyes on Lu Meng as he pulled out a chair and seated himself, slightly amused but uncomfortably curious, like he was about to receive the birthday gift of his life.

"We'd like you to meet..." Lu Xun started, nodding at Lu Meng, who went to open another door to the room. Ling Tong watching him nod to something--or rather someone--in the next room.

"Gan Ning," Lu Xun finished. The pirate was brought out, looking as intimidating as he did on the battlefield at Xia Kou--sharp facial features with blonde, spiked hair to match, attached to buldging musculature contained by light armor and silk coverings, with hardly any skin on his upper body left un-tattooed. He folded his arms, and the corner of his lip turned up when his eyes fell upon Ling Tong.

Ling Tong's fiery gaze fixed upon the stranger in kind, and all the fury he was capable of seemed to electrify his skin.