The Passion of The Cut Sleeve
I-I had no idea. I had no idea at all. I never saw this coming.
Takato, just a few hours ago, he...
He told me that he...
...He told me he had certain...Feelings. Stronger than friendship.
Takato Matsuda has these feelings for me...Jianliang Li.
Takato has been my best friend since the fifth grade, we've been inseparable from then on. It's been five years since we met and we've only gotten closer. I-I didn't...realize how close, apparently. At least, on Takato's side of things.
Today, he asked me to go to Guilmon's old spot after school...He said he wanted to talk to me, somewhere no-one could overhear us. Or see us.
I-I had no idea why we wanted to be so secretive, he wouldn't tell me what he wanted to talk about. He just told me it was important. I met him there after school and...
"Jen, I...I have a secret. I-I think it's time I told you, because...I want you to know and I-I hope you can accept it. Please, whatever you do, don't hate me. ...Please."
"H-Hate you? Takato, you're my best friend. I couldn't hate you, even if I tried. What are you so worried about?"
I really had no idea how I could possibly hate him. He's Takato, I can't even stay mad at him. He's not just my best friend, but...My best-best friend, you know? I've never had a friend as good as Takato and he says the same about me. I really can't picture myself hating Takato for anything. Ever.
Hate or no hate, though, the next words out of his mouth were...A shock. To say the very least.
"T-Takato...? I-I had...no idea, but it's nothing I'd have a problem with."
"Th-there's one other thing, that I'm...not sure how you'll feel about. I like you. Well, no, actually...I-I love you, Jen."
I went completely silent. I could only stare at him with my jaw down.
...Takato said he loves me...
That was not something I was expecting. Even given...how close we are. I didn't see any of this coming at all. It was more than a little overwhelming.
I was silent for a lot longer than I should have been. I honestly couldn't think of anything to say, I didn't know what to say. Or how I felt about that.
Takato was the one who finally broke the silence. Before he did he went from nervous to...He looked so scared. I-I didn't even realize it until I looked back, but...Takato was really scared because I was so quiet. I should have noticed, I should have said something to let him know I wasn't mad or hated him. Like I said, I can't stay mad at Takato and, no matter what, I could never hate Takato.
I just had no idea how I felt about this. It's anything but hate or anger, nothing negative...I think. I-I really don't know how I feel. But it's not those two. It never will be.
"J-Jen? Are...you all right?"
"...Y-Yeah. I-I'm sorry, Takato, I...I just don't know...what to say to that or what to think. I-I..."
"Y-You're not mad, are you? ...D-Do you hate me? P-Please, Jen, I-I didn't mean to upset you! I-I'm sorry, I-I can't...I can't help how I feel, but...I-I should have kept it to myself, I'm such an idiot. Please, Jen, forgive me!"
"N-No! I'm not mad or anything...I...Just...Takato, c-can I have...some time to think about this? Please? It's not because I-"
"No, I-I shouldn't have told you! It's...not right. Please, f-forget I said anything. I-It was wrong of me, I'm so, so sorry Jen."
"N-No, Takato...I swear, I-I don't hate you. I don't have a problem with this, honest! I just...need to think about...things. That's all. Please, c-calm down..."
He took my silence and the fact I had to think about things as a sign that I didn't approve. And just the idea that I was upset, I couldn't believe how much it scared him. He even tried to say it was all just a bad joke, that he said it a dare from Hirokazu. No matter what I told him, he was...just so scared.
And then he ran away, I guess he couldn't take being there anymore. He also started crying, a few minutes before he ran away... ...I felt terrible because of that. I had never seen Takato so terrified.
I could never hate Takato. I-I just...
...I'm just...not sure how I feel. I've...I've been examining my friendship with him since I got home, from ever since we met and...
...I don't know how I feel about Takato and his feelings for me. He's my best friend, no matter what, but...Of all the friends I've ever had, all my "best friends" before him, I've never been as close to any of them compared to how close I am to Takato. Not by a long shot. But...
...I always...Well, I always compared us to brothers by oath. Like in Three Kingdoms. Takato and I were like oath brothers, not related but we cared so deeply for each other...That's how much I cared about him, more than I did any other friend before him and why I felt so attached to him...Devoted to him.
Like with Three Kingdoms and oath brothers, and to use a Chinese phrase, I wonder...Do we both have "the passion of the cut sleeve?" It's...an old euphemism, relating to Emperor Ai of the Han Dynasty. He cut off the sleeve of his imperial robe rather than wake his lover, Dong Xian, who held it in his sleep.
...I-I don't...I don't know what I'm feeling, about everything that happened and about Takato himself. ...All I know is that I feel horrible that he thinks I hate him. I don't care if he has "the passion of the cut sleeve," not in the slightest. He's my best friend and I don't want that to ever change.
My other concern is, well, do I have "the passion of the cut sleeve?" Why didn't I realize I had it until now? I-I don't think it's...that. Like I said, I viewed things differently. I sure don't have "the passion of the cut sleeve."
...I'm pretty sure, anyway. I was twelve when I started thinking of us as "like oath brothers," that was when I realized how much I cared about Takato. I was twelve, too, I thought it was a cool idea to be "oath brothers" with someone, like in Three Kingdoms, and Takato was the obvious choice. I-I never told him about it, it was just something I kept to myself. Takato hasn't read Three Kingdoms, anyway, I knew he wouldn't really get it.
The idea started out as just fun at first but I took it a little more seriously as time passed. I saw myself as "devoted" to him. And I tuly was, Takato and I did everything together, we planned trips together, we hang out at the park all the time, we made each other feel better if we were upset, everything. And I still want things to be like that, except...
...If Takato has "the passion of the cut sleeve," what does that mean for my "devotion" to him? I-I don't know, is there...more to that devotion? How I act around him, did it...give Takato the idea that I might feel the same? And that's why he told me? I-I don't know, after my silence...Takato was too busy telling me he was sorry and I was too busy trying to calm him down to think or ask questions.
I wish I had someone to talk to about this...I don't know who to ask. I can't ask Lianjie or Jialing for help. Or my parents. Especially my parents. The last thing I want is my family to find out about any of this.
I can't believe this is happening. Takato is convinced that I hate him. I tried so hard to reassure him that I really just needed to sort this out. I...I should have told him exactly what I was sorting out: How I felt towards him. I was afraid to even hint at it. That must be why he was so sure I hated him.
And, like I said, he cried. For the first time in years, he cried. He cried a lot, even for the old "crybaby" Takato. And I almost cried, too. I couldn't stand to see Takato like that, knowing I caused it.
...Is that another sign of "the cut sleeve?" That I feel so guilt-ridden over this? I mean, I've...I've made Hirokazu angry at me and I've felt bad for doing that, but I never felt nearly this guilty about it. Because it's Takato, it's a whole new level...
...This doesn't make any sense to me. Takato has "the passion of the cut sleeve," and...I don't know how I feel about that. Or him.
"D-Dad?" I turn from my desk, my Dad is standing at door. I-I didn't even hear him open it. I sort of confined myself in here since I got home, I've been at my desk thinking.
"We've been calling you to dinner for ten minutes now, didn't you hear us?"
D-Dinner? Already? I can't believe I've been sitting here so long... I honestly didn't realize so much time had passed.
"N-No, s-sorry..." I shake my head. "I've...been thinking a lot."
"You've looked upset ever since you came home...Hold on." My Dad steps out of my room for a moment or two. I wait, staring at the open door. He comes back with two plates of steamed buns. We're having baozi for dinner, probably filled with last night's leftover tonkatsu. "We'll talk about it." He passes my plate to me and sits on my bed. I quickly turn with my plate and set it on my desk to hide the look on my face right now.
N-No! No! I don't...No way! I-I can't talk to him about this of all things...I-I don't want him to think that I have "the passion of the cut sleeve." I-I need to...get him out of here.
S-Sorry, Dad, but...We'll both sleep better at night if I keep this to myself.
"Th-That's okay, r-really!" I shake my head, not turning. "I-I can...figure this out on my own!" I turn, hoping I look calm. "It's nothing serious, just something a friend said to me. Y-You don't need to worry!"
"...Jianliang, why are you so worried about talking with me? And it can't be something that simple if you've been this focused on it." The look on his face tells me he's not going to leave until he finds out what's wrong. This is...not good at all. "Whatever is going on, I'll help you. Obviously this is something big, just from how upset you look. I promise, I won't get mad."
Damn it...I-I guess I have no choice.
"I-It's...Just..." I look to my door, it's open a crack. "C-Can you...close the door, please? I-I really don't want anyone overhearing this." I don't even want you hearing this, Dad. No parent wants their kid to have "the passion of the cut sleeve," and no kid wants their parent to even suspect that idea!
My Dad does so, nodding. "What's wrong?"
"I-I...This is, um...really, really personal," I'm turning red. I-I have to tell him about Takato. I'm sorry, Takato. "...Can you promise you won't get mad? I-I don't think you're going to like hearing it."
...I-I can't believe I'm about to tell him this. W-Well, if he gets upset about Takato I can...just sort of nod and say 'oh, yeah, I agree. I'll never speak to him again. Thanks for the talk' or something like that. And...see Takato in secret. Takato's the...issue...not me. I-I don't have to tell him I might also have 'the passion of the cut sleeve.' Th-That should work.
My Dad nods. "I already said I wouldn't get mad. What's wrong?"
"It's about Takato." I let out a long sigh. This is it. I look away, scratching the back of my head, saying, "Um, if I...told you Takato was gay, how would you react?"
"I wouldn't have a problem with that," he says, plainly. "Is Takato gay?" ...He took that easier than I thought he would. He didn't really react. Like we're talking about the weather or something. I-I can safely say I wasn't expecting that.
I give a slow nod. "He, um, told me before I came home. At the park."
"And how did you take the news? Is that what upset you?"
"I-I don't...care if he's gay, he's my best friend no matter what. But, well, there's another, um, issue," I can't believe I'm about to say this. "He told me that he...Um, that he... ...L-Loves me."
"If that's so, do you love him back?" Th-That's...frighteningly direct. D-Dad, can I...have some breathing room here? Please?
What's amazing is that the look on his face is, still, like we're talking about something like the weather. H-He's not...fazed at all by this!
"Um... Well..." I look away...How...do I answer that? I-I don't care if this is like talking about the weather to him, to me it's the most nerve wracking thing I've ever told anyone! This is...the very last thing I would ever tell anyone in my family about!
I mean, h-he asked me if I love Takato, my best friend! My best male friend! H-He just...pretty much asked me if I was gay! My own father just asked me if I was gay!
...Th-This whole time... That's what I've been asking myself... I-I can't believe I just realized that! I've been asking myself if I love Takato! A-And...I'm not sure if I do or don't! I-I don't know the answer to that! I-I don't know if Takato is my friend or more than a friend to me!
...I...I might be...
...I-I might be gay. That's actually frightening! E-Especially now that I realize that's exactly what I've been thinking about since I got home...I've been examining my friendship with Takato, trying to figure out whether or not I'm in love...with Takato. Th-This whole time I've been basically asking myself 'Am I gay or straight?' I-I...can't believe it took it this long to sink in, for me to realize just what I've been thinking about for the past few hours...I might be gay.
Wh-Why did it...not hit me until now? Why was this so "normal" until now?
I-I called it 'the passion of the cut sleeve.' Th-That's all I've been calling it! Why would I do that? No-one...No-one uses that term anymore. It's ancient! Why would I use that term of all things?
...Because it's not the word "gay." It's just some ancient euphemism about an Emperor's consort. I didn't have to say "I'm gay," I have "the passion of the cut sleeve." It's as if I acted like "the passion of the cut sleeve" is something different. ...Th-That's it, I think I-I've been subconsciously denying that I've been asking myself if...I'm gay.
Th-The difference now is...My Dad just asked me directly, without any euphemism, without saying "that way" or "feel the same," he said..."Love." He asked if I love Takato back...
I might be gay.
Wh-When I was twelve and began thinking of Takato and I...like "oath brothers," w-was that...my way of dealing with my feelings for him? M-My way of rationalizing them? Th-That "devotion" is it actually...love?
I can't believe this...
I-I never thought about this as a possibility! Ever! Not until today! I-I don't know what to think about that except...I'm scared! It's like I don't know anything about myself anymore! Especially since I somehow went without knowing if I'm gay or straight for so long! H-How is it possible that I-I didn't even realize I was basically asking myself that very question?
And that's just the beginning of why I'm suddenly so scared right now! T-Takato thinks I hate him, I might be gay, I have no idea what to do, what to think, what all of this means and...I'm telling all this to my Father! Th-The the last person I would want to have knowing any of this! W-We all know the horror stories of parents who "disapprove," to say the least. H-He said he was okay with Takato but it's still not something I want to share with him and I don't know why! I don't want him to know and it scares me that he could even suspect that...I might be gay.
After a long silence, my Dad speaks, "Jianliang, if you did love Takato, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Not in the slightest. I would be happy for both of you." I-I think...my facial expression gave me away. I-I'm sure I look terrified right now...because of what I just realized.
I might be gay. Those four words are so terrifying.
H-how is this...so simple to him? I-I have no idea what to think or do about this, or how I feel about Takato and...He doesn't even flinch! I-I wish I could be as calm as he is right now, but...This is too much for me. I-I don't want any of this! I don't want to be this scared! I don't want Takato to think I hate him! I don't want my Dad to know any of this! I don't want to be gay!
After a few moments, I lower my head and whisper, "I don't know...how I feel about Takato." ...Or who I am, apparently. "I-I just don't know."
"What do you mean?"
I can't answer that. I look up at my Dad...I'm scared. He's okay with this and I'm still scared out of my mind. I-I might...be gay. I can't stop repeating those words to myself, I really can't. I might be gay.
I-I can only imagine how Takato feels right now. And how Takato felt before. I-I'm scared of my Dad knowing, and he just told me he would have no problem with Takato being gay or me being with Takato! ...Being with T-Takato... And Takato's not just afraid but convinced that I hate him! I-I could never hate Takato! Takato's my best friend, p-possibly even more than my best friend. ...No wonder Takato thought I hated him, I mean...My Dad told me he's okay with this and I'm still scared, just like Takato was. I-I'm doing the same thing Takato did. Takato...How did he feel when he realized he liked me? Did Takato react like this? How did Takato feel when he told me he loved me? Was Takato just as scared? I-I can't believe Takato went through something like this without ever telling me until now. Takato must have been so scared, maybe even more than I am. Takato, how-...Takato...
...I-I'm thinking about Takato... Takato this, Takato that, why am I thinking so much about him all of a sudden?
I'm going insane, I'm scared out of my mind, I don't know who I am anymore and I'm thinking...About Takato Matsuda. The same Takato Matsuda...who said he loves me.
Not this! Anything but this!
...I...I-I'm gay... That's it, isn't it? I-I'm gay...Wh-Why else would I be thinking about Takato at a time like this? ...Because I'm gay. Takato is...all I can think about because I'm gay. I-I might...be in love with Takato. Takato's gay. A-And so am I. Th-That...has to be the answer to all this. I'm gay.
I can't believe this is happening to me!
Just as my Dad starts to speak again, I start crying. I can't take this anymore. All I can do right now is cry, I can't stop.
I rest my elbows on my knees, put my head in my hands and sob. I haven't cried like this in years...
"Jianliang? Wh-What's wrong? Why are you crying?" He finally sounds worried. I-I can't believe he...didn't react to any of this until now. I just can't.
"...I-I...Dad...I'm sorry..." I wipe my eyes with my sleeve, I-I look up at him for just a second before looking away again. I can't face him.
"I-I think I...I think I might be...gay..." I-I can't believe those words came out of my mouth, I cry harder because of them. Because I just admitted this to my own Father. "I'm so sor-"
"Jianliang, never apologize for that," my Dad says, quickly. "Please, promise me you will never apologize for this ever again. You have nothing to apologize for. Ever."
I look up, I-I don't understand how he's not upset by this. "B-But, why not? I-I..."
"Calm down. Just...Calm down. Jianliang, it's okay. I've been telling you, I don't have a problem with this. Please, don't cry. You have nothing to worry about, I promise."
"Why?" I shout. "H-How can...Dad, telling you all this is the scariest thing I've ever done! I-I might be gay and...How can you just act like this is nothing? I-I'm scared out of my mind! J-Just the possibility that I-I might be gay is scaring me! Even...E-Even though you said it's okay, I'm still scared! A-And I have no idea why!" I'm starting to hyperventilate. I lower my head again and rest it on my hands and sob. "H-Help me...Please...I don't know what to do!"
My Dad speaks. I think he's trying to sound as calm and soothing as he can, "If you were gay, you would still be Jianliang Li. You would still be my son. I know you didn't choose to be gay and I would never have a problem with who you are. You're my son, you always will be. No matter what happens. No matter who you love, as long as you're happy with that person. If you love Takato, I won't object, I won't cringe, I won't think any less of you. It's not a problem for me because it's not a problem to begin with. Please, stop crying. It's all right, Jianliang. I promise, it's all right. There is nothing to be afraid of."
...Th-That actually...made me feel...so much better...
My breathing returns to normal, I feel much calmer now. It takes me a minute but I stop crying.
"S-Sorry about...crying like that," I say. I'm a little embarrassed by how emotional I was just now, but I couldn't hold it back. "Th-This is all new to me, I-I don't know what the hell's going on anymore. I-It's just...the idea what I could be gay...Or that I am gay, I'm...still not sure... I lost control of myself. It's too much all at once for me."
"It's all right, Jianliang. It's...scary at first, yes. But, like I told you, I won't think any less of you. I won't be mad or disappointed, I really won't. Please, trust me," my Dad says, giving me a reassuring smile. "I'll help you figure this out."
"I-I have to know, Dad...Why?"
"What do you mean?" My Dad asks.
"I-I just...want to know why this doesn't bother you. Not even a little." I say, wiping my eyes with my sleeve for, hopefully, the last time. "It...it scares me so much. I don't understand how you didn't even react when I told you Takato was gay...Or how you just...asked me if I loved him back. I-I know there's nothing wrong with it, but you just asked like it was nothing out of the ordinary. I-I just don't understand how you can be so...open to this."
My Dad lets out a quiet sigh, glancing away. "I...I should probably tell you something. It will definitely explain things, and you might...feel better knowing this. Are you familiar with the term 'the passion of the cut sleeve?'" ...Unfortunately.
I nod. "Y-Yeah...Emperor Ai of the Han and Dong Xian."
"When I was about your age," my Dad clears his throat, glancing away, "I...had a 'passion of the cut sleeve.'"
...I-I...Didn't...just hear that...
My eyes go wide, my jaw falls. Only two words can come to my mind...
"...Holy shit..." I whisper. "D-Dad...You're...?"
"Bisexual, son." My Dad says, his face is a little red from the admission.
"...I-I can't...believe this..." This is...the last thing I ever thought I'd hear from my own father. "Y-You...Y-You're..." I stammer, my eyes still wide.
"...Does this fact upset you?"
"N-No...Well, sort of, but not...that part of it. It's just, um...O-only because...You're...You're my Dad! I mean, h-how would you feel if Grandpa Jiyan said this to you?" I'm not...really into prying into my parents' love lives...It's something I don't really want any details on. The less I know, the better I sleep.
My Dad lowers his head, sighing, "Grandpa Jiyan? He would have been...more understanding, if he had. And you probably would not have been born, Jianliang."
...That, um...I think I know what that implied. "I'm sorry..." I bow my head. "I-I didn't know..."
"It's okay, I know what you meant by that question. I'm not upset." my Dad says, smiling slightly. "Your Grandfather caught us in our secret spot. He told me I would never see 'that boy' again and he made sure of it, personally. I didn't see anyone else for years after that. Not until I met your mother. She knows about what happened." He lets out a short sigh. "When we got married, I told her that should any of our children ever have such a relationship I would not stop them. I would give them my blessing. I never want any of my children to go through what I did. Ever. She understood, she agreed with me. Neither of us would come between you and Takato, Jianliang. You don't have to be afraid of coming to us about this."
...I-I can't...believe I'm hearing this... "I-I'm sorry that happened to you before," I say. I can't believe...Granpda Jiyan would do something like that. I couldn't...imagine being forced away from Takato like that. Even though I still don't know if I feel that way about him, I don't think I'd be able to handle that. I'm so sorry, Dad.
"You really shouldn't be," my Dad actually lets out a short laugh. "Like I said, you would have never been born otherwise." He...sort of has a point, but...I can't help but feel bad for what happened. "Do you know how you feel about Takato?" He asks.
I'm still...A little fuzzy on that. The shock from earlier has worn off, but...
"Before he told me he loved me...I thought of him more like, well...You know Three Kingdoms? Brothers by oath?" I say, my Dad nods. "That's...what I thought of us as. Brothers by oath, not related but we cared about each other that way."
"Obviously Takato saw things differently." My Dad says.
"I-I just...don't know, this is something I never thought about before. Ever." I sigh. "...And you, well, there's...no way you would have a problem with it from what you just told me, but...I-I...Dad, telling you everything before was so scary, e-even when you said you would support us. I-I...It still sort of is, I don't know why. I'm sorry. A-About being so scared, I mean. I just, I don't know if I...It's just that I...I just...I...I..." I continue stammering like an idiot. I-I don't...know how to put any of this into words! I don't think it's even possible to put all of this into words at this point.
"Jianliang, you need to relax," my Dad smiles. "Stop thinking so hard. Take a deep breath and relax. Please. Try it."
...I do just that. I take a deep breath and exhale slowly. "...Okay..." Th-That...actually helped a little.
"Now, think, how do you feel about Takato?"
...Takato has been my best friend since the fifth grade, we've been inseparable from then on. It's been five years since we met and we've only gotten closer. We spend almost every day together, from school days to vacation days. We tell each other everything, we go to each other for advice and for comfort. We're always there for each other, no matter what. I would never abandon Takato, he would never abandon me. We're always together...
"I've always thought of us as best friends, then...like brothers by oath, but...It always felt like more. A-A lot more." I say.
...When I'm with Takato...I'm happy, always. And he's happy around me. Every time we're together, things are always...better. Brighter. Whenever he calls, I'm glad just to hear his voice. When we meet, I smile. Even just thinking about him sometimes makes me smile. Takato is...one of the greatest joys in my life, because I'm always so happy when I'm with him...
"...How much more, Jianliang?"
...Takato loves me. And...
...I love Takato.
I...I actually smile as I say, "I...think I should call him. He was afraid I hated him because I told him I had to think about how I felt." I feel blood rush to my cheeks as I add, "I feel...the opposite of hate for him." ...I-I still...can't bring myself to tell my own Father that I love Takato. I-I'm just so...used to the idea of the 'usual' reaction. But, I think he understands.
My Dad nods with a smile, he got what I meant. "I wish you two the best. I'm glad you found someone you 'feel the opposite of hate' for," he says with a laugh as he takes his plate and gets up.
"D-Dad, Um, can I ask you one question? It's...about the past."
My Dad nods.
"...What was his name?"
"Mitsuo. But I called him Yama-chan."
My Dad nods as he realizes I've made the connection between 'Mitsuo' and "Yama-chan.' He probably guessed by the look on my face. I couldn't hide my reaction even if I tried.
Again, my eyes are wide as can be and only two words come to mind...
"Jianliang, you need to expand your 'state of shock' vocabulary." My Dad laughs. "Do me a favor, though, keep this from your brother and sisters, all right?"
I nod. "D-Definitely. Can you, um, keep this from them, too? I-I'll tell them about Takato and I eventually, but..."
"Lianjie and his jokes, I know," my Dad nods with a smile. "Jialing will think it's cute, though. I'm sure of it." It wouldn't surprise me if he was right about that, Jialing loves CLAMP anime and manga.
"And, Dad...Thank you. Th-That talk really, really helped," I look to my plate, I really don't have an appetite right now. Because...I want to call Takato. I need to see Takato.
My Dad holds out his other hand, still smiling. "Call him now, I'll save your dinner in the fridge." H-He's a mind reader...Or, actually, he understands what's...going through my mind right now.
"Thanks," I pass him my plate. My Dad leaves, closing my door.
I reach for my cell phone and call Takato's cell.
Takato answers on the third ring. "...Jen...?" He still sounds upset, like he had been crying until not too long ago. I really wish I had told him why I had to think. At least I know he'll feel better after this call. We'll both be so, so much happier after this call.
"Takato, um...I've been doing some thinking-"
Takato interrupts, he sounds like he's about to cry again. "Jen, I'm...so sorry about before. W-We can pretend it never happened, that I'm not-"
"Takato, I don't hate you. I love you, too."
There's a moment of silence on his end. "...Wh-What? J-Jen did you really just say that? Y-You...said you love me?" He...sounds so happy. I'm so relieved to hear his voice that way.
"That's what I needed to think about, Takato. I didn't know how I felt about you. And what I did feel, I at least knew it was anything but hate. I love you, Takato." I sort of wanted to say 'I love you' again. "Can we meet at the park? As soon as possible?" ...And now I want to say it to him in person.
"O-Of course! Jen...Thank you. Wh-What made you...realize this?"
"I just...asked someone who had 'the passion of the cut sleeve' as well."
I chuckle in response.
Original Author's (AKA Ori's) Notes:
This is another insomnia-fic. I was going to go to bed at about...Hour thirty-six to forty-ish but thought of this idea, went to my computer and typed it in my fic ideas\note file...
...Then I did some dialogue I didn't want to forget and...
...Just started writing. I finished it after about an hour and a half or so. I don't know why but the longer I go without sleep, the more things like this happen. Seriously, most of Kako Mo Ima Mo Mirai Mo Kakenukero (Damn, that is a LONG title) was typed up\planned after about twenty-four hours without sleep. Same with Save File, typed it up all at once without break. I have no idea why, but less sleep = more ideas and I usually get them done in one sitting...
...And they're usually slash. Oy gevalt...I couldn't stop writing this stuff even if I tried, could I? Of course not, I've BEEN trying!
Looks like I really was lying when I said Kako Mo Yadda Yadda Yadda was my last one...As Twerp-chan LOVES to point out. Damn it, Taiki, I am NOT responsible for what I write after hour twenty-four without sleep! You should know that by now!
First Only When I Lose Myself, now this insomnia-induced fic...
...CURSE YOU, LEEKATO MUSE!
[EDITOR'S NOTE: BLESS YOU, JENKATO MUSE! -Taiki Matsuki - Sorry, Ori, couldn't resist!]
Anyway, Taiki hinted that he actually wanted me to write something like this in one of his fic notes (Rosa Hontou Naraba, I think) but I never thought I would actually attempt it. So, yeah...This is a semi-Yamaki\Jiangyu fic mixed with a Leekato...
...I still can't believe I wrote this... ...And it...was sort of awkward to write...
I guess I'm sort of following a pattern here...With Only When I Lose Myself it was about the anxiety of coming out to a close friend, not knowing how that friend will react. In this one...Is about certain personal realizations and the associated anxieties, fears and confusion...Not sure how well I covered them, though. It's...ah...Been a while, let's say.
Jianliang probably went through things a little (okay, a LOT) faster than most, but I think Jiangyu might have had something to do with that. Though I think Jiangyu made a mistake when it came to his "no reaction" approach in the beginning. As much as he thought it would make Jianliang feel better to treat it as nothing out of the ordinary, to Jianliang it was anything but nothing or ordinary. You know?
If the pattern continues, I have no idea what would come after this...We'll find out next time I can't get to sleep. Probably.
The "Three Kingdoms" Jianliang mentions is, of course, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" (San Guo Yan Yi) - The concept of "oath brothers" and themes like loyalty and devotion comes up a LOT in RotTK (that's actually a huge understatement). If you haven't read it, it's an awesome (but very long) read about the collapse of the Han Dynasty and ensuing civil war. If you just want the shortened, summarized version: Play Dynasty Warriors.
The phrase "Passion of the Cut Sleeve" (Duan Xiu Zhi Pi in Mandarin) is a really old Chinese euphemism for homosexuality. Though I should point out: It's actually a little bit of a derogatory term, so don't say it to your gay Chinese friend's face.
I'm not sure how often it's used today, actually, it's a really old term (Han Dynasty old - The Han Dynasty ended in 220 AD, to give you an idea of HOW old). I kinda like using it since no-one knows what I mean by it and it sounds sort of mysterious. And I thought it made a really cool title, too.
I especially like using it because no-one knows what the hell I'm talking about at a karaoke stage when I sing "Dui Mian De Nue Hai Kan Guo Lai," announcing that I'm going to "Cut Sleeve it Up a little." How? I sing "Dui Mian De NAN Hai Kan Guo Lai." No-one knows what the hell I'm singing or what I mean by that...
...Aside from a few shocked Mandarin speakers...Heh heh heh! That never gets old! WO AI CHINA TOWN!
Again, Mandarin is awesome!
Dui Mian De Nan Hai Kan Guo Lai...
Kan Guo Lai...
Kan Guo Lai...
I do believe we have just witnessed the most awkward conversation of Jen's life, not to mention the most emotionally chaotic. But I loved it as I love all Jenkato. I simply loved Jen's final "realization" near the end of the conversation. Beautiful, Ori!
To be completely honest I was sort of joking in my notes for Rosa. But I'm so glad that Ori did this, I really enjoyed reading and editing it. Though it took quite a bit of work to get him to send it to me because, as Ori kept saying, "It's another freakin' slash!" Yes, Ori, I know that! That's exactly why I wanted it!
On a related note: Ori put up a new comic on his DeviantArt account earlier today (Comic - Ori's FFN Mailbag 1, link to Ori's account under "Homepage" in my profile as always). Yes, someone actually did PM me with that question (though we changed their name). Ori thought it was hysterical so he did a comic about it. I'm happy to get a second cameo in his comics and, get this, I wrote my own dialogue in it! It was quite a bit of fun!
EDIT: I forgot to mention, there's a new poll up on the profile, asking what type of narration is preferred in Ori's fics (first person. third person, no preference or more Jenkato). Please answer!