[identity profile] leen-go.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] leengonanowrimo
Length: 2103 words
Prompt: in simplified terms, Kris is a duke, Lay is a courtesan who has a jaded view on life and has trust issues.
Notes: see here. Unedited/unbeta-ed. Trigger warning for cutting.

Yifan poked at his bowl of rice absently, opposite elbow resting on the table and chin in palm. His head snapped up at the jab his mom gave in his side before signalling towards the general on the other side of the table with a shift of her eyes.

“Oh, uh,” the Duke hummed after a beat when he noticed the general’s expectant grin that fell when Yifan didn’t return the same. “Sorry, I’ve been, uh, a little busy with work,” he apologized before raising his cup of wine in greeting with a chuckle, “You know how it is with all that paperwork.”

The general laughed heartily before draining his drink opposite the Duke. “Can’t even take a night off for your own engagement party? My poor daughter’s going to think you don’t like her,” he joked, Ah Mei beside him bringing her sleeve up to hide her own amusement.

Yifan choked on his wine at the innocent jibe, coughing a couple times as Minseok stepped up to help wipe the mess. Yifan waved his servant away, keeping the handkerchief to clean the last few drops from his lips before standing up, “Excuse me for a moment,” he apologized with a slight bow, “Please enjoy dinner in the meantime. I’ll be back soon.” He put on a gracious smile, ignoring the questioning expression that his mother, Ah Mei and her father all shared as well as the concerned one Minseok shot his way.

Turning away from the head table, the Duke relaxed into the fact that none of his other guests seemed bothered to see him up and about, not to mention distracted from the current festivities. He took care not to look too eager to leave, pausing every couple of steps to smile at a politician. As soon as he was out of the room though, Yifan’s steps faltered through the courtyard before he finally settled onto a stone stool and his forehead into his hands with a groan. “Get your head in check, Duke. Stop getting distracted and focus on your duties.” He let out another groan before turn up to stare at the sky, getting annoyed when the twinkling dots brought his mind back to The Star again. “Stop it, Wu Yifan. And while you’re at it, stop talking to yourself too,” he berated before groaning at the stupidity of talking to himself.

“Uhm,” a voice interrupted, startling the Duke enough to have him stand up in a hurry, “My Lord? Are you alright?”

Yifan raised his eyebrow almost unnoticeably at Ah Mei’s timid voice before managing a smile in return, “Of course, just needed a breath of fresh air.” He took a step forward and cleared his throat as he gestured back towards the dining room.

Rather than follow Yifan’s lead, Ah Mei headed gracefully to a stone stool that sat next to the one the Duke had just vacated. “A good wife shares her husband’s burdens,” she said simply, a subtle invitation for Yifan to voice his worries to her.

The Duke swallowed hard, That’s right, she’s your fiancée now, Yifan. His jaw clenched momentarily before he sighed and took his seat once more. “I’m not sure if it’s something to be shared, though,” he started uneasily; how was he supposed to talk to his fiancée about spending the majority of their engagement party thinking about someone else.

Ah Mei remained silent, expression soft with her hands resting on top of each other in her lap. The Duke raised his eyebrow slightly, waiting for a response, and when she didn’t offer a reply, he opened his mouth just to fill the silence, staring at the roofing of the dining room. “I mean, I’m not sure there’s even anything to share.” He turned back to await a response again, only to see the same gentle look again, waiting expectantly. He sighed long, hand reaching up to scratch idly at his neck, “Well, there’s this… uhm… problem with… uhm… one of the… uh… shop owners in the city,” he stammered, as he fumbled with a reasonable situation that he could analogize. “He’s… stubborn, to put it nicely. His… business isn’t going so well, and I want to help. I thought we were getting along fine, but then he skipped out on one of our… er meetings, and when I went to ask him about it, he was acting all… weird.”

“Weird?” Ah Mei piped up finally; Yifan had almost forgotten that she was there, having been directing his speech at the ground.

“He was acting… differently,” Yifan paused, recalling the overly giddy way Lay had greeted him this afternoon, a sickeningly sweet tone that had unsettled the Duke, especially off-putting when it had devolved to that desperation when he’d asked Yifan to leave. “I just want to help,” he whispered, squeezing his eyes shut until images of the angry streaks of red painted the insides of his lids. “But he keeps pushing me away.”

Crickets filled the night air as the Yifan’s attention turned back to the doors that led to the dining room with a sigh; the Duke should really not leave his guests alone for so long. Especially the General, he mused to himself as he started to get up again, he’s such an obnoxious drunk. “We should probably head back inside before they start wondering where we are.”

“This… shop owner,” Ah Mei started, making Yifan nearly trip on his first step, “Who is he?”

“P-Pardon?” the Duke asked as he steadied himself and turned around to address his fiancée.

Ah Mei didn’t answer immediately, taking her time to stand up and straighten her dress before looking up gently, “Who is he? To you I mean.”

“To me..?” Yifan repeated dimly.

“He’s important, right?” Ah Mei continued, eyebrows lifting encouragingly before settling again as she smiled, “You should let him know.” She bowed slightly before starting towards the dining room ahead of Yifan. “I shall let father know that you are feeling tired from a long day’s work and that you’ve turned in early for the night,” she added simply without turning, “Take care and return safely.”

The Duke stared, slightly bewildered, at Ah Mei’s retreating figure until he figured out when she was suggesting. Yifan hadn’t skipped official dinners since he’d been a boy who had always feigned sickness when his mother had announced an important official would be visiting.

He continued to watch as Ah Mei closed the folding doors before tucking his hands in their opposite sleeves, pacing the length of the garden several times. It was certainly irresponsible to simply leave in the middle of a dinner with his future father in law, but he still had so many questions for Lay. Besides, he reasoned with himself, it would be strange for me to go back after Ah Mei had already announced I was turning in early for the night.

There was a rattle of the door panels once more and Yifan hurried out of sight behind a wall, taking a deep breath before making the decision to follow Ah Mei’s advice.

Yixing flicked one of the pearls that hung off the hair ornament he held in the other hand, legs crossed and leaning forwards into his vanity dressed in his night gown, the flame of a candle flickering on the table beside him. With a scowl, he pulled open the top drawer and threw it into the pile, wondering why he cared to wonder how the Duke’s engagement party was going. He should be happy, really, he wouldn’t have to deal with unexpected drop-ins from him anymore.

He barely heard the knock before his room door opened and he nearly fell off his chair in alarm.

“Hi,” the Duke greeted, his shoulders rising irregularly as he stepped into the room uneasily; had he been running? Yixing almost laughed at the idea of the Duke running; royalty was never in a rush to get anywhere because they were never late, everyone else was just early.

Instead of returning the greeting, Yixing only stared in disbelief, keeping his hands at his side, trying not to fidget with the cloth of his dress.

“Aren’t you going to ask me to sit down?” the Duke asked, good humour on his lips even as he tried to catch his breath.

Yixing only continued to stare, his fingers starting to clench into a fist. “What are you doing here?” he asked, though even he could barely even hear himself. He cleared his throat, swallowing the uncomfortable lump in his throat apprehensively. “What are you doing here?” he tried again, hoping the Duke couldn’t hear the nervous crack in his voice.

The Duke returned with a confused look, chest slowly falling into even breathing again, “I told you I’d come back, didn’t I?” he asked, as though answering the obvious.

Yixing felt his jaw clench and his fingernails dig stingingly into his palm. Yes, the Duke said that this afternoon, but he wasn’t supposed to actually follow through. “Aren’t you supposed to be at a party or something?” he heard himself asking, through gritted teeth; he didn’t mean for his words to come out so curt and choppy, he hadn’t meant to ask it at all.

The Duke shrugged nonchalantly, suddenly looking away from Yixing as he went to take a seat at the table in the middle of the room, suddenly taking an interest in the patterns on the surface. “Well, I’m not,” he answered flatly, eyebrows furrowing together in an unreadable expression.

“Why are you here?”  Yixing tried again, hesitating before his volume dropped to a whisper, voice shaking with every syllable. “With me, I mean.”

The Duke looked up, startled with his surprise written plain in his wide eyes and lips hanging open for a moment before they pressed into a thin line. Yixing waited for an explanation; any explanation would do. Instead, the Duke’s gaze broke away from Yixing’s as it shifted down. Yixing shifted uneasily, feeling exposed as he crossed his arms in front of him.

“You never answered me about your wrist when I stopped by this afternoon.”

All the muscles in Yixing’s body tensed at the mention of his wrist again, “I thought I told you that it wasn’t any of your business,” he snapped, forgetting for a moment who he was talking to. He dropped his gaze instantly at the realisation, arms untangling as he fumbled to pull at his sleeves.

Yixing heard the Duke sigh heavily before there was a creak of the chair as the Duke got up. His hand tightened around his wrist as he took a step back, chancing a glance through his fringe to see the Duke taking careful steps towards him. Yixing’s eyes flickered towards the door before he realised that he was too far away from it.

The Duke stopped inches from Yixing, who had to lean back, head turned to the side, vehemently avoiding looking up at the Duke even as the latter reached out towards him. Yixing couldn’t help the flinch even though he barely felt the gentle graze of the Duke’s finger against his skin as a strand of hair was tucked behind his ear.

“You can tell me,” the Duke whispered, fingers lingering on Yixing’s neck and thumb tracing soft circles on his cheek.

Yixing’s jaw clenched just before he reached his own hand to knock the Duke’s away and then hating that the Duke was stronger than himself, grabbing his arm and holding it steady as he drew up Yixing’s sleeve past the elbow. The Duke’s expression fell as he traced the pink lines with his free hand, his hand shaky as it hovered over the arm and Yixing struggled to draw back to himself. “Who did this to you?” the Duke whispered; Yixing wasn’t sure if he was just imagining the underlying anger in the quiet but steady tone.

The courtesan twisted his arm back in forth, but only succeeded in drawing pink underneath the Duke’s hold. “I can do whatever I want,” he bit out, “It’s my body.”

The Duke’s grip suddenly loosened and his eyebrows shot into his forehead as his gaze snapped up. “What?” he asked, barely audible even in the silent room.

Yixing took the opportunity of the Duke’s distraction to take his arm back to himself, hastily drawing the sleeves down again, only noticing the tears when they stained his sleeve dark. He hadn’t even realised that his vision had started to blur.

“It’s my body. I get to control what happens to it,” he repeated to himself through clenched teeth. “Me.”

A/N: Happy All Hallow's Eve, my fellow fanxing shippers! I just realised that that means it's November soon and that means that this fic has almost been going on for a whole year. HOW ARE YOU GUYS STILL WITH ME??? (actually how am /I/ even still with me) Endless love for all of you for sticking around ^^ I got so many comments about Yixing's injuries so hopefully this clears it up a little? It's not fully explained yet, but hopefully next update! (Yes, Yixing is cutting himself, no Lady Pearl isn't hurting him as a punishment) Anyway, have a happy halloween and eat lots of yummy candies (including the sweet sweetness of fanxing)! \o/

Date: 2014-10-30 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xingtae.livejournal.com

Also you go Ah Mei hehehe

Date: 2014-11-03 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xingtae.livejournal.com
Welp, if she's an evil plotting bitch, Yifan won't have her :3

Date: 2014-10-30 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pika-chan92.livejournal.com
Nooo!!! Why such ending of this chapter!!! >__< I want more!!!
In the end I feel sorry for Ah Mei (unless it will turn out she is ruthless bitch) and I'd love to kick Yifan in the ass! He knows nothing! (sorry, he triggered my inner GoT fan...)

Date: 2014-11-05 01:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pika-chan92.livejournal.com
Well, I hope so. Dear Author - everything is in your hands :D

Yay for fellow GoT fan! >_

Date: 2014-11-01 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] els (from livejournal.com)
so cant wait the next chapter. T.T

Date: 2014-11-03 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anya-azrael.livejournal.com


Date: 2014-11-04 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anya-azrael.livejournal.com
I hope they work it out :(

Date: 2014-11-06 12:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shade-of-kim.livejournal.com
Oh wow, what an ending. I mean, I knew that he cut himself but I would not expect for him to admit it easily, much less to Yifan. But I guess Yixing's finally really at his breaking point?
I hope seeing Yixing like that finally snaps Yifan out of whatever slump he's in and take action. Or just sweep Yixing off of his feet and elope lol.

Also, bless Ah Mei. Just hope what we see of her is sincere. I need to stop watching too many conspiracy drama orz.
Edited Date: 2014-11-06 12:07 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-11-07 02:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kpossible21.livejournal.com
idk what's going on anymore 😑
xingxing, don't hurt yourself!yifan loves you!

Ah Mei should just get with Taozi ♡
Edited Date: 2014-11-07 02:49 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-11-18 12:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] myagnae7.livejournal.com
QWERTYUIOPASDFGHJKLZXCVBNM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear god this story is killing me I CANT.

LIKE. WHY. Right now I think both of them are stupid when its becoming to an obvious point that they both love each other already. TSK. FANXING WHY.

Sigh my heart ;~~~~; Its been a year ? Like wow thats how long I havent been reading too then GOSH SOBS. Will u ever forgive me Jayci //cries
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