Monday, January 21, 2013

[Fanfic] Bu Bu Jing Xin II Chapter 1

                                               Poster credit to owner

Please read the Prologue first

Terms to know
Ge'ge or Ge means older brother
Mei'mei means younger sister
Xiao Xiao is Zhang Xiao's nickname

Chapter 1: Life is but a Dream

“You seemed better,” my mom observed over breakfast days later
I smiled at her, “I feel better,” I replied
She smiled back, blinking away tears that have formed in her eyes. Guilt twisted my stomach as I thought of what she had gone through because of me. She and my father were on vacation at the time of my accident, and my brother kept it a secret, not wanting them to worry. Only when I woke up were they notified of the situation. They flew back immediately and stayed by my side almost twenty four seven. Even when the doctors cleared my health, my mom insisted on more checkups, noting my despondent mood and lack of appetite. My doctor assured her that it was normal for patients with brain injuries to behave slightly abnormal for a while, but she was persistent. Though all my tests came out normal, my mom was still worried, her maternal instinct telling her that something wasn’t right. She had decided to stay with me when I got discharged from the hospital, refusing to back to Beijing with my dad. I tried to persuade her, even enlisting the help of my brother, but to no avail.
“I’ll go home when I feel that you’re fine,” she said

And it was clear to her, no matter what the doctor’s report said, that I wasn’t. I tried to act normal but there was no fooling my mother. She saw straight through my bravado smiles, to the true melancholy in my eyes.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” she asked softly over dinner one night, while I was struggling to swallow more than two spoonfuls of soup.
I looked up, the obligatory “nothing” right on my lips, but seeing her, with so much worry and love in her eyes, stopped me. A lump got stuck on my throat and I just couldn’t pretend anymore. Tears streamed down my face as sobs after sobs tore themselves out of my body. I didn’t hear her move, but suddenly my mother’s arms were around me, holding me tight, stroking my hair. She didn’t say anything, but no words were needed. I cried myself to sleep in her arms that night, like I often did as a child, over much smaller problems.
The very next day, I was determined to get better, if not for my sake, then for my family. I wouldn’t allow myself to hurt those who love me again. With that resolve, I went to the local library, to research the fates of Maertai Ruoxi’s and those surrounding her. Knowing the final endings of the princes was a kind of bittersweet torture. It hurt but it allowed me to have some sort of closure. However, tried as I might, I couldn’t find out what happened to Maertai Ruoxi. That name appeared nowhere in historical records, not even in the list of Fourteenth prince’s wives. I began to wonder whether it was all a dream, all the happiness, the pain, the love. That was until I saw myself in that painting, until I saw him standing in front of me, until I saw the magnolia hairpin, until I knew that he loved me.
The knowledge of Fourth prince’s love was better than any kind of medicine, filling me with strength. Along with my mother’s care, I was getting better, adjusting to my life in modern times once again. I still remembered Fourth prince’s advice to me when we first met, “make the best of the situation.” That time, I needed to completely become Maertai Ruoxi to protect both my and Jie’jie’s lives. It was the same now. I needed to go on living now, so my family can go on living too.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” I whispered, “for worrying you.”
She reached across the table for my hand, squeezing it gently, “Don’t be silly. I’m your mother. That’s what I do. That’s what I’m here for.”
“I’m fine now,” I said, smiling, “You should go home, Mom. You know Dad can’t cook. I don’t know how he has been surviving without you.”
She raised an eyebrow, “Trying to get rid of me already?” she teased
 “Actually,” I said slowly, “I was thinking about going with you.”
My mom’s eyes widened in surprised.
I shrugged, “I’m kind of tired of life here. I’m thinking of making a fresh start. My company has a branch in Beijing and I thought I could apply for a transfer.”
My mom blinked away new tears as she came over to hug me.
“Oh, honey. That would be great. I would love for you to come home.”
Enveloped in her warm embrace, I knew I made the right decision.
“I can’t believe you’re doing this,” my brother, Zhang Min, said, as he handed me some of my books
“I think you mentioned that a couple of hundred times now,” I replied casually as I looked at the books in my hand and, a minute deliberation, tossed them in the box.
My application for the work transfer took less time than I thought to get approved. In a week, I would be moving from my apartment here to the company’s apartment in Beijing, which was a couple of blocks away from my parents’ home.  My mom had already left, wanting to get everything ready for me there, but my brother stayed behind to help me pack.
He shook his head, “Don’t misunderstand, I’m ecstatic. But I just don’t get it. You were so excited to leave home. You basically ran from your graduation ceremony to the airport. So why the change of mind?”
Growing up as the youngest child and only daughter of a university professor and dance teacher, I often felt suffocated. My father was a kind and calm man, but years of teaching had made him a tough disciplinary. He was the one who taught me how to read and was the one who expanded my readings beyond the obligatory school books. He would give me texts from ancient philosophers and encouraged me to form my own opinions from their writings. Sunday dinners usually meant lengthy book discussions.  I used to love having those conversations with my dad, but as I got older, I began to grow weary of them. My mom, a dancer in her own time, made sure that I would not lack in the art department. She would bring me to dance lessons, art lessons, singing lessons, and even taught me to cook at home. Though I did enjoy some of the activities, I resented at being forced to go to them. When it was time for me to go to college, the obvious choice was Peking University, where my father taught. It was a prestigious university and I was thrilled to be accepted, but a part of me long to get away. So, when I graduated, I purposely applied for jobs in different cities. Thinking back now, I wondered how much that had hurt my parents. It took years, but I now realized that those Sunday conversations was my dad’s way of bonding with me, and all those lessons my mom arranged was so I could find something to be passionate about, just as she was passionate about dance. Of course, going back to ancient times and thinking that I would never see my parents again helped put things in perspective.
Ge’ge glanced at me cautiously when I didn’t answered, “It’s not just to get away from that cheating bastard boyfriend of yours, is it?”
“Ex-boyfriend,” I corrected, “And no, that’s not it.”
He continued to look at me doubtfully. Sighing, I turned to face him.
“Life is…fleeting,” I replied, “Before, all I wanted to do was to get away, to be free. But now I know that freedom and family aren’t exclusively from one another. If I had died in that accident, the thing I would regret the most is not spending enough time with Mom and Dad. They raised me, cared for me, loved me, and I abandon them for something…something that is no longer important. Family is most important to me now. Being here by myself isn’t freedom, it’s loneliness.” A loneliness I experienced too much of already. I closed my eyes briefly, “I want to be with you guys. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to be alone again.” I choked on the last word as tears threatened to fall down my cheeks.
“Hey,” Ge’ge said softly, pulling me in for a hug, “You will never be alone nor will you ever lose us. No matter where you are, we’re your family, and that will never change.” He patted my back soothingly, “But I’m glad you’re coming back, Xiao Xiao. I’ve missed you.”
I took comfort from his warmth, hugging him back.
“My little sister is not so little anymore,” Ge’ge said wistfully, “You know, you’ve really matured, Xiao Xiao. You were in a coma for a couple of weeks but it seemed like you aged ten years,”
I choked back a laugh. He had no idea how close to the truth he was.
A week later, I was in Beijing, unpacking my luggage.
 “Are you sure you made the right decision in moving here?” my mom asked
My parents have come to pick me and my brother up at the airport, and my mom had elected to stay to help my organize my new apartment.
I raised an eyebrow at her question, “Don’t tell me you don’t want me here now, Mom,” I said jokingly
My mom shook her head, “Of course not. I love that you moved home, you know that. It’s just…” she looked up at me, “you’ve been so quiet since you got here and I’m wondering whether this is good for you.”
I heard the faint trace of fear in her voice and knew immediately that she was afraid I would revert back to my emotional withdrawn phase.
“I’m happy to be here,” I quickly assured her, “I’m 100 percent sure this is the right decision,”
I looked at her and knew that she could see the sincerity in my eyes, just as I can see the hidden question in hers. I sighed softly. Sometimes, my mom was just too intuitive.
“It’s...” I hesitated, not wanting to lie, and yet not wanting tell the truth either, “There was someone I wanted to see to before I leave,” I continued after a moment pause, “but I didn’t get that chance. So I’m just kind of sad. But I’m fine.”
It was as close to the truth as I could get. I only left out the fact that that “someone” was the reincarnation of the man I loved, Emperor Yongzhen who lived 300 years ago. As I knew I was leaving soon, I went back to the museum a couple of times. I didn’t know what I was expecting. Even if I had run into him, what would happen? He might not even recognize me, and even if he did, I was just the crazy girl who had a breakdown in the museum. He doesn’t know our past, our shared memories, our love. He wasn’t him. I justified that I just want to have one final farewell, something that I was denied of in my life as Maertai Ruoxi. Just one quick glance, a silent good-bye. But Heaven was already too kind and I shouldn’t be greedy. It was better this way anyway. I didn’t know if I could handle watching him leave again. All this my mind knew, and yet, my heart refused to listen.
I shook my head, trying to dispel the forlornness, “I’m fine,” I repeated, trying to convince both my mom and myself. I failed tragically.
“Is it Huang Di?” my mom asked
“What?” I said, incredulous, “Of course not!”
She looked at me knowingly, “It’s alright. I won’t tell your brother.”
“Mom, it’s not Huang Di.”
She ignored me, “I heard he broke up with that home-wrecker. And he did try to go visit you, you know.”
I did know.  After I woke up, my nurse, quite a gossiper, told me how my brother had literally threw “the cheating bastard” out of my hospital room when he got here and even got a few punches in before he was stopped by the male nurses. Since then, Ge’ge had blocked all of Huang Di’s attempts to come visit me. He even got the hospital staffs on his lookout. Apparently, my brother could be quite charming when he wanted to be.
“I’m not saying he wasn’t in the wrong,” my mom continued, “But I think he really repented. I saw him once at the hospital. He looked as if he hasn’t slept in days. You should see how earnestly he begged to see you. I almost caved. But then your brother showed up and chased him out.”
Ge’ge had blamed my accident entirely on Huang Di. I tried telling him that it was partially my fault, that I was the one who was careless.  My brother refused to listen, however, stating that my carelessness was due to the fact that I was distress over seeing my boyfriend cheating which, naturally, made it Huang Di’s fault again.
“It doesn’t matter, Mom,” I said, “We’re already over. And it wasn’t him I wanted to see.”
“Then who was it?” she pressed
“You don’t know him,”
“Aha!” my mom said, smiling triumphantly, “So it is a boy! Do you like him? Does he like you? Is he cute?”
I rolled my eyes, “I’m going to put these in the bedroom,” I said, lifting up a box
“Do you really miss him?” my mom called after me
So much that I died. Literally.
Starting my life back in Beijing again was easier than I thought.  I had been away long enough that any changes in my personality was thought to be normal. The people here only have the memory of the little girl I was, not the woman I was supposed to be. I didn’t have to lie. I didn’t have to pretend to be the Zhang Xiao I was before the accident. Getting back into my work had also proved to be no problem. It was amazing how easily my mind dug up those memories of sorting numbers and calculations. After just a couple of days, I was able to complete my workload without a hitch. It was like I had never left and that my life as Maertai Ruoxi was but a dream. Everything was back to normal. Except, except for a small but constant ache in my heart, and a feeling of emptiness I couldn’t shake no matter what. I wasn’t as depressed as I had been in the beginning, where I wished that I hadn’t woke up, wished that I had die in the past. I knew now that I need to continue to live. My being alive was a blessing in that I was able to see what was truly precious in life, and redeemed my past mistakes. Being able to have dinner at my parents every night, bickering with my brother over every little thing, were some of small happiness I was extremely grateful for.
 Yet, when the night came, and, though I was in a city filled with millions, my loneliness nearly suffocated me. Hundreds of questions flew through my head, making sleep nearly impossible. Why had I gone back in the past? Why hadn’t I died there? What was my purpose? Who was I now? I was not the Maertai Ruoxi who had died, nor the Zhang Xiao who no longer existed. I was merely a twenty five year old woman with had lived for about four decades. When will I find me again? When will I find life? My family, loving as they were, was not able to fill this void inside of me. Was this my fate? Living with this hole in me, destined to experience bitterness, with only short lapses of happiness which never lasted? Perhaps, I had sinned greatly in my past life and this was now my punishment.
Every night, more and more questions appeared, none of which I had the answer for. Then, just before the elusive sleep finally claimed me, my thoughts turned to him. This was the moment of the night I looked forward to the most, when the war inside me finally calmed down, and the memories of him filled me, chasing away the loneliness. Letting go did not mean forgetting, and I reserved the right to relive each of our happy memories together. In these moments, I was able to love him without reservation or consideration for others, just like I did those last few months. If I was lucky, those memories would turn into dreams, and I would wake up feeling at peace. Though in the day, I would have to face reality, with the ache in my heart, the emptiness in my soul, and the onslaught of questions in my head, those small moments at night kept the waves of depression from drowning me. In my own way, I was content.
Since coming back to Beijing, my brother and I had started a tradition of going up to my parents’ roof after dinner. This roof had been our safe haven as children. It was where Ge’ge hid when he got his first “F”. It was where I cried when I broke up with my first boyfriend. Now, as young adults, the roof was still our oasis. We never talked much, but Ge’ge had taken after our father, so silence with him had never been uncomfortable. Today was an exception. He had been restless the whole time, tapping his foot, taking more and more sips of his beer. I didn’t say anything, knowing that he would talk when the right time came. I was right.
My heart stilled for a moment. The last time I heard those words, they had came from a soft, feminine voice, a gentle whisper, a final good-bye. These words were now spoken hesitantly, low and wary. My brother rarely used the endearment with me, and it usually preceded a conversation he didn’t want to have.  I closed my eyes and repressed the emotions that I knew would come out in full force later tonight. For now I waited in silence, as my brother struggled with what he had to say.
“Do you still have feelings for that bast-…for your ex-boyfriend?” he asked
Despite the solemnity of the situation, a giggle threatened to escape me. I looked away to hide my smirk. After months of referring to Huang Di as “that bastard,” the term “ex-boyfriend” from my brother seemed almost like an honorary title. It seemed that my mom was still convinced the “boy” I was talking about was Huang Di.
“Mom put you up to this,” I said.
It was not a question.
“She did talk to me,” he admitted, “Listen, Xiao Xiao. If…you really like…him...,” my brother winced, as if he couldn’t believe what he was about to say, “I…would be accepting. He have to prove his worth to you first, but, I’m not…I won’t be against…you getting back together with…the guy.”
I bit back another giggle. He looked as if saying those words had physically hurt him.
“I can’t believe Mom cracked you,” I said, “What about your whole cheaters-never-changed-and-I-will-throw-that-bastard-in-front-of-a-moving-car-if-he-get-within-10-feet-of-you mantra?”
“I never said that,” Ge’ge protested, “Not those exact words anyway,”
I smirked, rolling my eyes
 “Let’s be clear,” he continued, “I don’t like the guy. Probably never will. He hurt my little sister and almost got her killed. That’s not something I’m capable of forgiving. But, if you love him, and he makes you happy, well, that’s that.  All I want is for you to be happy.”
A lump lodged in my throat and I took a swig of beer to force it down.
“I know,” I whispered, giving him a small smile, “I know, Ge. But no, I don’t have any feelings for him, not romantically anyway.”
“Are you sure?” he asked, searching my face for any detection of falsehood
I nodded, “I think I stopped having those kinds of feelings a long time ago. I just never knew it. In my hectic lifestyle, he was my one constant thing. I liked the idea of him being there more than I liked him. Perhaps that was why he strayed.”
“Don’t make excuses for him.” Ge’ge said gruffly
“I’m not. What he did was wrong. But you know, when I saw him with Xiao Mei, I only felt angry, angry that he betrayed me. But I didn’t felt hurt or heart-broken. If I loved him, I would have. But I didn’t.”
Ge’ge pondered my words for a few seconds before replying, “Well, that’s because he wasn’t worthy of your love.”
I laughed, “Ge, you’re too biased.”
“Of course I am. You’re my little sister.”
We sat in comfortable silence for a while until I decided I have my own question to ask.
“Ge,” I said tentatively, rolling the cool beer bottle in between my palms
“Do you like the me before better?”
He turned to me, confused.
“My changing,” I clarified, “You said it before. I’ve changed. So, which me do you like better?”
He blinked a couple of times while dissecting my question.
“You’re still you, Xiao Xiao,” he finally answered, still a little confused, “Sure you’ve changed, but that’s what we humans do. We changed. That doesn’t mean we become someone else. All of your changes are part of who you are. So you’re less talkative than before and you prefer books over movies, tea over coffee. That doesn’t make you a different person. You still bring your hand up to your mouth whenever you laugh, you still closes your eyes briefly when you tasted something  good, you still have an enormous sweet tooth. And even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. Your personality may evolve, your appearance may differ, you can drop old habits and pick up new ones, but in your soul, you’re still you. So there’s no asking me which of you I like better. You’re you. You’ve always been you.”
I gazed up at the sky to prevent my tears from falling.
“I wish I know who I am,” I said softly
A hand swung across my shoulder as Ge’ge drew me to his side.
“I know who you are. You’re Zhang Xiao. You’re my little sister. You’re the person I love most in this world.  Everything else may change, but that will always be true.”
I smiled, returning his hug, “Now I know why my nurse kept gushing over you. You are quite the charmer.”
It was Ge’ge’s turn to smirk.
“You know what I think?” he said, “I think you need to get out. When you’re not working, you’re over here. When you’re not over here, you’re at your apartment. You need your social life back. Make some new friends.”
I rolled my eyes, “And when was the last time you’ve gone out, brother dear?”
“I’m a doctor in my last year of clinical,” he answered, “I’m not supposed to have a social life. You, on the other hand, have a stable job and are at the vibrant age of 25.”
“I feel older than that,” I mused, “Besides, I’m not exactly up for partying or dating at the moment.”
“I never said you had to. I only said you need to go out. Baby steps.”
I contemplated his words in silence. It was true I haven’t gone out much these days. But I felt this disconnect with the world. The things people my age were now into no longer caught my interest.  That made sense. In a way, I was an old woman living in a twenty five years old girl’s body.
“Hey, did you know that Peking university had expanded its Chinese history wing?” Ge’ge asked
“Yup. They even have an exhibit room now. They’re showcasing antiques from the Qing Dynasty period this month. You might want to go and check it out.”
Ge’ge saw the blank expression on my face and hurriedly continued, “You don’t have to, of course. I just thought it’ll be a nice way to spend an afternoon. I saw a couple of books in your apartment about the Qing Dynasty so I thought you’ll be interested.”
A slight flush crept upon my neck. I hadn’t meant to buy those books. I was merely browsing the bookstore when they caught my eyes and somehow, I couldn’t leave them. I was scared to read them at first, afraid of immersing myself into a life I no longer have. But it wasn’t about that. The books provided an insight to the history I witnessed yet did not fully understood. Though an occasion line would bring back some memories of the past, I have managed to not get too overwhelmed.
“I’d like to go,” I replied, “I get off early tomorrow so I’ll go to the university then. Besides, it’s been a long time since I’ve visited the school.”
The relief on my brother’s face made me realized how worried my family still was for me. Ge’ge was right. I needed to go out. I was lucky to be alive and it was time to start living again.
A/N: This was more of an introductory chapter as Zhang Xiao slowly eased back into her modern life. I also wanted to provide some more background on her family and who she was before the accident. In the book, Tong Hua did mentioned that Zhang Xiao had an older brother, so I didn’t completely make him up. However, his personality is all mine. I really have an appreciation for protective older brothers. In fact, I think Zhang Min might become one of my favorite characters. He will play a bigger role as the story continues on. For those who are curious, Zhang Min is two years older than Zhang Xiao, which makes him 27. The Chinese medical education system is a basic 5 year undergraduate, with a one year internship, then another 2 to 3 years for clinical specialization if desired. I did my research Chapter 1 is a bit more contemplative, filled with Zhang Xiao’s inner thoughts, but I promised Chapter 2 to be a lot more action packed, maybe even a meeting with our modern prince(s). 


  1. love this.. please keep posting...

  2. Wow! It's so good, so entertaining ! I Miss BBJX so much, thank you !
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  3. This is probably the best BBJX fanfic I've seen. I just watched the teaser for the sequel so I'm full of feels! This is great for all intents and purposes!

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  6. Oh wow this is amazing!!
    I wonder though if there is anymore stories related to BBJX's series...

  7. Btw, I forgotten to ask you where can I find the translated version for BBJX story? I can't read chinese so I have to resort to reading the english version, I'm a little curious also when you mentioned that Zhang Xiao has a brother..

  8. Amazing ! Amazing ! Amazing ! I love it so much !

  9. I have read your blogposts for BuBujingxin for a while now, I stopped when you ended but keep coming back even until this day. I hope you can keep going on with this!!