Sunday, February 24, 2013

[Fanfic] Bu Bu Jing Xin II Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Through Black and Gold
It was him. It was Fourteenth prince.
He stared at me, frowning, “Who are you?”
I didn’t answer. I couldn’t even if I wanted to.
“Are you a nurse?” he asked
I shook my head, trying to regain my composure. Why did his presence affect me so much, even more than the other princes? It wasn’t as if I hadn’t thought of the possibility of seeing him again. Except, in my imagination, he would be like the others: happy, carefree. I glanced at him again. In reality, he looked the same, exactly the same, as when I last saw him, with his eyes still filled with bitterness.
“Who are you?” he repeated, sounding annoyed now
I couldn’t stand it any longer. I picked up my medicine, muttered a quick apology, then turned around and ran away. Reaching the end of the corridor, I stopped and leaned against the wall, emotions flooding inside me. I squeezed my eyes shut. No, this was neither the time nor place for me to break down. Ge’ge was waiting for me. I couldn’t let him see me like this. I took several deep breaths. Later, later I would allow for my emotions to let loose.

When I deemed myself calm enough, I made my way back to my brother’s office. Ge’ge was already there when I walked in.
“Did you get the vitamins?” he asked
I nodded, holding up the bag so he could see.
“Good,” he said, “Here, I drew up a diet plan for you.”
As I listened to Ge’ge explained the kinds of food I need to eat, my thoughts flew back to Fourteenth prince. Out of all the princes, I understood him the least, and I never even made the effort to correct that. However, what I told him that day in the rain was true. He was just as important to me as Thirteenth prince. And yet, I had forsaken him, haven’t I? He always thought that he owed me, but, in the end, it was I who owed him.  
“Xiao Xiao? Are you listening?”
I looked up.
“Of course,” I replied quickly
Ge’ge narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
“Don’t worry Ge,” I said, “I promise to follow this plan and take these vitamins. I won’t neglect my own health.”
“You need to come back in one month. So I can do a checkup.”
I nodded, “Ge. Mom and Dad…”
“Don’t worry,” he interrupted, “I didn’t tell them. And I won’t as long as you do keep your promise.”
I smiled at him gratefully.
“Take this with you,” Ge’ge said, handing me the plan he printed, “Make sure to follow it well.”
I nodded again, then hesitantly asked,
“Ge? That athlete patient you were talking about? Is he going to be alright?”
Ge’ge’s eyebrows lifted at my question, “Yes, he should be fine. Though he might not be able to continue in his sport if he doesn’t cooperate and do the physical therapy.”
“Who is he exactly? What sport does he play?”
“He’s Lin Li Chen, the badminton player,” Ge’ge glanced at me, “Why are you asking about him suddenly?”
I shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant, “Just curious, that’s all. The nurse was talking about him too.”
Ge’ge sighed, “I think the whole hospital is talking about him.”
I waited a few more seconds before asking, “If he does do the physical therapy, then he could go back like before right?”
Ge’ge paused for a bit, “It would be hard,” he finally said, “He had a severe meniscus tear on his right knee. For normal people, getting back to their daily lives after surgery wouldn’t take that long. But since his job requires extreme motions, it’s different for him. It will definitely be harder, though not impossible.”
No wonder he was bitter. For a professional athlete, not being able to play anymore would be devastating. It was the same as when he went from a commanding general to a powerless official. The hopelessness, the anger, the bitterness; they were all still there. Fourteenth prince. Proud, loyal Fourteenth prince. Sweet, kind Fourteenth prince. Why was Heaven so cruel to you?
When I got home that day, the first thing I did was search for information on Lin Li Chen on my computer. Though I did felt slightly like a stalker, I needed to know more about him. It was like that saying : “The better you know your enemy, the greater your chances are of winning.” Based on what Ge’ge told me, it was clear that Li Chen’s biggest obstacle to recovering was himself.
When I entered my search, literally hundreds of articles popped up. Apparently, Lin Li Chen was the rising star of today’s athletic world. He made his debut in the 11th National Game and won the gold medal in badminton for Beijing. It was unprecedented for someone so new. There was even talk of him representing China in the next Olympics. But all that came crashing down two months ago, when he was injured during practice. It was reported that his injury was quite serious, and he might have to withdraw from the badminton altogether. It was also rumored that his sponsors had already begun looking for a replacement.
Through the photos I saw of him in action, I could tell that he loved the sport. The picture of when he won that gold medal was proof of that. The passion in his eyes could not be hidden. He beamed not with triumph but with pride, happiness seeping from his very being. It was the image I wanted to see when I thought about meeting him again. I cemented my resolve. No matter what, I would make him smile like that again.
Days past and, despite my determination, I had yet thought up a good plan for helping Li Chen. I couldn’t just come up to him out of the blue. I thought about approaching him as his doctor’s sister, but if he didn’t listen to Ge’ge, how was I to make him listen to me? Having thought day and night without coming up with anything, all I could think to do was to watch him from afar. Ge’ge said that he had already started on physical therapy. I would wait and see how he progressed with that first. Of course, that would require my brother’s cooperation, but at least I knew how to handle him. Though knowing that that was the best solution, I still felt restless, itching to be more active.
But there was something else that needed my attention today. The financial statement for Zhen Tian was done, which meant I had to go there to deliver it. I couldn’t decide whether I was more nervous or excited about the prospect. I had called ahead and the secretary told me to come at six. Though that was after work hours, but a part of our job was meeting whenever the client said.
At five o’clock, I bid my goodbyes to Tong Lei and Xiang Xiang, promising to meet up with them later if there was time.
When I got to Zhen Tian, the receptionist greeted me with a friendly smile.
“Everyone is in a meeting right now,” she said apologetically, “Would you mind waiting?”
I shook my head and went to sit down. Glancing at the clock, I saw that it was nearly six. They were still in a meeting? Thinking about it, the last time I was here was also after hours, and yet everybody was still working. Were they extremely motivated or was Zhenqing taking his employees for all that they were worth?
As if to answer my question, the meeting room’s door flew open and Zhenqing stalked out, followed by a group of rather nervous people. He turned around to face them.
“Go,” he said quietly, and I recognized the silent threat in his voice, “You’re useless here right now. Go and find your inspiration. Monday, I expect to see ideas worthy of the elites I thought I hired. Or else this will be the last weekend you can expect to spend at home.”
With that, he stormed back into his office and slammed the door. We all jumped a little at the sound. Moving quietly, everyone began to gathered their stuff. Even as they left, none of the employees uttered a single sound. Watching them, I now knew what Yang Guang meant.
“Do you need me to announce you?” the receptionist asked me nervously
Judging from her face, I knew what answer she wanted.
“It’s alright,” I replied and she let out a breath of relief, “I’ll just go in.”
Feeling a little nervous myself, I walked up to the door and knocked.
“Come in,”
I took a deep breath, then walked in. Zhenqing glanced up, the annoyance on his face changing to surprise when he saw me.
“Zhang Xiao,” he said, “Is it six already? I thought it was still early.”
I smiled, “Time flies by when you’re angry,”
He winced, “You saw that?”
“Saw and heard,” I answered, “No wonder they called you demon.”
“I wasn’t that bad, was I?” he asked, frowning
“Let’s just say I’m glad I checked this statement again a couple of times,” I handed him the folder, “I’m sure there’s no error, but please look over it and tell me if you need anything else.”
He took the file and put it aside. Standing up, he said,
“Come. I want you to try something.”
“Aren’t you going to look at it?” I asked
“I trust you,” he replied simply
I trust you. My heart pounded at these three words. It was silly. He didn’t even mean it that way. Yet, once again, my heart refused to acknowledge the difference.
Oblivious to my inner turmoil, Zhenqing walked to the side cabinets and pulled out a bottle.
He held it up, grinning, “This is a bottle of a 15 years old Earl Haakon. I guaranteed it doesn’t lose to tea.”
I lifted my eyebrows, “I don’t think I should be drinking while at work.”
Zhenqing glanced at the clock, “Technically, you’re off work now.”
“Technically, I’m still at work,” I countered, nodding toward the file on his desk
“I already accepted the statement, so your work is done,” Zhenqing stated, pouring the scotch into two glasses, “Now, we’re just two friends who want to enjoy a drink after a stressful day.”
He held out a glass to me, expectant. Sighing, I walked over and took it. He rewarded me with a triumphant grin and I was reminded again of how similar the two cousins are to one another.
“Go on,” he urged
I took a tentative sip. The taste wasn’t bad, and I could detect a hint of smoky oak he mentioned. Zhenqing was watching me anxiously, waiting for my response. A thought came to me, so quick and sudden that I had no way of blocking it. Fourth prince never liked alcohol.
“It’s good,” I answered, taking another sip and allowing for burn to wash away all unwanted thoughts, “Almost an aged perfection.”
“I told you,” Zhenqing said, a little too smugly
“But,” I continued, “not as good as Longjing.”
To my surprise, he grinned, “I knew you’ll say that.”
Putting his glass down, he opened another cabinet to take something else out and handed it to me. It was a tea container for Xihu Longjing grown in Hangzhou. I stared at it in shock. Authentic Longjing was rare nowadays, and extremely expensive. That was one of the reasons I stuck to lesser teas.
“I was going to make it myself,” Zhenqing said, “But I remembered how you said it needed to be brewed correctly or else it wouldn’t taste right. So I thought maybe you could show me how.”
I tried to gather my thoughts, “I loved to, but I can’t. Longjing requires a different kind of pot, and-”
Zhenqing held a hand up to stop me, and turned to his cabinets once more.
“Just how many things do you have in there?” I asked, a bit bewildered
He turned around, smiling. I looked at the object in his hand,
“A yixing clay pot?”
He nodded, “Longjing’s delicate flavor can only be brought out by a clay pot, right?”
I glanced at the teapot, then back at him. I couldn’t believe he remembered. Was it because he was a businessman, or…
A pointed cough broke our concentration and we both whirled around to the direction of the sound. Yang Guang was standing there, leaning against the doorframe, his eyebrows raised.
“So,” he said, walking over casually, “what do we have here?”
“Well, we were having a nice, normal conversation,” Zhenqing answered, “You should really try that sometimes.”
Yang Guang ignored him, “Tea?” he asked, nodding at the container in my hand
“Yes,” Zhenqing replied, a faint trace of defiance in his tone, “I was asking for Zhang Xiao’s advice on how to brew it.”
Yang Guang frowned, “Since when do you drink tea?”
“It’s healthier than coffee,” said Zhenqing as an explanation
“Since when do you care about being healthy?”
Zhenqing sighed, “What are you doing here?”
“What? I can’t come to see my cousin?”
 “Are you afraid he’s going to show me those pictures?” I asked
Yang Guang glared at me, “I don’t think I like you anymore.”
I grinned, knowing he didn’t mean it.
“Wait,” Yang Guang said, staring past me, “Earl Haakon? You let her drink your Earl Haakon? You never let me drink it!”
I glanced back and forth between Zhenqing’s exasperate expression and Yang Guang’s indignant one.
Clearing my throat, I said, “I think I’m going to brew this tea now. Where can I get hot water?”
“The break room,” answered Zhenqing, "It's on your right from the lobby."
I nodded. As I left, I heard Yang Guang demanding his cousin for an explanation. I smiled to myself. The dynamics of their relationship may have changed but the depth of it hadn’t.
Finding the break room, I hurried to get everything ready. The familiar routine calmed me, as it did every morning. My hands moved on their own, having done this a thousand times. For a moment, I was no longer in an office of modern day Beijing, but in the gilded cage of the Imperial Palace. I could still hear the chatters between Yutan and Yunxiang, still smell the aromas of the different tea leaves, still feel the fear which was embedded within my very soul. It was a scary place, filled with all the people I loved, but everything that I hated.  
“Do you need some help?”
I jumped, startled. The cup in my hand fell down, splattering me with water.
“I’m so sorry,” Zhenqing said, rushing forward, “I didn’t mean to scare you. Are you alright?”
I nodded, still a little daze, as he grabbed some paper towels.
“Did you burned yourself?” he asked, taking hold of my hand
I didn’t get a chance to answer before another pointed cough came our way. We turned around. It was Yang Guang again, in almost the exact same position, leaning against the door, a knowing smirk on his face.
“What’s going on?” he asked, his gaze dropping to our hands
Zhenqing quickly let go.
“I spilled the water,” I explained
“It was my fault,” Zhenqing added
 “Uh huh,” Yang Guang said slowly, still smirking
I turned away, “Sit down,” I said, doing my best to sound normal,“The tea is almost ready.”
I tried to focus on the task instead of the lingering warmth from when his hand was on mine. When the pot was hot enough, I brought it over the table and pour it out.
“Try it,” I said, smiling
Yang Guang took one of the cups.
“Why are these things so small?” he asked, examining it, “They looked like they’re made for elves or something.”
I laughed, glancing over at Zhenqing. He had yet to take a cup. In fact, he was staring intently at my hands, still resting on the teapot. There was something strange about his gaze. It was if he was someplace else.
“Ge?” Yang Guang called
Zhenqing looked up. He glanced at me before quickly looking away.
“Let’s try this,” he said, a forced smile on his face
I frowned, but didn’t say anything. Lifting the cup to my face, I inhaled its sweet aroma. It had been so long. Great quality tea wasn’t as readily available as it was in the Qing Dynasty, nor did my current job pay as well as my previous one. I took a sip and allowed for the taste to seep through my body. My eyes fluttered as memories flooded me. I pushed them back, not now. I looked up, wanting to ask how Zhenqing and Yang Guang liked the tea, when the words caught in my throat. The scene before me was so very familiar that both my past and present collided in that one second. Those two sitting there in comfortable silence, drinking the tea I personally brewed, when was the last time this happened?
“Zhang Xiao. Are you OK?” Yang Guang asked, staring at me
I blinked, realizing that I had zoned out, “I’m fine,” I muttered
Yang Guang glanced between me and Zhenqing,  “How much have you two been drinking before I got here?” he asked
Zhenqing ignored him, “This is good,” he said, looking at me, “I understand what you mean about its complex taste.”
I waited, knowing what was about to come.
“But I have to say I prefer the scotch,” he finished
“I think we just have to agree to disagree here,” I replied, grinning
He laughed, “I supposed so.”
“Well,” Yang Guang said, “since I didn’t get the honor of tasting the scotch in mentioned, I don’t really have an opinion.”
“This day just keeps getting better,” Zhenqing said sincerely
Yang Guang glared at him while I laughed. Suddenly, my cell rang.  I apologized as I pulled it out of my pocket. It was probably my mom asking if I was coming to dinner. I glanced at the screen. The caller ID shown was not that of my mom, but of Kai Ming's. 
“Aren’t you going to pick up?” Yang Guang asked
I glanced at him, “Umm…yes. Excuse me.”
I stood up and walked out of the break room.
“Zhang Xiao? Hi.”
“I just wanted to call to let you know that the lecture you helped me with was a hit. In fact, it went so well that the University wants me to give it again, this time to the whole department.”
“Really? That’s great! Congratulations.”
“Thanks,” I could hear the smile in his voice, “I was wondering, would you want to come hear it?”
I bit my lip, my excitement quickly fading.
“It’s at night,” Kai Ming continued, “So you don’t have to worry about missing work. Since you were the one who helped me with it, I would really like for you to see the end product. Besides, it would be great to have a friend in the audience.”
Friends. That was what I said we were. If so, why was I hesitating?  
“I’ll be there,” I said
After giving me the date and time, and confirming once again that I would go, Kai Ming hung up. I took a deep breath before walking back in.
“Is everything alright?” Zhenqing asked
I nodded, “Yes. But it is getting late. I should get going.”
“Wait,” Yang Guang said, standing up, “I’ve something to give you.”
He handed me an envelope.
“What is it?” I asked
“A gallery will be featuring my photographs. This is the invitation to the opening night.”
I glanced up, “You’re having an exhibit?”
He shrugged nonchalantly, “Something like that. You’ll come, right?”
I looked down at the invitation in my hand. Looked like things really did come in twos.
“Of course,” I answered, “I’ll be there.”
Yang Guang grinned at me, and I found myself smiling back.
“Are you alright going home alone?” Zhenqing asked, also coming over, “You have been drinking.”
I refrained from rolling my eyes, “I only had a cup. My alcohol tolerance is much higher than that.”
“Really?” Yang Guang said, interested, “We’re going to have to test that soon.”
I smirked, knowing a challenge when I heard one
Dinner at my house wasn’t as bad tonight. My dad and brother helped deflected most of my mom’s inquisitions during the meal, and I escaped to the roof right after. It was where Ge’ge found me.
“Here,” he said, handing me a beer
I smiled gratefully.

"Have you been sticking to the diet plan?" Ge'ge asked

I nodded, "To the letter. Don't worry, I feel fine."

My brother gave me a look which basically said he didn't believe me.

"Really," I assured him, forcing as much sincerity in my voice as possible

Ge'ge finally nodded and I sighed in relief. We drank in silence for a while.
“Ge?” I asked tentatively, “Have that Lin Li Chen been giving you trouble?”
“Not any more than usual,” he replied
“Have he been doing his physical therapy?”
“Yes. But not long or often enough to be effective.”
“Is there some other kind of treatment he can try?” I asked, “Maybe alternative medicine like acupuncture or electric current?”
Ge’ge stared at me, “Why are you suddenly so concern about him?”
I paused. I guess my plan to be subtle didn’t really work out well.
“I saw some of his matches,” I replied, “He’s really talented.”
At least that much was true.
Ge’ge frowned, “Please tell me you don’t have a crush on him. I think I prefer the professor guy to this one.”
“Of course not!” I hurriedly answered, “I just…I just think it would be a shame if his talent goes to waste.”
Ge’ge studied me carefully and I tried not to squirm under his gaze.
“Well,” he said finally, “it’s not the treatment that’s the problem, it’s the patient. No matter how good a treatment is, if the patient doesn’t have the will to get better, then it’s all just useless.”
“Isn’t there some way to motivate him?”
“He doesn’t listen to the doctors. He doesn’t listen to his coach. I’m not really sure there's anything else we can do.”
There had to be something. There just had to be. I couldn’t watch him be like this, not again. Even if the doctors couldn’t find a way, I would.
I stood outside room 312, bracing myself. I had no idea what I was going to say or do. Even Ge’ge didn’t know I was here today. My brother had enough on his plate without me adding to it. I had to do this on my own.  It was a reckless plan. No, it was just reckless. But I had no other way. I had to see Li Chen, had to snap him out of this downward spiral. It didn’t matter if he didn’t remember me, or if he thought I was crazy. If he could get better, then it would all be worth it. Fourteenth prince, Lin Li Chen, no matter who he was, he deserved to be happy.
Taking a deep breath, I knocked on the door and, without waiting for an answer, walked in.
He was lying on the bed, staring up at the ceiling, seeing nothing. I had seen that same look in Fourteenth prince’s eyes before. Sometimes, when we reminisced about the past, he would look like that, exuding an aura of bittersweet longing.
Sensing another presence, he turned over.
“You again?” he asked, confounded
I smiled sheepishly, “Hi.”
He frowned, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
“I…” I racked my brain for something to say, “I…I’m…I’m your fan.”
He stared at me, “My fan?” he repeated slowly
I nodded, “Yes, that’s right. I’ve been a fan of yours since the National Game. I heard you were injured and wanted to come visit you.”
 “Then why did you run away last time?” he asked, looking suspicious
“I…I was just overwhelmed.”
He looked at me for a few more seconds before turning away, “I’m not in the mood to meet with fans today. You better leave.”
“Are you feeling better?” I asked
“I’m still alive, aren’t I?” he retorted
I bit my lip. Perhaps I should leave now. Some things couldn’t be rushed.
“I’ll come visit you again another day,” I said
He made no sign of hearing me. Sighing silently, I walked out and closed the door behind me. It didn’t exactly go as well I wanted, but at least, it was a start. 300 years ago, Fourteenth prince wanted to be my friend. Now, I was determined to be Lin Li Chen’s.
A/N: The muse, she hasn't been kind to me lately, which was the reason for the late update. But at least now, the introduction part is complete and we can get the plot moving. 


  1. What a nice interaction of my favorite trio : Yang Guang, Zhang Xiao and Wu Zhenqing.

    And badminton athlete is a perfect profession for modern 14th prince. A sweaty muscular man is hard to resist ^^

  2. Hi. It would be nice if you have a fixed schedule to update this fanfic... Perhaps, once per week? Thanks.

  3. please please continue, i'm in love with this story!

  4. Yay!! finally a new chapter is here!! Thank you!!

  5. New chapter yeah! And 14th prince too! Can't wait for the new chapter.

  6. yay! thanks for the update!!!!
    and i cant wait for the new chapter!

  7. So I read all 8 chapters within few hours and this has to be my top bbjx Fanfic! I'm so in love with your story. And I always giggle while reading Zhang xiao, 4th and 13rd prince conversations. I hope I will see more of ZHang xiao and zhenqing here. I wonder if Lu Wu and min min will appear in your story as well ^^ update soon I'll be waiting

  8. Love how the plot is woven and flowing so smoothly. Keep it up and please keep writing!!! Anticipating the next chapter! 给力

  9. Finished reading all 8 chapters in one sitting! I really took my time to read and digest this fanfic.

    Just want to show my appreciation for this wonderful fanfic... all the brilliant details about the characters... Also love how each character have similar and different traits from themselves 300 years ago... You write it so well... I love everything about it!!! I must mention that I was giggling from time to time while reading your fanfic... the cute interaction between 4th, 13th and zhangxiao is sooooo perfect!!!

    I was so disappointed when Tangren announced that BBJX2 will be a new story and not a continuation of the last episode of BBJX... So I'm very thankful that you started this fanfic and fulfilled this fan girl's wish!!! Please never stop writing this fanfic and update soon... I will keep reading to the end!!!

    I also like your author's note... after reading the A/N, I feel that you really do put in a lot effort and consideration while building the characters and the storyline!!!