A Little Moment
(Okay, so, time travel!AUs are one of my favourite things, and the idea of tiny little Zhen Yan and Zhou Zishu is also one of my favourite things, and so I’ve put them together in this short little...thing. Enjoy?)
Zhen Yan huffed, wiping at his eyes, determined to ignore his shixiong’s calling. It would take even Zhou Zishu a while to find him out here, hidden in the woods outside of town, and Zhen Yan was sure he could stop himself from crying by the time Zishu tracked him down. He hadn’t meant to overhear his parents talking to Qin Huizhang, but he had. And even if he wasn’t sure, exactly, what all the words they’d used meant, he knew enough for the truth to reveal itself to him. His father would never get better. Even with all Mama’s talents, there was only so much she could do.
Zhen Yan sniffled a little and wiped his sleeves a little more furiously over his eyes. He had to stop crying. He wasn’t sure he could bear it, if his shixiong saw him crying again.
“Are you alright, little one?”
Zhen Yan startled. The man had materialized out of the woods without a sound, and even with the concerned wrinkle between his eyebrows, Zhen Yan could tell that he was dangerous. There was a cold sort of edge to the air around the man, a power that sparked in the air, dancing around the mystery man and his wide blue sleeves.
“Who are you?” Zhen Yan demanded instead, turning to fully face the man with a frown. The man smiled at him, crouching down in a flurry of white and blue robes.
“Zhen Yan, don’t cry,” the man murmured instead, reaching out a hand to pat him on the head. His voice is soft, and his face is kind, and Zhen Yan can feel the tears welling up in his eyes again. Oh no. The man has become blurry, the details fading together behind the wall of tears. Zhen Yan sniffled a little, rubbing his sleeve over his face.
“Don’t cry, little one,” the man repeated, pulling Zhen Yan into a hug, which didn’t help at all. It was all too much, his father’s wounds and his mother’s fear and Zhou Zishu’s concern and now, now a stranger being too kind to him. It was too much, and Zhen Yan burst into true sobs, throwing his arms around the man’s neck and burying his face in his shoulder.
“A-Xu,” came another voice, distantly registered above the sound of Zhen Yan’s own sobs. Zhen Yan peeked over the man’s shoulder, tensing a little. This new man was very tall, and his hair was white as snow in the fading sunlight. The new man’s eyes widened a little when he met Zhen Yan’s gaze.
“A-Xu, you’ve made a new friend?” the new man said, addressing the man in blue, who Zhen Yan was still clinging to. A-Xu, the man, hummed in response, his hand on the back of Zhen Yan’s head.
“Sorry for running off, Lao Wen,” he murmured, his voice rumbling in his chest. He moves to stand, and Zhen Yan finds himself clinging tighter to his shoulders. A-Xu smiled at him, and lifted him up as he stood, effortlessly, despite Mama telling Zhen Yan he was too heavy to be picked up anymore.
“I suppose I can forgive you,” the man with the silver hair, Lao Wen, replied, his eyes still fixed on Zhen Yan’s face.
“Let him go!”
Zhen Yan perked up, twisting in A-Xu’s arms. Zhou Zishu had found him at last, wielding a practice sword like it was a real one, his face twisted up with fury. “Let my shidi go!” he repeated, brandishing his makeshift weapon at the two men.
“Ah, A-Xu,” Lao Wen sighed, a smile pulling at the edge of his mouth. “I had forgotten.”
A-Xu rolled his eyes and snorted. “Are you ready to be let down, Zhen Yan?” he murmured, wiping under Zhen Yan’s eyes with his soft blue sleeve.
Zhen Yan nodded, ducking his head in embarrassment. He had not only cried, he’d cried all over this man’s robes, a total stranger! But A-Xu didn’t seem angry with him, only soft and gentle.
“Go back with your shixiong,” A-Xu murmured, but he made no move to let Zhen Yan down. In fact, his hands tightened a little instead.
“Let him go,” Zhou Zishu demanded, annoyed with being ignored. “Zhen Yan is my shidi, and we need to go home. We’re expected.” He waggled his practice sword to emphasize his point.
“My, my,” Lao Wen laughed, “How ferocious you are, child. A-Xu, we’d better let your little friend go, lest we face severe consequences.”
Zhou Zishu glowered up at Lao Wen, his mouth threatening to pull down into a pout.
“Don’t worry, shixiong,” Zhen Yan piped up, “They’re nice.”
“That’s not the point, Yan’er,” Zhou Zishu huffed, “Shifu will worry if we aren’t home for dinner, and I’m sure your mama will too, don’t you think?”
Zhen Yan nodded, agreeing with his shixiong’s logic. “Can you let me down, shushu?” he asked A-Xu. A-Xu blinked his soft eyes at Zhen Yan, his mouth opening a little in surprise.
“Let him go, A-Xu,” Lao Wen murmured, his face changing in a way that Zhen Yan didn’t understand. It made him look distant, like the moon. But A-Xu looked at his companion with those soft eyes and nodded. He bent and set Zhen Yan down.
Almost before his feet were fully on the ground, Zhou Zishu was rushing over to check he was alright.
“I’m fine, shixiong,” he promised, but Zhou Zishu only frowned at him and grabbed his face, tilting it this way and that so he could get a good look.
“You were crying again, Yan’er,” he sighed, a sad look overtaking his frown.
“Sorry, I’m sorry,” Zhen Yan mumbled, looking down and trying to pull away from his shixiong’s grip.
“Don’t be sorry,” Zhou Zishu scolded, “I know...I know it’s hard for you.”
Zhen Yan blinked up at his shixiong, who was rubbing the back of his neck and looking a little embarrassed himself.
“Don’t be sorry for being sad, Yan’er,” he continued. Zhen Yan couldn’t help but smile at him.
“Whatever shixiong says,” he chirped. Zhou Zishu rolled his eyes and huffed.
“We do need to go,” he pressed, “Shifu will be worried.”
“I want to say goodbye to…” Zhen Yan trailed off as he realized they were alone in the little clearing. “Oh.”
“They must have left,” Zhou Zishu said, crossing his arms. “How rude.”
“Don’t be annoyed, shixiong,” Zhen Yan said, tugging Zhou Zishu’s arms free so he could grab his hand. “Let’s go home.”
Zhou Zishu glanced down at their clasped hands and nodded.
From their perch in the trees, Wen Kexing rested his head against Zhou Zishu’s shoulder.
“You were so cute,” he teased, “I’d forgotten how serious you were.”
Zhou Zishu huffed. “You’re one to talk,” he snapped back, “Tiny Zhen Yan was…” he trailed off a little, a misty cast taking over his eyes. Lao Wen grabbed his hand and squeezed it tight.
“Don’t worry about Zhen Yan, A-Xu,” he murmured, “We’ll be there to save them, this time.”
Zhou Zishu hummed, turning to kiss the top of Lao Wen’s head. Wen Kexing squeezed his hand a little tighter in response.
27 notes · View notes
WORD OF HONOR: PRESENTING THE ROMANCE THROUGH TRADITIONAL WUXIA TROPES.
There is a reason why to the Chinese audience, WenZhou's relationship is indisputably romantic. It's because there are very specific visual cues used to show romance in wuxia, and WOH uses the exact same visual language on WenZhou. These tropes are blatantly recognizable from the wuxia/guzhuang dramas we all grew up watching.
1. Fated meeting in a peach blossom forest.
Although in this case, fate has a name and it is Wen Kexing.
2. Sucking poison from the other's shoulder.
Worth mentioning that in the book, the wound was on Zhou Zishu's arm. The drama deliberately took it up a notch and chose the more tropey version.
3. When the disguise (usually the female lead disguised as a man) is removed, the love interest can't stop staring.
Later on (ep 13) there is a scene where Zhou Zishu is trying on a fake beard that looks exactly like the ones female leads use to disguise themselves.
4. Spinning together in mid-air during a fight, the love interest's hands on the other's waist. Slow motion. Eyes firmly locked together.
Usually male lead saving the female lead. For example, there is a very similar scene between Yang Guo and Xiao Longnv from Condor Heroes. In fact, if you've seen it, you'll recognize similarities between the visual cues used for the two couples.
5. Martial siblings falling in love.
Yes, this is a common thing in wuxia. And no, it is not incest, nor does it make the dynamic any less romantic. What the hell. Martial siblings are often coded as romantic in wuxia, and there are actual examples in the show itself: Wen Kexing's parents were shixiong/shimei and Gao Xiaolian eventually married her shixiong, Deng Kuan.
6. One of them getting kidnapped (usually the female lead) by their sect/family and the love interest swooping in dramatically to save them.
And yes, riding on the same horse.
7. One of them is from an evil/unorthodox sect and it causes problems for the couple. The person is hailed as a villain and the other one challenges all of jianghu to stand by their beloved.
Their confrontation with Ye Baiyi is also a good example: Zhou Zishu defending Wen Kexing despite him being the Ghost Valley Master and choosing to die with him instead letting Ye Baiyi kill him alone. Going against the jianghu is a common trial for lovers in wuxia. Yang Guo and Xiao Longnv went through something similar as well.
8. The male lead fixing the female lead's hair and putting a hairpin on it. Then she looks at her reflection on bronze mirror. This usually happens the morning after the wedding night
This is a very blatant romance trope in guzhuang, so much that I instinctively went "they got married??" when I first saw it. A lot of us were surprised this even made it in. They even had a lingering shot of Zhou Zishu smiling at a bronze mirror!
9. Falling off a cliff together, or one falling and the other jumping in immediately to save them.
WOH gave us both versions. The first one was before they found Senior Long (which also gave us another common trope: the couple spending time in a cave while the other is injured/knocked out) and the cliff scene in the latter episodes where Zhou Zishu jumps in after Wen Kexing.
10. Dual Cultivation to save/heal the other.
Know who else cultivated in a cold place and also ended up as immortal lovers after going through trials and tribulations for each other? Yang Guo and Xiao Longnv again! (Yes, I am a big fan of Condor Heroes) arguably the most famous couple in wuxia. If you've seen the wucai bros reaction series, they all clapped and said "It's just like in Condor Heroes! They are immortal lovers!"
There is honestly a lot more, depending on how detailed you want to get. The point is that it wasn't just the flirting, the hugs, or the poetry. Wen Kexing and Zhou Zishu's relationship itself was presented in the visual language of traditional wuxia romance, but this time in a love story between two men. WenZhou was written in the language of love.
5K notes · View notes