Fanfiction: The Moon Mirror (Pojing & Bai Qian Alternative Ending) - Chapter 2 (Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms 三生三世十里桃花)

 

Chapter 2

written by LalaLoop
edited by Kakashi   
consulting by Bunny

*** This chapter takes place after Chapter 12 Part 11 of Moyuan and Bai Qian, after Moyuan has shared his plans concerning the war with Bai Qian and Yehua at the safehouse. ***

Moyuan glanced back as he arrived under an old oak tree a considerable distance away from the cottage they were staying at. It would not be long until dawn yet he knew neither his brother nor Bai Qian were resting; and he knew that advising them to do so would probably not work, not after what he had revealed about Luoji and his plans. They had still been talking and debating when he’d left.

Sunrise was best seen from where he stood. Perhaps another time, when there was not a war looming above them, he would point that out to her.

Then he heard the crackling sound of footsteps against dry leaves on the ground.

“Shifu?” Bai Qian was making her way toward the oak tree.

“You should get some rest,” he said, unsure why the customary always came out of him first despite his wanting to say something completely different. “It takes days to get to Xunzhua from here.”

She shrugged. “I don’t think a few hours of sleep would help much. Besides, you have to go back to the Void and you’re not resting.”

“We both know it’s never a good idea to follow my example,” he chuckled.

“Right,” Bai Qian smiled back, and he couldn’t help but prolong his own smile a little longer.

“Do you need me for something?”

“Yehua said we’re leaving at dawn, sharp, so…” she let out a nervous laugh and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “That’s not a lot of hours left.”

Slowly Bai Qian stepped up to join him. Silence befell for a while and the arm’s length distance between them felt almost like a stubborn enchantment that would not disappear.

“Can I tell you something, Shifu?” she said. “As Seventeenth once would.”

“Of course you can.”

“I visited Zheyan’s hut before leaving for Xunzhua, the peach blossoms were all white.”

“I know.”

“So you’ve been there too.”

“Zheyan was as dear to me as he was to you.”

“It’s not the same anymore, that place… No, in fact – I’m not sure if the forest is not the same or if it’s me who has changed.”

He saw it then in her eyes: the fear she had tried so hard to conceal since that night, since the terror that had uprooted the world she’d known to be so safe and secure.

But there was more, he could tell.

“How can anything –” Moyuan responded –"how can you stay unchanged after all that has happened?”

“You are the same, Shifu.”

“I have lost another friend I grew up with to war, if I looked as though it doesn’t affect me, then I am putting on an act.”

“No, this is different. You might be shaken but you haven’t questioned your direction, you are still sure what your future will be.”

“And you are not?”

She looked back at him unblinkingly. Whatever he felt, he made sure it did not make it to his eyes.

“Shifu… you don’t doubt me, do you? You know how important you are to me, don’t you?”

“What does that have to do with anything, Seventeenth?”

But he knew it had to do with everything – this statement of hers.

He wanted to embrace her then, but the distance between them persisted. It was not just her, a part of him also refused to close that distance.

“I just need to know,” Bai Qian shook her head, hesitating for a long minute before speaking again. “That you don’t think I’m a complete stranger. Whatever happens, Kunlun is where I want to be.”

Kunlun.

They both had used Kunlun to define their bond for too long.

But is it I or is it Kunlun that keeps you?

There had been a time when he would have been fine with either answer. It was a time when only their loyalty to each other had mattered.

His fist clenched and he reached to her face with his other hand.

“I don’t doubt you.”

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you,” she said.

“And I would always find my way back to you even from the Nothingness.”

“Those things will never change.”

“No. Whatever we are to each other.”

Her eyes slightly widened. It was not the response she had expected, not the comfort she needed, but it was all he could allow himself to offer.

Tell me what we are to each other. Tell me.

“That’s right,” was all she said in reply. And she looked away from him. “When this war is over, we’ll return to Kunlun right away, won’t we?”

“I will. You, as I have learnt from your brother, have many plans still for Qingqiu.”

“No, I’ll come with you.”

At those words, a dull pain rumbled through him, like an echo of the wrongly taken trial that had once ravaged his powers.

“You mustn’t always take Kunlun into every decision you make.”

I want to. I belong with you.”

Duty? Loyalty?

The night was giving way to a purple-dyed horizon as he spoke. “You never had to speak that out loud before.”

She only looked back at him then, unshed tears filling her eyes.

Above them, a strong gust of autumn wind rustled through the old oak tree. A dead leaf clung onto its branch as those around it fell. But it was dead, that much was certain.