Thursday, 22 October 2015

'The First Dance' - a Chor Lau Heung 1984 fan fiction

My take on the first meeting between Chor Lau Heung and Song Siu Ching, requested by JoNe. Romance, action. Chor Lau Heung 1984 is the property of Gu Long and TVB HK. This fanfiction is dedicated to Michael Miu Kiu Wai and Barbara Yung Mei Ling. I own nothing but my love to them and this series (click here to read all CLH'84 episodes). Special thanks to all my CLH/FD/MB regular readers, you guys have kept me going!

Song Siu Ching's and Chor Lau Heung's first 'dance', ep 1

The First Dance 

Han men didn't dance with Han women. Unlike the Mongols or the Shendu people, a dance between a man and a woman was not part of the Han culture. It would be the women who performed the ethereal dance and the men enjoyed their dancing, preferably while drinking good wine. However, King of Thieves Chor Lau Heung had danced several times with the woman he loved. He particularly treasured their first dance. Oh, she wouldn't call it a dance, of course, she would call it something else. "Rudeness" or "show off" might be her opinion of that moment. But he would always remember it as the opening dance between them.

It was a very fine day when Lingering Fragrance went with So Yung Yung, Li Hung Chao and Sung Tim Yi to see Zo Hing Hau. They had broken their journey at the restaurant one town away from the Cup Villa. The girls ordered food while he selected the wine. They were about to dig in when they overheard a little drama on the seat across theirs.

"Twin Bliss, Glorious Emerald, Gold and Silver in Splendour. You don't know the names of those dishes? Hah, so much for being called the best restaurant in town!"

Chor Lau Heung cast a glance on the neighbouring table and saw a petite girl having an argument with the waiter. The girl was definitely pretty and cute, but she seemed to be from a rich family hence her stroppy streak. She held her pretty little nose up high such that it might soon reach the ceilings. Not to be outdone, the waiter cited their recommended menu to the upstart girl ("sweet and sour fish, salted beef..."). Although she wasn't impressed, she finally relented and asked the waiter to cover the table with her order. When the waiter, understandably, showed his doubt, the girl produced a gold sycee enough to provide sustenance for a peasant family of four for at least three weeks. Eyes widened, the waiter changes his bossy attitude to a more subservient one typical of what people of lower ranks usually adopted when trying to be in the higher-ranks' good book. The upstart girl then ordered the restaurant's best wine as an addition to her lavish meal. She then happened to look at Chor Lau Heung, who cast his rakish smile and lifted his own wine cup to greet the girl. She snorted and looked away.

"Food that much just for a girl?" Tim Yi commented. "What a waste of food! And what an upstart girl she is!"

After gently reminding Tim Yi not to judge people by their cover, Lingering Fragrance glanced at the rich girl again. Indeed, she didn't give the impression of a girl who ate much. But then, oh how wrong he was. The food came, and the girl enjoyed the dishes with gusto. One would wonder what she did to remain in shape with such an eating habit. The wine then came; she received it with the excitement of a four years old. 

"Hah, Chor tai-gor strikes again," commented Hung Chao as she witnessed Chor tai-gor's behaviour. "You just can't leave a pretty girl alone, can you?"

"You're wrong," returning his attention to his adopted sisters, he smiled. "I am not interested in her. I'm interested in her sword." That wasn't a total lie. He was indeed interested in a dark green jade sword which the girl brought and laid on the table. However, he was actually also interested in her. Something about her intrigued him.

"Whats with the sword?" inquired Yung Yung. Chor Lau Heung then narrated a story about Lady Kung Sun, a very famous swordswoman who reputedly owned a beautiful dark green Jade Sword. Upon her passing six centuries ago, the sword had been in the possession of imperial families. Somehow, it had now fallen into the hands of a girl from a rich family. 

"Hah, I wonder how she got the sword in the first place," commented Tim Yi. Lau Heung had been wondering about that too. Being his nosy self, he couldn't stand it anymore. He just had to know about the sword, and about the girl. He rose from his chair and invited himself to the girl's table.

"Miss, that looks like nice wine you're about to enjoy. Aren't you feeling desolate to enjoy it yourself? Don't mind me joining you?"

She looked at him with the "here we go again" expression. Obviously she wasn't a stranger to being courted out of the blue by a stranger. Twirling her hair, she replied, "I don't drink with shallow people who think they are perfect."

"Excellent!" Chor Lau Heung brazenly stationed himself on a vacant chair next to her. "I never think of myself as perfect, and no one ever called me 'shallow' either." Then, he unabashedly took the only wine cup from the table; her wine cup.

And thus their first dance began: she reached forward to retrieve her cup, he bent backwards on his seat to evade her. He circled the cup around the girl just to tease her, but then pulled it back again as she almost grasped it. Twice, his cheek almost brushed hers, and - despite his stuffy nose - he could detect a whiff of her exquisite fragrance. He wanted to linger there next to her cheek, but she kept fighting for her cup. Seconds later, he got his chance. She was positioning herself such that she was behind him, arms grappling forward trying to tackle the wine cup. He easily locked her arms in front of him. As she valiantly held onto the cup and pulled several times in an attempt to free her arms, he lifted the cup and drank the wine, effectively making her "serving" him. Laughing, he then released his hold on her. She staggered backwards several steps, looking capitally offended.

...and his cheek almost touched hers... ep 1

"Nice wine, very nice wine!" He chuckled. "A pity that you didn't have the chance to taste it!"

Ignoring her dismissal, he then proceeded by inquiring about the Dark Jade Sword. When she didn't deign to impart any information, he asked her to guard the valuable sword carefully. Returning to her snob mode, she replied that she was more than qualified to safeguard the sword. Despite her obvious failure in retrieving the wine cup from him, Chor Lau Heung played along. He rose and fist-greeted the girl, apologising for offending "a skilled swordswoman". He then left her to return to his own table, wondering whether it would be the only encounter he had with the girl. What an interesting encounter it was, though!

However, minutes later, two thieves managed to snatch the Jade Sword literally in front of the girl's pretty, snobbish nose. With glee, he registered her panic expression as she realised her sword was missing before he jumped from the second floor to easily retrieve the sword from the thieves with just two or three movements.

"Miss, I don't think you're qualified to own this sword," he said a matter-of-factly as he later handed her sword back. As predicted, she of course glared and snapped.

"I didn't need your help! And I certainly hope we'll never meet again!"

With that, and not bothering to thank him, she left, leaving him totally wanting for another meeting. Despite the girl's wish, they did meet again that evening in an inn. The next day, he had to rescue her from a pervert monk, but not before ridiculing her for her over confidence. He was certain that he'd never met her again afterwards. At least, the girl would make a valiant attempt to avoid him if she ever saw him on the street. However, when they met again at Sit Yi Yan's Sword Villa, Chor Lau Heung couldn't help feeling elated that their paths crossed once again. After their night excursion at the Sword Villa to investigate the apparent deaths of Zo Ming Lai and Sit Yan (in which he held her hands for the first time with her welcoming it), he found her an immensely interesting company. He then had a second dance with her when she rummaged through his belongings the following night. She tried to escape him, but he pulled her arms and locked her in a teasing embrace as she, again, heroically tried to free herself. As with the first dance, although it lasted for only a few seconds, he found himself increasingly attracted to the girl and hoped to know her better. He did know her better afterwards, and ever since, through the ups and downs of their relationship, he had accumulated many cherished moments with her. Still, one of his most prominent memories with her was their first encounter, their opening dance, that afternoon in that restaurant.


"What are you thinking of?"

Lingering Fragrance broke his reverie and turned to see the love of his life standing behind him. They just parked the Fragrant Boat on a beautiful small bay a few hours ago before sunset. Inside the zither chamber, Sung Tim Yi's fingers danced with the zither strings to produce exquisite melodies as usual. The half moon just rose at the horizon, illuminating the evening sky with its heavenly silver streaks.

"Siu Ching," he gave a slight nod to acknowledge the subject of his reverie, who was approaching him with two cups of wine. The sleeves of her soft pink garment billowed slightly in the evening coastal wind. He thought he never saw her that poetic before. "Look at the moon, it's so splendour."

Song Siu Ching looked at the moon and smiled. "It is indeed beautiful. But were you thinking about the moon?"

Chor Lau Heung chuckled. Always the observant one, this girl. "No, I wasn't thinking of the moon." Upon her raising one eyebrow, he added, "I was thinking about our first dance."

Siu Ching tilted her pretty head. "Unlike the Mongols and the people of Shendu, you Han men don't dance with us Han women. I certainly don't recall any dance with you."

"Well, perhaps we should start that couple dancing habit then..." Lau Heung looked deep into her eyes. The girl blushed and looked away after failing to hold her gaze. He smiled and continued, "...for I clearly remember the first dance between us, and it was beautiful."

"Really?" She looked back at him and shook her head. "I don't remember."

"Oh, but I do." Chor Lau Heung took one wine cup from his lover's hand and places it on the deck floor. He then moved behind her and circled his arms to embrace her as he held the other cup in front of her. He kissed the crown of her head, inhaled her fragrance and felt her melting in his embrace. "Although you should be the one holding and defending the cup from behind, I remember it was something like this..."


Author's note:

Shendu or Tianzhu was the ancient name the Chinese scholars gave to the Indian subcontinent (or the Sindh region). Since centuries BC, Indian men and women had been enjoying folk dances where they would pair up to dance and sing together. I'm definitely not an expert on ancient Han dancing, but based on my poor viewings of wuxia, couple dances (or at least dance between men and women) were only practiced by the Mongols, the Uyghurs and other ethnic tribes. I certainly never saw a scene where a Han man danced with a Han woman in the traditional context. Having said that, I'm prone to mistakes, so do correct me if I'm wrong. This fan fiction was requested by JoNe, hence l thank her for her request. I also took the liberty of modifying some conversations, but in general, it still follows the original scene of the first meeting.

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