Nov. 20th, 2006 07:52 am
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] sparklefiction
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Characters: Kaguya (Sokka/Yue), Shaozu (Zuko/Mai), Ren (Ty Lee/?)
Warning: AU
Pairings: Kaguya/Shaozu, Ren/Kaguya?

I wrote this during the last thread thing, and then completely forgot about it, so now I'm posting? Feel free to beta the hell out of it.

”If we extend those two piers over there to fit Fire Nation ships then I buy the land alongside for a coupla warehouses,” Ren enthused, gesturing towards the area he was talking about – a ridge of ice bereft of development. A school of fishing boats clung to the coastline. It was white, and pastoral, and utterly boring. “Young tribesman have wives to feed out here an’ that’s gotta be a burden. I pay ‘em, solves you the problem of finding more jobs fer your non-benders. Betcha you could get the luxury trade from Ba Sing Se in too if you had the docking space.”

The Princess sipped her tea, impassively.

”You can see that land is occupied. I believe the salmon fishery has occupied that space since the time of Chief Atanjerat.”

”Then they move,” Ren leaned against the railing of the audience chamber balcony. He had to actively fight the urge to stand up straight and speak politely. Kaguya never slipped, never cracked, never gave him the opening he needed, and it was slowly driving him insane.

Worse, it made him want to be better. Sometimes it kind of amazed him that he was breathing in the same airspace as she was. It was a hell of a thing.

“C’mon. We’ve talked this deal up fer weeks. Gone through the specifics a dozen times. I even took ya out to examine the ships I got going fer me. And don’t say I ain’t made nice with your locals – I throw a helluva party,” Ren shifted. “What’s the real hold-up? This place’d be a damn sight less boring if you mixed it up a bit.”

There was a stinging pain in his cheek, and it took Ren a moment to realize that the Princess had slapped him.

“How dare you!”

”That woulda hurt more if ya took off your mitts.”

The Princess pulled one of her mittens off before slapping him again. Ren didn’t try to stop her. He was too amused.

”Better,” Ren felt a small rivulet of blood run down his cheek, from where one of the Princess’ nails had nicked him. “And ow.”

”I will not stand her and listen to you insult my people. I ask that you apologize for your rudeness. Now. ”

Ren tilted his head. The Princess’ cheeks were flushed and her brow was furrowed. Interesting.

”Why would I do that when you agree with me?”

This place, it didn’t give Ren a whole helluva lot to work with. Everything the people here did was couched in a thousand damn traditions, crystallized into ritual. If he moved at the pace of the Northern Water Tribe he’d be an incontinent old man before he accomplished anything. There was no way he was going to orchestrate his dealings by the path of Jupiter, coasting from House to House on a draw-out elliptical drag.

”Excuse me? If I have done anything to make you doubt my loyalty to my people then I assure you, that can be swiftly corrected,” Kaguya drew herself back, frostily. Her guards advanced from where they’d been waiting in the wings. Ren raised his hands to indicate that he wasn't about to make trouble.

”It wasn’t an insult, Princess,” Ren rocked back on the balls of his feet, still keeping his hands in the air. Wasn’t much he could do against a bender from a distance. What skill he had was in the dodge and weave, pissing his opponents off until they finally gave him the opening to strike. “Yer people are fine. Know what to do with some canoes an’ a bottle of malt liquor. But I just figured… you wouldn’t be in talks with me or the Crown Prince if you didn’t want change.”

This was a risk, Ren knew. Unlike the royals of the Fire Nation, Kaguya was a hard read – all cloudy ice with strange currents running beneath the current. Luckily for him, after years of working in the periphery all this blundering honesty was kind of a thrill.

”Agree to let the deal go through,” he coaxed, stepping up onto the railing, like he had the first time they met. “Come back with me to the Fire Nation to announce it. Might be fun.”

Baiting Kaguya with the chance to see Shaozu was maybe not fair. Not when Ren’d made sure what traffic did travel back and forth between their countries was very clear about how much time he’d been spending with the Princess, trying to get into her… coastal areas. Not after the fish trick and all the rumors that Shaozu’s puzzling lack of interest in a royal bride was down to a serious case of homosexuality. Not when Ren’d been methodically, untraceably working the prince up into a state.

Life wasn’t fair.

Kaguya sighed, and pinched the bridge of her nose like she had a headache or something.

“Are you going to jump again?”

”You should try it,” Ren smiled. He didn’t need to hold out his arms in order to keep balance, but he did it anyway. “Hell on the back, but kind of a rush.”

“I can’t think only of myself,” Kaguya said. “If you’ve thought everything out so carefully then you should know that.”

”Then don’t think of yourself. Think of me.” Ren brushed his hair back. “Imma valuable natural resource.”

”No, no – you were right the first time,” Kaguya replied, all politeness. She looked placid. She had something up her sleeve? “I truly ought to think of myself. Thank you for your advice.”

Oh shit.

He barely had time to blink before Kaguya pushed him off the balcony.
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