[identity profile] shes-unreal.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] sparklefiction
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Characters: Shaozu (Zuko/Mai), Kaguya (Sokka/Yue)
Warnings: AU, possible drama, possibly dirty

Under the influence of Avatar Aang's boundless enthusiasm and Toph Bei Fong's hard-nosed business sense, not to mention a dose of inventiveness from Sokka of the Water Tribe, the Earth Rumble tournament had evolved from a second rate small-town event to a multi-national competition. Over the years it had become so large that it had to be moved from its original location to a wide, empty plateau. There, over the course of ten days, people gathered from every nation to form a temporary, highly-structured village, at the center of which was the arena where benders of all elements would compete.

That had been the idea, anyway. But there were, of course, no airbenders around to participate until the Avatar's children were skilled enough to take part. And though the Fire Nation posessed what seemed like a glut of benders for such a relatively small country, they weren't entirely welcome in the Earth Kingdom, and so there were very few who made the trip to take part in the event.

It wasn't every year that they had royalty come to watch the event, and after King Bumi wiped the floor with the competition several years after the tournament's inception, none had stepped up to participate. So it was especially exciting that not only had five firebenders come from the Fire Nation to demonstrate their skill -- the top five in their class at the Royal Academy, in fact -- but that the Fire Lord's eldest son was among them.

The impression that most people got from Shaozu immediately was that he was quiet and intense. He was not actually taking part in the competition, but had come to conduct a demonstration which included a rare event that most of the onlookers had never before seen; a full ceremonial Agni Kai. And while there were certainly many among the crowd who would have made the assumption that the other young men were letting Shaozu look good, anyone who knew more than a thing or two about bending could note his obvious skill. When he concluded the final demonstration by shooting a bolt of lightning into the sky, there were few who could deny it.

Girls alarmed their fathers (and some, their husbands) by waving and shouting and flinging scarves and handkerchiefs to the firebenders and the prince especially as they exited the arena, the young men still bare-chested from their dueling. One or two waved back, but Shaozu's gaze was fixed straight ahead, and he did not stop or look around until he had slipped back into the tent, his tent; his status allowed him at least this much privacy, if not a whole building constructed solely for him.

Shaozu splashed water onto his face and wiped the sweat from the back of his neck with a damp cloth. It had been dustier than he had thought it would be, and now his skin was covered in a gritty film.

He'd need to have someone prepare him a proper bath sometime that evening. Shaozu wasn't as fastidious as his mother, but he was not particularly fond of being dirty.

Date: 2006-11-24 01:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
Unbeknownst to the hundreds of spectators who had gathered at the Earth Rumble once the news of the Angi Kai demonstration had been announced, Toph Bei Fong had another big trick up her sleeve, courtesy of Sokka of the Water Tribe and Water Master Katara.

The finale this year would be a decorative display of snowbending, considered by most waterbenders to be a lost art, only recently rediscovered. The sole proponents of this glittering miracle were Water Master Katara and her protege, Princess Kaguya, who was doing an excellent job of blending in with her cousins, right up to the part where they all snuck out to have adventures as soon as the adults got distracted putting the babies to bed.

Kaguya slipped through the darkness with a hood pulled up to cover the white strand that ran through her hair, her hand occasionally brushing the top of the water pouch at her waist. It was easy enough to locate the Fire Nation's collection of tents, and Shaozu's among them. Getting in was going to be a little more difficult, but she took note, and then slid back into the shadows.

Twenty minutes later, she was back, and this time, she moved straight up to the camp. An enormous block of ice slithered obediently behind her like a trained oxdog. The benders blinked at her bare arms and cloaked head, but she kept her face down and murmured musically, "His highness's bathwater. A gift from an admirer."

Figuring the Prince could handle a slip of a girl, even if she was a bender, they shrugged and let her through, and she tried not to giggle as she called through the flap, not bothering to disguise her voice and only keeping it quiet. "Prince Shaozu? I've brought your bath, your highness."

Date: 2006-11-24 04:16 pm (UTC)
glamaphonic: nikki green looks on | <user name=sincerely_jane site=livejournal.com> (Default)
From: [personal profile] glamaphonic

Date: 2006-11-24 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com


Date: 2006-11-24 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
She bit her lip and pulled the ice in behind her, keeping her face low until she was completely inside and the tent flap was closed, then pushed the hood back and gave him a sheepish smile.

"I know," she admitted, blushing, "And I'm sure the ice block is a bit much. It was dusty, today, though. I thought you might like a bath after that performance."

Kaguya nibbled her lower lip and wound her fingers together. "I can keep the bottom and sides frozen in a tub shape while you heat the inside without looking. I can do it from outside. It needn't be at all inappropriate."

She slipped a bit closer, still blushing, her own expression completely plain. Kaguya's deep, blue eyes shone with unfailing, gentle humor, and the slightest hint of extremely playful avarice.

"Just tell me what you want, Prince Shaozu. You know I just wanted to see you."

Date: 2006-11-24 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
Kaguya slipped the cloak from her shoulders and hung it on the back of his chair, executing a slow, deliberate move with her feet planted, spreading her arms wide. She'd never acutally done any bending in front of him, it surprised her how confident she felt.

The tub hollowed itself out without waiting for him to melt it completely, the water, as it formed, lowering into the center, starting to heat under his skin even as the ice surrounding it hardened and turned mostly translucent. "I did. You were magnificent, but I expected that."

She turned her back, but held the pose, her arms steady. "The warm water should keep you from feeling the chill of the ice. I've done it before for my cousins. I won't even peek. Are you sure you don't want me to go outside?"

Date: 2006-11-25 04:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
Kaguya continued to hold her basic form, though she turned her fingers upward and splayed them slightly, warmth creeping into her cheeks. He was entirely unlike any boy she'd ever met, but then he was Prince Shaozu of the Fire Nation, and that was to be expected. He encouraged her just enough to keep her trailing along behind him at a respectful distance, never saying no, but not outright saying yes, either.

She imagined that most boys felt this way when chasing a pretty girl, and the juxtaposition of situations made her giggle. Not at this particular moment, but privately, when she was alone.

Princess Kaguya had done, in her visits to the Fire Nation, research as extensive as possible on the acceptable behavior of Fire Nation ladies while being courted, and Fire Nation noblemen when courting, and, with the flair of a born politician, decided to mix the two together with a dose of Southern Water Tribe romantic sensuality that, on any other man in the known world, would have reduced her target to her devoted slave for the rest of his natural life. With Prince Shaozu, she had made herself, as far as she could tell, tolerable at best.

Her father, grandfather and countless other Water Tribe warriors since time immemorial credited glacial patience as the key factor involved in any great hunt. Kaguya, listening to her water lap against Prince Shaozu's velvet-over-muscle skin, liked to think of herself as a very patient young lady, indeed.

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Date: 2006-11-25 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
Kaguya let her own foot silently withdraw from her slipper as he poured the tea, and brushed warm, soft toes against the inside of Prince Shaozu's ankle as she accepted the cup.

"Thank you," she murmured, making indirect eye contact as her skin moved against his, then lowering her eyes to the tea as she took a sip, blushing just enough to seem demure without acknowledging the implications of her actions.

Date: 2006-11-26 06:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
In years of practicing waterbending and politics, Kaguya had mastered the ebb and flow of tide and energy that were already in her blood and in her nature. The moon was waxing, by the night of the end of the tournament, in three days, it would be completely full, and her mother's power would suffuse her bending, rendering it effortless.

Romancing the Fire Lord's heir was decidedly not bending.

Letting her foot find her slipper, she affected a subtly embarassed air, her gaze dropping into her teacup. She didn't often play the 'feign innocence' card with him because she wasn't sure it would work. Most of his expressions seemed to indicate that he thought that she knew exactly what she was doing.

Which was only half true.

Date: 2006-11-26 07:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
Kaguya blinked a few times, then beamed at him, her full lips concealing her teeth even as she spoke. "No, it isn't, I've left it too cold for that, but I can change it into something else if you'd like. I can move it outside?" She brought her hands together in her lap and shrugged, laughing softly. "I can do some flashy, showy things, but they usually require a lot of space, and I wouldn't want to knock anything over."

Date: 2006-11-26 07:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
She nodded and slipped gracefully from the table and to her feet, closing her eyes and pressing her hands downward in front of her, then slowly streaming a sliver of ice from the top of the block, melting it, and then moving into her forms with the stream following the orchestrations of her body.

She performed with her eyes half-closed, not needing to watch the water to sense its movement, or to avoid the furnishings of his tent. This was not so much a drill as a ritual dance, serene motions of deep, inner peace that flowed into one another with controlled, flowing perfection.

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Date: 2006-11-26 09:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
Kaguya glanced at him. "I couldn't have expected that you would kiss me, Prince Shaozu, though you were perfectly within your boundaries to do so. You're always a gentleman. If you find that I've tempted you, well, I don't know your culture well enough to fault your judgement, so I must have."

There. That was sufficiently vague and intricate and didn't admit anything.

Date: 2006-11-26 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
Kaguya was torn. The rules of this dance stated that she should go, and make him chase her for a while, but he wouldn't chase her, and if he did, Aunt Katara would head him off at the pass and they wouldn't see each other again for heaven knew how long.

That kiss had sent tingles all the way through her to the tips of her toes.

She knelt beside the futon and took the hand not pressed to his face into hers, kissing his knuckles. "It's all right," she murmured. "I understand. It's been a very long day, I'm sure."

Date: 2006-11-26 08:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com
Kaguya smiled enigmatically, caressing his wrist with her other hand. "My culture has very few rules for women of power. There haven't been enough that we've had to be very specific."

One of those rules was never to come right out and say you were luring a man to your tent, unless you knew for certain he'd accept the offer.

Date: 2006-11-26 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ameonna.livejournal.com

Princess Kaguya was a little bit shocked, and it showed in the quickening of her breath and the rush of color to her cheeks, but she was also thrilled, and she shivered, her toes curling in her slippers for the mere second she hesitated before starting to tug them off, her eyes downcast becomingly.

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