Dark Puck - Fic: Tremors
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Fandom: Avatar: the Last Airbender
Characters: Liu, Kouji (OCs)
Summary: Liu discovers something unusual about his owner's youngest son.
Notes: Written for Bex because I love her.
Daitaro's youngest son was following him again.
Liu paused, glancing at the boy. Eight, maybe nine years old; dressed in sturdy red clothing that could take a pounding. Suitable for a farmer's son. What caught Liu's attention was the boy's bare feet.
It wasn't common for young Fire children to go about without shoes, and it wasn't as though Daitaro's family was poor. Curious.
Liu continued moving the family's winter things to storage, and the boy kept following him. Kouji, that was his name. He was a fairly quiet boy, especially compared to his fight-happy older brother and musically-inclined twin sister, and he did his level best not to hinder Liu in the task Kazuko had assigned him.
When he'd finished, he took a moment to rest in the shade of a tree. Summer was fast approaching, and the heat was building rapidly. Kouji vanished briefly, then returned with a flask of water. Staying carefully out of arm's reach -- for his own safety? Or to reassure Liu? -- he proffered the flask.
Liu bowed in thanks, and drank carefully as the boy took a seat near him. After he was done, he reached out to trace characters in the dirt. 'Thank you.'
"You're welcome," Kouji replied, smiling brightly. He leaned back on his hands, digging them slightly into the dirt. The minutest of tremors spread through the ground, so subtle that Liu might not have caught them had he not been Dai Li once.
Now that was interesting.
'How are you?' he asked, to keep the boy's attention.
"I'm all right," Kouji said. "You?" And then he flinched, clearly remembering that Liu was a slave.
'I live,' Liu answered him
The boy nodded, digging his hands deeper into the ground and setting off another tiny tremor. "Where are you from?" he wanted to know, then added almost belatedly, "If it's okay to ask."
'Guoyin,' Liu wrote, naming the city where he had been captured. 'Before that, Ba Sing Se.' He kept a surreptitious eye on Kouji's hands.
"Ba Sing Se...," Kouji repeated, grey eyes shining.
'The greatest city in the world,' Liu told him.
"What was it like?" The boy's full attention was on him now; he didn't notice his hands digging even deeper into the earth. Liu was sure of it now -- somehow, Kouji was an earthbender.
Liu flexed his hand and raised a simplified miniature of Ba Sing Se from the ground. Kouji, utterly entranced, took his hands from the ground and moved closer to the model. Liu smiled with his eyes as he watched the boy examine it thoroughly. Of course, there were differences between his model and the real city. He had moved the gates.
"What are these smaller walls?" Kouji asked, indicating the inner walls of the city.
'The ring-walls,' Liu wrote. 'They were the first walls, but the city grew, so new walls were needed, and then it grew again, and so on.'
The boy nodded. "And if the city was expanding, they couldn't have moved them..."
'They were left,' Liu agreed, anticipating the next question. 'They might be useful.' They were useful.
Kouji frowned, pondering this statement. Liu tilted his head to one side. What was going through the boy's mind? Finally, Kouji asked, "Extra lines of defense?"
Among other things. Liu nodded once, and Kouji brightened -- everything in his world made sense again. "It's amazing."
Liu nodded again, and Kouji sighed regretfully. Liu smoothed away the miniature city and changed the subject. 'Do you bend?'
The boy jumped and looked guilty. Liu blinked. That was an interesting reaction. Rather than speak, however, Kouji reached out and traced a simple character in the dirt. Liu barely had time to read, 'Yes,' before Kouji wiped it out again.
Tilting his head once more, Liu wrote, 'Secret?'
Strange. Why would a child keep his bending a secret? He changed the subject again. 'Your father does not like me.'
Kouji rolled his eyes. "My father hates anyone who is not of the Fire Nation." When Liu arched an eyebrow, he added, "Ichi-ne says he's a xenophobe."
Liu nodded. 'I will avoid displeasing him.' Breaking Daitaro's arms for hurting him would not be helpful. Kouji looked faintly relieved.
Liu stood to get back to work, and the boy scampered off, presumably to do schoolwork or whatever young Fire Nation colonists did.
This was very, very interesting.
Current Location: my bed
Current Mood: artistic
Current Music: My Monster - Enter the Haggis
Tags: au: slave'verse, character: kouji, character: liu, fandom: avatar, fanfic, fic: tremors
Awwww, thank you, Pux! *snoogles*
Kouji is so cute in this. I like the little signs of his earthbending in his bare feet, the teeny tremor, and the way he keeps digging into the earth with his hands. I like that Liu picks up on those cues so quickly, and the detail of moving the gates in his model of the city made me glee. Clever, paranoid Dai Li.
Thank you again!
*strokes and adores*
Kouji is just one of the cutest things ever. <3 I figured that these were signs he somewhat consistently puts off, but people tend to miss or just attribute to his youth. And the tremors, well, that's something a well-trained earthbender would catch. <3 So... basically Toph and the Dai Li. :D Liu didn't get to be a Dai Li captain by collecting bottle caps!
You're very welcome, my darling. ^___^