Fandom: Avatar: the Last Airbender
Characters: Ichiko (OC), Liu (OC)
Word Count: 1500+
Summary: Ichiko discovers she has a bun in the oven.
Notes: Sometimes, you have to genderbend one of your OCs. Sometimes, you have to deal with the natural consequences of a relationship. And sometimes, you just have the crack.
She kept a very close track on her monthly bleeding, because debilitating cramps ran in her family and she preferred to know when she would be out of commission. She was rarely late, but it had been nearly six weeks since the last time she'd bled. And only one thing had changed in those six weeks.
Ichiko knew better than to ask herself how this could have happened. Even though they'd used protection, something must have gone wrong.
She would have to tell Liu before she figured out what to do about it.
Of course, having all her options ready would probably help that conversation.
She sat down at the table to think.
Ichiko waited until the twins had gone to bed, then took up her writing kit and headed out to Liu's apartment. She still hadn't figured out how to bring this up. Well, she'd get through this lesson first, then she'd tell him.
Finally, she said, "Liu?" as he made his way to the counter top.
The older man glanced curiously at her, reaching for the tea pot.
Ichiko took a deep breath. "I'm pregnant."
After a stunned moment, he earthbent up a seat and all but collapsed into it. The young woman watched him worriedly.
He put his hand on the counter and words appeared on the wall.
'What do we do about it?'
Ichiko couldn't help but smile. Not her, but we. "Well, we've got a few options," she said. Might as well put out the least palatable first. "One is absolving you of fatherhood. If that's what you want."
Liu's question vanished, to be replaced by a large, bold, 'No.'
Ichiko smiled. She should've known he'd object to that option. "All right, clearly not that. There's... I could also... terminate the pregnancy." She didn't like this option any more than absolving Liu of fatherhood, truth be told, but it was still on the table.
Liu's 'No' remained where it was, and the possibility of abortion was thusly removed from the table. "Okay," she said, and sighed. "Which means that the next few months will be interesting." The gods only knew what effects the comet might have on her pregnancy, but she couldn't tell him about that danger.
Too, twins ran in her family.
This would be an interesting nine months.
"The most viable option," Ichiko said, "is to continue as we are now. I'd update you on how the pregnancy is going, you could help me out as necessary..."
The wall went blank for a moment, then words appeared again. 'I should marry you.'
Ichiko's heart sank. That was exactly what she had been hoping to avoid. She took a deep breath and glanced at his eyes, and nearly flinched at the expression there. "No, Liu," she said quietly. "I don't... not right now. It's a bad idea." For more reasons than she could explain to him.
Stone flowed like water with a mere flex of Liu's hand, and more characters appeared. 'I disagree. I'm more than capable of providing for you, and we're both going to be involved in the child's life anyway. Marriage will legitimise you in a way that being a young pregnant war-child never will.'
Damn him and his logic. And replying that there was No War In Ba Sing Se probably wouldn't do anything for the war-child argument.
"Liu," she said quietly. "I like you. I like you a lot. But I'm sixteen. What if that changes? I don't want to shackle you to me when two, five, ten years from now I might not feel the same way."
'Marriage does not require love,' Liu pointed out. 'And you will need a stable home.'
This was not going the way Ichiko wanted it to. But Liu was probably Dai Li. She couldn't exactly tell him that she was a Fire Nation noble trying to keep her little brother from capturing the Avatar. That would raise more questions than she wanted to answer, and would definitely shatter their relationship.
Or worse -- she, Kouji, and Yui would vanish.
She took a deep breath. "Liu, I... I can't make a decision like that so fast. I... need time. So I can think about it."
Liu considered this. 'That is a good idea,' he agreed.
Ichiko nodded. "Yeah. I mean... what if you married me, but then I miscarried?" Oh Agni, the comet. "It isn't uncommon for girls my age..."
Liu drew her into his arms then, stroking her hair softly. She clung to him tightly, fighting the fear that thinking about the comet had aroused in her. Silk slid against her face; Liu had bent slightly to rub his cheek against hers.
Ichiko turned and kissed him through the scarf, not once loosening her hold. He kissed her back, still gently running his fingers through her hair.
She didn't deserve him.
Damn that bitch!
Ichiko would have been perfectly content to hide out in the Lower Ring while Ba Sing Se was occupied.
But no. Princess Azula had just had to spy her. And then decided to leave her in charge of the Dai Li remaining behind.
And to make matters worse, she had quite cheerfully "introduced" Ichiko to Liu.
Keeping her expression neutral had been one of the hardest things Ichiko had ever done, but she had managed it. She had no idea how Liu had done the same. But she had fled as soon as possible, not wanting to face him like this. Not after the princess had exposed her for a noble, for Lord Torao's third daughter.
Words appeared on the floor in front of her. 'We need to talk.'
Damned earthbenders. It was impossible to hide from them.
Ichiko glanced up at Liu, who stood in the doorway of the room she'd tried to hide in with his arms folded. Wincing, she shifted her gaze to the wall. There was no safety there, either. 'We have new options.'
"Yes," she said softly, looking at him again.
His eyes were hard, and for the first time Ichiko was glad she could see no more than that. 'Will you tell the princess?'
"Never," she spat vehemently. And give Azula that kind of power over her? She'd die first!
Liu nodded, and the characters changed. 'Your father?'
Ichiko hesitated. "...probably. But this isn't something I'd leave to a letter. And since her princessness has decided to keep me here so she'll know where I am..." It was going to be awhile before Lord Torao found out.
'This is why you wished to avoid marriage,' Liu said.
She nodded. "I knew I had my Lord Father to fall back on. I had help. And... I couldn't bind you to me. Not when you didn't know who I was."
The characters melted and reformed, but these new ones were soft and indistinct. 'You didn't know who I was either.'
"I-- suspected," Ichiko admitted. "But I didn't know for certain."
Liu could only smile with his eyes -- and that smile was sad. 'You still don't.'
"Probably not," she agreed. She likely never would.
'Again,' Liu said, getting them back on track. 'What are we going to do? The princess must not know, of course. But there is the matter of your family.'
Ichiko considered this. "I think that... any decision we make will be affected by the outcome of the war. Comet's coming." Liu nodded, and she went on, "I... don't think my Lord Father wll be pleased. Not at first." She rolled her eyes. "He sadly buys into that bunk they feed us about the Fire Nation being superior. So there'll be a lot of flailing."
Liu nodded again.
"But after that... well, he likes kids, and legally I'm considered an adult. I doubt he'll disinherit me over it." Ichiko thought a moment. "He might want to give you -- the child's father -- a Come To Agni talk, though."
'That will be mildly entertaining,' Liu commented.
"And possibly room-destroying." Ichiko sighed. "But whatever his feelings about you, whatever they are of the Earth Kingdom... I know he would love his grandchildren and treat them well."
Liu nodded, and smiled with his eyes. 'The rest of the Dai Li will treat the child well. I will keep Xin Wan away.'
Azula had gone, and the relationship between Liu and Ichiko was now an open secret amongst the Dai Li. Ichiko was never affectionate with Liu when they were in the public eye -- or where any Dai Li could see them, for that matter.
Liu, for his part, was equally as restrained with his younger lover.
However, their duties often required that the two of them work together.
They were sitting in Liu's office, discussing how to deal with a food shortage in the Lower Ring when one of the three trainees -- was it Alak? -- wandered in with some reports. He turned them over to Liu with nary a glance at Ichiko, and was halfway out the door when he stopped and turned back.
Ichiko raised an eyebrow at him, and the younger boy flushed. "Um... d-did you know you're having twins?" he stammered.
Liu fell out of his chair.
Current Location: the couch at Oma's
Current Mood: silly
Current Music: the washing machine
Tags: au, character: ichiro, character: liu, fandom: avatar, fanfic, genderbend, story: irregularity