Fandom: Avatar: the Last Airbender
Characters: Team Avatar, Long Feng, Hyo (OC)
Word Count: 999
Summary: While travelling with Team Avatar, Long Feng helps Hyo with his hair.
Notes: Because even the Cultural Minister can be domestic sometimes. Id-fic, WAFF.
Katara blinked when she emerged from her tent.
By now she'd grown used to the Dai Li's Inspector-General working out shirtless every morning, and could certainly appreciate it. For all he was her father's age, Hyo kept himself in very good shape.
However, Long Feng brushing Hyo's hair was certainly new.
The scene was oddly domestic, and brought to mind one or five of the doujinshi she owned. The fact that Hyo was still shirtless wasn't helping. Long Feng, of course, was fully clothed, but it was easy to mentally remove his shirt and... oh my.
"Good morning, Katara," said Hyo without turning his head.
Long Feng said nothing, continuing to run the brush through his subordinate's hair.
"Good morning," she replied. Looking closer at the pair, she realised that Hyo's shoulders were tense, the muscles in his back taut. Was he in pain?
She moved to the campfire, poking it back up so she could get breakfast ready. She kept one eye on the two men as she did, but neither took much more notice of her.
The scent of cooking food roused the others, and one by one they joined her at the fire. "What happened to your arm?" Sokka asked suddenly, eyeing Hyo.
At first the man didn't answer, and Katara wondered if he would ignore the question. But as Long Feng divided Hyo's hair into sections, the Inspector-General said, "I fought a master firebender during the last days of the Siege."
"The Dai Li fought during the Siege?" Toph asked sceptically.
"No," Long Feng answered.
"Not intentionally," clarified Hyo.
"You accidentally fought a master firebender?" Sokka's tone was as disbelieving as Katara felt.
"I accidentally stumbled on a squad of soldiers that contained a master, yes," Hyo said. "Let me start at the beginning." Katara started dishing up breakfast as he continued, "Myself and a few other off-duty Dai Li were... concerned following the Dragon of the West's breaching of the Great Outer Wall. We elected to head out there and see if we could discover any weaknesses in his strategy."
He paused for a moment, but nobody seemed to have comments, so he went on. "I don't know about the others -- we split up soon after entering the Agrarian Zone -- but I had the misfortune to run into one of General Iroh's patrols."
"But you're an earthbender," Aang protested.
"Not everyone's as good at earth-sight as me, Twinkle-toes," Toph informed him.
"Precisely," Hyo agreed. "And it wasn't a skill I had been trained in." He sighed, and rubbed his scarred left arm. "The ensuing fight was... ugly, to say the least. I was sorely outnumbered. Fortunately, they were as startled to see me as I was to see them, and I was able to get in the first attack."
Long Feng tied off the braid, then accepted a bowl of food from Katara. He passed it to Hyo, who paused in his tale to take a sip from it. She frowned on seeing that; the Dai Li hadn't moved his left arm at all this morning.
"My memory of the fight is somewhat unclear," Hyo admitted after a second sip of breakfast. "Between the darkness, the fire, and the confusion, it was difficult to discern what was happening at the time, let alone after I regained consciousness."
"You were knocked out?" Sokka asked, and a mirthless smile crossed Hyo's face.
"I passed out," he corrected the younger man. "The master firebender's final blow was simultaneous with my own. These scars are the souvenir of that." He shrugged his right shoulder. "The arm troubles me from time to time, but it's a small price to pay for surviving that encounter."
"How did you make it out?" Katara asked, horrified. To be unconscious in the middle of contested territory, with firebenders all around? He might have been discovered and killed!
"I found him," Long Feng put in calmly.
Silence greeted this statement. Katara considered what she knew of Long Feng, and eventually decided that it did make a strange sort of sense that he would go after his second-in-command.
(It made even more sense if she considered the Jade series. She couldn't help but wonder if the Shadowgirls knew about this.)
"You found him," Sokka said after a moment.
"Yes," Long Feng said in a tone that brooked no further discussion of the matter.
Sokka ignored that. "Why?"
The Cultural Minister raised an eyebrow at him and said nothing; it was Hyo who finally answered. "Surely loyalty to one's subordinates isn't a new concept to you."
"...well, no, but..." Sokka trailed off in the face of the looks both Long Feng and Hyo turned on him.
"But?" Hyo asked mildly.
Sokka mumbled something, and Katara said brightly, "Who wants seconds?"
"Please," Hyo answered, offering his bowl to her with a slight smile. Thank goodness neither man seemed inclined to press Sokka further on his thoughtless comment. Katara refilled his bowl and returned it, then supplied the others. Once that was done, she moved to sit next to him.
He gave her a questioning look, and she said quietly, "Your arm hurts now, doesn't it?"
"It isn't too bad," he said, but this close, she could see the tightness around his eyes.
"I think I can help," Katara said, and laid a hand on her waterskin. "That is... with your permission?"
"All right," Hyo said after a moment.
She nodded and drew the water from its container. She warmed it, then moved it to coat his left arm from shoulders to finger. She could feel Long Feng's gaze on her, but she ignored him. After a few minutes, the tension in Hyo's shoulders eased, and the tightness vanished from his face.
To her disappointment, she couldn't heal his arm -- the scarring was simply too old. Still, she had helped, and as she returned her bending water to its container, she glanced up and noted the smallest of smiles on Long Feng's face.
Current Location: my bed
Current Mood: fluffy
Current Music: Godzilla - Blue Oyster Cult
Tags: character: aang, character: hyo, character: katara, character: long feng, character: sokka, character: toph, fandom: avatar, fanfic, fic: braid