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ATLA: Drafts of Psalms (Mai/Zuko)

For peri_peteia, who requested a fic based on the following icon (yureteru), which had the keywords destroyers, healers:


Title: Drafts of Psalms
Author: voleuse
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Pairing: Mai/Zuko
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: They're whole notes rising from the dead.
Notes: Post-series



The Earth King stood in the palace courtyard with, of all outlandish things, a bear. Beside him was the Triad, the three representatives from the two Water Tribes, as well as the Great Sage.

Zuko stepped onto the outer dais, shaking his head at the minister urging him to the throne room within. "Welcome," he said, hoping he looked properly noble. "I thank you for your travels, and invite you to dine with me in the royal hall."

The bear grumbled, though the others seemed amenable. The Earth King glanced at the others, seeking consensus, then nodded graciously.

"Li and Lo will guide you," Zuko announced, and the group swept out of the courtyard, though Chief Hakoda lingered long enough to smile at Zuko. When they were gone, Zuko relaxed, just slightly, and drew in a deep breath. There was a quick brush against his elbow, and when he looked around, Mai smiled, laced her fingers with his.

"Impressive," she murmured.

Zuko nodded. "It's been more than one hundred years since the Triad and the Earth King visited this palace."

"I didn't mean them," Mai corrected, and Zuko laughed. She raised her chin. "What about the Avatar?"

Zuko sighed. "There's a legend of surviving Air Nomads in the mountains near the Southern Air Temple."

Mai tightened their handclasp for a moment, then released him. "Are you hungry?" she asked.

Zuko nodded and straightened his spine, becoming Fire Lord again.

*


Between the endless stream of visitors, the strict cycle of ritual, and the staggering complexity of rebuilding, Zuko found little time to be seventeen years old. Sometimes state visits to Ba Sing Se allowed him time with his uncle, but otherwise, duty was ever-demanding. He imprisoned war criminals, appointed officials, and wrote letters upon letters to those who had suffered, still suffered, from the war. He relearned the intricacies of court politics and, with reluctance, participated.

After the stifling intrigue of the evening banquets, however, he escaped to his chambers, shed his formal robes, and stared at a Pai Sho board. He plotted how he might next attempt to defeat Uncle, and pretended it was a possibility.

A quiet chime sounded as the doors to his chamber opened, and Mai glided in, followed by two servants bearing tea and purple berries. They set the food on a low table, then retreated.

Mai settled next to Zuko on the sofa. "How was the banquet?"

"Boring." He paused. "Difficult. We have to find a new minister of education."

Mai groaned. "Again?"

Zuko nodded, pouring the tea. "You met with the master engineer this afternoon?"

"Ah." Mai picked out a purple berry, rolled it on her tongue, startling a laugh from Zuko. "We can talk about it tomorrow," she finally said.

Zuko felt a twinge of anxiety, but Mai took the teapot from his hands and set it down.

"Tomorrow," she repeated, and drew him into a kiss.


###

A/N: Title and summary adapted from Frederick Feirstein's Spring Music. Link courtesy of breathe_poetry.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
peri_peteia
Nov. 14th, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
Uuugh so many eyehearts. I so completely love fic about them ruling after the war and this captures the weight and gravity of that with subtlety and care. <3
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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