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30 July 2009 @ 06:25 pm
With Parasol at Hand [Koh x Ursa]  
Title: With Parasol at Hand
Pairing: Koh x Ursa
Fandom: Avatar the Last Airbender
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Angst
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,028



With Parasol at Hand

“I love my son.”

“And I love you.”

“Then why did you—”

In an instant, Ozai buried his lovely wife.

. . .

She awoke in darkness, the age-old, familiar feeling of dread and weary sapping her veins and arteries for nutrients, for survival. Ursa winced, mesmerized at the gritty feel—like sand thrashing in a tempest—and screamed (with no one to hear). Her entire face was diseased and rotting.

Extending from the hairline down to her clavicle was an illness that can’t be abated. It ate away at the flesh second by second.

“Help, someone, please.”

Muscled arms grabbed around her, blindfolded her bleeding, suppurating eyes, and choked her neck. They tossed her (unceremoniously, she added) into a burlap sack and kicked her down a ravine.

“Stupid traitorous bitch.”

And someone spat after her, plunging miles, head-over-heels, into an abyss.

Ursa cursed them feverishly, chanting sutras and mantras and demanding for their names.

Their laughs echoed icily to her core.

. . .

Koh shuffled along his paradisiacally sick marsh, scampering away from light, and this was a new prey to be bent.

He changed faces every ten steps and gobbled down wandering spirits and hapless heroes. Koh didn’t understand the need to be discreet—in my swamp, the singular rule is—and he stopped short.

There was someone new, broken and crying, and bordering death.

But Koh was so kind and tender and thought he had better end her misery. The poor creature.

. . .

Legs broken and arms shattered, Ursa dragged herself to haven, slithering over moss rocks sluggishly. Slumped and stressed (shaking in rage) she clung to the pebbles beneath, digging in roots. In self-resurrection, Ursa grasped the concept of life and death.

(saw the looming archways of heaven and hell)

And realized—

– death is death

– life is life

But in the world between worlds, there was no time, no air, no illusory differences, and no existence. She could become anything she wanted, putrid.

She smelled burning flesh.

. . .

With paraxial-mobile limbs, surfacing from dim, off-beaten tracks, Koh found her at last.

He clicked his serpent-tongue, stamped thrice the cloven feet, and gathered her gently—almost indulgently—into his spidery arms and sang her a lullaby.

And for a moment, Koh thought it was beautiful that he was merciful.

“You shouldn’t have trespassed here. Here, no one ever survives.”

Ursa moaned in troubled sleep, turned to face him, and smiled. He was like an angel: all filthy and craven, drawn magnetically to the dirt-gorged oasis of in between.

. . .

“I will drip into your dainty mouth honey and venom, from cherry blossoms and water snakes.”

And then you will heal nicely, no scars (those I have already removed), and then I will devour you.

Dinner was a monumental moment.

. . .

“Why did you help me?”

“Sometimes, I like to pretend I am still human.”

“But…”

“Vicarious is better than nothing.”

Koh receded into the smoke, shuffling and humming, body growing—Ursa gasped and shriveled away—Koh mirrored back her sister’s portrait face.

“Tea perhaps?”

He lifted a hooked, splintery finger and peeled back her skin.

. . .

Day and day, Koh would inch back one layer at a time, just enough to expose the bruised muscles (purplish and festering) and skeletal remains. And one morning, he felt particularly inspired, and composed a poem impromptu (was so proud and amazed at his genius).

Ashes to ashes,
Dust to dust,
Thicken the lashes,
Deter the lust.

Really, he was just remarkable, an artist (a voyeur). Floating blithely on aggrandized hopes, Koh painted his insides charred and black, and schemed for ways to acquire her face. (He needed to complete the family.)

“Don’t worry, I remove the evil so the good will emerge.”

And Ursa nodded like she understood.

. . .

Once upon a time, he was a prince (like her beloved husband, the rat who imagined himself king). And then, Koh decided that being a mortal prince really wasn’t so great, and thought he should be a god.

So, he carved himself up and ascended into the skies and waved adieu, adieu to all the pitiful humans looking up with awe.

(And then he remembered the little girl attached to her mother’s hip.)

He had promised someone, sworn an oath that cannot be destroyed, and it was only right that he took her with him. She lied and he complied—was pompously gullible. His affections for her never wavered.

“This is the part when you play my wife.”

She smiled and enveloped him with her ghost-arms and whispered that she would stay always.

(Again, she lied.)

Then one day, she disappeared. And all Koh had for memento, for love and remembrance was her face (he was still a sentimental romantic at bottomless heart).

. . .

Ursa listened intently as he told the story of her sister (the one she never met).

He pursed his lips and frowned flawlessly at just the right moments, and Ursa was entranced by his fast-moving pincer-hands and deep, wrenching voice.

“This was her parasol, which she carried over from the earthly realm. She would want you to have it.”

Ursa brushed the faded, tattered oil-cloth, envisioning some girl in a far away time (and we look so alike) standing in this very spot (with Koh). She held the parasol close, never letting go because Koh had promised: it can ward off any malice any vice.

It was the perfect Buddha and Allah.

And somehow, Ursa grew to love him.

Koh cackled and petted her like a lamb.

. . .

“It’s time for you to move on, Princess.”

“But I want to stay with you—like my sister did.”

“Yes, isn’t it sad that she died so young?”

“But she was happy here—”

“—And that is all that matters.”

He stole her face that night. She didn’t even feel the sorrow, the suffering her sister did. After centuries of practice and dedication, Koh finally learned to mimic sympathy brutally.

And then he tossed the parasol into the stream outside his tree. It will carry its folded splendor into and his perpetual guilt into eternity. And Koh will be free from both of them.



 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on July 31st, 2009 04:47 am (UTC)
Thanks so much. ^^ I just love the little creeper.
avocado_loveavocado_love on July 31st, 2009 04:57 am (UTC)
Oh wow.


I'm going to have to admit I'm not totally sure what happened (because it was vague, but in all the right places.) But DAMN this was creepy. And Ursa's fate was so tragic how she lost first herself, and then her face. Great job.
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on July 31st, 2009 04:59 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D

This pairing was just too awesome for me to ignore despite that it's total wtf crack.