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01 December 2008 @ 10:32 pm
Momentless [Koh & The Painted Lady]  

Title: Momentless
Pairing: Koh & The Painted Lady
Fandom: Avatar the Last Airbender
Genre: General, Friendship
Rating: G
Word Count: 750


She was alone now, like she always had been. But she’s grateful this time, that there’s no more awkward stares or (worse) scathing words. No one to think she was special, she was a gift, a curse, a blight set upon them out of merciless.

The Painted Lady sighed and looked towards the ferryman.

He was peculiar looking. A centipede and a spider (the wispy, silky strands of hair). But he moved like a flailing corpse, without serenity (that had been important in life) without grace (that was still important in death).

“I know all about you,” he said.

“I know you do. You’re Koh. I know about you too.”

Koh stopped rowing and squeezed his fat body, slithered, to face her. Directly, a challenge. She smiled, she always enjoyed a battle.

Of wits.

Of which she had none now.

“Oh really?”


“What do you know about me?”

“I know that you’re evil.”

He laughed.

“But I don’t think you are.”

The laughing stopped.

“I can cut your head off if I wanted to. I could make you linger here, in between worlds and lifts. You’ll never feel full again. You’ll always be a rotten, ugly parasite.”

She smiled, she knew him too well. “You wouldn’t do that to me. You would miss me too much.”

He laughed again.

“That is true, I suppose.”

“I heard that the waterbender girl impersonated you a few months back. What do you make of that?”

“Nothing. I’m glad she did. Although if she hadn’t, I would have, but that would’ve taken longer. And I don’t like seeing my village suffer.”

“They still think you’re some goddess, then?”

Koh looked amused. He shifted his eyes surreptitiously—this way and that—he played up coyly. Like a doll, he could twist his not-his-face any way he wanted. Koh was an artist, without rue. A blessing he called it, in disguise.

“I am a goddess. I am whatever they want me to be.”


By dusk, they play small games—usually Pai Sho. She always beat him, and he never complained. He had grown used to this, a ritualized ceremony they host day and night.

He could feel himself growing older and older, feel the strength of immortal oldness coming on to him. And when he spied over her way, he could sense the same about her. The same continuity that shackled them.

Only, she was a goddess and he was a—

He didn’t even know anymore.


Koh told her stories to pass the hours (of which there was a perpetual pile).

He showed her what his true face was (something he’s never done before) and was surprised when she smiled. Surprised that she didn’t cower or run or shout or hate.


He was used to that.

And so, it was just so weird of her to be this kind to him. He was Koh, he was—

Something he couldn’t remember.

And that was a truth.


“I would never leave you,” she confessed.

“I know. Besides, you can’t leave me.”


He did not do things by the halves. Everything was meticulous, was perfect, was calculated to endure forever.

To perdure. Like diamonds, they were beautiful.

And he wanted to tell her that she was too (so she would stop fretting and worrying over stupid, nonexistent wrinkles—the dead did not age). But he did not.

It was best to leave things alone: friends, simple as that.


And one day Koh woke up to the river outside. And knew that something was wrong.

The river never roared, never made a whistle. It was stagnant, sluggish and clear. He controlled the river and the boat.


“What are you doing?” he demanded.

She did not look at him, only continued to untie the ropes. “I must go, just for a bit. It’s my…”

Koh sighed. He knew this day was coming.

Koh knew everything.


She brought something back with her. He feigned nonchalance (not quite ready to forgive and forget).

But she didn’t care and left the creased piece of silk waiting for him. Eventually, he would look and pry the delicate cloth open with his scissor-hands.

She knew him better than himself.

“You were a god too. More powerful than any of them. And that’s why they imprisoned you here. They were jealous.”

“You think you’re so clever.”

She giggled. “I know I am.”

Because there was some honesty to her words. He was a god, of a sort.


amber128amber128 on December 2nd, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
I don't know why this hasn't gotten any comments yet.
This is so intriguing! I love the idea of Koh/ Painted Lady interaction. Lovely writing style too!
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on December 3rd, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
be_daffodils: sukka seaweededbe_daffodils on December 7th, 2008 09:31 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, where do you get those ideas? ^^
This fice is very, very nice and beautifully written, and quite original too, I'd say ;)
(although I'm not sure I get half of it, heh.. Oo)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on December 7th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
I have no idea. Haha.

Thanks! :)