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19 January 2009 @ 10:47 pm
Upon the Tabletop I [Ozai x Ursa]  
Title: Upon the Tabletop I
Pairing: Ozai x Ursa
Fandom: Avatar the Last Airbender
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating: PG-13
Summary: 30 Kisses


Look Over Here

Once upon a time, a prince stepped down from his high-and-mighty pedestal. And met a girl (lady) just as wicked and cunning as he was.

He shrugged back his shoulders, made himself more imperious and “majestic” and walked right up to her. And here was what he said: Your name?

She looked at him, raised her eyebrow quizzically, and laughed. In his face. (No response.)

“Give me an answer…please.”

“You haven’t given me your name yet, why should I give you mine?”

“I don’t need to.”

“Neither do I.”

She left, grinning.


He practiced poetry at night, hoping she was one of the sentimental types enchanted by sappy words and affected affections. She wasn’t. And so, disappointed and annoyed, he began painting. Thinking: maybe, just maybe, she loved the arts. She wasn’t.

And this time he didn’t try anything else.


“Why won’t you kiss me? Don’t you like me?”

The girl laughed, “Yeah, I guess I do like you but I’d never kiss you.”

“Why not?”

“Look over there.” She pointed to a statue twenty feet away, towering over them like a black death.


“And look over here.” And she jabbed her skinny finger into his chest (a challenge, he automatically thought).


“You’re not as great.”


The next day, the statue was removed and replaced with one of his likeness (much, much taller and grander and unrealistic).


“I’m sick of this,” she said.

“Of what?”

“Stop following me around, okay? I’m not interested in you.”

“Why not?”

“You’re arrogant and selfish.”

Besides, I like your brother.


Relentless, he chased her day after day until one day she was so exhausted and defeated she just agreed.

It came as a very shocking joy.




The messengers carry the news for miles and miles, from the army encampment back to the palace. She takes the crumpled papers shakily and mutters out a thanks, never looking up. And gingerly, Ursa slides the screens shut.

The blinds fall down, enveloping her in pitch-black velvets, muffling sound. She giggles and twirls and walks around the bed. Deftly, she slices apart the outside parchment and liberates the letter.

No-words drop to her lap empty and cold. Ursa is happy (Ursa is mad).

No news is good news. Quiet. She begins to imagine-read.


Outside the canvas flaps and on the edge of a grimly lit forest, Ozai takes a smoke from a small general and puffs away. He holds the flavor in his mouth and gradually let it seep out between his teeth.

“Watch them run like monkeys into the forest!”

Ozai laughs along with the man. “Yeah, fools! All of them!”

“Did you see that girl this morning?”

“Which one?”

“The awfully pretty one. Too bad she’s so scared up.”

“What a pity.”

“And what a pity that you were the one to do it.”

“But I have a beautiful wife waiting for me at home.”

The man takes another swig, brushes the liquid across his grizzled beard. “And how is this young wife of yours doing?”


They laugh. And the evening turns dry.


“He will be home soon, he said so in the letter,” Ursa says urgently.

She brushes her hair back more and more rapidly, breaking strands and scattering them all over the room. Then, Ursa rubs creams and vapors onto her face (must¸ must, must). She waits for their scents and textures to cover her.

Until her face becomes theirs. Give me your face, give it here.

By the (open) window, she thought she saw a face and a lurking smile—it waits.


Ozai reads her letters to him at breakfast to his closest friends. His comrades, his companions, his minions whom he elevated to keep himself sane.

“The end,” he finishes like he were telling a good story.

“Another one!”

But now Ozai is fed up and tired and instead tosses the letters into the fire.

(He never replies.)




Ozai enters her room briefly (on most nights) and drops of “gifts”—he calls them that.

They are sweet, she admits, but gruesome. And she winces and turns her head (as not to hurt his feelings, the few he still has left). Jokingly, he tugs at a braid of her hair. She frowns and brushes his hand away. He sighs and tries again.

They play a game cat and mouse. Except for them, the mouse turns predator and eats the cat.

“I wish you wouldn’t do this so often.”

“Aren’t you cute.”

“Don’t change the subject. Either you come or you don’t. Don’t come in the middle of the night.”

“But I’m here to visit you.”

“Maybe I don’t want any visitors.”

“We’ve been married for a few months, and you’re already tired of me.”

He mocks a look of hurt. She isn’t fooled.

“I’m not tired of you. I’m just tired in general.”


“Maybe nothing. I think it’s time you left.”

And Ozai does (because a long time ago, he could be obedient too.)

And the next morning, when dawn is just rising from the low-lying horizon, they both pretend nothing occurred. She pours him tea and murmurs a greeting. He nods and takes her hand and raises it to kiss.

She pulls away (again) at the last second. Ozai inspects the absent touch, amused. And they linger, for a while. Because in these private moments, they can be themselves (pretending).



our distance and that person

He lied to himself every day. He told himself that he loved her and only her, that there never had been anyone else. She kissed his cheek amiably (knew what an awful liar he was) and said pretty words to him.

But still, to him (at least now) she was the first.

And when their heads hit the pillows late at night, and the gap between their bodies increase every time, he never let her go. Or his ideal of her. Because to him, Ursa and her sister were one and the same.

(Twins, he remembered. They even looked alike, sounded alike. They were like copies he could compel himself to love.)

Except one died long, long ago.

And the other was forced to live.

And the other became her sister perfectly and married the prince (in her sister’s place). And the other never knew anything because she was bound and tied (to forget).



“ano sa”

“I think you were mistaken.”

She glared and raised her voice slightly in response, “Oh really? How so.”


“That wasn’t a question.”

Ozai scowled heavily. In the place where youth should have been, his face was marred with wrinkles and viruses (a “misunderstanding”).

“She is nothing to me.”

He walked in closer.

She pulled back farther.

“I don’t care.”

“I love you.”

Now it was her turn to scowl. “Isn’t that romantic? Too bad we both know the truth.”

And so it was.


Neither of them were in love (with each other) but the words kept spilling from their mouths like ink splatters onto paper. And where the ink splashed, large patches became soaked and deadened.

They never shouted. Or argued. But in their heads, they were screaming. Pain and blood became a second lover to both of them.

Ursa had her childbirths, and Ozai had his wars.

And so, there simply was no time for love (and love-making).

It had been a very nasty surprise when Ursa became pregnant with the first. (Ozai pretended to be a happy father-to-be and congratulated himself and his beautiful wife. She squirmed against his embraces and kisses.)


There might have been other children if she allowed it. If he hadn’t been too busy scheming to conquer the world and assassinate the rightful heir. If she hadn’t been too preoccupied with protecting her children.

Especially the first.

The fragile one, the weak link (as he matured).

But Ursa couldn’t bring herself to care. She had had enough with biting off more than she could chew.


tvreflection: dreamytvreflection on January 20th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
how i love these.
i wish i could have someone speak to me all day in the way that you write ♥