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01 March 2008 @ 03:08 pm
Rag Doll Going Down  
Title: Rag Doll Going Down
Pairing: Zuko x Jin
Fandom: Avatar the Last Airbender
Genre: General, Romance, Future!fic
Rating: PG
Word Count: 515

Rag Doll Going Down

Jin works long and without complaints. She polishes the tables, the chairs, and the lingering hearts of drunken men. Men without homes, men without families brought on by the war. Jin is kind. And so, she take them all in into her shop, and injects them full of life and good food.

(Food she can supply, the life, they simply devour.)

Her hands are callused and rough, but she takes great pride in them, them that reveal years of labor and hope never dying. She supposes she once was pretty, fair at least, but that was long time ago, buried blue and true underneath time. Buried by someone whom she kissed. Long time ago. Someone named Lee, someone who disappeared when her home trembled and shattered—a million.

“A bowl of noodles,” a customer orders.

“Coming,” and Jin replied, softly, like she is afraid if she spoke any louder, the world would ride the wind away from here.

“You have come a long way, stranger,” and Jin smiles, brief and plain.

“Yes, all the way from the Fire Nation.”

“Really. That is a far away indeed.”

She slowly pours the soup and its flour dregs into a chipped bowl (the finest she has, she jocundly boasts) and hands it to the man, still hot and steaming of promises.

The flavor is startling, is sharp, is a reminder. But the man takes it all in. He is used to brutal servings and what everyone else call swiftly dealt contrition. Because he is restive on moving on, restive on rejecting the old and embracing the impossible, the new with a whole. And because he has come to make amends.

“I remember you when you were younger, fifteen, I think. I was never good with dates. You were beautiful back then, that’s what all the men said. That’s what my uncle said. But I like you better now, when your face has evolved, changed. It is more beautiful than way back then. Now, it is ravaged.”

Jin laughs. His tongue would be the death of him.

“Thank you, I guess. If that was a compliment. If not, well…I can’t really do a thing. You’ve already got your noodles.”

And all that needs to be said was said. He doesn’t need to apologize out right, apologize out his soul till she’s weeping too, like him on his knees and her turning her cheek. What he means, she knows, and that is enough. That is all she ever wanted.

Together, they go centuries back, back to a place called Halcyon. They could live like this, forever, she thinks, but that can never happen. So, she is satisfied with just this: Him and her for a moment before everything unravels and the skies and the earth and all the memories between them must pass on.

Like frightened, haughty diaspora to Ba Sing Se then out, they have come to an (official) end.

“Goodbye, Lee.”

And Jin gives him a small kiss on the cheek, to seal the deal, to mark finality, and leaves to fill plates and hearts.