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26 September 2011 @ 01:28 pm
Ergon and Logos [Ozai x Ursa, Zuko & Ursa]  

Title: Ergon and Logos
Pairing: Ozai x Ursa, Zuko & Ursa
Fandom: Avatar the Last Airbender
Genre: Tragedy, Mystery, general moodiness
Rating: PG
Word Count: 881

A/N: Wow, never thought I'd be writing Avatar fanfic again. P.S. LJ messed up the format of the fic, but I'm too lazy to care it actually looks kind of good. No really, I am just lazy.

Ergon and Logos

If, then, there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake (everything else being desired for the sake of this), and if
we do not choose everything for the sake of something else (for at that rate the process would go on to infinity, so that our desire would be empty and vain), clearly this must be the good and the chief good.

        —Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics


Ursa did a very, very bad thing. She killed someone tonight. ("It's the blood, you see. Well, the blood—

drenched sheets, a dagger)

There's poison in the cup.
There's trauma in the neck (broke, blue). She pets her cat.
He licks her hand. She pulls away, scared, thinking. She's thinking
—good god—
now she must kill him too. Witness. Leave none. Now. Go.

Ursa disappears in the night.

. . .

It's been a hundred years past
(decade). And she's aged over a thousand.
Wrinkles circled her cheeks, eight-long-bent paths
grooved into her skin. Her eyes have turned grey, milky and bad.
Brittle hair and rattled bones. Shh…the evening spins silent.

Ursa picks up her spade and starts to dig.
Hurry now, it's almost time. Hurry now, nearly there.
Carefully she buries the tulips and roses, stuffing them
into individual shallow graves. She severs their heads
(a murder of delight).
She spits onto the dirt and watches the moisture be absorbed.

Glancing up (shielding her face) she spots a rider from the west.
Menacing, burnt, he's riding fast. Ursa rises to meet him and watches.
Close. Close. Near and now: the knife glisten in the afternoon sun.

It's been twelve years. It's due time. She sighs and offers him her neck.

. . .

She stuffs the pot with mushrooms and herbs. Corriander for taste, lemon
for courage and thyme for perseverance. For fortitude—for him.

she sets down the tea. Ornate, oak, an heirloom. He admires it for a
second (he always did). Ursa sits down across from him. She waits. He
does not speak.

She waits.

"How are they?" she begins.

He pauses mid-sip and frowns. "Good."

She nods. "I am glad."

"Aren't you at all curious?"

"About what?"

"Why I'm here."

"Oh that. I know why. You came to kill me."

"Ah. As clever as ever, you are."

She scoffs. "You should've killed me long ago. You always thought I was a nuisance.
    —But I always thought you lacked the guts."

"Well, I guess you thought wrong. I was merely waiting for the opportune moment."

Deftly, he plunges the knife into her chest.

She doesn't even blink. Ursa dies with a little smile.

(He shudders. Chokes. She was mad. She—


of what? Yes, speak, tell me. Tell me what happens now…)

Zuko visits him every day, never fails. Sometimes, he lingers for hours,
chatting. Anything, the weather, the whether, the ifs, the whens.
Other times, he stays for only a few minutes.

Ozai pretends he hates
his son, growling and bristling, hell-bent on revenge. But always, he
would relent in the end. And thus, they begin their tête-à-tête.

Zuko asks about his mother.

Ozai laughs, shaking his head. (Hush, he refuses to tell.)

Repeat, rewind. It never varies.
This tiny routine, this minute death,
this was all he had left.

. . .

One day, Zuko arrives with a surprise. He brings, wrapped up in loose silk,
a lovely, lovely cake. Moist, rich and freshly baked with the skeleton
of a custard-web dripping down the sides.

Ozai feels his mouth
watering. Saliva falling. Goddamn, he's grown pathetic. He scrambles
for the cake. Zuko pulls away and lords over, tall and pale. Stretched
tendon-bare, he stinks of corpses.

"Now that I have your attention. Where is my mother?"

"Dead! She did it all for you. And now she's dead! Dead!"

Screeching, Ozai snatches away the cake. He wolfs it down
in three bites, sputtering out golden chunks in between hysterics.

. . .

His father is executed the next morning.

Zuko watches from his dais. Mai winces as he tightens his grip.
The blade falls swift and powerful.

The crowd roars and cheers.
Far, far away, someone screams.

. . .

Mai kisses him softly, dotting wisps of smoke along his neck. She only does
this late at night, when the hour is bleak and hateful. When the dread
creeps up to suffocate—burrowed down in the pit of his heart. When
there is no escape from the questions and desperation.

"I need to know," he says quietly.

Mai sighs and turns away. "It's no use."

"But I must. I must know what happened."

. . .

On the anniversary of Ursa's death (that much Ozai admitted)
Zuko erects a statue in her name. Glorious and triumphant,
it shines boldly in the forum square.

And inside the inner sanctuary of his palace (where
no one visits) he places a miniature slate engraved with her name. He
surrounds it with tulips and roses, those he found and harvested
from a farmhouse far, far away.

Zuko smiles and kneels down.
He could feel arms encircling his neck.

"Hello, mom."

The world grows quiet. It's been long overdue.

It's good (honorable), what she did.
He's come to understand that.

kamjannahpotaoto on September 27th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
Oh, this is kind of really beautiful♥ And I do think the formatting added to it! (But yes, LJ has been acting up lately and refuses to cooperate when you try to post :( haha)
Amy Raineamyraine on September 27th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
It's like poetic prose. Or a prose poem. Or something? It's like a poem fic but it's actually good. I was reminded a bit of Gaiman.

*goes looking up your older AtLA fic*