A Cursed Blessing

BY : Yaoiandcoffeeaddict
Category: Avatar - The Last Airbender > AU/AR - Alternate Universe/Alternate Reality
Dragon prints: 6482
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar Last Airbender or profit from this story... damn.

 

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Laughter and joy filled the large gold-painted quarters, rumbling off plates and glasses, as the hungry and relieved friends of the avatar allowed their worries to drain away. Servants flowed in and out to remove or refill the dishes on the badger-carved oak table before anyone even noticed they were there. Jet ignored it all as he pushed the decorative leaves and seafood around the perfect jade green plate with his chopsticks. Part of the reason for his lack of interest was the fact that Jet hated the lavish décor because it reminded him of the uncaring nature of the nobility he had been forced to serve. The other reason was his mind on the beautiful ‘Zuko.’

Why was he looking at the enemy and thinking such sexual thoughts? The minute he had seen that slanted golden eye encased in an angry red scar, he’d had a flash of the pale-skin glistening against darkness as Jet hungrily tasted it. But the Fire Nation prince in his fantasy had shorter hair and his body was skeletal thin as his hands mapped out the sharp planes of the figure’s chest. Was scarred boy one of the hazy figures in his memory? How was that possible? Or maybe he was the psychotic person Katara said he was and he was fantasying about having one of the enemy, a prince, under him in every way? Then an odd comment broke into his contemplation.

“He looks weird,” Sokka announced around a mouthful of some deer-boar sausage before he swallowed.

“Who?” Katara asked in confusion as she summoned water from the pitcher at the opposite end of the table into her cup before the servant behind her could pour.

A large chunk of fish disappeared into Sokka’s mouth with the speed of a panther-cheetah. “Zuko,” Sokka answered as yet another chunk found its way in his mouth. Jet suspected there was no chewing going on. “He’s softer looking. He actually looks kinda girly now.”

“Looks the same to me,” came the high-pitched, amused voice of Toph to Jet’s right before her words were accompanied by a rude belch.

Sokka didn’t respond to Toph’s comment, still lost in his own thoughts, “Do you think he could be…”

“Be what?” Katara asked in amusement.

“A girl,” Sokka finished, the mouthful of another piece of animal somewhat slurring his speech. Suddenly he dropped his chopsticks and slapped the sides of his face. “Wait a second… if Zuko is a girl, that means… Man, why am I always getting my butt kicked by girls?” Toph instantly laughed hysterically and was joined soon after by Katara. Jet simply sat in silence, still absorbed in the debate within his own mind.

“Something wrong Jet?” Katara asked in between bites of her own seafood platter when she finally noticed Jet hadn’t been eating. Her words conveyed worry but the tone said she really didn’t care. Jet wasn’t surprised. In the short time he’d known her, he was sure Katara was the type to hold a grudge.

“Nothing’s wrong. Just not hungry,” Jet replied as he continued to play with his food, only pausing to sip at the iced tea provided.

Jet had just pushed a prawn to the far side of the plate before the Avatar came in the room. Jet seemed to be the first to notice the young boy’s confused and solemn expression and he instantly stopped playing with his food.

“How was the meeting?” Toph asked as she turned her sightless gaze towards the Avatar.

“Uh…” the Avatar held his tongue as he looked at the servants in the room. After a second of internal argument, the boy asked, “Um, thanks for the service but can we be left alone for the night?”

Some of the servants looked disappointed but bowed and said, “As you wish, Avatar Aang.” Then, they exited the room, closing the door behind them.

For the first time in half an hour or so, the room was silent as Aang stood in the doorway, still wearing that confused expression on his face. “Aang, why don’t you sit down?” Katara recommended. “We ordered you a fruit and vegetable salad. They also have some awesome deserts.”

Aang nodded but said nothing as he slid into the cushioned chair next to Toph, across from Sokka.

“What happened, Aang? Is Zuko getting kicked out or what?” Sokka asked when Aang simply sat there with a confused look on his face.

When Aang didn’t respond, Katara tried to coax him with one of the sweets, “Here, Aang. The strawberry pastries are incredible.”

It seemed to work when Aang took a piece from Katara and bit into it. As a little bit of the strawberry jelly clung to the left side of the Avatar’s mouth, everyone seemed to relax, even the Avatar. “You’re right. This is good!”

It was barely a moment later that Sokka decided he couldn’t wait any longer. With a constipated expression on his face, the watertribe idiot loudly exclaimed, “The suspense is killing me!” Sokka leaned forward over the table with a chicken leg in his hand like a scepter and said, “What happened? Come on, Buddy, you gotta tell us.”

“I…” Aang began. “I don’t know. I thought Zuko and his uncle were… well not the bad guys but not friends either. Now… I don’t know.” Everyone at the table looked as confused as Aang as the Avatar began to scramble for the right words to describe what he had learned. “I think Zuko was really falling in love with the Earth King.” The next change of subject no one saw coming. “Katara, what’s a miscarriage?”

Katara began to choke on her glass of water. “Huh?” Her blue eyes went so wide at Aang’s innocent question. “Aang, why are you asking about that?”

“Zuko said he found out he was a blessed one because he was pregnant. Then he said he had a miscarriage. What’s that?”

“Zuko really is a girl?” Sokka said in astonishment before his sister could respond.

“No,” Toph corrected, her voice more angry than Jet had ever heard in the short time he had known her and absent of the usual cockiness. “I told you before. He’s a Blessed One. He’s both and neither.”

Jet felt dizzy and the room went wonky. Part of him felt like his legs were tied to the chair he sat on and the other part of him felt like it didn’t exist at all. His stomach churned as an image of a dead, scorched infant filled his mind unexpectedly. No. The images in his head of the Fire Nation slut had to be simply fantasy and, even if they were real, there was nothing saying the baby the slut lost was his. Or maybe the Avatar heard incorrectly.

“Aang, are you sure that’s what you heard?” Katara asked in the manner a mother would ask a child if they were sure they knew their school lessons.

“Yeah. Then King Kuei got a quiet and said he would talk to Zuko further tomorrow,” Aang confirmed. “So, what’s a miscarriage? Does it mean he gave up the baby or something?”

Katara’s confidence was obviously shaken and her light chocolate skin seemed to go to a pale chai tea color. “It means Zuko lost the baby Aang.”

“Lost it?” Aang repeated, obviously confused as his wide blue eyes surveyed his small group. “What do you mean?” There were several times when Jet thought the Avatar was very adult but moments like this reminded him that the fate of the world actually rested with a child.

A minute passed in silence. Toph was the one who eventually answered. “Katara means the baby wasn’t born, Aang.”




 

Kuei didn’t get much sleep that night.  He found himself burying his head beneath the gold silk sheets to try and block out the worries of the next day but kept imagining Zuko in bed with someone else. He didn’t think it was right at the time to ask him who was the father of his child but, when he was all alone, visions kept playing in his head. He imagined soldiers, both Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom,  pinning the starved boy beneath them against his will. The same thing had happened to an ancestor of his when Ba Sing Se had been invaded. What happened to the child from that forced event was unknown, but the thought of Zuko being taken the same way made him sick to his stomach.

The idea of the father being Zuko’s lover also did not comfort him. Had the lover died, had he abandoned Zuko when they both were starving, and would he come back to claim him? That thought filled him with another emotion… one he was unfamiliar with. Was it jealousy? If jealousy was what he was feeling now, then how could he stand by if the Council of Five decided it would be best for the kingdom to have Zuko marry another Earth Kingdom noble.

When he wasn’t plagued with worries over Prince Zuko, he  was worrying about the war. How many troops would the Avatar need? The army had been useless for generations and his father and grandfather had not seen the point in employing more soldiers. Thus, the number of soldiers in Ba Sing Se was very low. Their job was to monitor the outer wall of the city. In fact, if even a fraction of the army were given to Avatar Aang, Ba Sing Se would be vulnerable. Furthermore, what would this war mean for his people?

Before Kuei knew it, morning had come and, after a small breakfast, he found himself in the war room with all five generals and the Avatar present and seated.

“Let us begin,” Kuei said, officially beginning the meeting as he ignored his drooping eyes. Then, he turned to the equally tired-looking Avatar and asked, “Are you ready to present your plans, Avatar Aang?”

The young boy instantly shot to his feet. “Yes, Your Majesty.” When Kuei sat down, Aang began, “It is important to end this war as soon as possible. A comet is coming that will give the Fire Nation unimaginable power and the Fire Lord will use that power to ensure his country rules the world.”

“How did you know this isn’t just a myth?” General Soong asked, his tone regarding the avatar with skepticism that probably came from the Avatar’s age.

“Because Fire Lord Sozin used the comet to begin the war by attacking and destroying the Air Nomads,” Avatar Aang replied. “If given the chance, Fire Lord Ozai will do the same to the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes. However, there is an opportunity to put a stop to it.” He paused before continuing. “In less than a month from now, the sun will be eclipsed by the moon. During that time, the Firebenders will be powerless. I will have about an eight minute window to get to the Fire Lord and…” Some color drained out of the Avatar’s face. “…kill him.”

“You’re too young to be talking about killing, young Avatar,” the oldest general, General Shang, noted as he stroked his carefully shaped grey beard. “Why not let someone else do it?”

“General Shang is right,” General Soong commented, “Why must it be you?”

“Because…” Avatar Aang paused, completely floored by the question. “I… I was told I was the only one who could do it and restore balance.” The bravado Kuei had seen in the Avatar since they met was fading.

“And who told you this?” General Young asked, his tone and brown eyes portraying his sympathy.

“Avatar Roku,” Aang replied. “He said I was the only one who could defeat the Fire Lord.”

General Soong’s tone was mocking now, “Your past life told you this?”

Aang simply replied, “Yes.”

When General Soong opened his mouth to say something no doubt derogatory, Kuei felt it was time to step in, “General Soong, the Avatar and his friends have already proven to be invaluable. They were the ones who brought us news of this war and Long Feng’s deceptions. They also have more practical experience than you. Please treat them with respect.”

General Shang nodded in agreement. “I, for one, trust the Avatar’s wisdom. This is as it should be.” The general sent a very pointed glance to his colleague and General Soong backed down.

The meeting then dissolved into discussions of various strategies and war tactics that would be employed on the day of Black Sun. And, as Kuei suspected, there was discussion over the small amount of troops available. But the plans were interrupted with a question from General Hunn. “After the Avatar destroys the Fire Lord, who is going to lead the Fire Nation?”

“Huh?” Avatar Aang asked.

“This is true,” King Kuei acknowledged.  “We will need someone sympathetic to our nation on the throne who will prevent the Fire Nation from both falling into anarchy and picking up where the previous Fire Lord left off.”

“Perhaps your future consort, Prince Zuko,” General Hunn suggested. “Then you and your children will rule both Ba Sing Se and the Fire Nation.” Deep brown eyes glittered at the possibility.

“The Fire Nation would never except a Blessed One on the throne, General Hunn,” said General Young. “Their children, maybe, but Prince Zuko would be assassinated within a month. Do you not recall the tale of Fire Lord Rizo, the lover of Prince Humi of Omashu? Although Rizo was not a Blessed One, rumors spread Rizo was pregnant with Humi’s child and was killed at a Fire Nation festival.” It was one of the most famous tragic tales in history and the play of the two lovers was often performed on the day before Summer Solstice.

Kuei turned to Avatar Aang and found the boy had grown somewhat green. Whether it was the idea of killing the Fire Lord or the story of Rizo, Kuei did not know but gently pet the young boy on the shoulder before asking, “Avatar Aang, do you have any idea?”

“Maybe General Iroh, Zuko’s Uncle. He’s brother to the Fire Lord but he’s always been very nice,” Aang recommended.

“That seems like an excellent idea,” Kuei agreed.

“And with his beloved nephew as the Queen, he would be hesitant to attack Ba Sing Se,” General Soong commented.

Kuei nodded in agreement. Perhaps Zuko would be his. 

“King Kuei, when is the wedding taking place?” Aang asked.

“Long Feng had set the date to be at the end of summer,” Kuei replied.

“Why not this week?” General Young suggested. “The sooner an heir is conceived, the more secure the people of Ba Sing Se will feel.”

Kuei barely contained the mixture of lust and embarrassment that came over him at that suggestion. He’d had sex a few times with willing servants but the idea of Zuko’s body beneath and his body filled with Kuei’s child was enough to make him almost cum in his robes like a virgin. He pushed the idea aside and asked, “Does everyone agree?”

“Yes,” responded General Young, General Soong, and General Hunn immediately. General Shang and General Tahn, the two oldest members of the council, weighed the idea in their heads before also agreeing as well.

“Shouldn’t we ask Zuko about this?” Avatar Aang asked, his eyes wide at the idea.

General Tahn responded first, “Prince Zuko has already agreed to marry the Earth King. The robes and everything else has already been prepared. The servants are more than capable of preparing the feast immediately. Why wait?”

“I… I guess you’re right,” Avatar Aang reluctantly agreed.




 

A pale hand hesitantly lingered over a tile before choosing to move to the next one. Zuko pushed the Lily tile forward to meet the Jasmine and While Jade tiles, only to find it also came into disharmony with the Chrysanthemum tile of his Uncle.

 “You need to concentrate, Prince Zuko,” Uncle warned as he snatched the final tile and won the game. “You could have still won the game if…”

Uncle’s voice trailed off as the door to their suite opened. Zuko turned to look and saw the Earth King in the doorway with an unreadable expression on his face. This was it. Dread sank into Zuko’s stomach as both he and his Uncle stood and bowed.

“May I have a word alone with you, Prince Zuko?” King Kuei asked.

Zuko clenched his hands and nodded. Before Uncle could leave the room, Kuei gestured for Zuko to follow him and walked towards the entrance to the private garden where the two had first met. The heat of the sun was very calming as he walked a few steps behind Kuei to the pond. The warm rays caressed and soothed his exposed skin with the comforting touch of a parent. He soaked it up while he could. If he was to be put in a dungeon or another underground prison, this might be his last chance.

Zuko was surprised when Kuei threw off formality and plopped down in the grass. When Zuko did not follow the example, Kuei looked up and asked, “Want to join me?”

Zuko automatically sat down but then dropped into a bowing position. “Please, mighty Earth King. If you want to punish someone, please punish me. Let my uncle live well until the end of his days and torture me instead.”

Kuei’s hand immediately seized Zuko’s chin for the first time and forced Zuko to look into the king’s sympathetic green eyes. “No, Zuko, nothing bad will happen to you. It does not matter to me that you are not a virgin or that you were going about the wrong way to win the affection of your father. Regardless of Long Feng’s manipulating, I have come to know you. You have spirit and wisdom that draws me in. You’re beautiful in every way and you are going to be my consort for life.”

Zuko was taken back. Was Kuei growing to love him? How could Kuei say it didn’t matter? Was Kuei just going to pretend that nothing had happened between them? Would his marriage be better than his parent’s had been? Yet, what would happen when Jet said something? He was sure the self-righteous boy would try to get him locked up again. “But King Kuei…”

Kuei cut him off. “My generals in the Council of Five have decided it is in everyone’s best interest that the wedding be moved up to this week. With any luck, we will conceive a child soon to be a symbol of hope as our troops head off to war.”

Zuko found his hand unconsciously flying to stomach. This was what he was worth, he guessed. He was no longer treated as a man. He was to provide a symbol to drive the Kingdom of his husband to kill the people he had loved. Oh Agni, how could his life be so wrong? Then Zuko was disturbed by his thoughts by soft lips on his. The kiss was nice and sweet, pressing him no further than what Zuko was willing to go before retreating.

“I will protect you, Zuko,” Kuei whispered against him. “I will provide you with everything you need…”

“Promise me…” Zuko replied, meeting Kuei’s glazed eyes, “Promise me you won’t make me betray my country.” A hot tear of fear and helplessness leaked down from his unscarred eye.

A gentle hand brushed the tear away before warm lips settled on his again and pressed a little harder than the last time. “I promise.”




 

The elegantly printed flyer had stood on the post for scarcely a day before it was snatched down by a finely manicured hand. The owner’s red-gold eyes in the white painted face skimmed the page before the deep red painted lips split into maniacal laughter.

“What’s so funny, Azula?” skinny little Ty-Lee asked as she came behind the princess to look over her shoulder. The tiny girl could barely contain her gasp. “Oh no.”

“What is it?” came the bored, whiny voice of the similarly painted Mai.

“This poster is an engagement announcement,” laughed Azula. “It says: “The Great and Mighty Earth King Kuei announces his engagement to the Blessed One, Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation.” She laughed again. “Zuzu really is useless after all.”

The laughter of Princess Azula echoed in the alleyway, filling those close by with a feeling of dismay.

TBC

………………PLEASE ReViEw……………………….

Thank you for the review:

L.D: There may be a love triangle.

Scorpia: That is true. I dont not know if Jet knows the meaning of forgiveness.



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