Queen of Gears and Sorrow
Ty Lee cocked her head and looked at her sideways. Mai wondered if that made it easier or harder for Ty Lee to orient herself when looking at something, given that she was currently hanging upside down from a very ugly, very heavily reinforced iron chandelier. “What’s wrong?”
Even more disconcerting than hanging from assorted bits of architecture was Ty Lee’s gift for always knowing what Mai was feeling. In fact, Mai was tempted to go so far as to say it was the most disconcerting thing of all about Ty Lee, though it had remarkably stiff competition. Anyway, it meant there was no real point in denying it. “Some academy kid told me to tell my designer she’s amazed how realistic I am. Again.”
“That’s probably just because of where they saw you leaving from.” With a swing and a leap, Ty Lee descended to the floor, her feet alighting on the tile with flawless grace. “Don’t worry about it.”
That’s what Mai had told herself last time. They had probably seen her leaving her ancestral home, for a given value of ancestral, since families that had won their land in the conquest two generations back, and had only gained a title one generation ago, didn’t have ancestral anything no matter how grand. They had seen her leaving her ancestral home and now the home of the greatest clockwork inventor in the world. Yes, that was probably it, except: “I was leaving the tea shop.”
“Oh,” Ty Lee hummed, sympathetically. “Well if it helps, I’m pretty sure you’re real.” She wrapped her arms around Mai. “You feel real.” She squeezed. “Yep, I can feel your ribs.”
Mai squirmed. “You can feel my ribs crack.”
“Don’t be silly Mai,” Ty Lee chirped. “I’m not hugging you nearly hard enough to crack any bone in your body, including your ribs.”
Mai was pretty sure Ty Lee could tell her exactly how many pounds of pressure per square inch she was exerting, too. The six identical copies of Ty Lee in storage downstairs probably could too, and Mai had a sudden horrible vision of all of them hugging her.
Letting go, Ty Lee stepped back. “They’re idiots. You look perfectly human to me.”
“Thanks, Ty Lee.” She almost managed to keep the sarcasm out of her voice. Maybe next time she would succeed.
Ty Lee smiled as if she hadn’t noticed. “Like I said, don’t worry about it. Now, can you wind me up? I’m kind of at the end of my rope.”
Mai nodded as Ty Lee came forward and lifted up her braid. Deftly, Mai unbuttoned the little flap on Ty Lee’s jacket and pressed the key into the warm, living skin between her shoulder blades and turned. A shudder ran through Ty Lee’s body, her limbs curling tight into her body as if she really were made of the gears and springs she so skillfully manipulated. Her head bowed, and her braid flicked Mai’s arm, and when Mai was done, Ty Lee waited for her to button up her jacket flap before planting a quick peck on Mai’s cheek and darting away down toward her favorite workshop. Ty Lee was the greatest clockwork inventor in the world, and if she needed to pretend she was one of her own inventions sometimes, who was Mai to argue?
( The Three Pillars Theory of Azula, or Ozai is Horrible, Azula is Scary (but also Scared), and I Will Hurt Anybody Who Claims Mai and Ty Lee Betrayed AzulaCollapse )
Now the last thing I want to think about during one of the few almost unshadowed holidays Judaism has is the Shoah. Really, no. This menorah became legendary among my Jewish friends in high school, in a sort of "Oh how was your Hanukkah?" "Well, my mom brought out the Holocaust menorah again," kind of way. The sociologist in me wants to say that I bonded with my fellow Jewish kids, and affirmed my Jewishness by talking anout having the kind of quirky Jewish mother who had a Holocaust menorah. I'll leave it to you to decide if that's what I'm doing now.
Anyway, ever since my mother bought the thing, I've been plotting its demise. First I tried to reason with Mom, by explaining to her just how horrifying it is, but sadly, she has remained intractable. In addition, each year, I have attempted to replace the Holocaust menorah, including one year when I made a confection of copper and brass wire that I still consider the single best example of my wirework. [link] That thing nearly killed me, literally, as I developed an asthmatic reaction to copper while making it, and really, that should have been enough right? No. Mom loves it. She says it's too pretty to use, she doesn't want to ruin it.
So at that point, grinding my teeth, I was almost ready to conceed defeat. But not quite. Sadly my grandmother caught me trying to lose it during the move, but I have other similarly ethically dubious tricks up my sleeve. This year I may or may not have hidden the Holocaust menorah in an undisclosed location, and while my mother is out of town visiting her father, put up every single other menorah we have, which given that I tried for ten years to replace my mother's inexplicably beloved Holocaust menorah, is kind of a lot of menorahs. I think I've done it this time. We'll find out when Mom comes home Friday. Wish me luck.
I'm delighted to have proof however, not because I'm glad to know I have more Jewish heritage (being Jewish isn't exactly something I feel insecure about), but because my paternal grandmother was a horrible, abusive woman who gave her children and grandchildren deep, lifelong emotional scars, and the only reason I was spared the same was because my dad cut off contact with her after she went after my sister. Anyway, she was also deeply anti-Semitic, and it gives me a rush of spiteful pleasure to know she's of Jewish descent, and I only wish she could have known before she died. I hope she's rolling in her grave.
Explains a lot about me, really.
Also, I'm probably never going to get to see my baby niece again. Damn it. Good thing is, I've been staying away from her because I was worried I'd pick something up during field experiece. Turns out I did.
EDIT: Diagnosis confirmed. I have whooping cough. Big whoop.
Summary: Zuko asks Mai to see him as he is and love him anyway. She does.
Creator Commentary: It's my birthday, and if I want to make sweet, romantic vids about Mai and Zuko, well by golly, I'm going to do it.
Mai/Zuko: As I Am
( This is why I was so amazed and grateful when I saw Avatar: the Last Airbender for the first time, and why Frozen struck such a chord with me as a woman dealing with childhood trauma. Now, in Book Four of Legend of Korra, the narrative is once again giving a female character, this time its heroine, Korra, the space and the right to be traumatized.Collapse )
I am not fasting for Yom Kippur due to my chronic illness (funny story, I mentioned the possibility of Yom Kippur fasting once to my doctor, and she started muttering about obviously suicidal patients), and this year, Mom’s joining me in not-fasting for the first time due to recuperating from the lung disease, and I would love it if anyone has any thoughts as to other ways the two of us can observe Yom Kippur without fasting, aside from the contemplation and seeking to right wrongs, and donating to the food bank, especially since Mom is still too ill to attend the longer service.
Also, I hope all of you who are fasting have a quick and easy fast.
But anyway, L'Shana Tova, everyone, may the new year be sweet, and to those of you who aren't Jewish, Nyah nyah, no new year for you.
However, this doesn't mean that politics is essential for my enjoyment, and I understand that a lot of writers don't go for it. Other things I really enjoy are Alternate Timeline fics/Canon Divergence AUs, gen darkfic, gen more generally, pushing characters past the point of desperation, fics where my favorite characters are held prisoner, disabled characters both in stories discussing their disabilities, and in stories that don't, characters who belong to a gender/sexual minority, family strife, and families of choice. Also angst. I eat angst up with a spoon.
DO NOT WANT - Rape, incest, character death, allegories to real world political situations, or "total AUs" like high school AUs or coffee shop AUs. I am however A-okay with brutal psychological torture.
Avatar: the Last Airbender
It's not exactly secret that I enjoy torturing my favorite characters, especially Zuko, and making non-disabled characters disabled. This is also my very favorite fandom for Alternate Timeline/Canon Divergence AUs.
Also, I'm kind of bummed by the fact that I found out about this too late to nominate characters, but Mai and Ty Lee are my babies and if you can find a way to include them, that would be amazing.
DO NOT WANT - Shipping Azula with anybody. She reminds too much of my first stalker, and it hits way too close to home.
Anything, really, any wonderful thing you can come up with.
Did the meaning of AU narrow and I didn't realize it? I would kind of like to know, most of what I write other than drabbles are what-ifs. What if Lupin bit Snape when they were in school, what if Azula captured Zuko at the beginning of "The Southern Raiders," what if Iroh died when he drank white jade tea. The story I'm working on right now is a what if: what if those Earth Kingdom soldiers in Book One had managed to capture Iroh and Zuko and take them to Ba Sing Se. If these aren't AUs, I kind of would like to know what to call them.