Title: The Stars Make No Noise
Author: Tiamat's Child
Rating: PG
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Character/s: Iroh, OC
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: Iroh has connections everywhere, even in Ba Sing Se.
Notes: I wrote the first draft of this before season three aired, and miraculously, it's never been strictly contradicted by canon.

The Stars Make No Noise

In Ba Sing Se fear is like the dust. It swirls from the streets and settles over everything and everyone until people will not speak for fear of choking on it.

People disappear. They vanish. They go to work or school or market and they don't come back and no one can say how or where or why. Are they alive? Are they dead? Have they been taken away to fight? Have they been tortured? Will they ever come home, or are they dead somewhere, in some ditch beyond the city walls?

"It's not the walls that keep 'order' in Ba Sing Se," the young woman with the white lotus tile told Iroh, as they sat together on the back stoop, pai sho board between them, tea at their feet, "It's the silence."

"Hmmm…" Iroh said softly, and moved a piece, "Thank you for the briefing, my dear."

"It's no hardship," the girl said, and slid one of her own pieces sideways in an age old gambit, leaving her finger on it as she bit her lip. "I just lost, didn't I?"

"You played excellently," Iroh said, "But yes."

"Ah, well," the girl said, and reached for her tea, "In surrendering to a master there is no shame. Thank you for the lesson."

Iroh inclined his head. "It was a pleasure," he said, and they smiled together, looking up at the height of the sky.