…Vignette…

A life of dust and blood, living by fists, a whip, and a hairy beast traded for silk and luxury. It was a difficult transition but not unpleasant. She'd never thought she'd enjoy being a wifey.

Soldiering was not his way, and peace was not his lot. Nobility born and cast aside from it, he cut his way back to it. With war's end, he has taken the title of husband and to his chagrin Sugar Daddy.

…Wild-Card…

Piandao could have married almost anyone he wanted. The locals of Shu Jing had certainly encouraged him enough.

Daughters young enough to be his, sisters, and aunt had all been paraded before him. They were pretty enough. The dowries were more than generous. Any one of them was just as intelligent as the other – as they were taught to be. They knew calligraphy, at least one musical instrument, how to flatter and dear Agni, it was like they were all copies.

Within minutes, he had pegged which were going to be obedient koala lambs. Which were going to annoy him, and drain him of all life energy. Which were going to murder him and take up with their young lover.

They were terribly transparent and terribly boring.

As a change of pace, he'd acted the fool, the delusional nihilist, and once, gay. That act had worked a little too well, and at that time, his trips to the Earth Kingdom became more frequent.

…Xenophobia…

For years, it had only been he and Master Piandao. Out of the hundreds who'd come to him to be taught the way of the sword, Master Piandao had chosen him. He'd been a diligent student and a devoted servant to his master. They had a solid routine, and things ran smoothly. His master wasn't a demanding or belligerent man, and it was a pleasure to serve him.

Fat's life of service to Master Piandao was peaceful and enlightened. He would have it no other way.

But then – and isn't there always a 'but'? – the master came home from his journey to retrieve Sokka's weapons for him after several months. A kind gesture on his part indeed. However, he didn't come home alone. It is not that Fat expected his master to remain a bachelor forever; that would have been convenient but unrealistic. It was just that, when his master married, he expected a lady. Not the crude, rude, female bounty hunter – a bounty hunter of all things! – with her filthy beast.

"So you're a manservant. That mean I get a lady-in-waiting or something or do we share him?"

"If Fat feels over-burdened then you may."

"Oh, I may? So Fat. Cute. Now then, as your mistress…Spirits, is it just me, or does that word make you think of a whore?"

"Definitely a whore," Fat said dully.

"Oh. You're one of those types. You and me, Chubs, are gonna get along great."

"I am so glad."

"Now, about Nyla…"

After dealing with that beast that nearly ate him that now resided in the barn, Fat tracked down Master Piandao and asked a question that could be the only explanation for that demon and the creature's presence in his – er…the master's sanctuary.

Fat found him in his personal study, composing a letter, presumably informing a select few of his new…unfortunate development. As there really wasn't a delicate way to put it, Fat blurted it out.

"Is she pregnant? It might not be yours."

The master looked up, surprise clearly written on his face, and his hand, carefully holding his calligraphy brush, kept moving across the page. Unmindful that he'd just ruined his missive, he simply stared at his servant for a while, and Fat respectfully waited for him to answer.

"Fat, I didn't marry Jun because of some indiscretion. We truly care for each other. I understand this change is somewhat unsettling, but I'm confident that you two will come to like each other well enough."

"…are you positive she's not pregnant?"

…Yoke…

When two people married, they made a vow to not only love and honor each other. They also made a promise to share the burdens of the other person throughout their lives. With two people carrying, it made the load easier to bear.

With the new Fire Lord, the young man needed as many loyal allies as possible. Piandao considered himself to be one of them and so would be at the event. The party would last at least a week, and the Lord of Shu Jing intended to stay three days at the most. As wife of a lord, certain duties were expected. Political balls and functions had to be attended. While not necessarily befriending, speaking to other people would be nice. Really, he could live with her not snapping and knocking someone out.

"Explain it to me again."

Piandao could only roll his eyes at his wife's behavior.

"No, really. Tell me. I swear I'll actually listen this time."

"Liar."

"Yeah. I still think we should both stay here."

"Jun. I don't particularly like these things either, but we are going."

"'Cause of politics?"

"Yup."

"Politics suck."

"Yes, they do. But they are a necessary evil."

"No. Bounty hunting is a necessary evil. Politics are just evil. There's no point to them except to coddle the oh-so sensitive egos of the over-fed, greedy narcissists that rule the starving masses."

"You realize that you're now one of them?"

"Huh."

"And a perk to going to these parties and dealing with the – what did you call them?"

"Over-fed, greedy narcissists that rule the starving masses. That actually has a nice ring to it."

"Yes, them. They have free booze."

"Well, what are we still doing, sitting around here?"

"Probably because you're still in your dressing robe and won't get off my lap."

"Well, it's not like you want me to."

…Zone…

"There's this thing. It's my personal space. You're violating it."

"Do you care?"

"Actually, I do. You're still too far."

Fifteen minutes or so later, Fat walked straight into his master's – and now his mistress's – bedchamber with a letter from the Grand Master, just retrieved from the messenger hawk. In less than three seconds, he stumbled back down the hall, intent on locating the nearest bottle of alcohol to clean his eyes.

The lord and lady of the manor had never even spared the poor servant a glance.


I cheated with W. Longest week ever.