Warning: attempt at a haiku ahead


…Knowledge…

At first, Jun seemed not the least bit upset about her recent incarceration and Piandao's – completely innocent – teasing. She seemed her usual, charming – abrasive, snide – self. No more, no less. And that was why Piandao was concerned. She was being too…normal. Never for a moment had Jun struck him as the type to forgive and forget. He found himself watching and waiting with a paranoid intensity for when she would get him back. Because he knew better.

This was a time to exercise neutral jing. He was aware that it was a mind game, but Jun was far too vindictive to only screw with his mind. He also knew that this waiting was a part of her plot and it would most likely go beyond simply striking him, but that didn't stop him from flinching when she made sudden moves. He'd seen the woman break a man's jaw; he had a right to be wary.

And during all this watching and waiting, he learned something very important about Jun. The woman was an absolute sadist, and he staunchly refused to examine the fact that he was mostly okay with that.

…Locked…

One thing about Jun, when she didn't have any pressing matter – such as tracking down a quarry, humiliating men twice her size, or sneering at society's rules – the woman was incredibly lazy. While Piandao had mostly retired himself to a life of leisure, he was never this inactive. He'd been in the military for most of his life. Such stagnation was uncomfortable, to say the least.

In his youth, he'd been a jittery child. Once he'd learned calligraphy and artwork, that had helped calm him. Taking what he saw and carefully recreating it, adding a part of his spirit with ink and brush soothed away some of his nervous energy. Not so long after, learning the discipline of the sword was downright cathartic. Learning how to create his own swords had just been sheer bliss, once he got past the whole sweating buckets, intense heat, sore muscles, harsh burns, and little to no sleep portion of it.

He stayed busy, even when it didn't seem like it. If he weren't actively moving toward a goal, his mind was. It wasn't always something so significant as how to get out of the Fire Nation unnoticed and through the Earth Kingdom in time for the Siege of Bah Sing Se. Actually, it was almost never anything like that. Most times, he usually had more time for those kinds of endeavors.

Simply, just because he was retired, that didn't mean he sat all day, every day doing nothing.

While the quaint, little spa was most certainly high-quality and offered several services which he'd indulged in…they'd been there three weeks. Three. Weeks. Twenty-one days. Four hundred ninety-two hours. Restless was a mild way of putting his mood. Climbing the walls and almost bored to tears started to approach it, but not quite.

The resort was a sprawling series of bathhouses and such, situated along the northeastern coast of the Earth Kingdom. However, it was within the limits of a Fire Nation colony that had yet to be officially re-sanctioned. Piandao had just from the nearby village, having already seen and done almost everything of interest during his stay. What he had not done was either stupid or illegal, and he wasn't that jaded yet.

There was a young worker carrying a load of towels, and he asked her,

"Where is Jun?"

The girl bowed her head respectfully and told him that the woman had just gone into the sauna. When he began to walk that way, the girl reminded him that that particular service was not communal. He thanked her and instead went to his room. There, he changed out of his standard suit of clothes into a loose, white tunic, brown pants, and left his shoes before going to the beach. Again.

His sword was at his side, and he walked quite a ways across the white shore. A path as pure as snow stretched on before him. To his left, the ocean went on in a forever that touched the sky far from where he walked. The sun sparked dancing, blinding light across the extensive blue of the waters. To the right, the rocky coastline rose roughly as a wall against the beach. As if dropped by a giant or a bender, he found a boulder dropped halfway between the oceanfront and harsh coast.

The scenery, while no Shu Jing mountain range, was lovely. If he'd had his set, he would have taken the time to capture the picturesque setting. Of course, between blade and brush, the former was more fun.

With the wind against his back, he unsheathed his sword. The metal caught the sunlight with less concentration than the sparkling whitecaps, but the waves had lost his attention entirely. The moves were familiar as an old friend, and he stepped through the katas long since practiced to memory. It was a meditation, in a way, and the only relaxation he needed. He didn't know how long he went on, slow at first, but increasing in speed and intensity.

Turn and strike.

Parry and step.

Lunge and block.

Before long, he didn't even think on what he was doing. Feeling no strain, he merely allowed his body to move as it willed. The waves rushed against the shore, the sea gulls called to one another, and his audience applauded at the completion of the fifth set. His eyes tracked the sound even as his body continued onto the sixth set.

Jun stood a ways from him, dressed in casual Fire Nation tunic and trousers the resort had supplied. He didn't think too much on how the color complimented her. Her hair was free of its usual ornament, and the wind tossed it about with abandon. She raised a hand to pull it from her face.

"I was told you were looking for me," she said.

"When are we leaving?" he asked, not stopping his exercise.

"'Til I run out of money or the boys work out this kink in my back," she stretched her arms over her head and arched her back. "It's a stubborn one."

He corrected the slight mistake to his form and put his eyes away from the glimpse of a pale midriff.

"Yeah, I was thinking more like tomorrow. Or even better, this afternoon."

"You wanna leave so bad, go. I'm not stopping you."

He just looked at her, and she stared right back. Rolling her eyes, she passed by him to the water, inches from the tip of his blade. In peripheral, he saw her stop and bend forward to roll the legs of pants up before wading in.

His movements drastically slowed. The blade had lost his focus, and his eyes traveled to the ocean again. Rather than blue water and sky, bright sun and clouds, his mind focused on a pair of impossibly pale legs. Then it contrasted how her skin looked against his. And then it spiraled down from there. Mentally, he slapped himself. This is what happened when his brain was left without stimulation. Give it the slightest prompt, and it ran with it.

Like you've never seen legs before.

Well, it has been a while.

Giving up all pretense, he sheathed the sword. His gaze settled firmly on hers after halting on her smirking mouth.

"Oh, hey, you found my eyes."

"Can we get back to subject?"

"What exactly is the subject?"

Horsefeathers. This was a little pathetic. A peek at a fine pair of legs, and all sense flies from his head. He was certain that Iroh had a proverb that went something like that.

"Something," she began, "about you leaving, wasn't it?"

"Us leaving."

"That's where I don't get it. Since when is there an 'us'?"

He had no earthly idea. Articulate, intelligent man that he was, he shrugged. She didn't dwell on his non-answer, but her eyes held a look that she was paying quite a bit of attention to this conversation.

"If you actually did anything, you wouldn't want to leave. Have you tried a mani-pedi yet?"

"I am not doing that."

He had some pride left. Not much, after the facial, but some and he was going to guard it fiercely.

She smirked. From experience, little good came to the one who put that expression on her face. Jun stalked towards him, and the beach wasn't even there. She walked right up to him, and the top of her head stopped at his chin.

"Understand this, Lord of Shu Jing. I'm taking a vacation from hunting down the world's low lifes and bottom feeders. Something I haven't done in about six years. I'm going to enjoy it, and I'll leave when I'm ready because dammit all if I start taking orders from anyone, leastwise you."

She emphasized each of her points with a painful poke to his solar plexus and ending by holding the finger just in front of his nose. To avoid going cross-eyed, he covered her hand with his and lowered them.

"I'm not trying to give you an order."

"Good. Don't ever try it either. Now, come on," she took advantage of their clasped hands to drag him after her. "There is a bottle of rice wine and a man who wants to see us about a missing mistress and a bag of rubies the size of a hawk's egg."

"I thought you were on vacation."

"What part of 'rubies the size of a hawk's egg' did you not hear?"

…Man…

It took him a while to admit it, but Jun was the most beautiful woman he'd ever known. Of course, not to her face though because she was also crazy scary and unpredictable. He had no doubt, if given enough time, he could pen a thousand haikus that could never begin to approach the truth of those. But hers was a fierce and dangerous beauty.

History tells that the eruption that took Roku's Island was seen for miles. The black stained sky was backdrop to a shower of crimson, flung into the air before raining down They say after it ended, the whole island glowed hot red for hours. And after, the island was home to none and the Avatar's life was ended.

Sozin's Comet was fierce power itself, streaking across the sky in a brilliant flame. The heavens turned to fire for a day, and the destruction, while great, was so minor compared to the pyre it could have caused. The world would have burned.

Jun was like that. If provoked or handled the wrong way, the woman would take anyone out. And she'd do it with ease and grace and smile.

While Piandao certainly provoked her, he seemed to think he knew how to deal with her. He was aware that there was some form of revenge coming to him for that incident with the jail, and that the woman could do him serious damage if she had a mind to try.

But, seated across from her, watching her lick her lips at the plate of food being placed in front of her, he said it anyway,

"I know it's a buffet, but don't you think seven plates are more than enough?"

Spirits bless his simple heart.

Chopsticks poised over a dumpling, Jun looked at him. The waiter looked at him. The old couple next to them looked at him. Then she blinked, he walked away, and they shook their heads.

"Piandao."

"What?"

"Did you just call me fat?"

"N-"

"Oh."

Jun was beautiful and dangerous, and that just went hand in hand. However, it made no sense that a woman could hit that hard.

Her thunder coming

Preludes the hunt of the fools

And her rule remains