[LF] A Talk With Ji [K 3.5]

edited December 2012 in In-Game
After finishing the steam bath, you enter the room Rui said would be yours tonight. Lying on the bed is a set of fine silk clothes in Fire Nation colors, red and black. They're simple but elegant. What style of clothing is it? A single kimono or a shirt and pants?

You dress and look for Ji Fang. You find him in the receiving room, he just bid the Earth Kingdom guards a good night and is walking back inside when you come into the room. The room has paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling giving faint light, a single expansive window overlooking the garden with metal shutters, vases near the columns at the entrance and the center of the room is bare stone. Ji Fang looks tired until he sees you, then he sort of lights up, "Keela. I thought you might already be asleep." He licks his lips uncertainly, then says, "You look very beautiful."


  • On the bed is a single kimono. I would prefer a shirt and pants, but I suppose that's not exactly "proper" so I'm not surprised that option is not available to me. It feels strange to wear a kimono again. In a small way it feels like being shackled.

    I enter the receiving room and examine Ji as he walks in. He does look tired. I feel guilty again for all the trouble I've caused him. What is he doing being a Trade Ambassador? He never wanted to go into politics, at least not when he was younger. Ji can firebend, but he's better at the spear. He was amazing at it actually. That's what he loves. Not paperwork and taxes and such things. And he's done all this for me, but not me. It's a good thing Rui isn't in here. I might punch her again.

    I feel worse when he sees me and his face lights up like that. I stop near the doorway so we're standing the distance of half the room apart. I blush a little when he says I'm beautiful. This is so weird. To him, we've been romantic for a while now, but I don't know how to deal with Ji like this. Its feels so....just so weird.

    "Thank you." I finally say, a little too formally. I cringe inwardly. Ugh, I don't like this. I force myself to talk more casually. It's just Ji-Ji. One of my best friends. We've been friends forever. That's all this is. "I wanted to talk to you before I went to bed. Do...do you have a minute?"
  • The smile widens and you see his dimple on his left cheek. How long has it been since you saw that? He doesn't normally smile wide enough for the dimple to show. "Of course! I could. I could stay up all night catching up with you." He crosses the distance between you, but for some reason he pulls up short of actually touching you or doing anything so bold like take you in his arms. He realizes his hands are out and then puts them behind his back. He is wearing a kimono as well, the sleeves show his office, it was tailored for him, stylish without being overly showy.

    "But we don't have to stay up all night. I have a few meetings in the late morning, but my afternoon is loose enough for a lunch. We've been invited to a gathering tomorrow night with some of the delegates here, the King is supposed to be coming as well, it will be..." He pauses when he realizes the dread in your eyes, then admits, "It will be incredibly boring and dull, but the food will be excellent. But, of course we won't be able to eat enough of it without seeming gluttonous. Don't worry, you don't have to go, Keela. I'm sure you've been dragged to enough of these things."

    Ji Fang swallows when he finally meets your eyes and his mouth sort of stays open, like he stopped talking without finishing. Then the indecision passes and he says, "I'm sorry. I talk when I'm nervous. What, ah, what did you want to talk about, Keela?"
  • That smile. It's been a long time since I've seen that smile. I forgot about that dimple. I can't help but smile widely back. But then he comes so close to me, almost as if he's about to pull me into his arms again....but doesn't...and then he launches into his spiel and I can tell he's nervous, and things get weird again. I know he talks a lot when he's nervous, he always has. Then he explains that he talks a lot when he's nervous as if I don't know him at all, and I can't take it anymore.

    "Ji-Ji. For goodness sakes, it's just me." I put my hands on my hips, looking up at him with, exasperated. "Can we please stop being so weird? It's driving me crazy. We've been friends our whole lives. I know you talk a lot when you get nervous. You once dumped an entire pail of mud on my head, and I ripped my nice kimono trying to catch you. And I made you tell Ionesca and you were so nervous you told her that super long story about bears instead, remember?" I grin up at him at the memory. I just want to go back to that time. When things were easy and simple between us.
  • Ji Fang laughs a genuine, unexpected laugh at the memory, his dimple becomes a crater. "Oh I will never forget that. I started telling her about the story of the platypus-bear spy and all of his unique gadgets and his highly developed kung fu. It-it started off as an analogy, I really was going to get to the ripping part, but then I was talking about that wild blue-green platypus-bear and his adventures! She became so mad, she cursed me. I think!"

    You laugh together and Ji relaxes, the tension in his shoulders goes away, his smile shortens and the dimple disappears. He says quietly, "I've really missed you, Keela."
  • I smile softly back at him, dropping my hands from my hips. "I really missed you too, Ji." I say back just as quietly, thankful that the weird tension is gone. I take a deep breath. "Can we got sit somewhere? And talk?"
  • After a second of thought, Ji Fang holds up a finger, "Wait here, Keela." He walks quickly to an interior door and slides it open. The next room appears to be a dining area, complete with a low flat metal table with exquisitely gilded dragons circling the top.

    He walks over and picks up two over-sized sitting pillows by their ends, then pulls them as he walks backwards back into the room where you stand. He flops them down beside each other and stands to gesture at one, "Here you go." He plops down on one, crossing his legs in a practiced manner, then gives you his full attention. He's rather good at listening and watching others. Its what makes him good with the fighting spear, he's patient enough to stay back, wait for openings then strike. But with the spear, once you see that opening, there is little time to hesitate, you must commit to the strike and commit fully.
  • I sit down next to him, plopping down in a rather undignified manner. Then I look at him, one of my best friends, and try to convince myself that this will work out ok. But I know it won't. I'm going to hurt him, possibly break his heart. What if he hates me? What if I lose him as a friend? What if...

    "You came here to propose to me..." I blurt out, and then stop, slightly panicked.

    Keep going. Say it. Tell him about Dash. You have to! You love Dash! You promised Rui! I berate myself, but I'm frozen. I can't get the rest of the words out. Can I live with Ji hating me? Can I live with Ji hating Rui? I don't know. I thought I could do this, but now I'm totally panicking.
  • Ji Fang scowls for a second, looking off in the direction of your rooms, "Roo... you little... "

    Then he looks back to you, nodding, a little bashful, "It was supposed to be a surprise. She is so horrible at keeping secrets. But... yes. I came here to propose to you. You can return home, Keela Zhu. Jun Da will have no vassalage over you any longer. As part of my proposal, I am able to offer a dowry that will settle your father's debt to him. Forever."
  • I'm staring at him a little desperately. Get ahold of yourself!

    "Ji, I...I can't." I manage to whisper miserably. "I can't marry you."
  • Ji Fang shakes his head, speaking with encouraging words as he takes your right hand in both of his gently, "No, you can, Keela. It took a while to convince your father that our love was genuine, but finally, he relented. When I shared the letters, his heart melted..." His eyes widen when he realizes what he just said. He puts up his hands defensively, "I know. I know I should have asked beforehand, but he didn't believe me. And then I told him about my trade ambassadorship and that I could relieve him of his debt and, well, you know me. I didn't leave him any wiggle room. I told him what we wanted and he had to agree! So, you see, you can."
  • I'm gaping at him in horror now. My father saw the letters? Oh this is...this is soooo bad. What am I...

    And he's being so sweet, and he's done so much in preparation for this, and I...

    I start shaking my head, frantic to just stop this. "Ji, stop. I...you're not listening. I...I'm not..." And then to my horror, I start crying. Has Ji ever seen me cry? I don't think so. I refused to cry when I was taken away from the Fire Nation. I kept my chin up defiantly. It wasn't until we were on the road and I was alone in the carriage that I let myself cry and cry and cry.

    But anyways, I'm crying now.
  • Ji Fang freezes for a long moment, it finally registers with him that something is not right. He, of course, finally stops talking and pulls you to him in a selfless gesture of trying to comfort you, one that may make it worse, he doesn't know. He hugs you says softly, "It's okay, Keela. Shhh. I stopped."

    He relaxes after a moment, realizing the threat is an emotion he didn't expect, but one that will come out with time. He seems ready to hold you until you calm, hoping the touch and warmth will help. Outside is quiet, only the sound of the candlewax dripping in the lanterns.

    How long does this last before you compose yourself?
  • It doesn't take long. Mortification calms me down pretty quick. I just cried all over Ji's nice kimono and as comforting as his hug was, it did make me feel even worse, for a multitude of reasons. So I swallow hard and pull away.

    "I can't marry you." I repeat shakily. I hold his gaze and blunder on. "I'm sorry, Ji. I'm...I'm not in love with you. I thought I could be...at one time. I never meant to lie to you, and I'm sorry. I'm really really sorry. I just....I fell in love with someone else. And I didn't mean to really. It just...happened."

    There. It's out. And I didn't lie, not really. There was a time when I thought I could love Ji. But that was before I met Dash. And I didn't mean to fall in love with Dash. But I did.
  • "Oh."

    Ji Fang says it like it is a complete surprise. The shock is there on his face for a flicker, then it drops away. His face falls into the court reserve pose, one you've known for your whole like, the neutral look you hide behind when dealt a blow that you cannot allow to show with emotion. He blinks a couple times, collecting his thoughts, "Ah, well... we need to find another way to buy your freedom from Jun Da then..." He swallows once. Takes a cleansing breath, then rises from his pillow. "This will take some time and consideration."

    Ji Fang offers you a hand to help you rise, talking quickly in a very calm and practiced manner, "I will begin negotiations with Haidong tomorrow. He claims that he handles the family's finances during Jun Da's illness, we will see if that is at all true. In the meantime, you are under my protection, so you will not be returned to Middle Ring Prison. I cannot assign you any traveling guards as that would be an affront to Jun Da, but Rui is your childhood friend, so it will not look odd if she accompanies you on travels. It is very late, Keela. We should retire for the evening. We can continue catching up tomorrow. It is obvious we are both very... emotional." He offers a polite but sad smile.
  • I watch Ji disappear beneath that noble's mask and I hate it. I hate it.

    I get to my feet quickly on my own, ignoring his hand. "Don't do that!" I grab his shoulders and actually shake him a little, my eyes flashing. He's taller than me so I almost have to stand on my tip toes. "Don't be nice to me. Don't! Stop being Ji Fang the Ambassador. I want you to be Ji! You can be mad at me! Yell at me! Tell me I'm a bad person! But don't be like this! I hate it! You don't have to solve all my problems, Ji. It's not your responsibility!"
  • edited December 2012
    You break his mask, Keela. The shaking or the yelling, or something. his first reaction is that he puts his hands on your hips and starts to push, just reflexively, gut reaction. Then you're staring at him and telling him to be Ji and he flips from neutral to slightly afraid to impulsive in those seconds and he leans down into you and kisses you, with full passion and his hands wrap around you and he pulls you in and kisses you with all the fire that he has within him. Not Ji Fang the ambassador at all, but the boy you might have loved long ago stoked by the letters that someone who truly loved and adored and knew him wrote, that he thinks is you.
  • red
    edited December 2012
    I'm so stunned, so completely taken aback, that I sort of freeze and go limp and...and, then...well, I....I kind of kiss him back. I mean, it just kind of happens. I've never been kissed like this. Dash didn't kiss me like this. There's so much passion in this kiss, so much emotion, so much fire that it...well, it kind of stirs something in me, something that comes alive and takes over my brain and my body. And before I know it, I'm kissing him back and my arms are around his neck and I have no idea what I am doing.
  • For someone who doesn't know what they're doing, he sure seems to respond. There are a good number of songs and legends about the passions of a firebender burning hot and the two of you are caught in just enough of a moment that you lose yourselves in the moment. Lips and tongues intertwine and dance, hands roam and fumble and pleasure for too long to be proper, to short to be fulfilling. Then you feel Ji Fang's hands quickly working at the knot on your kimono robe and wow are his hands quick and nimble, he worked that knot off faster than you cinched it on!

    He smooths his hands inside the robe against the silk shirt underneath and up to your shoulders, the takes your neck gently in his manicured hands. He slows his kisses down from their frantic pace and while the passion still burns, it isn't something that would consume you, now it just makes you smolder. As your sense slowly come back to you, his hands push at the robe and the kimono falls off your soft shoulders and falls to the floor. Ji Fang pulls back and looks down at you with a raw and hungry expression for a moment, then reaches down for the loop on his own kimono.
  • Everything is happening so fast, yet so slow at the same time. Everywhere Ji touches me burns hot like fire, and my hands are moving across the silk of his kimono as if they've a mind of their own. My head is full of him, full of the sensation of his touch, of his lips on mine. I actually gasp against his lips when he slips his hands inside my kimono, his hands brushing against my thin silk undershirt. His kisses change and I am smoldering. Then he pushes my kimono off my shoulders, the light silk rustling to the floor, and the rush of cool air against my skin is shocking in comparison to his warmth. I press against him, my hands tangling in his hair, the burning passion between us chasing away the chill on my skin.

    When he pulls back, I know the look on his face is echoed on mine, that hunger, that desire. But then the absence of his intoxicating touch is like finally gasping a breath of air after being underwater. He's reaching for the knot on his kimono and I'm suddenly flooded with my own screaming thoughts. What am I doing? This isn't right. Well, it feels right. Something about this feels extremely right, but....no! Ji is not Dash. I want to do this with Dash, not Ji. Well I didn't want to do this with Ji. Now that it's happening...I don't....I don't know. I had no idea that Ji could make me feel...like this. But no! This isn't right! I flash back to the memory of Dash kissing me on the rooftop, so gently, so sweetly. This isn't right. I love Dash.

    I stumble backwards away from Ji, snatching my kimono off the ground and clutching it to my chest like a shield. "No." I gasp. "I can't...this isn't...I don't want....I can't do this."
  • When you stumble back, Ji Fang's eyes widen and he ducks after you, like he thought you were falling. But then you pull up your kimono and act like you have to cover yourself and he pauses, frozen. He's breathing hard through his nostrils, consumed with the desire he just unleashed upon you. Finally, practically panting, he nods slowly, reluctantly, agreeing that this was too much, inappropriate, something you both would regret. He takes a cleansing breath, a habit you'd forgotten he had, and straightens, "You're right. We should... retire to our rooms. Will talk in the morning... Keela." He turns on a heel and practically runs from the room, the only thing he can do to keep his hands off you. You see it, that fire is not dimmed, only barely contained. He didn't even retie his knot.

    He opens and slides closed the eastern door and disappears while you finally catch your breath. You turn to head towards the other side of the manor where your room was. As you collect your thoughts, you look through the door Ji Fang had opened earlier to retrieve the pillows, it's still open. That's when you see someone in the room. With a shock, you see Rui there, in a sleepily-tied red and black kimono, several round soft bread rolls, baotse rolls that you both loved as kids because they were made with honey and sunflowers in the middle so you would eat the light bread on the outside then get a surprise of honey flavor at some point when you hit the center. She has three of them in one arm, cradling them like a child and a fourth is in her hand, poised at her mouth, like she was about to take a bite moments ago, but her body stopped moving. It stopped when she saw you and Ji Fang. Now she's standing there, like a statue, like she could remain still and perhaps you might not see her, or perhaps she would melt away and this was just a horrible, bad dream.
  • I see Rui and I freeze too, shame and horror playing across my face as I stand there in my thin silk shift, clutching my kimono. We just stand there, staring at each other, and I wish I could just disappear, sink into the floor and vanish. I don't know what to say to her. I betrayed her trust. Why did I kiss Ji back? What was that?

    I finally come unfrozen, and I dart towards the door. Not the door where Rui is, the door that leads towards my room. I'm hastily struggling back into my kimono, tying it messily. I fling the door open and run down the hall, but I don't go to my room. I head for the servant's quarters. Based on the layout of Jun Da's house, I have a rough idea of where they might be. I want to find the laundry room. I'm going to find the clothes I took off, the University uniform, put that back on, and then I am getting out of here. I'm going to find Dash. I'm going to leave with him in the morning. I'm going to disappear.
  • --END SCENE--
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