Pulse

There are times when Kanna can't stand to have him around. When the moon is full and Pakku can hear every pulse of her blood, hear the way it picks up when she sees the old waterbender woman who returned home from exile, so like how Katara's picks up when she sees Aang or Sokka's picks up when he sees the Earth Kingdom girl.

So unlike how her blood is when she sees him.

Pakku has found he does not mind. He has lived long years without her. Even when he went south to find her again, he didn't expect her to take him as a husband. Their story wasn't a happy story, their story couldn't be a happy story.

It could be a comfortable one, it turned out. Time has changed him, changed her, and they are not young and not in love and that is all right.

She still can't stand to have him around when the moon is full.

Most of the time, he simply mingles with the waterbenders he brought from the North or with the Southern Water Tribesman. Sometimes he goes out into the wilderness to dream under the moon, to walk on snow he's never touched before, to smell the unfamiliar winds, to learn this world that is so different and so alike to the one he came from.

Once, Piandao is in the South.

He has a son, has acquired a son, little shards of 'want, take, have' still in him. It's something still in all of the Fire Nation members of the Order of the White Lotus, and one of the reasons Pakku has often avoided fulfilling the portions in the charter about traveling the world and spreading knowledge.

Except for that, though, Pakku rather likes the swordsman. Piandao does not strike sparks off of him like Jeong Jeong nor is he as inherently loathesome as Iroh. (He will never understand what Bumi was thinking, sponsoring Azulon's Crown Prince, and six years is not nearly long enough for Pakku to forget what the Fire Nation did under his command. And Iroh never turned his armies towards Pakku's home.)

When the moon is full, though, Pakku can hear the way Piandao's blood races and Hakoda's blood pounds. It gives him a headache to be around them, especially since almost everything sets Piandao off, the damn Fire Nation bastard. It's as bad as training a group of teenage boys when one of the girls stops by to deliver something.

So he leaves. He has no obligations to be around them, and it's only two more days for the power of the moon to fade from his waterbending.

Piandao follows him.

Piandao follows him, and the swordsman's blood rises as he reaches out to touch Pakku's shoulder.

Except the snow slips to water under his feet. Less than a heartbeat, but enough to be treacherous. Enough to make Piandao fight to keep his balance, to not touch Pakku.

"That was petty," Piandao comments.

Pakku twists to glare at him, feeling the flow of waterbending through ice and snow, feeling the possibility of silver desolation lurking in the moon's fair, full face. Feeling hot blood.

"Do your eyes always go strange in the moonlight" Piandao asks. "They're so cold they burn."

The snow snaps to ice.

Piandao smiles, and his eyes are not cold but they do burn.