Hey Kitty! Are you going to get the LoK comics? I was amuse to discover that the second volume will feature Zhu Li running for president (I tried to link but Tumblr won't let me - but the Avatar wikia has a blurb). Would this be super-OOC for IatS Zhu Li? (A ficlet response will turn my still IatS-bereaved heart to utter mush).
“Zhu Li,” Varrick called as he heard the front door, “why are reporters calling me and saying you’re running for president?”
He made it almost to the front hall just as she was leaving it, and he followed her as she strode past him into the house. Spine straight as ever, never any sway to her hips, always that walk like she was heading to an appointment she couldn’t miss.
“Oh, that.” She waved a dismissive hand, shopping bags hanging off her arms.
“… you’re not, right?” he asked, because she was not actually being clear on that point.
“I am,” she said, setting her bags down on a table, “but don’t worry.”
“I’m worrying,” he said. “Or – wait.” He gasped, clapping his hands together. “Is this a scheme? Is that what this is?” He circled around her, bending to see her face better as she sorted things. “Did you find a loophole in the laws around campaign financing?” he asked gleefully, like she’d bought him a gift.
“The scheme is that I’m running for president,” she explained.
He sagged with a small frown. He squinted, first left, and then right. “I don’t get it,” he admitted, dropping his hands.
“I was running errands today,” she said, “and while I was at the store–”
“Without me!” he added, indignant. “You didn’t tell me you were going to that cake place I like, why didn’t you take me?”
“I bought you some cakes,” she said, patting his arm and not even pretending that she wasn’t patronizing him.
“It’s not the same. We should go again.”
“Because, dear,” she said, “every time we go you eat all of their free samples and then you go the hat store next door and insist on trying on every single hat and swanning around the room and adopting the voice and mannerisms that you think best suit the hat, and it takes hours, and if you want to join me when I’m running errands then first you should prove that you can control yourself around a fancy hat.”
She had started to lean forward and tilt her head back, and so he had started to lean back and stand taller, and they stared at each other at an impasse.
Varrick surrendered first, crossing his arms petulantly. “You could have just said no,” he muttered.
“Sorry, dear,” she said, patting his arm and not pretending she meant it. “The point is, while I was out, I ran into… Buttercup.” The name had never been said with more venom.
“… ah.” Matters were getting clearer. “You two don’t get along.” It wasn’t really a question.
“I,” Zhu Li said, slamming a new paperweight down with enough force to dent the table’s finish, “am more than capable of being civil. She was the one being rude.”
“We did try to have her kidnapped,” Varrick reminded her.
“We tried to have her husband kidnapped,” Zhu Li corrected scornfully. “She was just there. And it was his own fault in the first place for being so unreasonable! And! And!” She jabbed a finger in Varrick’s face and he recoiled. “He put us in jail. But do I hold it against him? No. I put it behind me, like a mature adult. So for her to say that you–” She cut herself off abruptly with a huff, her hands forming angry fists at her sides. She was flush with indignation.
“So you’re running for president,” Varrick said.
“I am,” she said. “It seemed like the most effective way to destroy not only their lives, but also any legacy they might otherwise have had.”
He nodded, because the safest place to be when Zhu Li was on the warpath was behind her.
She frowned. “And I’d like to do something about the roads,” she added. “They’ve gotten really bad lately, have you noticed that?”
“I have,” he agreed.
“The infrastructure in this country is just a disaster waiting to happen,” she said, putting her hands on her hips. “They’re always complaining about money, and it’s no wonder with the tax code the way it is. By the time I’m done with ours, we barely owe anything!”
“You’ve got a real way with deductions,” he agreed, and he winked. She giggled, covering her cheeks as she turned pink.
“You always know just what to say,” she said. Then she frowned again, dropping her hands. “But, seriously, I think we get more back in subsidies than we pay.”
“I don’t even know why we get those.”
“You’d think kidnapping the president and trying to start a war would disqualify me from some of those.”
“You know,” he said, “none of this explains why you’re running for president.”
He splayed out a hand on his chest. “You do know someone charismatic and well-loved who enjoys public speaking and being in charge of things,” he pointed out.
She smiled. She reached out with both hands to cup his face, stroking his cheeks with her thumbs as he leaned closer to her. “Oh, Iknik,” she said. “I love you. But part of loving you is being aware of what you can handle, and what you can’t. Like hat stores, or huge amounts of poorly-checked power.”
“… I love you, too.”
“Republic City’s laws also fail to account for spousal assets when it comes to the presidency, which means that Varrick Industries will be able to continue operations as normal once I’ve won.”
He considered this. “Is this why you didn’t actually want legal partnership in the company?”
“There’s a lot of reasons why I wasn’t interested in legal liability for a corporation I was already profiting from. But yes! It all worked out.”
He leaned forward until he could kiss her forehead, making her turn pink again. “Zhu Li, you’re a genius.”
“I know, dear.”