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A Shaoming Fanfic

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            As the party wound down and more and more guests found themselves danced out the guests dwindled in size, the children being escorted away by their mother lest they somehow wreck even more havoc in their sleep, the bride and her inexplicable groom disappearing off to their own privacy, and the assortment of other cameos slotted into the background and dealt with, Tahno, Ming, and Shaozu sat at a table just far enough away from the dance floor and stage to be considered private; Ming with a drink in one hand and an arm across Shaozu’s back, Shaozu slumped in on himself, half-leaning into Ming and half draped over the table beside him, and Tahno leaning back in his chair across from them.

            “You know,” Tahno said, “years from now, people are going to be watching this series, binge watching and marathoning it over a weekend or other contracted time span, and they're going to see our cameo at the finale and wonder what the fuck we're doing here.”

            “Excuse me.” Shaozu raised a hand, pointing one finger upwards and over at Tahno. “They'll at least recognise you. You had lines. You were the antagonist in the Pro-bending plot that lead into the larger conflict of Book 1 while we were just there to round out the team.”

            “Well, I couldn't exactly have had a team without you—”

            “You had a voice actor.” Shaozu finally looked up and gave him an exhausted glare. “In case that doesn't properly sink in, I'll repeat myself: you actually had a voice actor. An actual voice actor actually credited to your actual character and everything. They will recognise you. They won't know who the fuck we are.”

            “I wouldn't—” Tahno stopped himself, covering his mouth with one hand to hide his grin. “They might recognise you over... Hasook.”

            Shaozu snorted. “Fucking Hasook.”

            “They might,” he insisted. “You did technically have more screen time than him.”

            “Oh, don't say that.” Shaozu sank down even further into himself. “Just don’t. Even the comparison hurts.”

            Tahno snickered and took a long sip from his drink while Ming pulled Shaozu in closer and said, “It could have been worse. At the very least it'll show that there was... substantial demand for us.”

            “For him,” Shaozu said, pointing to Tahno. “All for him.”

            “Not all of—”

            “You two had the noodle scene! I wasn’t even there.”

            “Well—” Ming stopped and glanced over at Tahno. “That is true.”

            Shaozu gave an unintelligible moan and Ming shook his head, resuming rubbing his back and shoulders.

            They remained like that while Tahno watched them. He finished his own drink and put his glass on the table with a clink. “Can you imagine trying to explain all the fan art?” he asked.

            Ming glanced back at him again. “Or the fan fiction.”

            “Or,” Tahno reached with one leg to nudg Shaozu's knee with his own beneath the table, “all the debates about your eye colour.”

            Shaozu kicked at him. “Don't remind me.”

            "The endless shipping debates," Tahno continued, and Ming rolled his eyes at him. “You and Asami, me and Asami... which of us was sleeping with which fangirl. How ridiculous it is to ship both of you when you barely have set personalities.”

            “Voice actor,” Shaozu said.

            “I know,” Tahno said.

            “Voice actor.”

            “I know.” Tahno sat forward at last and leaned one elbow on the table. “At least we're not repeating that awful joke again.”

            “No,” Ming said, “but we'll definitely lampshade it.”