Not posted in a while, but am slowly returning to writing fanfiction. Here is the next chapter, the enxt few chapters are already posted on the Spacebattles forum, if anyone wants to read ahead.

Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar or Mass Effect franchises.

Chapter 03

Azula

Azula had spent almost a month in hospital when she woke up on Elysium. She had been confused at first, waking and being bed bound in a foregn place wasn't ideal. Azula had been shocked at her new family. From John, her father's gruff attitude to Jane, her new younger sister. She had feigned amnesia, which allowed her some time to think.

Their mannerisms and way of talking were different to what she was used to.

Jane was bubbly, and read numerous books or tablets as Azula had learned later. Jane read to her constantly, as Azula lay comfortably in bed. While she had feigned a slight boredom in that first month, she had used the time to gather as much information on where she was.

Azula had then been discharged from the hospital and spent the next month at home. Her body had atrophied after spending almost two years in a coma, which left her weak and her muscles sore. Luckily John had made sure she was eating a lot, and exercising.

Azula had bounced back quickly.

Once Azula was sufficiently well enough, Jane had forced her out shopping. Their first destination, a dye shop - or a hairstylist as she now knew. Jane wanted to change her hair colour for some strange reason. Which meant in Jane's eyes it was also the perfect time for Azula.

It had been the first time Azula had filled in a form with her 'new' name. After nearly two decades Jenni still sounded strange to her.

The dye now in her hands wasn't the same quality as the one Azula had bought all those years ago. But it would be enough to change her hair. Azula couldn't go too bright with the colour, as her sister said it would look weird and ruin her natural look. The closer to her natural hair colour she kept it the better, it would lead to less questions in the long run.

"Here you are, the last of the bottles I had." The shopkeeper said, appearing out from behind the counter. She was a portly lady, with a traditional Fire Nation hair-bun. She smiled as she showed Azula the dyes in her hand. "You have enough here to last a few months."

"Thank you, they will come in handy." Azula said, smiling as she took the offered bottles. "I am going travelling for a while and just need to keep topped up."

"Travelling? It seems like you are planning to join the circus Azane, not trying to escape a marriage gone wrong?" The shopkeeper said, smiling at Azula. "That's the only reason I could think of you needing so many."

Azula frowned, examining the bottles in her hand. The light brown colour would offset her jet black hair, plus the dye ingredients would also settle well into her silky hair. Azane had been a name she had thought up on the fly, she had only realised after she first spoke that it was a mash-up of her name and Jane's.

"Are you okay Azane?" The shopkeeper asked, tilting her head to the side. "I can get a bag for you?"

"Thank you," Azula nodded as the woman walked back behind the counter. She sighed, tightening her grip on the bottles. The name would do for now, she wanted to always keep Jane in her mind. She would be unable to use her sister's name fully as it was to foreign, this was as close as she could go. "The circus does sound like a good idea, do you know of any passing troupe?"

"Hah! None that come by here by choice, maybe at one of the larger islands you might find a professional group." The shopkeeper said, appearing from the back room. "You do have the figure for a performer, they might allow you to join but I don't see a future there for you."

"I don't really have any acrobatic skills to speak of, as you can see I can hardly move quickly." Azula wrapped her cloak tightly around her, her bag rattled against her back. "I do plan to leave the island, I am checking to see where the ships go before choosing a destination."

"Ah...want to see the world? I did that once in my youth" The woman said, shaking her head as she passed the bag full of hair dye. "The dockmasters will be the best place to investigate, if you offer to work on the ship most of them will allow you on board. You might be able to get on one of the newer ships, all made of metal and swift as anything I hear."

"I guess that is my next destination," Azula placed a few of her stolen coins in the woman's hand. Azula glanced down at the bag full of dye, she would spend some time tonight fixing her hair. "Do you have any red dye?"

"Red? Only the heavier versions which can't be used on something as delicate as your hair." The shopkeeper blinked, leaning forward. "Why would you want a colour like that for your hair?"

"Why do you think I was going to use it on my hair?" Azula asked, more annoyed at the question then anything. Even if she was fully correct. Jane had said a little tinge of red would look nice. Azula had been hesitant, but liked the look the first time she had dyed her hair, so much so that she never stopped using both colours.

"I know that look. The colour won't suit you." The shopkeeper frowned. "The dye I have will damage your hair while looking terrible. Just use the brown dyes, remember to dilute it in water before you apply."

"Thank you. " Azula turned and left the shop. She didn't want to get into an argument with the helpful lady over something so trivial. She couldn't have red highlights on her hair anyway, it would make her stand out too much.

Azula needed to stay incognito.

Azula walked out into the cool evening air. She took a deep breath, filling her lungs to the brim. Her stomach rumbled a moment later, causing her to grimace as pain spread through her body.

"First thing is to get some more food," Azula placed the dyes in her bag and then headed toward the market she found earlier in the day.

Azula reached the bustling market a few minutes later. If she squinted she could assume she was back in the market on Elysium or any other Citadel world. The stall owners advertised their wares, while shoppers browsed and bought. But reality was often more harsher then her wishes. Instead of people wearing jeans or other synthetic-fibre clothing, like Azula had hoped. The shoppers in the market wore simple red or maroon coloured robes, with trousers, skirts or dresses.

Azula was glad to see the old colours of the Fire Nation, but also sad that she wouldn't be able to shop with Jane again.

"Got to keep my head in gear," Azula whispered. She clenched her fingers and walked briskly through the market. The different aroma's wafted up her nose, making her stomach rumble again. Her body was slowly getting used to eating more regularly, her stomach no longer painfully protested each time she ate. Her nose led her through the market, something extremely nice was being roasted.

Azula stepped nimbly past a group of men, chatting amongst themselves. She found a large stall. On the side was the menu for roasted duck and chicken. She stepped up to the counter and placed her order, as she waited she examined the market.

It was the group of men that drew Azula's attention. She had noticed their armour and weapons as she passed them, but what she was most interested in was the Daichi the loudest man carried.

Azula wanted it.

They had no weapons to speak of, no guns or combat suite. They only wore flimsy robes with light padding.

"Fuck, can't think like that anymore." Azula took a bite out of her food and then sat down near a fountain as she examined the men. They were armed. The five of them had an array of swords, knives and general wilderness gear. They each carried an air of confidence about them as they chatted away, she didn't think they were Fire Nation troops. Perhaps they were a part of the Irregular force the army had used to garrison towns and forts.

Azula could cause a distraction, perhaps once they were fixated on something else she could swoop in and grab the weapon.

"Mmpm...I need something at least." Azula whispered, swallowing the last of the food. She was running low on the money she had pilfered from the smugglers ship she had used to flee the asylum. She hadn't been able to acquire enough to afford a weapon and only enough to stay tavern a couple more days. "They don't look like Firebenders, I could….what the hell?"

Azula surveyed the area warily as a low hum filled the air. It looked like she wasn't the only one that noticed it, numerous other people were reacting, glancing around. A group of kids ran through the market, laughing as they made their way to the small park that nestled the side of the square.

Azula frowned, it did seem like the thrum was coming from the other side of the park. She couldn't remember anything from her memories that gave off the same vibration and sounds. The nearest thing she could think of was the Great Drill she had commanded during her siege of Ba Sing Se.

"But that wasn't anything like this." Azula ran after the kids and toward the park. A few other people appeared to have the same idea as her. She kept her distance and aimed for a grouping of statues near the corner of the park. Older, lifeless figures judged her as she climbed up and onto the shoulders of the largest statue.

"Ah…" Azula winced as a jolt of pain shot up her back. She held herself on the shoulder of the statue, breathing deeply as the pain lessened. She glanced up into the sky as the thrum turned into a subtle rumble, until finally she could hear the unmistakable sound of engines.

Over the top of the roofs a spaceship sped through the air. It was bulky, and it's engines spewed out fumes as it made it's journey. Distant figures danced along the catwalk that framed the outside of the spaceship.

Azula's eyes widened, mouth agape as she watched it disappear over the top of the buildings. On second look it hadn't been a spaceship like she had hoped, but a basic airship. She saw brief glimpses of the sails and wings, along with the large combustion engine that allowed it to stay afloat in the air.

It wasn't a spaceship and it left Azula feeling annoyed. She remembered riding on the earlier airships before she woke up on Elysium. The original airships were bulky, and slow. Yet, this newer model appeared slim and it moved through the air gracefully.

"It's been a few years since I was last on an airship, the Fire Nation has likely updated their designs and built improved airships." Azula had kept up to date on the reports during her time leading the Fire Nation army, there had been numerous models for airships.

Certain things didn't add up with her apparent descent into madness. Azula had read numerous Alliance textbooks on past civilisations and their progress. She had always chalked her home planet's random technological innovations as just that. From the airships to the Great Drill she had commanded. Random spurts of ingenuity, on top of their bending.

Azula shook her head, she couldn't fully trust what she had likely dreamt up in her mad state.

"Airships are likely more...what?" Azula glanced down beneath her at the group of people they stopped nearby.

"I was there when the fleet took off for the Earth Kingdom, before I was discharged. The sight was something boys, seeing the power of the Fire Nation on full display." The man with broad shoulders said, Azula realised a moment later it was the one with the really nice Daichi. "This little tugboat is nothing special, can carry only a few people and doesn't have the firepower of the Airfleet."

"Have you ever been on one Teik?" A smaller figure said, looking up at Teik.

"Nope, never got the chance before the end of the war. Damned Avatar stopping the Fire Lord Ozai." Teik spat on the ground, kicking a nearby rock. "Then, Fire Lord Zuko started to demobilise after the war, which meant I never got my chance before I was forced out of the army."

Azula watched as the group continued to talk. She had ridden on numerous airships, but all of them were for the military. It seemed the designs had passed out of the hands of the government, so much so that private people could own 't remember any airships being used in her memory. One thing was for certain, the war was nowhere close to being over even with Ba Sing Se in her hands.

Azula filed that information away and concentrated on the more important task. The Daichi was within easy reach. The group hadn't noticed her at all, their attention on the direction the airship went. She could now easily get the sword, and then be away in a quick moment.

This will hurt. Azula thought, gazing down on the two metre drop. She took a deep breath, waited until the group had their attention far away from her and jumped. She landed in a crouch, her knees impacting the ground a moment later. Azula winced as she reached up with her hand, a small blue fire dagger erupted out of her palm. She swiped at the holster, the Daichi falling from it's hook a moment later and into her outstretched hand.

"Agh!" Azula moaned as pain shot up her hand, the flame spluttered in her hand and disappeared. She pressed the hand against her chest as more pain jolted up her arm, with her other hand she clutched the Daichi and looked up as the group turned.

"What the hell?" Teik said, blinking down at her. "What do you think you are doing stealing from me, you have some sort of death sentence?"

Azula winced, and backed away. The pain dying down in her arm. Why had it hurt when she bent, she had never experienced anything like it before. It had only been sluggish and harder to call to her actions before.

"I'll just be leaving now." Azula leaped back up onto the statue.

"No, you don't." Teik said, trying to grab her.

Azula took purchase on the statue, before twisting her body round and sending a roundhouse kick into Teik's face.

"Fuck!" Teik screamed, stumbling backward.

Azula fell onto the floor a moment later, the bottles in her bag rattled. She needed to be careful, she also needed to escape.

Azula bolted as the group started to recover. The bottles rattled in her bag, her legs burned with exertion as she sped away. She made her way through the park, past the other travellers and back into the market.

"Keep up with her!" Teik said, his voice far behind her.

Azula weaved through the travellers, almost bumping into an older couple as she made her escape. She turned toward the north, the streets there crisscrossed in a maze-like fashion. Perfect area to lose her pursuers.

Azula darted along the narrow streets, her legs burning with exertion and her breathing haggard. She tried to increase her pace, every once in a while she would glance behind her and still find her pursuers. She jumped onto a bunch of crates, then again onto the roof of a cart travelling down the street. It gave her enough purchase to leap onto another cart going down a side road.

Azula breathed deeply as she glanced behind her. She jumped off the side of the cart as a bolt of fire nearly hit her. She landed onto the ground in a roll, pain flaring up her back.

"Get my sword!" Teik shouted. "Before she can try to pawn it!"

Azula pushed herself up, her body protesting at the movement. Pain shot up her arms, focusing around her elbows. She had been careless. She had thought she would be able to dodge and escape easily. But reality was much harder, her body wasn't anywhere near capable as before.

Azula stood on wobbly feet, glancing back at the men before turning and trying to her best to -

Another firebolt sped through the air, impacting the roof of a nearby building. Glass shattered, causing fragments to rain down on Azula. She ground her teeth as she sped through. Drainage pipes fell down, followed by the wooden panels on the roof. She ducked, weaved and dodged as much as she could.

But Azula's luck ran out, she began to tire. Her speed slowed as her body couldn't keep up with how hard she was pushing it. A drainage pipe that she should have been able to dodge fell in front of her, she tried to leap over it but her foot caught it just as she was almost over.

"Gah!" Azula screamed, tumbling onto the ground. Her back slammed against something hard, a barrel slammed into her body before rolling into the middle of the street.

Azula lay, gasping for breath. Her body hurt, from her toes to her head, pain shot through her.

"Finally got her, good. If she managed to escape then I would have to search all the pawn shops for my blade again." Teik said.

Azula opened her eyes and found Teik a few dozen feet from her, walking sedately down the street. She tried to pull herself up, her body felt afire and not in the normal way with her bending. The Daichi lay just within armsreach. All this trouble for one sword.

"Now give me my weapon," Teik said.

"Like hell I will." Azula said. She wheezed, her breathing haggard as she pulled herself up. She grabbed the Daichi with one hand, her other hand still felt weird after her earlier bout of Firebending.

It didn't matter if Azula had fallen into so much trouble because of a blade. She was a Shepard, and she would always win.

"A thief like you tried to rob the wrong person, I am going to take my sword off your cold hands." Teik said, stopping before her. Flames spewed out from his palms, small embers fell onto the ground.

Azula managed to get her breathing under control as she looked up at the stocky figure. If her Firebending worked properly then she could easily show these fools not to mess with her. If she was in her old body she wouldn't need her Bending to deal with them.

Azula didn't have either, so she needed to get more dirty. John always said that she might not have the advantage all the time when she faced off against someone, that she should use her smaller frame to deal with any attacker. If the attacker was a man then there was an easy way to even the odds.

Azula's gaze lowered and she grinned.

"You won't even touch me." Azula roared, moving into a crouch. She pulled the Daichi back, still sheathed in it's holster and slammed the end into Teik's crotch.

The man gasped, clutching at his nether regions. At the same time his clothing caught alight because fire Teik had started to bend.

"Argh!" Teik screamed, pulling his hands away.

Azula narrowed her eyes and unsheathed the Daichi. She didn't hesitate, slicing her Daichi into the side of Teik's knee. It wouldn't be enough to seriously injure him, but would allow her to leave. She pulled the sword away a moment later, standing up warily she kicked Teik away from her. The older man tumbled onto the ground, gasping for breath as he screamed. Blood poured out from the shallow wound in spurts, pooling around him.

"Well boys, as fun as this is I need to go." Azula said, grinning at the stunned men. They looked at her indecisively, as if not sure what had happened. She jumped onto the crates behind her, and then used a little burst of fire to propel her onto the roof. Pain shot up her body again, but she powered through it as she sprinted away.

"Blue fire?"

Azula heard as before she was out of earshot. A few minutes later she landed on another street, the few pedestrians on the road glanced at her before continuing on their way. They were obviously used to Benders going about their daily lives.

"Finally got away." Azula leaned against the building wall, the adrenaline fading from her body. The aches and pains that she had been able to ignore came back in full force. She was going to feel it in the morning, she needed to put some ice on her muscles to at least combat -

A dagger slammed into the wooden panel next to her head. Azula scrambled away from it, her attention turning to the woman casually strolling down the street. A familiar face, but one she hadn't seen in over two decades.

"Finally found you Azula. You can't resist finding trouble, come with me quietly." Mai said, pulling another dagger from her sleeve. A scowl on her face as she glared at Azula, her arm pulled back ready to throw another dagger.

Azula was a Shepard. She would go head first into most dangerous situations and expect to come out mostly unscathed.

But Azula wasn't suicidal.

Azula turned and sprinted down the street, doing her best to put some space between them.