So, how is everyone's summer going? Good? Oh, that's nice to hear.
After the music ended for that particular dance, Melia watched as Zuko and Kila walked off the dance floor together, talking about something.
Maybe it was the fact that Azula had just spoken to Melia, which always pushed her buttons. Maybe it was the fact that she had not been asked to dance by any of the men, except for Zuko, and those were rare times. Maybe it was the fact that her hair was up too tightly for her liking. Or maybe it was the fact that what Zula had said was all completely true.
Coming to an agreement with herself, Melia nodded her head once sharply, and then looked around the dance floor for a certain person. Finding him, she briskly marched over to where he was standing, conversing with a Lieutenant and waited for her turn.
"What can I help you with Lady Melia?" he asked.
"Admiral Zhao," Melia began. "I need to speak with you. It's quite important."
"So…what's happening tomorrow?" Kila asked Zuko as they sat down. She kept waving away prospects for dancing, saying that she needed to rest.
"Tomorrow" Zuko began, swelling up with pride, "my father is leaving with his fleet for Ba-Sing-Se. And I am to accompany him."
"So soon?" Kila asked, terror written all over her face.
"Well, seeing as the comet hits in four days, and it takes three to get over there, then yes." Zuko replied. "So soon."
"Wow…I had no idea." Kila said, slumping back into her chair in a very unlady-like position. She received a 'hem hem' from Zuko and quickly sat back up.
Walking through her door later that night (or earlier that morning, whichever you would like to choose.), she was surprised to find Melia sitting up in her bed reading.
"I thought you would still be at the party." Kila said in her direction.
Melia looked up from her book. "I got tired, and seeing as I didn't have a million prospects for dancing partners as someone else did, I decided to turn in early."
"Yet still stay awake?" Kila chuckled. But then at Melia's glare she shut up and then started getting ready to go to bed.
"Well, I hope you had a nice night anyways. See you tomorrow morning." And with that Kila crawled into her bed and extinguished all the lamps in the room with a flick of her hand.
Oh yes, I love a night full of backstabbing on both of the parties sides. Melia thought. She began to regret what she had told Zhao…no, no actually she didn't. It had to be done. For the better of the Fire Nation, for her soon-to-be marriage, and the greater good.
Kila woke up later that night and sat up from her bed. Looking over towards Melia, she noticed that she had finally fallen asleep.
Kila crept out of her bed and walked over towards the window. Checking outside, she once again made sure that Melia was sleeping ("Hey...Melia? You awake?" "Snooooore" "Ok. Thank you.") she climbed out of the window, onto a conveniently placed branch, and hopped (read: clamored, grunted and cursed) up towards the roof.
Upon reaching said structure, Kila sat down and wrapped her arms around her legs, looking out at the sky. When she was home, she used to go onto her roof all the time just to contemplate life. And now, she had to contemplate how she was supposed to spring Katara and Aang out of their cells and head to the Earth Kingdom capital without any of the hundreds of Fire Benders that are continuously patrolling the castle, much less the prison that the Avatar was in, to find out.
Then her mind wandered towards where Sokka and Appa were at this moment. She knew Momo was curled up on her bed sleeping at the moment, but she had no idea where Sokka and Appa could be. Could they be hovering on the outskirts of the town? Maybe they weren't even near the Fire Nation, perhaps they got lost. Or maybe they were really close to the palace and just very well hidden. Well, wherever they are, Kila thought, I trust Sokka. I just hope he's ok.
"Psst." Said a nearby tree.
I must really be worried about him, that tree just sounded like Sokka. Kila thought, suppressing a giggle.
"Psst. Kila." The tree said again.
"Bah!" Kila exclaimed. "It's alive!"
"Well duh." Sokka said, climbing out of the tree. "It's a living organism. How else do you think it continues to grow?"
Kila blinked a couple times and then grinned sheepishly. "Right. How do Sokka?"
"Eh, can't complain. How are Aang and Katara?"
"They are perfectly safe." Kila responded, resuming her position of her arms wrapped around her legs. "I check on them as often as possible. There is no harm being done to either of them, they're just bored."
"That's a relief." Sokka said, a relieved look coming onto his face. It looked to Kila that Sokka hadn't been sleeping so well; His eyes were bloodshot and there were dark circles circling his lids. "Appa is resting just outside of the Fire Nation borders. He's pretty tired, and I should probably be getting back soon to help keep watch. I just wanted to see if I could get in touch with someone."
"Right." Kila said, nodding. "The Fire Nation army is leaving for Ba-Sing-Se tomorrow, but I'm not sure about when."
"OK." Sokka said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "So we'll spring Aang and Katara out of jail tomorrow night?"
"Ish." Kila said, shrugging. "I'll check up on them tomorrow and let them know of the plan though."
"Got it." Sokka gave her thumbs up and then climbed back into the tree he had previously crawled up in. Kila waved goodbye and then continued to sit on the roof and think before she crawled back through her window and into her bed, where she fell into a deep sleep.
Kila woke up the next morning and groggily rubbed her eyes. Looking around the room, she was once again not surprised that Melia had woken up earlier and was not in her bed. In fact, she wasn't even in the room, and by the looks of it, it seemed like Kila had slept in and missed breakfast. Wondering why no one had bothered to come in and wake her, she threw her covers off and ambled over towards the closet to find something to wear. Grabbing a plain light red outfit, she slung it on and put her hair up in a somewhat-tidy bun. Nodding in approval at the reflection in her mirror, Kila turned around and walked out of the room to find something to eat.
When arriving at the dining hall, she was not surprised to find it empty, and lacking food. Sighing, she turned around and headed towards the kitchen; maybe she could find something to whip up in there.
"Where were you at breakfast?" Asked a stern voice from behind her. Turning around, Kila found Prince Zuko standing behind her, having just come out of a neighboring room.
"I slept in." Kila said, scratching her forehead. "It was a late night, you know?"
"Yes, I was aware." Zuko nodded, still with the stern tone. "I, however, was able to get up at the proper time. And so was Lady Melia."
"Well, you know I'm not a morning person." Kila said, trying to defend herself. "And she didn't wake me."
"She shouldn't have to. She is not your mother."
"Well, I know that, but…" Kila said, trailing off. She had absolutely no idea where she was going, and she knew that she did not have a reasonable excuse for why she didn't go to breakfast. Sighing, she began "Look, I'm sorry I missed breakfast."
"Apology accepted." Zuko said, his arms folded. "Would you like something to eat now?"
"Actually, I was just headed to the kitchen for something." Kila answered, pointing towards the kitchen. "Are you offering to escort me?"
"I am not offering anything." Zuko replied. "I was just asking. I am actually in the process of getting ready for my departure."
"Departure? Where are you go-" Kila began, but then remembered. Slapping her forehead, she hissed under her breath "The comet!"
"Yes, I am going with my father and the Fire Nation to the Earth Kingdom. We discussed this last night. Please don't tell me that your memory is that poor."
"No no, I just forgot that's all." Said Kila, waving her hand as though to swat flies away from her face. "How do you feel about going with your dad? Scared? Nervous?"
Zuko blinked a couple times, and then frowned. "Honored. I am proud to be going with my father. I feel like I can do something right now, something he can be proud of."
"I'm sure he was always proud of you Zuko…"
"Prince Zuko." He corrected. "Do not forget your place. I have to be going." And with a quick turn on his heals, Zuko was striding out of the room at a quick pace, leaving Kila standing in her spot, wondering why triggered this sudden mood change.
After breakfast, Kila made do with herself by staying out of the way of the many soldiers that were littering the corridors. They all seemed to be energized by the fact that the comet was so close, and their victory was so near. It was almost the end of the war, and they were tired of fighting. Or, that's at least what Kila got out of it.
She finally decided to just wait by herself until most of the soldiers had left, hoping to stay out of their way. When it got later in the day, then she would go down to the cells with Aang and Katara. But for now, it was too conspicuous. And so, she sat in the library, reading up on the Earth Kingdom, hoping to find some sort of clues. Clues for what, she didn't exactly know. But she would not loose, and she would not allow that myth to come true. She would not let Aang be locked up, she would not let Zuko be executed, and she would not let Azula reign.
"Prince Zuko, it's time to go." Iroh said, motioning to his nephew.
"Be safe." Melia said to Zuko; she had come to see them off. Iroh gave her a great bear hug before he walked up the gangplank. Zuko stood there for a second, not really knowing what he should do. Thinking of the safest alternative, Zuko stuck out his right hand as he had seen Kila do countless times. Melia grabbed it and gave it a quick squeeze. "Please. Be safe."
"I will be fine." Zuko said, trying to release the hold that Melia had on his hand. "Don't worry." He again tried to free his hand, but it didn't work. "Please let me go now."
Melia took in a deep breath and let it go. Then she quickly pecked him on the cheek.
Zuko blinked from shock. He quickly turned around and walked up the gangplank after his uncle, wondering why in the world she had done that.
Once he had boarded, the gangplank was lifted, and the ship began to sail out of the harbor. Melia stood waving on the dock for a few minutes, until she finally grew bored and left.
"Uncle," Zuko began. "What have we gotten ourselves into?"
"I thought you wanted to do this." Iroh said, eyeing his nephew suspiciously.
"No, not with the comet." Zuko said, although he did wonder about that as well. "With her."
"Lady Melia? I thought you liked her."
"She's been acting strange lately. Don't tell me you haven't noticed."
Iroh thought for a second. "I think it may be the tension of the battle." He answered. "Or, pre-wedding jitters. They go hand in hand." He clasped Zuko on the back and turned around and walked towards the helm.
Zuko stood by the railing a few more minutes, then followed his uncle.
It was twilight, and Kila thought she didn't hear any commotion in the hallways. She slowly crept her way down towards the jail cells where she had visited Aang and Katara before.
"Hey!" Aang called as she entered. Kila waved and made her way over towards the cell.
"Why isn't there a guard on duty?" She asked as she reached the chained pair.
"I don't know." Katara answered from her seat on the floor where she was sitting. "I was wondering that also. When he left today, I thought he was just being relieved of his duty and it was another's turn. But no one came after that."
"Well, that makes this even easier." Kila said, a heavy weight off her chest. "Right. I brought this flask of water. Katara, do you think that-" but she stopped in her sentence at the look of complete horror on the faces of Aang and Katara.
Kila spun around, and felt her heart sink into the pit of her stomach at the sight of Admiral Zhao standing in the prison, watching Kila with a sadistic smile on his face.
"Good evening Miss Kila." He said. "What, pray tell, would you be doing at this moment?"
"I…um…am making sure the Avatar doesn't escape." Kila lied. She tapped the lock a couple times with her finger. "Right. These seem up to par. Well, I'm off."
"I don't think so." Zhao said, stepping in her way. "How would it look on my record if I let the Avatar run free?"
"But…he's locked up…" Kila said, pointing to Aang.
"No no, Avatar number two." Zhao said, pointing to Kila, the smile still on his face.
All the color drained out of Kilas' face, but she tried to keep calm. "Admiral, it has already been discussed that I cannot be an Avatar, there is no way."
"Oh, there is if you are from the future." Zhao said, filling in the gaps. "Oh yes, I am aware of this Miss Kila." He responded to her look of shock. "You are the Avatar from the future, and you have somehow found yourself here. I knew there was something special with you."
Kila wordlessly moved her mouth up and down a couple times. Then, she finally relocated her voice and began "But…the future…please, that's ridicu-"
"Oh stop it." Interjected another familiar voice. And from a doorway stepped Melia, her arms folded, eyebrows knit. "There's no way getting around it; I told him."
"What?" Kila breathed.
"I was so sick and tired of you always getting everything you wanted!" Melia said, anger flaring. "When I first met you, Jet liked you. When you were captured by Iroh and Zuko, it was obvious that Iroh liked you more, and the crew adored you. Your bending skills are amazing, and you can sing so perfectly everyone adores you! And then Zuko is falling head over heals for you-"
"No he isn't!" Kila said, but was cut off.
"Don't interrupt!" Melia spat. "And of coarse he does, can't you notice? It's repulsive! He's MY fiancé! It was bad enough that you had Jet, and now you had to have Zuko too!"
"I never wanted Jet…" Kila said, trying to reason with her.
"DON'T INTERUPT!" Melia screamed. "And then we came here! Where you were welcomed with open arms, even though you had been wanted only seconds before! The Fire Lord loves you, and you had everyone eating out of the palm of your hand! Everything you wanted was handed to you. You didn't have to work for ANYTHING!" With this last remark Melia shoved a blast of fire at Kila. She had just enough time to throw her arms up around her face, but her arms stung nonetheless. "I HAVE PUT UP WITH SO MUCH FROM YOU! NOT ANYMORE!" Melia screamed, continuing to shoot fire at Kila.
"As much as I enjoy seeing this," Zhao began, placing a hand on Melias' shoulder. "We have a deadline. Our ship is waiting, and I would appreciate making it to Ba-Sing-Se before the comet arrives." Here he the thrust his shoulder into Kilas' stomach, pushing all her air out of her lungs and knocking her to the floor. He quickly tied her hands together behind her back and thrust her into an empty cell. "Have fun." Said Zhao as he walked out of the prison hold.
Melia followed him, but before she left she gave Kila one last glare of pure hatred.
A few minutes of silence ensured. Finally, Aang broke it with a "Well…it's a nice night tonight."
Kila looked up at him with a feeble smile. She heated up her hands in an attempt to burn the ropes off, hoping that it would work. She noticed that neither Katara nor Aang had binds on them, yet she remembered that they did a few days ago. "Did you burn your rope off, or did a guard take it for you?" Kila asked hopefully.
"Oh, I burned them off." Aang replied shrugging. Katara nodded in confirmation, and Kila felt more at ease.
"So, how are we getting out of here?" Katara asked. "We tried melting these bars before, but apparently the Fire Nation thought of that as an escape route. Aangs' airbending doesn't work; we tried that. And we have no water for me to bend into the locks."
"Oh really?" asked a voice from a small barred window.
"SOKKA!" Katara exclaimed, clamoring over towards the window to see her brother.
"How are you guys?" he asked, genuinely worried.
"We just had a lovely mutiny." Kila informed, feeling her binds loosing a little.
"Interesting." Sokka said, passing Katara a canteen full of water. "I thought you might need this, so I brought it along." He said, answering the question that was forming on Kataras' lips. She pulled the cork out of the top and curved the water out of the canteen and over towards the lock, where she quickly froze it. She then did the same thing to Kilas' cell, and Aang broke them with a strong blast of air.
"Ok, now how do we get out of the palace?" Aang asked.
"I thinkit may be deserted at this point." Kila answered. "Sokka, we'll meet you outside. You two, follow me and be quiet." She then tiptoed out of the prison hold and up a corridor.
Just like she had predicted, the halls were empty. Apparently, all the men were off on the ships ready for the final battle. Kila, Aang and Katara all quickly scurried to the nearest exit, and soon found Sokka, Appa and Momo waiting. Kila was very glad to see that Momo had found the flying bison all by himself, but after all, he was quite a smart lemur. And with a "Yip yip!" they were off.
"We have at least three days flying, so get comfy." Aang informed from Appas' head.
Kila sat down opposite Sokka and was stroking Momo. Now that she had time to think about it, Melia had grown colder and colder to her as time had gone on, and how had she not noticed this before now? But how could Melia have thought things like that? She wasn't adored by all the men, and Zuko definitely didn't like her, that was just ridiculous. Maybe Melia had it all screwed up.
But then again, it was Melia who told Admiral Zhao her secret. Kila felt so confused and horrible. She thought she was able to trust Melia, and she thought she had a real friend from her.
"I never asked you" Kila heard from her left. She turned and faced Sokka.
"Yes?" She asked.
"How did you get from your time to ours?" he asked.
"Oh, I wanted to know too!" Katara said, stepping into the conversation.
Kila blushed. "Well, it's just a theory, but I think it's because of the moon."
Aang turned around to look at her. "The moon?"
"Yea…I wished on the full moon and it came true." Kila replied, shrugging. "I know, it's a stupid thought…"
"No, it's not." Sokka said, looking up at the now crescent moon. "It actually makes perfect sense to me."
"Really?" Katara asked from her position on the saddle.
"Really." Sokka said, thinking of Yue.
I thought I should end it on a nice thought. You know, before they reach the city and the war part of the story actually starts and everything.