Author's Note - This a romp, and I have no idea yet where it's going! This will be my experiment in write & post, as suggested by DoDoGrrl's review - so pardon me if I go back and do a little fix-up now and then. - Tante Liz

Addendum - Updating all of these earlier chapters after a very late night of poetry surfing...

Ch 1

And who by fire, who by water,
who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
who in your merry merry month of may,
who by very slow decay,
and who shall I say is calling?
And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
and who by avalanche, who by powder,
who for his greed, who for his hunger,
and who shall I say is calling?

And who by brave assent, who by accident,
who in solitude, who in this mirror,
who by his lady's command, who by his own hand,
who in mortal chains, who in power,
and who shall I say is calling?

Leonard Cohen

Azula was in a good mood. It had been a long, hard day, but a satisfying one – her foolish uncle and even more foolish older brother recaptured, the Avatar and his little friends in chains, and the sounds of her ship finally making way out of the harbor and back to the open ocean.

She laughed as she thought of ways to amuse herself on the voyage back – and the laugh turned into a squeal of delight as she decided how to solve the problem of having one too few holding cells. I'll make Zu-zu and the Water-bitch share a cell – maybe they'll kill each other before we get home!

Azula and her ladies feasted that night, and wine flowed freely among the crew. Below decks, the mood was less than festive.

The companions of the Avatar were each separately chained and alone, their only contact the unspeaking, masked guards who brought and removed their food trays and chamber pots each shift. Iroh, Toph, Sokka and Aang spent most of the first few days just sleeping on straw mats and learning that struggling just increased the friction and pain in their ankles and wrists.

The exceptions were Zuko and Katara. Chained, too, but instead of having barely enough room to change positions, their bonds were long enough that they could each walk the length of the long, narrow, windowless cell they shared.

Azula had been disappointed at first to hear from the guards that her brother and the Water Tribe woman weren't at each other's throats – in fact, that they barely spoke to or even looked at each other – and she soon lost interest. At every port of call there was some new amusement for her to experience, and she was in no hurry now that she had secured her prizes.

At opposite ends of the cell, Zuko and Katara sat unmoving. The first day, they barely spoke. The second day they had verbally baited each other, recriminations flying, until that too turned tiresome. By the third day the guards had stopped peeking through the door slot with any regularity and they rarely even heard the sound of footsteps outside the door.

Zuko seemed to be oblivious to her presence, sitting cross-legged on the mat with his chains flowing around him, the two tiny orbs of flame balanced on his fingertips growing and shrinking with every breath.

Katara had never been the meditative type. Something about his outward calm irritated her. By sunset on the evening of the third day, Katara's irritation grew, and she began to feel more petty and childish than tragic.

The walls of the cell were damp and cold – they were below the water line. She bent the moisture into tiny ice crystals and tossed them in an arc, showering Zuko's bare chest and back. He didn't move, but the flames shot up larger for a moment before he once again had himself under control.

Breathe in, breathe out, he thought. Just pretend she's not there.