Holy Boy-Rape, Batman.
What have I done now?
Written in response to Jakia's "Zuko-Is-Soon-To-Be-Laid-Goddammit-Whether-He-Likes-It-Or-Not" challenge, a healthy bowl of crack-infused cheerios, the most recent episode, and the following prompt:
Everything is Sexier when Jet's involved.
Teaser: "I think they brainwashed me." He explains gingerly, his expression somewhere between terrifyingly intent and disturbingly vacant.
Zuko's brow twitched, furrowed.
"What the hell does that have to do with your hands down my--"
Brainwashing is a Beautiful Thing
"Hey." Zuko, in his surprise, encountered a wall.
Unfathomable, Zuko mused darkly, that now even seemingly innocuous partitions had it in for him. "Hey," the summons came again, as if Zukko hadn't heard it the first time and subsequently been painfully introduced to the new bane of his existence.
"What do you want, you—" When Zuko whirled –only somewhat annoyed despite recent events—-to face his assailant (or, at the very least, the retarded cretin who inspired the surprise attack –okay, so perhaps he was more than just somewhat annoyed--), he cut himself off, stared, remembered finally to blink.
"Weren't you arrested?" He wondered vaguely, and watched the boy's (Jet, he thought he recalled, was said boy's name) fingers twitch at his sides. "I hope you didn't escape for a rematch. I think our last fight made it clear that you can't beat me."
Zuko could have drawn up a list of all the myriad things that he imagined might next have spilled forth from the unfortunate 'Freedom Fighter's' thin lips, most of which included accusations of being a firebender, a spy, perhaps even a challenge to provoke him (futilely) into utilizing his firebending skills, but this:
"Was that a girl you were just kissing?"
--would not have been included in the range of possibilities. Zuko recalled belatedly that he was capable of basic motor functions, and articulately, he voiced his incredulous bewilderment.
"Why were you kissing a girl?" Jet reiterated, more slowly, drawing out every syllable for Zuko's clearly overwhelmed little mind.
"I—she—what the hell do you care!" Zuko finally managed, still flabbergasted but not about to let it get to him in case Jet was angling for the shock value to throw him off his guard.
Zuko observed quietly as one of Jet's dark eyebrows shot up until it was nigh obscured entirely by that wild shock of nettled underbrush he supposed was probably supposed to be hair, and tensed as the other boy opened his mouth again to speak.
"I was just curious, you know, because…well, because you're gay, after all."
Zuko considered carefully before he decided at last that, yes, this was the worst evening of his young life.
Zuko was forgetting to do something important again.
…how did that work again?
"Look, like I said before, you don't have to fight it or be ashamed. It's only natural."
Zuko, having never experienced one before, had no idea what an aneurysm was supposed to feel like, but he wondered seriously if that mild, niggling feeling in his head, like his brain was about to be dribbling elegantly out of his ears, qualified.
"Are…are you INSANE!" Zuko choked out in between spurts of his rapidly-escaping dignity (what little had been left after banishment by his revered father and eventual pursuit of by his sociopathic prodigy sibling). "First you accuse me of being a firebender," (which was true) "and now you think I'm…" (which he wasn't, damn it!)
Zuko chose not to complete the thought.
"Firebender? What are you talking about? The last time we met, all I did was question your sexuality, and you came at me with those swords –in the middle of your shift, no less—so I had no choice but to defend myself. Once I'd cleared all the confusion up with the soldiers, everything was fine and they released me."
That wasn't quite how Zuko remembered things, and he was about to remind this idiot of the folly of challenging him, when Jet opened his mouth again and MORE nonsense tumbled out.
"But I know you're gay, Li. And I've been trying to convince you since the port to just be open about it, ever since I overheard your uncle make a remark about it over that tea he bought. Believe me, I wouldn't have tried to help you if I'd thought you were a firebender. Even though it's been peaceful here for years, I've still got personal issues with the Fire Nation…"
Now it was all clear to Zuko.
Jet was insane.
"Anyway, you don't have to go around kissing girls, Li. You don't have anything to prove, and it's a betrayal of your inherent identity besides. Don't be ashamed. Embrace the gay."
At this last remark, Zuko was torn between laughing, decapitating the moron, and running like hell—or, in his case, Azula—was hot on his heels.
This was the antithesis of the Jet he had encountered those few times before. Same body, of course. But someone appeared to have supplanted his brain with another's.
And then Zuko had an epiphany.
This was why his uncle hadn't been able to defeat Ba Sing Se, why his father's armies fell in defeat again and again and again, why even Azula had suffered loss—the entire city was teeming with mental unbalance.
"It's complicated," He'd said to Jin before he'd run away from her. But really, in hindsight, it wasn't. She was probably bi-polar, or manic-depressive, or –with his more recent luck—a man.
When Zuko emerged from his partially brain-dead state of mortification and contemplation and finally regained full cognizance, he was, perhaps, a little surprised to realize that Jet was standing in front of him –DIRECTLY before him—with the tip of that cattail/reed/whatevery-wheat-thing (which seemed to have magically re-grown to its initial size in the time that he'd been gone) tickling his nose as Jet chewed thoughtfully, eyes narrowed as if he was about to strike, hand reaching forward slowly as if he was NOT.
"I'm gay, too, you know. I can help."
Zuko didn't stop to think. He whipped around and RAN—
--straight into that twice-be-damned fucking WALL.
When his vision realigned and the feeling in his body returned, so too did his sense of abject horror.
Jet was sitting ON TOP OF HIM (and words he'd never thought before, such as "astride," "straddle," and "eek" occurred to him now), and Jet's hands definitely did NOT BELONG THERE!
The next thing Zuko thought –through the blood pounding away in his aneurysm-afflicted brain—was:
And then, something along the lines of:
And also, incidentally:
Zuko was sure that he wasn't fighting back because the wall had left him dazed and, doubtlessly, incapacitated. He ignored the fact that his hands were pulling feverishly at Jet's pants, because this would be a contradiction to his very sound theory.
And so, dear readers, Zuko Gets Laid.
I did something bastard-ish. Did anyone notice that the teaser wasn't actually in the story?
Actually, I just couldn't find a good way to fit it in.
I decided that Jet was definitely gay, even though he very clearly isn't (what with his pimp-age of Katara), and then I decided that Zuko was gay with him (this one's still up in the air, even if I do envision him in my happy-Ewok-world ending up with Katara eventually), and then I realized that Jet's brainwashing was the perfect device to throw them together.
The Brainwashers of Ba Sing Se wouldn't just leave a gaping HOLE in poor Jet's memory. That would be Bastardy of an entirely different level. But they couldn't let him keep knowing what he knew, either, even if they didn't believe that he actually knew it (anyone else confused yet?), so they had to replace those troublesome memories with more suitable ones.
Chief Brainwasher: Li is not a firebender. Li is merely gay, and you are trying to help him come to terms with it, being gay yourself.
:lather, rinse, repeat: (x1598345), and there you have it. (Most of the work was in getting Jet to believe that Zuko wasn't a firebender, but a fairy instead. Convincing him that he was gay was actually relatively easy.)
The Magic, that is. Much more suitable memories, yes?