Recap: He nodded once more. You smiled. "well, think about it. The chorus says that you should always do your best to be heard. You said you liked the song. But if you like it, you should try to understand it."
"I understand it," he snapped.
You grinned. "just making sure."
Iroh piped in. "here we are," he said.

you looked up to see a cheap looking wooden pirate ship. This made you nervous. You looked at everyone else; iroh had on his usual cheerful face, aya starred up in interest, zuko stood tall and emotionless. You sighed and followed iroh in.

the ship was filled with knickknacks, most of them fair valuable. You assumed most of it was stolen. You didn't think stealing was wrong if you needed to steal to survive and if you didn't hurt people in the process. However, you doubted the pirates left the people who they were stealing from unscratched.

"can I help you?" a raspy voice asked. The four of you turned around to see a sailor smiling politely at you, the sailor was obviously the captain since he wore a large hat. He was missing teeth and his voice sounded as if he had been drunk much too often. You noticed how nervous he made aya. She slowly shrunk behind iroh.

"do you happen to sell shoji pieces?" iroh asked matching the pirate's polite smile.

The pirate grinned. "aye, we might. Come and see if we can please youi." He waved his arm in front of him, gesturing iroh could go first. He did while aya clung to his sleeve. You went next. You could feel the pirate looking over your body as you walked. You shuddered slightly but kept walking.

The pirate led you to a separate room. This one had finer, more expensive items. He looked over you more as he opened one of his desk drawers. You could tell he was letting his eyes linger over your chest. You stepped closer to zuko. He glanced at you and then the pirate before moving so he was more in front of you.

The pirate handed the drawer to iroh. "this is where I keep the came pieces," he rasped out.

Iroh nodded and began to look through the drawer. Zuko, however, was starring at something else. You followed his eyes and found that he was looking at a scroll rack.

Iroh let out a heavy sigh. "no lotus tile here," he said.

Zuko stepped towards the scrolls, making you feel alone where you standing. "one of the scrolls is missing," he said.

"aye," the pirate began. "a water bender stole it. She was with two others."

Zuko turned sharply. "who were the others?"

"a watertribe boy and a younger boy with an arrow tattooed on his head," the pirate answered.

"the avatar," zuko whispered.

"the scroll they stole was mighty valuable. We tried to stop them but they flew away. Our customer will not be pleased when he hears what has happened."

Zuko turned to face him. "I am willing to make a deal with you. Together we can retrieve your scroll. I am on a hunt for the younger boy with the tattoos. We could help each other."

A grin spread across the pirate's face. "aye, we could." He rubbed his chin and thought for a moment before speaking. "alright, we have a deal."

Zuko nodded. "we will take my ship." The pirates agreed and you began to make your way back."

Zuko's POV

The pirates agreed to traveling on my ship. As we made our way back, I noticed miri stayed close to me. I also noticed the pirates kept starring at her. They were probably making her uncomfortable. This made me feel slightly guilty for making the deal with the pirates but I figured it had to be done.

Miri was shaking so hard she suddenly tripped. It was easy to catch her being as she was so close to me. She clung to me and wouldn't let go even after I steadied her.

"are you alright?" I asked worried.

She nodded, but continued to cling to my arm. I could feel her nails digging into my skin. She noticed and released me, blushing.

"sorry," she murmured.

"it's alright," I told her. We continued walking. After a few minutes, she turned to me.

"if we find the avatar, will you use aya?" she asked.

I was startled. I hadn't thought about that. True, I did think aya would help me capture the avatar, but then what? Miri would leave at the next port after that. I didn't want her to go. But what am I to tell her? No, I wont use ayya but you'll have to stay with me . I defiantly didn't want to force her to stay; she would be really unhappy having to stay on a firenation ship. I felt a tug on my sleeve, pulling me out of my thoughts.

I looked down and saw miri starring up at me. "well?" she asked.

I nodded. "ya, I'm going to use aya."

"alright," she said. "we have to explain it to her so she dosent get scarred."

"ok," I said. "we can do that when we get back to the ship."

She nodded.

I sighed. Oh well, having her here was great while it lasted, but nothing good ever lasts long for me.

Third Person POV

Once everyone, including the pirates, were back at the ship, miri and zuko took aya to their room.

Miri knelt down in front of her. "aya, do you remember the first day we were on this ship?" she nodded. "ok. Well, I promised the prince we would help him capture another person if he helped us. To get the other person youre going to have to pretend to be his prisoner for awhile."

Zuko stooped down to look in her eyes. "I promise I wont hurt you. No matter how bad it may seem, you wont get hurt."

Aya nodded. "alright."

Zuko stood up and looked at miri. Than an her sister. "may I talk to you for alone for a minute?" he asked.

Miri starred up at him, confused. "aya, why don't you go find iroh?" aya nodded and hurried out the door.

Miri sat down on her cot. "whats wrong?" she asked.

Zuko sighed, his cheeks growing a light pink. "are you and aya leaving at the next port?" he asked, looking at the floor.

Miri blinked. "I guess. Why? Do you need more help?"

Zuko shook his head and walked over to the desk. He took the opal diamond necklace out of the tea box. He then went back and sat down next to miri. She starred at him confused. He sighed again.

He reached for her hand and gently pressed the necklace in her palm. "I want you to keep this when you leave."

She starred at him, her gray eyes wide. "zuko...i…but," miri stumbled with her words.

He grinned, his cheeks were now fully red. "I know you'll keep it safe."

She starred at the gleaming gem in her hand. "but it was your mother's." she whispered still in aw.

Zuko smiled at her reaction. "exactly why you should have. I know you and aya don't have a lot. My mother would have been proud of me to give this to you," he said to her. Though, inside, all he really wanted to do was give her something that would make her happy.

With shaking hands, she carefully clamped the necklace around her neck. Then, without warning, she threw her arms around zuko's neck. "thank you so much. For everything, not just this."

He grinned in spite himself and wrapped his arms around her. He wished they could stay like this. He wished she wouldn't leave. But he knew it was for the better. For now, he could be content.

She let go and poked him. "you will never know how grateful I am."

His smile widened. "alright. But I have to go. We should be out of the port now."

Miri nodded and followed him out the room. On deck, the pirate turned to zuko. "shouldn't we check the woods?" he asked.

Zuko shook his head. They stole a waterbending scroll, right?"


"then they'll be on the water."

Aya came deck and stood next to miri. "when do I pretend to be the prince's prisoner?" she asked, cocking her head to the side

"soon," miri answered. She fiddled with the necklace.

"stupid water," a voice rang out over the river. A smirk spread across zuko's face. The ship was silently docked by the sailors and everyone filed out.

Miri went over to zuko and poked his arm. "if there is a fight, may I?" she asked.

He looked down at her eager face. "yes, you may if need be."

She smiled. "thank you. I haven't actually fought since my father died.

Zuko nodded to her and continued walking. Pirates swarmed around, looking for the waterbender and avatar. He took aya by the arm and went to the pirate captain and awaited for the crews to return.

Miri stayed in the back, bow ready. Her sword was a few inches out of its sheath for easy access she knew she could also earthbend, but she felt safer with other weapons at the ready. She heard a mass of commotion and knew the pirates had found someone.

The waterbender ran out of the brush. Zuko smirked as she ran right to him. "I'll save you from the pirates," he said. Miri couldn't help but feel slightly jealous of the waterbender. She shook her head, angry at her self. She couldn't like him!

"Katara!" a voice called out. Everyone turned and saw a young airbender. He was starring at the scene in front of him with wide eyes. Next to him a watertribe boy stood, looking extreamly nervous.

Zuko smirked and grabbed aya. Lighting his hand, he held it close to her neck. Miri noticed how wide her sister's eyes were. She hoped aya remembered that zuko wouldn't hurt her.

The avatar's eyes went wide. "what are you doing to the girl?"

Aya whimpered. Zuko felt a pang of guilt but knew he couldn't stop now. "give yourself up and I wont hurt her."

"like hell," the watertribe boy said.

"no Sokka!" the avatar interrupted. Then he glared at zuko. "alright, we'll come."

Zuko indicated to his soldiers to tie up the three. Once that was done, zuko released aya. "thank you," he told her.

Aya smiled. "your welcome prince."

The waterbender gasped. "you tricked us! You asshole!"

Miri came up and pulled back her bow threatingly. She was suppressed at how hard it was. After not pulling back anything for two weeks, she had gotten a little weak.

The waterbender suddenly sighed and looked down. "I'm sorry aang. Its all my fault."

"no it isn't," the avatar told her, reassuringly.

"actually, it kinda is," iroh put in.

Miri turned to him and giglled. Then she looked down at aya, still holding her bow at the ready. "are you ok?" she asked. The sixyearold nodded.

"enough of this," the pirate captain interrupted. "you promised the scroll."

Zuko went to Katara and pulled out the scroll from her belt purse. Again miri couldn't help but feel a tinge of jealousy.

Zuko gave the pirate captain a dirty look before lighting his hand and holding it under the scroll. "give me the boy first," he said.

The captin began to move forward, but the watertribe boy interrupted him. "that's what your tradeing the avatar for?" he said.

The pirate grunted. "avatar?"

Zuko starred, surprised at this new tactic. "don't listen to him. Hes just trying to turn us against eachother!"

"I mean, it just dosent make good business sense," the watertribe boy continued.

"shut up!" zuko yelled at him.

'ya, Sokka," the avatar put in. "you really need to shut up now."

The pirate shook his head. "you can have the scroll. We're keeping the boy."

Zuko stepped forward. "we had a deal."

The pirate smirked. "too bad."

Zuko's men didn't need to be told to attack as a battle broke out between them and the pirates. Miri's first thought was to find her sister. She began to look around franticly. One of the pirates threw down a smoke bomb, making it impossible to see anyone except if the person was right in front of you. Miri knew that her bow would be useless with the smoke. She reluctantly put it away and pulled out her short sword.

A pirate came into her view. He smirked, obviously thinking she'd be an easy kill because she was a girl. he pulled out his own weapon. It was a simple dagger with a rugged blade. It would cause a lot of pain if it would pierce the skin because of the ruggedness. The pirate took advantage of the height difference and came down from the top. Miri held her blade above her head in a block. She pushed his blade back at him and ran to move behind him, slicing his arm to slow him down. She continued to search through the smoke, looking for aya.

She came up to another pirate. This one was a lot bigger than the last. He also smirked at the fact that she was a girl. he, like the last, used a high attack. Miri used the same maneuver to block, but couldn't hold it very well because of the strength of her opponent. He pushed down hard on the blade, causing her to lose her balance. He cut her across her stomach as she fell hard on the ground. With one swift movement, she tangled her legs with his, tripping him. She cut his leg as she got up, keeping him on the ground longer.

The smoke was beginning to clear and she could vaguely see aya in the distance. The little girl struggled as the pirate captain restrained her. Miri froze in her tracks. The captain smirked when he saw her and held a blade to aya's neck. Miri paled when she saw what he was about to do.

Her breath hitched as a blur knocked the captain down. Aya screamed and ran to miri as fast as she could. Miri pushed aya behind her and blinked to clear her vision.. what she saw surprised her; it was zuko and the pirate captain rolling on the ground fighting. Miri took a moment to regain he composer before running over and slicing her blade across the4 pirate's back. He cried out and rolled off zuko. Zuko jumped up and blasted fire at him.

"prince zuko," iroh interrupted. "are you too busy fighting to watch your own ship?"

"uncle, this is no time for your proverbs!" zuko snapped back.

"it's no proverb! Look!"

Zuko whipped around to see that the pirates had invaded his ship and were sailing away with it. Zuko ran to the bank and groaned. "my ship!"

Miri went to his side pointed to the distance. "zuko, theres a waterfall." Zuko blinked and watched as his ship fell down the falls and the avatar flew away. He groaned in frustration.

Iroh suddenly began to laugh. "prince zuko, your really going to get a kick out of this. The lotus tile was in my sleeve the whole time," he said and held out the tile triumphantly.

Zuko took the tile and threw it over the falls. Miri giggled at this. Zuko glanced at her, his expression softening. "youre bleeding," he said, gingerly touching her wound. She winced.

Iroh still starred over the falls. "did you really have to throw it?" he asked.

Zuko glanced at him. "uncle, take aya and go see the damage to the ship. I'm going to wrap miri's cat," he said. Iroh smirked and nodded, leading ya down the hill.

Miri waited till they were out of earshot before turning to zuko. "thank you for saving aya. You don't know how much that means to me."

He smiled. "I couldn't just sit back and let him kill her."

She began to giggle but stopped and clutched her stomach, winceing from the pain. Zuko frowned. "sit down on that rock. I need to clean your cut and wrap it so it dosent get infected."

She did as she was told, cringing as she sat. he tore a piece of cloth from his shirt and dipped it in the water. He then knelt down in front of her. Both of them blushed as he carefully lifted the top of her kimono enough to see the cut.. he brought the wet cloth to the wound to wash it. Out of instinct, she flinched and brought her hand up, placing it on zuko's. he gently removed it and continued to clean her cut. "how did you get this?" he asked.

"the second pirate I fought. He was strong," she answered. He nodded and finished cleaning it. He then took his dagger and began to carefully cut more strips of cloth from his shirt. He leaned forward and began to wrap the cloth around miri's middle. They each blushed even darker at the closeness.

He finally finished and sat back. "are you alright now?" he asked.

She nodded. "thank you."

He nodded. "well, I couldn't just let you bleed."

An awkward silence spread over them. Miri was the one to break it. "I'm sorry you didn't capture the avatar."

He looked down as if ashamed. "no, I'm the one who has to say sorry."

This startled miri. "for what?"

He looked up and meant her gray eyes with his own amber ones. "for using you. For using aya."

"I thought that was payment for us being on your ship," miri said, startled at zuko's change of heart.

Zuko sighed and looked back at the ground. "yes, I know."

Miri took zuko's chin in her hands, tilting his face to look at her. "what's wrong?" she asked.

He bit his lip and let it go as if nervous. She cocked her head to one side. Then, without warning, he plunged his lips to hers. Miri froze in shock, to surprised to kiss him back.

Zuko gently released her and looked down. "I'm sorry. That was…"

Miri cut him off by pressing her own lips gently to his. She could feel zuko smile against her lips.

The simple kiss seemed to last forever. They broke apart slowly, both blushing. Zuko reached forward and took her hand in his. "we better go back before we're missed. I think we have some things we have to talk about though."

Miri nodded. They got up and made their way down the hill.