I just managed to finally see the Avatar Book Three trailer, (my computer has been gone for almost a month) and like any proud Zutarian, I nearly had a heart attack when the Maiko scene came up. It took me a few minutes to calm down and tell myself: "C'mon, since when has anything on that show ever been that simple and straight forward?" There's a twist, I know there is, so I'm just going to have to wait and see what it is. No offense to any Maiko fans out there. Truth be told, once I managed to get my heart rate normal again (it came outta nowhere!), I thought the scene was rather sweet (Not my OTP, but still, kinds sweet). But what struck as odd was that, from my point of view, Zuko's hair was back to the 'not fully grown out but not just peach fuzz thing he had a while ago' (I came up with that name when I was sleep deprived. Can you tell? ) Anywho, to console myself (kidding), I wrote this.


Disclaimer: Hi, um, Zutarian. Do you think the Maiko scene, twist aside, would even have been created?

Second Place

Mai isn't stupid.

She knows he doesn't look in mirrors anymore for the fear of finding blues eyes staring back at him, screaming wordlessly of the great misdeeds he has caused the one they belong to.

She knows he doesn't dare venture down into the caves at all, because he whispers to sympathetic walls in the dead of the silent night, unaware that she lies pressed against the rock, trying to hear his muffled words, that he thinks maybe, just maybe, he'll see the ghost of her form leaning on a jade crystal, shrieking to high heaven about his crimes.

She knows he won't look at water if he can help it, because when he does all he sees is her image, caught on and reflected upon her element, and in her face he sees his own regret and pain reflected back at him.

She knows what he hisses to the black shadows of the predawn, when sleep escapes him. She hears the endless panting murmur of "I'm a hero, I'm a hero, I'm a hero, a hero, aheroaheroaheroahero…" over and over again until he sounds almost convinced, sounds like he almost believes the lies on his tongue.

And because she knows this, it hurts all the more when he leans down and kisses her hard, a vague sort of desperation in his eyes.

It hurts because she knows he is haunted by a not-dead phantom, the image of a would-be siren whose voice he can't get out of his head, whose eyes he still drowns in each night as he slumbers, and a firm, gentle, somewhat motherly, touch of a lover that he cannot, will not let go of.

It hurts because she knows, in his mind, her pale skin is darkened, and her eyes are blue, not gold. It hurts because she knows, in his mind, she is not dressed as a noblewoman of the Fire Nation, but in the ocean blue rags of a common Water Tribe maid. It hurts because she knows, in his mind, her hair is brown, not black, and her companions are the Avatar and her own brother, not his sister and Ty Lee.

It hurts most because the name that steals forth from his mouth is not hers, but a string of mumbled endearments that were never meant for her.

Peasant, Commoner, Water Witch, Wench, Girl-Child, Angel, Healer, Darling, Beloved,

Katara Katara Katara…

But still Mai moves her mouth with his and sighs in a way she hopes is contented.

She'll take what she can get.

Personally, I like Mai. She's apathetic. I love the apathetic girl characters. Nothing you do ever seems to faze them. And with her there, the Azula team is balanced out. We've got the psychotic little daddy's girl with a wicked anger management problem, the always chipper sugar-high acrobat, and the one that just doesn't seem to care at all. And between Azula and Ty Lee, I take Mai any day.

(Because Ty Lee gives me the creeps and Azula makes me want to hide in a closet.)