She hung limply in his arms, her plump lips gaped slightly open and her long, dark hair, blowing slightly in the breeze. A few strands clung stubbornly to her porcelain skin. She was beautiful, simply put, this girl whom had washed up on the river bank. But she was almost completely still. If it wasn't for the slight rise and fall of her chest, Jet would have believed her dead.
As he approached the hideout, Jet shifted her weight in his arms, making it possible to reach up and allow one of the ropes to carry them up to the tree top sanctuary. Jet grabbed hold of one of the ropes and tugged it, signaling to be pulled up and as they rose into the air the girl showed the first sign of life other than her shallow breathing. She gave a little grunt of pain as she moved ever so slightly, as if to find a more comfortable position in his arms.
When they reached the hideout, in what seemed like forever, Jet let go of the rope and landed on the crude wooden planks with a louder thunk than usual. Almost immediately numerous freedom fighters surrounded the leader, greeting him.
They all chimed, their young, innocent faces shining brightly up at their leader. They all completely ignored the girl that laid in his arms...Until Smellerbee swung down from above, landing slightly behind Jet.
"Who's that, Jet? New girlfriend?" She teased, knowing Jet was still being rather bitter about that water girl freezing him to a tree.
"Yeah, Jet! Who is that!?" chorused the younger children, causing Smellerbee to smirk and cross her arms as she awaited an answer from Jet.
"I don't know, " Jet replied truthfully, barely acknowledging Bee's remark, "I just found her washed up on the river banks, west of the town but still south of the busted up dam."
"Somethings wrong with her arm. Even seemingly unconscious, she's holding it weird. Maybe its broken. You should get that splinted as soon as you can, Jet. Need any help?" Smellerbee asked. Jet looked down at her with one of his trademark smiles.
"Sure," He knew Bee was better at splinting things and generally taking care of the wounded than he was. Even if she was a total tomboy, Bee was still a girl, therefore she did have some rather defective motherly instincts, "C'mon," Jet said, pushing through the small sea of young freedom fighters. He moved slowly towards one of the many rope bridges that linked all the tree houses. Smellerbee followed close behind him.
"Has she been awake at all yet?" Smellerbee inquired, Jet sighed.
"No, when I first saw her, I didn't even think she was alive."
"She does look in pretty rough shape. I mean, all she's wearing is her underwear, and even that's in pretty rough shape, all ripped up and stuff." Bee stated matter-of-factly. Jet glanced to Smellerbee, then he looked down at the girl in his arms. He hadn't really noticed she was barely covered up until Bee had brought it up. Jet had been too concerned with saving her life.
But now there was a slight pink blush running to his cheeks. Jet averted his gaze from the girl and looked back down at Smellerbee.
"Thanks for reminding me," He grumbled, pausing a moment and adding, "As soon as you finish splinting her arm, you can find her some decent clothes to wear."
"Haha, fine," Smellerbee said, "You know, she looks awfully...foreign, dontcha think? Her skin is so pale."
"She's freezing cold, Smellerbee. The river isn't exactly warm yet this time of year. I'm sure she'll get some color back in a day or two, "Jet explained, stepping off of that rope bridge and onto another wooden platform. He stopped and looked around for a moment, trying to decide which way to go. He had to put this girl somewhere for the time being, "That hut over there is just being used for storage, right?"
"Yeah, I think so..." Smellerbee replied.
"Then we'll keep her there until we can find somewhere else for her. Maybe once she's better she can stay with you." Jet said, smirking, hoping to get a rise out of Smellerbee.
"What!? No! No way! I'm not sharing my room with anyone! I like my privacy, Jet, and you know that!" Smellerbee protested. Jet received the rise he had been looking for. He stepped off onto the next rope bridge, heading towards the storage hut. Bee grunted, obediently yet reluctantly following him.
From higher up in the trees, other kids looked down and Jet and Bee from above. They smiled and laughed to themselves, gossiping like most adolescents do.
"Who is she?"
"She's awfully pretty."
"Too bad she's too old for you, Duke."
"I bet she's Jet's new girlfriend!"
"What? No way! He's still recovering from being frozen to that tree by the Avatar's water witch friend."
Longshot, who was near the group of gossipers, mearly kept his mouth shut, like usual. He shook his head as he leaned over and took a peek for himself. True, the scene below him did look a bit suspicious, bit Longshot had never really been the type to speculate. He'd patiently wait for Smellerbee to tell him what was going on. He knew she'd tell him. She always did.
Silently, Smellerbee studied the young woman Jet was holding. She looked to be a little bit younger than him. Her fingernails were long, perfectly manicured and polished. Except for the ones that had broken off. Her feet were not hard and calloused. She obviously had some status, never going barefoot anywhere. And Smellerbee still found that her skin was too pale. Even if she did regain some color, the tone would still be damn close to a snowy white. Something about her just didn't sit well with Smellerbee. She was a bit suspicious. Wait, no. She was very suspicious.
When she and Jet stepped off the bridge and entered the storage hut, she spoke up.
"Jet...What if...What if she's Fire Nation?"
Jet looked at Smellerbee with a raised eyebrow as he sat the girl down on the floor. He shook out his arms, trying to regain feeling in them after holding onto that girl for so long. He then went over to one of the many crates and lifted the lid. He began to dig around for some extra blankets and medical supplies.
"Then I suppose...We'll kill her," Jet said emotionlessly, throwing some beat up and ripped blankets to the floor. He'd use some of them as bandages and others as make-shift pillows. He pulled out one last blanket and unfolded it. It was rather nice compared to the other ones. It only had a few rips in it and a couple scorch marks. He sprawled it out across the floor and laid the 'pillow' on top. Jet picked up the unconscious girl again and placed her on top of the blanket.
Smellerbee sighed, she had expected that answer from Jet, so she simply changed the subject.
"What do you want me to use as a splint?" She questioned.
"I dunno, go find something. I'll clean up the rest of her wounds and stuff while you're looking." Jet said, moving some crates around to find one specific item. An eccentric looking green glass bottle that was full of an ointment that fought infection exceptionally well. He usually only used it for emergencies and he figured that this practically lifeless girl was an emergency.
When he finally found it, he pulled it out of the wooden crate with a satisfied smile.
"Alright, I'll be back in a little bit then..." Smellerbee said after she watched him dig around for a while. She turned silently, her footsteps barely audible at all. Jet glanced back at her for a moment as he unsheathed a small knife. Yep, that was Smellerbee, stealthy enough to steal anything without trying too hard. If she had been trying, Jet wouldn't have even noticed she had left.
Using the unsheathed knife, Jet began cutting thin strips off of the tattered and practically useless blankets. He nicked his own fingers a few times, but that was alright. With two whole blankets cut to shreds and his fingers bleeding generously, Jet figured there were enough strips of cloth to last a few days worth of bandage changes. He put away the knife and licked the blood from his fingers, then wiping them on his already dirty pants. He scooted closer to the girl and placed his had to her forehead. She had a slight fever, but it wasn't much to worry about at the current moment. Delicately, Jet brushed all of the dark hair from her face, exposing a few little cuts on her forehead and cheek that he hadn't noticed before. Most were already clotted up or barely bleeding at all. As he studied her more, checking over her and such, Jet concluded that those folded blankets were holding her neck up at a strange, uncomfortable angle.
To fix it, Jet lifted her head up slightly and snatched one of the blankets from under her head. Something was wrong, however. That blanket had been perfectly clean when he had laid it down...and now it was stained red with fresh blood.
"Dammit..." Jet whispered to himself, replacing the bloody cloth beneath her head in its previous position. No sense in dirtying another blanket. When Jet looked at his hand and saw it was also covered in blood, "Dammit!" he repeated, a bit louder with himself for not realizing the true extent of her injuries sooner. True, the injury could have just broken the skin, but there was always the possibility that she had suffered a nasty concussion as well. Or worse, the blow to her head could have permenantly sent her into this statue-like state that was still alive, but barely. Jet grabbed a nearby blanket and wiped off his hands. He took out his knife again and cut a long strip of fabric for a bandage to wrap around her head.
A task that was easier said than done. Her thick ebony hair camoflaged any blood that had tainted it so he had no other choice than to softly part her hair in different ways until he found the wound. After a few tries, Jet found the abrasion that had left a rather large bald spot in its wake. Determined, Jet grabbed the green bottle and pried the cork from the top using his teeth. He spat it out on the floor once it was loose. Jet poured some of the stinky, slimey contents of the bottle out onto his hand and he generously smeared it all over the wound. He had to make sure he got it all and a little more before he wrapped the bandage around her head and tied it up nicely. Once the task was done, he turned her back over slowly and made sure her head was in a more comfortable postion as well as not laying directly on top of the wound.
Meanwhile, as Jet cared for and dressed her other, less serious wounds, Smellerbee hopped around the hideout, swinging from platform to platform searching for Longshot. She had already gathered all of the needed supplies to make a splint for the girl's arm. Now she just needed to vent a little bit...as well as fill Longshot in on what in the world was going on.
"Hey Pipsqueak." She waved as she passed the fellow freedom fighter. As an after though, the tomboy turned around and asked him if he had seen Longshot anywhere.
"Nope. Last I heard he was with the Duke." Pipsqueak told her. Smellerbee grumbled, cursing to herself.
"Well, have you seen the Duke then?" She asked, crossing her arms in annoyance.
"Yep, he went thata way!" Pipsqueak exclaimed in his booming voice as he pointed north.
"Thanks." Smellerbee sneered, making sure she bumped into Pipsqueak and threw him off balance as she passed him. She couldn't believe how stupid that...boy...man...teenager...thing could be sometimes.
Stomping loudly, Smellerbee made her way northbound, grimacing as she clutched onto the shoulder strap of the bag she had used to carry her splint supplies in. Honestly. Who could be that stupid so much of the time? Ugh. So annoying. Smellerbee kept moving through the treetops, still thinking bitter things about most of the freedom fighter boys until she came to the conclusion that they were all stupid just because they were boys and that they'd have something that could be considered intelligence if they thought with their head on their shoulders for once.
While Smellerbee continued analyzing the male half of the human species, off in her own little world, Longshot and the Duke jumped down gracefully in front of her.
"Hi, Bee!" The Duke said, sniffing a long, hanging green booger back up his nose. Before, Smellerbee would have gaged at the sight. But now she was finally getting used to it. That kid was always snorting his snot up.
"Hey." She muttered, grabbing a hold of Longshot's loose shirt sleeve, "I wanna talk to you. Duke, go a way for a little bit. This is big kid stuff."
"But I am a big kid now!" Duke whined. Longshot sent the boy a glare that caused him to look at Smellerbee and scowl before turning around and walking away, pouting. Longshot then looked at Smellerbee, silently asking her what was up and why she needed to talk to him so urgently.
"So I guess you're probably wondering why Jet was carrying that girl into the hideout before, weren't you? Gah, probably not. You don't wonder about anything. But I should still update you on what's going on around here, right? Before the rumor mill turns all of this into something thats totally ridiculous..." Longshot nodded, cueing her to continue, "So Jet just found her laying on the river banks earlier. And he decided to bring her here and care for her and shit. I dunno, but I get a funny feeling about her. There's just...something not right about her. I can't really explain it. Something just smells fishy about her... and its not just her nasty riverwater hair."
Longshot simply nodded again, his face remaining stoic as he listened to her speak.
"Her arm looked kinda funky so I thought I'd be nice and splint it up for her and stuff. Jet has her in one of the storage huts and is taking care of the rest of her wounds. I should probably get back to him soon, he's probably waiting for me or something. " Longshot gave the blabbing girl a rare and tiny smile. She sighed, "And you're totally right, Longshot. How do you do it? I shouldn't judge her before I know her. Hell, I really don't know anything about her at all...So maybe she'll turn out alright. I really hope Jet doesn't...you know...get himself hurt again, though..." Smellerbee trailed off, "Thanks, Longshot, I needed to talk a bit."
He waved good-bye to the girl as she ran off again. Bee waved in return with a big smile. "I'll probably come talk to you again a little later, okay? So don't wander off too far. I don't want to have to ask Pipsqueak where you are again. He's strong, but pretty useless for anything else, I swear it!"
Jet had finished dressing the young woman's wounds and was now leaning up against one of the many crates in the hut, relaxing. It seemed like Smellerbee was taking forever to get back with simple supplies for a splint. With nothing better to do as he waited, Jet began to think of all the possibilities of who this girl was.
She could just be some unlucky peasant girl who fell in the river. Or maybe she was some crazy suicidal daughter of a nobleman. Or maybe she could even be a magical fairy princess.
Jet quietly chuckled at the thought of the girl sprouting wings and flying away. It was a silly, amusing thought, really. He studied her face for a moment. Her features were soft, yet sharp at the same time. She was well endowed for a girl of her age, if she was the age Jet expected her to be. Her chest was almost twice the size of that water-wench's. Wait, what was he thinking? With a perplexed look spread on his face, Jet leaned forward towards the girl, getting a better look of her face. She looked peaceful, yet at war. Almost everything about her was a complete contradiction.
Absently, Jet wondered what color eyes were hidden behind those closed lids. Were they dark and almost black like his? Or maybe bright shining green like an emerald. Perhaps her eyes were the color of a soft sandy beach. She could have eyes that were a icy, piercing ocean blue, like Katara had...but Jet certainly hoped she didn't have the cold, demonic golden eyes that a typical firebender possessed.
No, he didn't want that. He didn't want her to be Fire Nation, she couldn't be Fire Nation...because then he'd have to kill her, and he didn't really want to have to kill her. She was so...pretty...no...beautiful, even in her sleep.
"Sorry it took so long, Jet." Smellerbee apologized, entering the hut with her supplies, "I...kinda got carried away when I was talking to Longshot."
Jet looked up at her, smiling, "Its fine, did you remember to bring her some decent clothes?"
"Aww, shit. I knew I forgot something." Smellerbee grumbled, walking over to Jet and the girl. Bee kneeled down on the floor next to the girl's left arm, slinging her bag of supplies off of her shoulder and onto the floor.
"It's alright, none of your clothes would probably fit her anyway. I'll see if I can find anything for her to wear later." Jet told Bee. He recieved a sigh of relief from Bee, who had begun feeling the girl's arm for broken bones. Ah, there, not a large fracture, but not a small one either.
"I really hope she's totally unconscious right now so she doesn't feel this..." Smellerbee whispered to herself as she took in a deep breath before forcefully popping the bone back in place. The girl flinched a little, but otherwise remained completely motionless. Smellerbee checked her arm one more time, making sure she had pushed the bone back into the right place. Yep, it was practically perfect. She smiled at her handiwork and grabbed the two flat pieces of wood she had found...or rather, stole from Sneers, who was sanding them down so they could become replacement floorboards.
She placed them carefully on the arm, making sure they were the right length before anything else. They'd work, for now anyway. She tied cloth around the pieces of wood tightly, to hold the splint in place. She hoped it wasn't too tight, but then again, if it was too loose, there'd be too much room for movement. Not that the girl was moving around much anyway. When Smellerbee was finally satisfied with her work, she leaned back, resting up against the side of a crate with a sigh.
"So when ya think she'll wake up?" Smellerbee questioned.
Truthfully, Jet replied. "I have no idea."