Disclaimer: Don't own Avatar.

Words: 773

Character or pairings: Mai, Maiko

Beta: Mistress of Sarcasm who edited it even though it is a Maiko, who thought of the titile, who has a Azula one-shot coming out, who is going to take her revenge by writing a Zutara

Inspiration: all of Rawles' awesome Maiko stories

He is gone.

That's all you can think about as the guards drag you and Ty Lee to a cell.

(to your prison, to your cage and the sky is beyond your grasp)

He has left you. Again.

Taken what's left of your damaged, broken heart and ran off to his freedom.

And you, strange girl that you are, helped him go.

You wonder vaguely how many times your prince has to leave you before you let him go but you already know the answer.


(And the answer feels like the heartbeat you don't have anymore.)

If Azula every sees you or Ty Lee again, she will kill you and laugh while she does it.

Azula is a cold blue-fire that burns forever and ever until there is no energy, no life left to begin again.

Zuko is the heat, the warmth of a campfire that protects you from the cold or the blazing inferno that scorches all those that endanger what he loves.

(please let me be protected, please let me be loved)

And you are steel, born of the earth, tempered by the fire so you will not burn.

Should not burn but tell that your memory, your hands, your heart.

(For you have touch fire and lived)

And have suffered for it.

Azula hates Ty Lee because she knocked Azula down. She touched the untouchable, and laid her hands on royalty

With just a couple of taps, the invincible was taken off her golden pedestal. Became as helpless as a newborn.

(It is unspoken, unsaid but Ty Lee is the strongest. She can turn a bender's body against them with a flick of a wrist, a press of a finger. Ty Lee has ultimate control, ultimate power. Oh and how Azula envies her.)

Azula hates you because you surprised her. You broke out of the box she made for you, the person she thought you were.

You defied her, and called her bluff.

Fear does not equal respect , does not equal love. Azula, who is a fire-bending prodigy, a tactical genius, a princess of the Fire Nation, perfect, should know that. Should understand that.

You picked her brother (the traitor, the failure, the scorned) over her and she will forever despise you.

You betrayed her and Azula does not forgive, will not forget.

It's been about two weeks in this stupid, dull prison and truth be told, you considered escaping just to break the boredom.

Ty Lee is adjusting to the Boiling Rock with her eternal optimism. Every one wants to be this smiling girl's friend and she already has about all the male prisoners in love with her. Most of the guards as well.

(But that might have something to do with her adjustments to her prisoner's uniform. You find it interesting that no one has yet to complain about Ty Lee's belly shirt and crop pants.)

"What does being in love feel like?" Ty Lee asks you after reading yet another love letter from one of her many admirers. "I bet it feels like flying. That's what all the songs say anyway and the poets."

Feels like drowning. Like bleeding. Like dancing. Like fighting. Like burning. Like touching. Like fearing. Like hoping. Like running. Like dreaming. Like breathing. Like wondering . Like screaming. Like crying. Like hating.

"Yes," you say. "It feels like flying."

And Ty Lee smiles like she knew the it all along.

Because sometimes he would just look at you, eyes softly gold, lips curled, and you, ever so practical, ever so grounded felt like you could touch the very sky.

(but mostly it feels like falling.)

Sometimes you wonder at night when Ty Lee is snoring quietly, and wind is cool, if in another lifetime, in another world, you and Zuko could be happy.

If in that lifetime and in that world, it was just about you and him.

Because it is never just about you and him here

Here, it's about destiny and royalty and never-ending cycles and war and the Fire Nation and Fire-lords and battles and daggers and Avatars and peace and spirits and sisters and benders and choices and peace and the world.

Here, it's always about all things but you.

And sometimes you wonder if you two can be happy, here in this lifetime, where nothing is about you and the world hangs in the balance.

And sometimes you wonder if he wonders about the same things.

You hope so with all of your gonegonegone heart because you love him so.

(In the meantime, you burn.)