Collaboration Between Monsters
A Jetzula one-shot that takes place a few months after the finale. This is basically using the concept that Azula was sent somewhere to be "rehabilitated" of her evil ways. The title for this came from the realization that Azula said her mother called her a monster, and as I recently rewatched the "Jet" episode I heard Katara call Jet a monster. It just kind of clicked. Azula is meant to be a little OOC in this because of her time in the center and her recent mental breakdown.
P.S. I didn't realize until I after wrote this that Azula's "mental rehabilitation facility" was located on a Fire Nation island. In order for her to meet up with Jet, I changed the location to the Earth Kingdom. And I know that according to the latest Comic Con that Mike and Bryan said Jet went to "hot guy heaven", but if they think Azula can be rehabilitated then Jet can still be alive.
Azula took a seat on a stone bench beneath a willow tree that overlooked a small pond. She held a small porcelain cup in one hand and grimacing, took a sip of tea. She swallowed the bland stuff, smacking her mouth in distaste as it slid down her throat. She normally didn't care for tea, preferring something stronger like spiced wine. It also didn't help that it was kept at a tepid temperature to keep the residents from burning themselves. In the past, this wouldn't have been a problem for the Fire Nation Princess. She would have simply heated it up with a bit of fire bending, an easy trick, which was no longer possible. The Avatar had seen to that.
For a moment, rage stirred in her heart as she remembered the instant he'd placed his palm on her forehead and taken her bending. She absentmindedly rubbed her wrist where she remembered a shackle being. They'd had her chained to the wall while he did it. Cowards, she thought spitefully. Then the anger evaporated like it always did. Ever since coming to this place Azula had found she couldn't hold onto any strong emotion for long. Her mind seemed to stay clouded and sleepy.
She started down into the pale depths of her tea and sniffed suspiciously. Those fools are drugging me, she blearily mused as she rotated the cup in her fingers. She tossed the tea onto the grass. She'd suspected it for sometime. They always gave them tea, never water. You'd be able to taste it in water, and it was always at the same time of day. Three times a day women in soft violet robes would knock on Azula's chamber door bearing a trey with her meal and cup of tea. At first she'd refused the strange drink, but when they'd given her nothing else, she'd drunk it. It wasn't just the tea that was inebriating. It was the whole place.
The estate was located near the swamp in the Earth Kingdom. It was a portrait of grey mist, green moss, and white and pink spots where the water lilies floated on still waters. It was like being cocooned in a dream.
The place was called Water Lily Haven. It was named for the abundance of said flower that grew on the surface of its many ponds and lakes. That was its official name anyways, though it wasn't what the inhabitants called it. They called it the House of Broken Minds or the House of Broken Spirits, but usually, just the House of the Broken. Azula called it one of Agni's many hells.
A wind stirred the long hanging branches of the willow tree, sending small ripples across the quiet pond. She got lost in the serenity of it. She knew this wasn't like her, but she couldn't find the strength to care. Everything here was hushed and tranquil. Nothing ever disturbed the perpetual peace. She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment.
The sound of rustling cloth and crushed grass brought her out of her reverie. She stood up, whirled around, and pressed the tips of her fingers to the hollow of a tanned throat. Her eyebrows furrowed when she looked at the tips of her filed down nails. They were rounded and blunt now like everything else. They hadn't even trusted her with those.
"Hey," an easy voice said.
She looked up and saw a tall boy about her age standing in front of her. He was entirely too close for her liking. She was getting soft, even her movements had been sluggish compared to her normal speed.
"What do you want?" she sharply asked.
"Nothing just saw you out here by yourself, thought you might want some company." He gave a roguish smile and tucked his hands into his pockets.
She slowly lowered her hand and took a step back. "Thank you, but I do not require any company."
He cocked an arched eyebrow at her. "I didn't think you required it. I thought you wanted it."
"I don't. You may leave now." Azula narrowed her eyes at him as she took a step away and waited for him to do as she bid.
"Name's Jet." He brushed his shaggy bangs out of his eyes and waited expectantly.
"You're not leaving," she said making it sound more like a threat than a statement.
"This is the part where you give me your name."
"I am not obligated in any way to give you my name. I don't know you. I've never even seen you before. How do I know you aren't just some spy sent by my brother?" Azula took another step back, hysteria rising in her mind. What if Zuko was trying some way to get rid of her? What if this boy was an assassin?
Jet turned his head to the side and studied her out of the corner of his eye. "Calm down. I'm a lot of things, but I'm not spy. Must be some family you have if your own brother would send a spy after you. Anyways, I haven't been able to walk the grounds much. I've been recovering from an injury." He lifted up the hem of his white tunic to reveal bandages wound around his stomach.
"So why would they send you here and not to a regular healer?" Azula lowered her eyes to the wound. It must have been some injury to require that many bandages.
"Not all of the damage was done to my body." He tapped a finger against the side of his temple.
"Hmm, that's not surprising. All of us are here for something like that. My, my that's quite a wound. I imagine there's an absolutely amazing story behind it," Azula purred. He was intriguing, and he might prove useful. She saw a spark in him that she hadn't found in anyone else around there.
He smirked at the flattery, moving the piece of straw in his mouth over to the other side. "Yeah. There is."
"You must be a very brave warrior to have earned it."
He shrugged. "Depends on who you ask."
He wasn't falling for her bait. He wasn't as stupid as she'd originally thought. "Would you mind telling me?"
"Sure, if you really want to hear it."
"Oh, I do," she answered slyly.
"I got into a fight an earth bender."
"It must have been some earth bender to get the better of you."
"Long Feng, may he rot." He scowled as he said it and spit on the ground.
The edge of her mouth quirked into a smile as she suppressed her laughter. "Don't worry. I'm sure Long Feng got what he deserved."
"How can you be so certain?" he asked suspiciously.
Azula folded her arms over her chest and tossed her black hair over one shoulder. "I just know these things. Trust me, I'm a people person."
"Heh, whatever you say. I still don't know your name."
"My name's Min," she offered coolly.
"Nice to meet you, Min," Jet replied as he shifted from foot to foot.
"Likewise, I suppose."
"So why are you here?"
"You must have a hell of a family."
"You have no idea," she eloquently drawled. This was the first real intelligent conversation she'd with anyone for what felt like ages. The attendants refused to answer any questions she asked and placated her if she demanded anything more. The other inhabitants were addlebrained and drugged out of their senses. Azula was only given a mild sedative compared to what everybody else received. She had a feeling it was because they had hopes of "curing" her. She'd heard them whispering about it in the hallways when they thought she was asleep. "So," she said quickly, wanting to change the subject, "Long Feng brainwashed you?"
"Yep, that's about it." Jet nodded and leaned against the tree.
"Is that why you came here?"
"Part of it. I managed to snap out of it before he nailed me." He gave a bitter laugh. "They keep me here because I still have problems with my memory and stuff. It's kind of weird."
"So you managed to break it on your own?" Azula was becoming fascinated by this boy. She'd seen the countless brainwashed women that Long Feng used as guides for the coddled citizens of the Upper Ring. She had never heard of anyone breaking free from it by themselves.
"Kind of," Jet answered vaguely, seeming reluctant to go on. She felt like prodding deeper, but wasn't sure if her wits were sharp enough yet. Parts of her mind were slowly awakening from the half sleep that had possessed her, but she was still slower than she would have liked.
"How impressive," she murmured.
"I see they're giving you that tea," he grunted as he bent over to pick up her discarded cup.
"Yes, I hate it." She looked at the piece of porcelain in disgust.
"They give me the some stuff, always makes me sleepy. I know they're putting something in it. I just don't know what." He sniffed it hesitantly.
"What difference does it make? It's the only thing they give us to drink, unless you want pond water."
He grinned at her and tossed the cup back onto the grass. "They have other things."
"Like what?" she said, narrowing her eyes and giving him her best intimidating glare.
"Harder drinks, beer, wine," he chuckled as he met her eyes without flinching.
"How do you know this?" She was disconcerted when she saw his brown eyes meet her golden ones. There were few men who had dared to meet her gaze. She could count them on one hand and most of them had been family. The others had been fools.
"They let me work in the kitchens. There's a whole supply closet stocked full of stuff that they keep for the staff and for celebrations. I bet I could get a hold of some, but I'd need a little help carrying all of it."
"Really? What do you have in mind?"
"I'm not sure yet. I know we'll need a distraction, and I have these." He reached into his pocket and pulled out two spark rocks.
"How did you get those?" Azula breathed, her fingers mindlessly reaching towards them. None of the wards were allowed to have them.
"I have sources on the outside. You want them?" He smirked and clenched his hand closed, putting the fist behind his back.
She snapped out of her wonder and drew her hand back. "Yes. You want a distraction? I know just the person to give those to. Leave it up to me."
"Where is your room?"
She pointed to a corner of the eastern wing. "Mine is that room right on the corner with the window overlooking the pond with the bridge."
"Fine, I'll be there tonight."
"Alright, but I don't know how you'll get in. They keep the window and door locked at night."
He smiled and pitched the spark rocks to her. "Don't worry, I have my ways. I'll be there a little after midnight."
She caught them and slipped them into the pocket of her dress. Jet nodded, winked, and turned away to slowly limp back towards the estate. Azula studied his shambling gait. He's faking it, she thought and found a grudging respect for him forming.
Azula sat by the wading pool with paint brush in hand randomly smearing streaks of color over the canvas on her easel. Dipping the brush into well of blue paint, she looked discreetly over her shoulder to make sure the attendants weren't looking. The two young women were idly chatting away while casting their gazes onto two of their charges who were splashing around in the pool like two lame turtle ducks. Idiots, she thought in delight as she leaned over to the girl sitting next to her.
Jia was happily pressing her paint covered fingers to the surface of her canvas. Azula reckoned her to be about eighteen. The Fire Nation Princess could vaguely make out the shape of a fire from the random blobs of orange, red, and yellow wiped across the surface. It was too easy.
"Do you like games, Jia?" Azula inquired sweetly.
"Mmm-hmm," she answered simply, never taking her eyes from her task.
"I like to play games too, but I'm not very good at them."
"Don't say that," the girl replied, swiveling her head around. "I'm sure you're very good at games."
Azula sighed and let her paint brush dip in despair. "I don't think so."
"I bet you are. Everyone says you're really smart and so well behaved," the girl babbled, her brown eyes luminous with honesty. Sometimes she reminded Azula of Ty Lee. It only made her resolve all the stronger when she thought of that traitor.
"Thank you. That's very kind of you to say, but well you see. . ." Azula licked her lips hesitantly, watching the girl hang on her every word.
"What is it?" Jia asked, her simple face frowning in confusion and concern.
"I have this game that I want to play, but I need one more person or else it won't work. It's really fun. In fact, it's so fun I haven't told anyone else about it. If I do I'm afraid they'll want to play, and there's only room for one more player." Azula let her voice drop to an innocent whisper.
"Well, if you really need someone to play that badly I could help," Jia offered as she turned to face Azula.
"Really? You would?"
The girl nodded enthusiastically.
"I knew you were just the person I needed for this game. It's really simple, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it."
"What is it?"
"It doesn't have a name yet. A friend of mine made it up, and this is our first time trying it out. You just have to do two things," she said temptingly.
Azula glanced over her shoulder one more time and withdrew the spark rocks Jet had given her. She opened her hand quickly and showed them to Jia while pressing one finger to her lips. The older girl's mouth fell open in awe as she fixed her eyes on the amazing goods.
"Gimme, gimme, gimme," Jia begged as she started to grab for them. Azula snatched her hand back and returned the spark rocks to her pocket.
"I will, but you must promise that will not use them until tonight a little after midnight."
"Fine, fine," Jia prattled as her eyes stayed set on Azula's hand.
"And you must promise that you will tell no one of this, and you will do absolutely nothing that will you get you caught. Is that clear?" her voice had grown deathly cold, and Jia's eyes wandered from Azula's clenched fist to her face. Fear gripped her as she took in the princess's serious expression.
"Yes, I swear it, now please just give them to me."
"Good," Azula handed over the spark rocks and watched them girl stuff them away in her dress. "After you set the fire, I want you to alert the attendants. Scream it so loud that everyone will hear it."
"But why?" Jia asked in confusion.
"Because that's when the fun starts," Azula answered confidently and returned to her painting.
Azula impatiently paced in her room, frequently looking out of the window to see if anyone was waiting down below. She thought about smashing the glass and sneaking out, but it would make too much noise. She would just have to wait for this Jet to follow through on his promise. She didn't know exactly when Jia would set her fire since the boy's timing hadn't been clear.
She was in the middle of taking off her slippers when she heard a birdcall. She almost ignored it until it came again, and she noticed that it wasn't the call of a native bird. Peering down into the night, she could make out the vague outline of a single slim figure. She tapped lightly on the glass pane to let him know she'd seen him. She thought she saw him nod and begin to scale the ivy covered wall. Jet moved like a shadow up the vines, climbing as quickly as any monkey bird she'd ever seen. Within the span of a couple of minutes, one long-fingered hand was reaching out to grab the window sill. Silently, he let go of the vines and swung himself onto the window sill. He perched himself carefully on the edge and shot her a smile through the glass. She fought back the urge to return it.
He took out a small slender pick and inserted it into the lock. The lock jiggled and gave a quiet click. He hopped over the edge of the sill and hung on with both hands while Azula threw open the window and peered out.
"Ready to go?" he asked as he pulled himself back up.
"Hold on. We need to wait for the distraction to set in. Once it happens I know they'll come in and check on me."
"Oh, don't worry about that," he said laughing. He grabbed her by the wrist and hauled her out onto the sill beside him. "I blocked their doors with the serving trays. That should keep them occupied for a little while."
"I like your style," Azula said as she dove off the edge of the sill. There was a moment of sheer terror and euphoria that set her nerves on fire as she fell before the ground came up to meet her, and she rolled to absorb the impact.
"Same here," Jet whispered as he landed silently behind her.
"I'm not acquainted with the rest of the grounds. Where are the kitchens?"
He didn't say anything, but flicked his fingers to signal her to follow him. For the first time in her life, Azula fell behind someone unquestioningly. He led her across the dew ridden grass away from the eastern wing to the western wing. She loped after him, ducking low to keep from being seen. Seconds later a shout of fire and the clattering of silver trays rang through the night. She and Jet exchanged a mutual satisfied smirk and accelerated into a flat out run.
She reveled in the feeling of cool grass underneath her feet and the fresh breeze blowing across her cheeks. Ever since she'd come to the House of the Broken, she'd felt half dead inside. Her brother and his friends had sent her here in hopes that she could be fixed and mended. The only problem was Azula didn't want or need to be fixed. She was happy with the way she was. No amount of therapy, art, or medicine could make her want to change. She admitted she'd lost it on the day of Sozin's Comet, but that was only a minor lapse. The pressure and power had been too much, but it was over now. She would have been whole again in her own time without their intervention. That was the problem though. They didn't just want to make her whole; they wanted to warp her into something else entirely.
They came to a small cluster of trees that skirted around the wall of the western wing. Jet didn't stop running but sprinted up the curved trunk of a giant bonsai. Azula followed, the rough bark scraping against the soles of her pedicured feet. He stepped carefully out onto a branch that ended a few feet from an open window. The branch wouldn't hold his weight for long. Taking a deep breath, he ran the length of the thin limb and leapt off the end. With fingers splayed, he stretched his arms out to try and catch the edge of the sill. For a second, Azula wondered if he would make it. She wasn't entirely sure how she'd feel if he didn't. Then his fingers gripped the edge, and he hauled himself up onto the ledge, giving her thumbs up.
She smiled and slid one foot out onto the bough. It swayed underneath her. Eyes glittering with a challenge, Azula shot off down the branch and jumped from the tip to the sill in one bound.
"Show off," Jet muttered to her as he slipped into the room.
"I could say the same for you," she retorted, following behind him.
From the odd variety of things that lined the cluttered shelves that wrapped around three walls of the room it looked like they were in a supply closet. Jet took a ring of keys hanging on a nail and shoved them into his pants pocket. He jerked his head in the direction of the door and glided out.
It was chaos in the halls as the women in purple robes tried to usher their charges out of their rooms and down the corridor in as orderly a manner as possible. Of course, it was utterly impossible since only half of them had managed to wriggle the trays out of the door handles. The others were still trapped inside, pulling on the doors and yelling for help. Their cries were lost in the flood of noise created by the inhabitants of Water Lily Haven. The loud ringing of the bell that signaled fire and the abrupt change in routine had caused many of the residents to have fits or tantrums. They yelled, cried, screamed, and made noises that weren't even human as their caretakers tried to coerce them down the hall to the main lobby on the bottom floor.
Azula and Jet exchanged wicked smiles as they paced down the hall entirely unnoticed by the frazzled caretakers. These women weren't used to such noise or panic. They had grown accustomed to floating through the serene and dreamy atmosphere of the estate where nothing ever went wrong or deviated from the directed course.
The two of them slithered through the wild crowd, dodging flailing arms and kicking legs. Azula spun out of the way as someone made a mad dash down the hall in an attempt at escape. A woman darted after the escapee in a flash of lavender silk and black hair. Backing away from the chase scene, she bumped into someone. She turned, blocked a clumsy blow aimed at her head with one hand, and swiped the idiot's feet out from underneath him. She had never seen him in her entire life, but that didn't matter. There was no motivation for violence or aggression in the House of the Broken. Everyone in the enclosed space was struggling like animals trying to fight their way out of a cage.
Azula looked around for a way to escape but found every exit blocked. Pushing aside an old woman hunched over and mumbling to herself, she tried to force her way through the crowd. More people pressed in around her. Fingers gripped at the silk of her robe. She ripped her arm from the nameless grasp and lashed out with a powerful kick. It was followed by a grunt then thudding as a body hit the floor. She could feel bodies pressing in on all sides of her. Her hands danced in the familiar movement of creating lightning, but none came. She couldn't bend. What good was she if she couldn't bend? How would she get out of here? They'd crush her! They'd catch her, find out her plan, and keep her locked in her room for the rest of her life. Gnashing her teeth, she punched the air and her fist collided with someone's face. I'll fight my way out of this place if necessary, she thought as she fell into her old stances and positions.
Then a hand wrapped around her wrist and towed her out of the fray and into an area of open space. She whirled around, hoping to see blue fire trailing from her fingers. Jet hopped back from her, his expression oddly concerned.
"Hey, take it easy. It's just me," he whispered. "C'mon." He grabbed her by the wrist again and dragged her through the rest of the mad horde. Jet seemed to be able to find gaps in between the people where Azula had not seen any before. He had a talent for sneaking and disappearing.
At last, they were out of thickest of the throng, and Jet quickly set off into a loping jog. Azula let him take the lead once again. She'd never been to this portion of the property, and kept her eyes open for anyone that might be pacing the hall.
"You alright?" Jet breathed in the dark shadows as they crouched at a corner and prepared to sprint.
"Of course, I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?" she asked in agitation.
"You freaked out back there."
"I did not "freak out". I had a momentary lapse that's all."
"You sure you're fine?" He turned around to look at her.
She couldn't make out his expression in the dim light, but she didn't like the pity she heard in his voice. "If I say I'm fine then I'm fine. Now be quiet and let's get back to the task at hand."
"Whatever you say," he said shrugging and peered around the corner one more time before dashing away down the hall.
They ran down the corridor together, steps echoing eerily off of the stone walls. Just then the clicking steps of boots came to Azula's ears. An older attendant was walking down the hallway, her hands quietly folded at her waist.
"You two," she called out as she spotted them.
They froze on the spot.
Jet's foot inched back slowly. Azula shook her head, and mouthed "let me handle this." He reluctantly nodded his head.
"Yes ma'am," Azula answered sweetly.
"What are you doing down here? You should be in the lobby on the bottom floor." Her old face crinkled as she frowned at them.
"We thought we heard someone down here."
"There is no one down here, child. I've been making rounds in these halls all evening." Her thin bottom lip puckered out in disapproval as she moved closer to the two.
The princess cringed in embarrassment. "I swear we heard someone down here. It was very faint though. You might not have caught it what with your hearing and all."
The old woman made as if to protest but then shut her mouth stubbornly. "My hearing isn't quite what it used to be, but if there is anyone down here I will handle it myself if you will simply lead the way to where the noise came from."
She shook her head. "I don't think that's such a good idea. You're needed back in the hallway. All hell's broken loose. We were sent down here to be sure no one was left behind because no one can be spared. I'm sure a woman of your years and experience would be able to take charge of such a tumultuous situation."
"Well if it's really that bad. . ."
"You should go," Azula commanded, a bit of her old self sparking to life. The woman cast her a withering glance but moved past them to where the pandemonium was.
Jet arched an eyebrow. "Impressive. You must do that a lot."
"That doesn't matter right now. Just take us to the kitchens."
He nodded and led the way down the hall. She could feel heat filling the hall way from simmering coals and smelled the sweet perfume of honey and dough. They were close to the kitchens. Jet took the ring of keys out of his pocket and flipped through several before selecting a particular one and inserting it into the lock. He pushed the door open and held it for Azula. She marched in without a thank you and took in the place, recording it to memory.
Jet guided her over to a wall with seven doors set into it.
"I'm not quite sure which one it is. We'll just have to try a few."
Azula rolled her eyes and sighed but waited as Jet fumbled through the keys and selected one. He put in it in the lock, turned it, but to no avail. He tried another with no luck. A third one and the door creaked open. It was only filled with sugar and honey. He moved onto the second door and repeated the same routine. This time it only took two keys to get it open. It wasn't the right one either.
When he moved onto the third one Azula said, "Hurry up. I don't know how long that lie will hold out with the hag. She doesn't seem as stupid as the others."
"I know, I know," he replied irritably as he peeked through the door and grumbled when he found no liquor. "How did you know she had trouble hearing?"
"Her age was enough to make me suspicious but what really gave her away is that she didn't know we were there until she saw us. Our footsteps were loud enough to alert a person with a normal range of hearing," she casually said as she cocked her head to the side to catch any sounds coming from the hall.
He tried the fourth door. "Ha, ha," he laughed as he pushed it open wider to reveal shelves stocked with barrels of beer, racks full of wine, and sealed casks of harder drinks. Azula joined him and stared into the closet lit only by a small cage containing lightning birds. Their little bodies glowed warmly in the closet, flickering in rhythm with their breathing.
A door opened behind them from the side and a burly man with arms as big as tree trunks walked into the room. The two escapees slipped into the room, not having time to shut the door, and clambered onto a precarious stack of casks. Jet grabbed a bottle of fen jiu and a bottle san hau jiu as he climbed up.
"Good?" he asked as he held the bottles up for Azula to examine.
She nodded swiftly and pressed her finger to her lips.
"What's this door doing open?" the man muttered as he stepped into the closet.
He would spot them for sure if he looked up. They both held their breath as they watched him look around the room in confusion from their perch high above him. Jet handed the bottles to Azula and moved to the back edge of one of the casks. The man looked up at the sound of movement. The teenage boy braced himself against the wall with his hands and kicked the cask out from underneath him. It and two others tumbled down on the man. He yelled in surprise as barrels crashed into him and sent him sprawling on the floor. Jet and Azula hopped down from the fallen stack and hit the ground running.
A heady wave of adrenaline struck her as she heard the man call out for help behind her. She should be angry at Jet for blowing their cover, but she couldn't think of a better idea. She tossed one bottle to him as they sprinted down the hall, hearing new pairs of feet pounding behind them. He pulled out the cork, broke the seal, and took a swig as he ran.
"You're going to have to run faster than that you blind hogmonkeys," he shouted to their pursuers. Azula threw her head back and laughed at his audacity.
He smiled at her as they fled down the twisting corridor and took a detour threw a side door he found thrown open. It led into a room with one low window. He grabbed a stool sitting in the corner and smashed through the window pane. Bits of glass showered over them in a sharp glittering arc, but neither of them felt the small cuts as they stared down at the long drop. For a moment, he seemed to hesitate until Azula took a long drag of the opened wine bottle, wiped her mouth on the back of her arm, and jumped. Her head spun as she dropped through the air, twisting her body slightly so that she would roll as the ground rose up to kiss her. Then right before she rolled to a stop she heard Jet give a whoop and follow.
They each took a moment to catch their breath before rushing into the misty woods that skirted the manor. They wove through the forest, dodging branches, hopping over roots, and quietly giggling the entire time. She couldn't remember the last time she had laughed so much or so hard. She couldn't remember the last time when she'd felt this vibrant. Her whole body tingled with excitement as they made their way deeper into the woods. She knew she would be caught in the morning. There was nothing beyond this place but more trees and swampland. They didn't have the supplies to last out here on their own. Right now though, she wasn't afraid like she had been surrounded by those people. For the time being, she was free and that was all that mattered.
At last, Jet slowed and slumped down between the forked roots of a tree. He laughed and panted as he drew out another pair of spark rocks from somewhere and started making a fire from a pile of old branches. Azula sat down on the opposite side, entranced in watching him make a fire without bending. He was quick and efficient about it like he'd done it his whole life. It was the way he seemed about everything. Jet was confident and witty. He wasn't a coward or an idiot like her brother. He could take care of himself, and he didn't need bending to do it.
When the fire was lit he wiggled his fingers for the bottle of wine. Azula pitched it to him and admired the orange flames. Instinctively, she reached out to the fire and quickly withdrew her hand when it singed the tips of her fingers. She sucked the end of her index finger, surprised by this new sensation.
"You're a fire bender aren't you?" Jet asked in a serious voice.
"How could you tell?"
"You're naturally drawn to flames, but you're not a pryo like some the others around here. Why can't you bend anymore?"
"The Av. . ." she stopped herself from speaking the truth. She couldn't trust this boy, yet. "I lost the source."
"Weird," he muttered as he shook his head and took another swig.
She cracked open the second bottle and took a sip. The flavor danced on her tongue and seared down her throat. She closed her eyes in pleasure at the warmth that pervaded her body from the heat of the wine. After months of cold, drugged tea, this was a slice of paradise.
She looked across the fire to where Jet sat slumped against the tree. With the bottle of wine clutched in one hand, she crawled on hands and knees around the fire to his slouched figure. She settled down beside him and rested her back against the sturdy trunk.
"You know I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship," Jet sighed before he took a long, slow drink.
"I couldn't agree more." She let her head roll onto her shoulder and glanced at him through heavy lidded eyes. He's much cuter than Chan, she thought idly.
He glanced over at her. "You know, I remember a while back, before I ever came here, a girl that I liked called me a monster for something I did. She didn't understand." His speech slurred as he said the words.
"Oh, don't feel bad. My own mother called me a monster. Besides, if it's any consolation, I imagine you had a perfectly good reason to do what you did."
"Yep," he murmured. "You don't seem so bad yourself. Your mother must be the crazy one."
"She always liked my brother better. She just couldn't stand the fact that I was superior to him in every way." Azula ran her fingers along the side of the bottle in deep thought as she remembered how Ursa had always pampered Zuko.
"That's probably it." He sat up then and leaned around to her side of the tree. He blinked slowly for a minute. The alcohol was taking its toll on him. "You know what? Screw them. They obviously couldn't appreciate us for what we were." He raised his bottle into the air. "Here's to finding people who can see the real value of you." He dipped his head in respect to Azula.
She laughed and lifted her bottle. "Here's to having fun. I never had much of that. And here's to duping those idiots in there."
He nodded vigorously in agreement and was about to take a sip when Azula stopped him. "Here's to collaboration between monsters."
He smirked at her. The bottles clinked as they tapped them lightly together and then sat back and drank themselves into a stupor.
Well, I hope you enjoyed it. Reviews, feedback, and thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Also, I do not condone underage drinking. I'm just being realistic. The legal drinking age in most other countries around the world is much lower, and in the time period that Avatar is set it's virtually nonexistent. Azula, being royalty, probably drank wine and alcohol quite frequently from a young age, and Jet with his rebellious character seems like he would drink.
By the way, fen jiu is a Chinese white wine made from sorghum; san hau jiu is a wine made from rice and called the "three flowers" specifically for it's fragrance I think.