-A Traitor's Reward-

Entry: Summer, 08. Noon.

Heh, it's been a while since I've written in this thing. I'm surprised it's still here in Ba Sing Se. I left it on a whim during a visit with my parents years before, convinced that I was all grown up.

I pause and stare at the leather bound journal for a heart beat. The memory of when my mother gave it to me as a child is still pretty vivid; I had been excited at the time, but as time went on, I no longer filled it's pages with my thoughts.

But this case is special.

In fact, the last time I did write in here was back when I had a crush on Zuko...

I can't hold back a dry chuckle at that thought. It's funny how I fell for his sister of all people... I guess royalty and I are fated.

Anyway, Azula, Ty Lee, and myself have retreated to the Earth Kingdom, as mentioned. Yet another irony- isn't that what Zuko did? It's been a week now since our departure from the Boiling Rock and things have been oddly quiet. I'm pretty sure Ozai will be looking for his daughter soon and she absolutely refused to abandon her airship, despite of how easily the damn thing could be tracked.

Speaking of which it's really annoying whenever someone (and everyone does without fail) recognizes the famous Fire Nation princess' ship. People tend to run and hide or throw themselves at her feet, a reaction that -I now know- bothers her slightly.

A breeze, scented subtly of tea leaves, tosses loose tendrils of my hair and I turn my face towards the window. Cooling winds like this didn't happen back home-it was much too hot. This hut that we currently reside in is located outside of the city limits. Outside, Ty Lee is turning cartwheels across the rocky mountainside with Azula in pursuit, attempting to chastising her for some crime she perpetrated.

You can tell they're messing around though, because Ty lee is laughing, the sound reminiscent of wind chimes, and Azula is smiling slightly.

Shockingly enough, Azula seems content to just take every day as it comes, rather than forming a plan like she's known to. Ty Lee, of course, is happy to tag along and take everything in stride when necessary.

And myself...

I pause again, wondering what my take on our situation was. There was no rush to go anywhere out here on our own, no strict schedules, no incompetent soldiers; the absence of the loud sounds of machinery and weapons being forged is wonderful to say the least.

There's no contest really. As long as Azula and Ty Lee are content with staying, I will do the same.

This, of course, brings on a new train of thought: what about Azula?

I was the senior, yes, but it was obvious that Azula was in charge. Would she be willing to break off all ties with the Fire Nation to be with us? And what exactly were we-Ty Lee and I-to her?

Since the acrobat was a hopeless romantic, she believed that Azula really and truly loved us.

Love.

What exactly is 'love'? If Ty Lee is correct, then it's (quote) :"The warm, fuzzy feeling you get whenever you're around that person. You feel happy just being around them and even happier whenever they're happy!"

Maybe that's true, but for someone with a more serious standpoint(or pessimistic depending on who you're asking), it's the willingness to put up with a person's flaws without asking anything in return.

You try and hang around someone you don't care for with an annoying tendency to, let's say... talk non-stop, and see how far you get.

I've found that, yes, you feel happy around them and yes, you get a kick out of bringing them happiness, so I suppose that means I'm in love with Azula and Ty Lee. Okay, no big deal, right?

I mean, there's no danger of being in love with the world's most powerful teenager. Nope, none.

I sigh. If this was one of those lovey-dovey romance novels, Ozai would approve of his daughter's taste in women and we'd ride off into the sunset.

Ha!

Suddenly, Ty Lee is beside me, her face flushed wonderfully with exertion, "What'cha doing Mai? C'mon, we're going to explore the mountains!"

I have a sudden mental image of her dressed in furs and flipping through the trees like a monkey and nearly laugh. My face remains smooth, however, a habit that would surely break if I stayed around her long enough.

"Just a sec."

She's gone just as suddenly as she had appeared and I quickly scribble:

Then again, something tells me that nothing will be easy with Azula around. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Shutting the book, I rise and go outside to find Azula leaning against the wall next to the door, eyes trained on the green tinge that was the forest at the base of the mountain. She looks over at me, the gold tone lighting with a warmth that no one besides me and a certain hyperactive acrobat have ever seen, "You ready to go?"

Feeling a sudden urge to do so, I lean over and press my lips to Azula's. She goes stiff in surprise for a moment before relaxing and returning the gesture. When we separate, she eyes me curiously.

"I love you, 'Zula"

The words are out before I can even think about them, just hanging between us. Now it's too late to reclaim them. I feel that way without a doubt, but how does Azula feel?

Her eyes widen-

'Thud'

At this point Ty Lee decides to drop down from her perch on the roof and glomp us both. "What's the hold-up, you guys?"

Again, she's gone before anyone can react, racing off towards the trees. At a more normal pace, Azula and I follow.

After a few steps into the trees, her hand brushes, then grasps mine and squeezes. When I glance at her, she smiles, that warm affection still shining in her eyes.

She still hasn't said anything about my earlier statement, but I know she wwill eventually.

And when she was ready, I'd still be here.

-Fin-

Okay, the real conclusion to this fic! I couldn't resist doing something super-sappy... Now I need to work on the sequel to 'Loss and Gain', a KurenaixAnko fic I wrote(hey, look, advertisement!) Please review and let me know what you think!