Chapter 6
(Fever)

Jet had been half asleep when Zuko and Iroh had been having their conversation. Of course, with as muddled as his mind was at the time, he was only able to process some of the words that he had heard… something about… what, wasn't it Earthbending. That must mean something about the Dai Li, right.

He heard the door slap shut and drifted off into slumber for awhile then came back too, smelling something cooking. He slowly sat up, his head suddenly acting out against him and he let out a groan. As he opened his eyes he found Iroh moving towards him and he backed away into the wall.

Iroh let out a sigh and shook his head. "What is it that I can do to get you to trust us?"

"Nothing!" Jet hissed. He glanced around looking for a way to escape but found that in truth that no matter if he came up with a plan, he had no way to escape.

"You're afraid… aren't you?" Iroh commented. Jet acted like the man had slapped him in the face, causing the old Firebender to let out a sigh. "It's evident that you're upset from your eyes. They're a dead give away… though I think it's because of your state of mind and body… tea to help?"

The holding out of the tea caused Jet to suddenly blink at the old man and take the cup of tea from his hands. He looked at it, wondering if he should drink it, only to hear Iroh laugh. "It's alright… tea is too precious of a thing to put poison into."

Jet looked up at the man's face and realized that his eyes were filled with laughter. He blinked a couple of times. "You… you made a joke!"

"Yes… I love making a joke… and I love teasing youth about living life out to their fullest. Especially my nephew… to see his embarrassed expression. Le's sensitive about certain things, see."

"You mean Zuko… why would his father burn his face," Jet asked.

"How did you get that much out of him?" Iroh asked, his voice turning to surprise.

"What do you mean?" Jet mumbled, sipping into the tea. It wasn't hot tea, but in fact a very cold tea and he yanked it away.

"While a hot tea is good for soothing the soul… so can a nice cold tea… expesully when one's tongue is swollen and doesn't need anymore pain… like burns on the tongue," Iroh then looked away. "My nephew isn't one to talk about personal things like that…"

"He accidently let it slip that you and his mother were he felt decent people in the Fire Nation… though I'm surprised he didn't defend himself as decent. I asked about his father and he wouldn't talk about him, like it was some painful subject, I assumed that his father couldn't have been as bad as the worst possible scenario, trying to make him mad… unfortunately…"

Iroh sighed. "My brother is the worst case possible scenario…"

"Why does he want to get his honor back from that snake?" Jet asked.

"It isn't his honor back that he really wants… he wants to go back home and wants his father to love him and accept him, but to Zuko… he's mistaking honor and love as the same thing."

"For an eighteen year old he's very daft…" Jet muttered.

"My nephews sixteen like you…" Iroh commented.

This caused Jet to blink a couple of times. "Actually… he's a year younger then me… I figured that he was actually older then me… but he's younger?"

"Yes," Iroh laughed. "He tries to act like an adult, doesn't he? Much like you do… Smellerbee and Longshot weren't the only Freedom Fighters that you had… there used to be more… and I have the feeling you'd been taking care of them for a long time now…"

"Since I turned fourteen, maybe fifteen, I formed them up, not expecting much… then I betrayed their trust and I couldn't lead them anymore… and… I had to look at it from the adult point of view… they were all kids and I was trying to get them to do an adults work load…" Jet commented.

"That would have been around the time Zuko got burned by his father or a year later…" Iroh muttered.

"That would make him what, thirteen?" Jet commented, and then realization dawned on him. "What could Zuko as a thirteen year old have done to anger his father like that?"

"It isn't my place to say… it is a sensitive thing to Zuko…"

"But that man has no honor and he's trying to get his back!" Jet snapped. "Your family is extremely messed up!"

"Oh, I know that… and Zuko never lost his honor… it was doing something that was honorable that caused the problem in the first place…" Iroh said. "There is no place for those with good hearts in the Fire Nation… if they find it; they try to beat it out of one's soul!"

When Jet didn't try to argue the point of all Fire Nation being evil, Iroh raised an eyebrow, a smile on his face. "What happened to your thinking that all Fire Nation people are evil? I expected more of an argument from you about this…"

"Saying that would be like saying there is no evil in the other nations… mine included… look at what the Dai Li did to me…" the boy muttered. He then thought about it for a second. "And anyone who doesn't give someone like you Mushi a chance… Zuko on the other hand… I can't tell what side he's on…"

"Neither can I really," Iroh sighed. "He's so stubborn about this whole thing with his father… and the fact that he really can't turn to his mother…"

"So that makes him an orphan of the war just like the rest of the Freedom Fighters…"

"He has me," Iroh beamed. He then frowned and placed a hand on his chin. "Of course… some times Zuko does act like… well, he'd rather not be around me… he's already run off a couple of times already… that silly boy… and to chase lighting for that matter."

"Lighting… why would he go off and chase lightning," Jet muttered.

"Well… his psychopath sister can shoot lighting and I taught him a move based off of Waterbending that can redirect it and I wouldn't shoot lightning at him so that he could prove that he could do it and when I said something along the lines of misdirecting it through his body could kill him and it wasn't to be used unless he absolutely had to use it… he got mad and went off to find lightning to redirect."

Jet couldn't believe that the boy he had met on the ferry had actually gone and done something that stupid. That was even more stupid then what he had done when he blew up the dam. He opened and closed his mouth a few times trying to think of something to say. Finally, he settled on something. "No comment."

"That was the second time he ran off on me. I was so glad that when he did find lightning, that it didn't go anywhere near him!" Iroh said shaking his head.

Jet covered his eyes with his hand. He had thought that the Fire Nation boy had gone of to try to find his sister to shoot lightning at him, but instead had done something even crazier… gone after the natural formation of lightning. "He's…"

Jet didn't say much before he stopped, his head getting dizzy. Iroh frowned and removed the cup from his hands and felt his forehead. "A fever I see…"


Author's note – Thanks for the help with the 'red' thing. I am also glad that someone guessed that it was Jin that Zuko had bumped into. Someone's starting to crush on somebody!