Okay readers. Haven't updated since my last holiday from school but now that I'm off either two things will happen.
1. I will keep up this story and update frequently
2. I might end this story and redo it except on fiction press. I originally planned this story as a more real life thing but I always had wanted to write an ATLA fanfic so I took this story and did it up as one. We'll see how the next chapters go, i.e. if I can keep coming up with ideas on how to keep this story in this world.
So anyways hope you like it. And thanks to the reviewers especially gloomymaikolover since you review the most :)
It's amazing how anti-climatic a moment, when you've been waiting for it, dreaming and fantasizing about it, can be when it finally actually happens.
Since the day I received the letter telling me I had to leave, seeing Zuko again has been the object of basically all of my fantasies. I mean really, how unfair is it for a girl to not only get her first kiss, but get it from her friends hot older brother and then be told she won't get to see him again at least not for a good four or so years. Which of course means that by then he would have moved on from any potential feelings he had. Yeah, I've been obsessing over how our reunion would go, or if it would ever occur, for a good while.
I assumed we'd probably finally meet again at some social gathering that our parents were invited to (though even this wasn't likely since we live so far and my very antisocial father turns down almost every invitation we get). The worst case scenario being that he'd completely moved on from me, maybe even completely forgotten about all that had happened that day at the beach. This was a pretty realistic possibility since he was after all an older guy who came from a good family and was obviously attractive. Why would he want his little sister's friend when he could probably do better? And that's not my insecurity talking, I honestly believe that that's just how it would be for most guys in that position.
The best case scenario I had worked out was that he'd be just as excited to see me as I was to see him and we'd turn into some sort of long distance couple. I seriously doubted this; my Mom says I'm a pessimist.
I'm amazed at how stupid I was to consider either of these scenarios as possible. I must have either forgotten or completely disregarded all that I had heard had happened to him after I'd left. I thought maybe what people said was an exaggeration; surely it couldn't have been true. I never viewed his father as a cruel man, so of course people were making up the stuff. I lived so far, maybe the story was just diluted along the way.
Of course I never could have imaged I'd meet him again this way. In the middle of nowhere, him rescuing me from a bunch of thugs (its hilarious how sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction).
So anyways, the morning after I was attacked I found myself under a lone tree in a large open field. My head ached from where I was it, but I remembered instantly what had occurred the previous night. The man who had saved me (remember I still had no clue who it was!) was still fast asleep a few feet away.
When I walked over to see him you can imagine how shocking it was for me. First I was shocked by the damage on the guy's face. I had never seen anything like that before then so I figured he must have been some Earth Kingdom war veteran who'd come home broke (due to his filthy green clothes). Then as soon as I took a closer look at him I was shocked even more when I realized who it was.
First of all, why on Earth was he here, of all places? The massive scar on his face meant the rumors were true, which was super depressing. But even so, why here? Since the rumors were true shouldn't he have been out at sea or something? I wondered if he recognized me. I snickered to myself thinking he must be as shocked as I am that I would be here. Speaking of which I don't really even know where 'here' is.
Should I wake him up? I sit down beside him and poke his shoulder gingerly. This is just too weird. I honestly cannot believe that this is happening. What should I say when he wakes up? Hmm… I'll just wait.
So it was definitely anti- climatic to say the least. I guess this can't even count as our first meeting yet since he's asleep…
I'm getting impatient now. "Hey … It's me… wake up,"
Humph it'll be sooo awkward when he wakes up… Why am I so nervous? Suddenly I realized how hungry I was. That's a good excuse to leave at least, I'll run over to town buy something and then by the time I'm back he'll surely be awake.
Don't be stupid Mai you have no money.
So what? I'll figure something out when I get there. I think to myself heading off into the direction of the sparsely populated area these people call a town.
"Mai? Where are you going?" I hear his voice from directly behind me. The voice is perplexed and somehow… almost condescending. How can someone be condescending when they first wake up?
I turn to face Zuko as I stop walking. "Oh I was just going to town… to buy some food" I mutter sheepishly.
He stares t me like I'm stupid "But they didn't they take your money?… and your still wearing that," he replies gesturing to my red silk clothes in distain.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, as if he's so brilliant. I already knew all that I was just willing to take the risk.
"Oh…yeah true" I hear myself saying, as if I was oblivious to the fact that I was now broke and wearing the least ambiguous outfit I could possibly wear.
"Did the hurt you?" he asks
Awww finally some concern! "No not really" I reply smiling slightly "they just hurt my wallet…and my ego"
He ignores my feeble attempt at a joke. Guess it's just straight to business with this guy!
"So you have absolutely no money" he says with that same stare.
"No they took everything!"
"Yes everything." I say getting frustrated. I mean seriously! I can understand this moment being anticlimactic, but he hasn't even bothered to ask me what I'm doing here! Or even paused long enough to let me ask him anything. Plus based on the past five minutes I've spent with him, I'd say he's a completely different person than he was last time I saw him. Completely entirely 100% someone else. I just hope this small time isn't a true representative of how he is now.
He sighs exasperatedly "Okay we need to find you some new clothes." He pauses. I'm about to ask him what he's doing here when he continues with "What were you thinking coming here dressed like that"
At first I was slightly put off by that question but I guess its legitimate, since after all he didn't know we hadn't planned on stopping. "Well we didn't plan on stopping" I explain
"Still, you should have thought of that"
"Yeah we were stupid I already realize that. You don't have to tell me fifty times"
He hesitates, "Calm down. I wasn't insulting you"
"No, we were. I mean, I'm not insulted"
"So where were you planning on finding some new clothes?" I ask
"Oh just around town I guess,"
"Don't you have any extra… clothes?"
He looks up seeming slightly surprised that I asked. As if I was being forward or something. I mean I didn't realize that was some kind of… outlandish request or something. My face reddens because of his reaction.
"Well I just thought… it'd be easier you know? Then I guess.. having to steal clothes.. if I don't know… that's what you were plann-"
He smiles very slightly. Actually it wasn't even much of a smile since if I'd looked down for a second I'd have missed it. "You don't have to explain yourself. It's a reasonable thing to ask, of course that'd be easier,"
"Soooo, do you then?"
"Oh.. uh yeah sure," then he hesitates again embarrassedly "not any… clean ones"
Wow. I swear I haven't felt this awkward in a long time "Um I guess I'll just have to make do then" I reply.
He walks over to his horse thing and grabs the bag strapped around the animals neck "Knock yourself out" he says.
I snicker. Must admit this is the first time anyone's thrown me a bag of dirty clothing and said 'knock yourself out'.
I glance around at the sparse environment. Where the hell am I supposed to change? He seems to think of it at the same time as I do.
"Don't worry I won't watch" he says.
Argh! I don't even know which bothers me more. The fact that I'm naked in front of an old… summer fling putting on his dirty old cheap clothing, or the fact that I'm naked in an open field where the horizon extends for miles and any creep could walk up at any moment and I'd have absolutely nothing to hide behind.
My hair feels all gross and sweaty. I guess from the fight last night. Its times like this that I'm simultaneously glad I have long hair (at least it'll provide some coverage if someone walks up) and annoyed by it (like I said its gross and sweaty).
"Okay I'm ready"
Zuko turns around. "Alright then let's go,"
I hop on his ostrich horse after him. We start along the dirt trail, formed not so much on purpose as by the amount of passers who've traveled here over the years"
"So where exactly are we going?" I ask.
"Didn't you say you wanted food from town?"
There's not a cloud in sight. No clouds, barely any birds, no trees, no mountains, just acres and acres of high grass.
"And after we eat where are we going?" I ask.
He pauses "How about we talk about that stuff when we get to the city"
Why? I wonder to myself. "Fine" I say dissatisfiedly.
We continue to ride down the path.
"Where did you find such a slow ostrich horse?"
He snickers without replying.
"I hope it was cheap, cause I've seen toroises faster than this" I say (yes I know its cliche but I'm being serious. I actually have seen faster tortoises)
"Probably just because its not used to carrying two people. And yeah it was cheap."
Finally after a million era's we arrive.
Its actually alot closer to a city than I would've thought. It seems to just pop up and the die back down into wilderness so abruptly it gives the whole area a more shopping centerish feeling. But when you're not looking at the whole area, and just honing in on the city itself it actually seems relatively large. There are small two story buindings clustered around. The majority of them were attached to other un identical buildings. Another thing, nothing matched, which some might say gave the city character, but I would say it just made it look dumpy.
People were everywhere running around, or just talking to each other. We passed a bunch of guys playing some sort of gambling game in the middle of the street. I thought it was gross. But not nearly as gross as the dirt coated elderly couple making out on the side of the road. It gave me shivers.
"Okay we're here" he says pointing at the building we were standing in front of. I squinted. "Is this place deserted?
It sure looked like it. The windows were dark, all kinds of things were hanging off the outer walls and the roof looked like it was about to cave in.
He makes a dismissive noise "Obviously not"
We walked in together. Hmm I guess it wasn't deserted. A golden skinned man with his hair pulled back in a ponytail walked over to us. "Hello, back again I see! You said you were leaving didn't you"
I glance up at Zuko.
"You know this guy" I whisper
He ignores me, "I planned too but I got sidetracked. This is my friend Lin"
Lin. Really. Of all the names he could of thought up he comes up with the name of my annoying frenemy?
"Oh nice to meet you!" The man says jovially extending a hand.
"Likewise" I reply shaking his hand.
"Have a seat" he says "Do you know what you'd like?"
I start to say no when Zuko inturrupts me with "Just bring us whatever's most popular"
"Be right out" replies the man.
I hate being out of the loop.
"Ok so now that we're here we can explain everything,"he says once the man has left.
"Because its safe"
I'm not even going to bother and ask how.
"Alright then," I begin I have a million questions to ask him "First why are you here"
He presses his hand to his forehead. "That'll take too long to answer"
"I'll tell you. Just not now"
I feel like screaming. Doesn't he get how confused I am? How curious?
"Why are you here?" he asks
"Why would I tell you now?"
"Don't be immature"
"Fine. My friends and I wanted to go on a road trip to the coast and then we got robbed midway."
"So what happened to your friends?"
"They ran away" I say softly.
"I know" I hesitate "But that doesn't mean I don't want to find them."
"What?" he says sounding genuinly surprised.
"I want to find them. That's where I want to go next"
Again he looks frustrated. He pinches the bridge of his nose saying "That's not what I had in mind"
"What were you thinking we'd do?"
"Well I assumed I'd drop you back to Omashu, and I'd be on my way"
I scoff "Wow". I try not to be hurt by the fact that he didn't want to spend time with me. I don't know why but I'd assumed we'd stay together for a while.
"What? Are you mad that I don't care about you friends? To be honest I don't think you should either" he says
He's right. I wasn't really in this for them. Well at least not completely. I just wanted us to spend time together. To get to know each other again. Maybe even get to fullfill my old fantasies. I thought finding them might be my only oppurtunity to spend maximum time with him. Because really we have no idea where they are.
"No. I understand. I'm just worried about them you know? They only left me because they were afraid." I'm such a good liar.
"Yeah I know. That's why I called them cowards."
Walked right into that one.
"Fine... but don't you want to spend some time with me?" I ask, feeling pathetic and hating myself for having to ask.
He softened. "Well," again with the stressed look "Of course I do. You should know that" I'm beaming on the inside "but" of course there's a but "I think it' be better for both of us if I just dropped you home. And if you want to spend time with me, I guess you will on the way"
"Why do you think we'd be better off that way?"
"Because, that's just how things are right now."
"You mean the things you can't be bothered to tell me about because it'd take to long?"
"So basically you want me to accept that I should go back to somewhere I hate and not get to see you again, depite the fact that I haven't seen you in almost four years, because of some things that you can't mention, that brought you here in the first place."
"Well" I say slowly "I can't accept that. I hate Omashu and I don't want ot go back. Not yet"
"I didn't realize you hated it"
"I. Hate. It."
"Because, I'm a complete freaking outcast there! Everyone hates us fire nation kids because of where we're from, and I don't really even like or have anything in common with my so called friends and its just depressing! If you want me to go back you at least need to tell me something to convince me that its a good idea"
He sighs. "Fine. I'm a fugitive Mai"
My mouth almost dropped open. "You broke the law?"
"It's not as simple as you think. But if you do travel with me you have to be prepared for the consequences"
"You haven't even thought about it?"
Okay I'll write more later hope you guys liked it. I realize it was a little too much dialogue by the end but hope you didn't mind. Go ahead and click that little green button below you to give me some feedback.