Word prompt: Furtive

In all of Mai's twelve years, she believed that in this moment, she was committing an act that her parents would consider to be the most heinous crime. If she were caught, the penalty would be more severe than the time she'd sneezed in the presence of Lord Taishin. Of course, that was assuming she didn't drop dead on the spot.

Mai casually walked through the halls of the living quarters of the royal family as if she belonged there, as if her heart weren't thundering in her chest with every step. She came to a door, glanced furtively around the halls, and entered swiftly and silently. Knowing the occupant of this bedroom would not be here at this time but could come back at any moment spurred Mai to cross hurriedly to the chest of drawers. Having been told where to find her target, she pulled open the second drawer from the top and rifled through until she found it. She yanked it out and slid the drawer shut, not bothering to straighten it. Shoving the object up one of her flowing sleeves, she smoothed it out as she walked back to the door.

Her heart almost stopped when she saw the door knob twist. With wide eyes and dawning horror, she froze for one terrible second before she turned, ran, and jumped through the thankfully, open window just as the door swung open. To keep herself from landing on her head, she stretched her hands out in front of her and used her momentum to flip herself to her feet and sprinted off, no longer caring about discretion.

Her path led her to a seeming dead end at the end of a hallway, but she pushed in on an intricate piece of carved flame just like the princess had shown her, and wall popped open an inch. She pushed it open and stepped in, closing it behind her. Mai leaned on the wall with a hand pressed to her thundering heart as she caught her breath, restored her cool composure and let her eyes adjust to the darkened passage. Breathing back to normal, mask in place, eyes as adjusted as they were going to get, Mai ventured forth into the dark.

"She's been gone too long," eleven year old Ty Lee said as she stood on her head. "Do you think she got caught?"

"Don't be silly. Of course not. It's Mai we're talking about here," Princess Azula assured her friend from where she was seated on her bed examining her nails.

On cue, the door swung open and there stood Mai. Azula couldn't contain her smirk at the sight of her friend. Ty Lee twisted her head around to look at Mai.

"You see, Ty Lee? What did I tell you?"

"Did you get them?" she walked forward on her hands and let her legs fall onto Azula's bed, flopping onto the bed on her stomach, but reversed.

Mai had shut the door and stepped forward. Her hand went up her left sleeve and she pulled a bit of red fabric out and dropped it on the bed. She glanced at it before she looked away and crossed her arms, a light blush staining her cheeks. Ty Lee and Azula looked at it, Mai, then each other before they burst out laughing.

"I can't believe you actually did that!" Azula gasped.

"It's not funny," Mai bit out.

Ty Lee was on facedown on the bed and the whole thing shook from her muffled laughter. Mai's left eye twitched before she abruptly threw a knife at the wall to her right. The two on the bed were unmindful of their friend's 'distress'. Some time later, far too long in Mai's opinion, they recovered to mere giggling and snickering. Ty Lee picked up the cloth.

"Now what do we do with it?"

Azula patted her friend on the shoulder.

"I have an idea. Later though. Mai, it's your turn."

Mai glanced at them from where she was leaning on the wall, trying to ignore them.

"Azula, truth or dare."

"What, think I'll say truth? Give me your best, Mai. I'll take a dare," the princess taunted with a still amused smile.

"I dare you never to play this game ever again as long as you live on your word as the princess."

"Mai!" Ty Lee groaned. "That's not fair."

"No, it's okay," Azula held up a hand. "Fine, Mai. Game over."

"So now what do we play?" Ty Lee asked.

"Something not so boring, hopefully," Mai muttered.

"Oh, please, Mai. I'd wager it got your heart pumping once or twice. But still, let's see," Azula put her fingers to her chin as thought of a new game. Then her stomach gave out a low growl. "That's it! Let's play stealth. Whoever gets the most fruit tarts from the kitchen without getting caught wins."

"Ooh, fun!" Ty Lee sprang off the bed, grabbed Azula's arm and they both ran out the door. Mai sighed and followed at a much slower pace.

The next day, the young Prince Zuko found the ashes of what was once a pair of red silk boxers on his bed.

A/N: Not really any Zai interaction in this. Hmm. Oh, well. You've read. Next is the part where you review.

If anyone is interested in participating in Zai Week (Mai/Zuko), it's next week beginning on the 25th 'til the end of the month. There's more info on my profile and a forum if you want help with ideas. So far, I have two done of my own.

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