A/N: Sorry, I've been MIA since forever, but now that summer is here I'm ready to write this story. When I looked back at the story I hated how I wrote, so I just moved some stuff around and created a combined chapter of what used to be one and two. I don't really know what that does to your reviews, but I loved all of your comments.
"I just need a place to go. Will you help me?" I asked the boy as he started to walk away from me.
"Why should I? You are from the Fire Nation. You could go back home for all I care," he yelled back at me.
"I can't go home. You know why I can't," I told him.
"How do I know that was the truth? You have been lying to me all this time. Your father is the one who led the raid that killed my parents," he yelled again coming close enough to me that our chests were almost touching.
"Jet, you know I didn't have anything to do with that and that I'm sorry about the heinous crimes my father has committed, but I need you right now," I said reaching for his hand.
He allowed me to hold his hand in mine and he looked me in the eyes. He sighed deeply, "I'm the only one who knows your secret. As long as it stays that way you can stay here with me."
"Thank you, thank you Jet," I said throwing my arms around his neck.
"You're welcome, Akari. You are making it really hard to keep hating you right now," he told me tightening his arms around my waist.
My father is a general for the Fire Nation army. He isn't just any general, though. My father is highly respected by the Fire Lord. Many know the story of how Prince Zuko was exiled by his father. Many also know that Azula is the Fire Lord's favorite offspring. Azula and I were actually best friends since we were small children, but I didn't agree with how Zuko was punished. I begged and pleaded with my father to see if he could change the Fire Lord's mind. It was no use though because my father would tell me if I continued to speak out against the authority of the Fire Lord that he would send me away along with Zuko. Therefore, I kept my mouth shut and no longer spoke about Zuko's misfortune. Soon, everything was back to normal. Azula and I were back to playing tricks on the servants. All was well until the Avatar made a reappearance. There was a chance that Zuko would be able to come home. When Azula heard my prediction she was not happy because with Zuko gone she was sure to be Fire Lord. That was the moment when in Azula's eyes I started losing brownie points with her. Our fathers agreed to let us go on the hunt for the Avatar along with Ty Lee and Mai. Azula and I got along the best because we were the most similar. We were well qualified fire benders, had powerful, relentless fathers, had fight first talk last ideas, and are over opinionated. The main difference between us was that I was not crazy or overly power hungry. Over time Azula lost trust in me until she could finally put me out of the group for a liable reason. That liable reason was my getting in a physical fight with Mai and Ty lee, and winning. Which I knew was total bull because Azula didn't like them in the first place. Well either way they dropped me off somewhere in the Earth Kingdom and told me stay out of their way because I was a traitor just like Zuko. When this news got back to my parents they didn't even try to help me. They just figured that Azula was right and left me to fend for myself.
I was walking through the woods when I walked right into an animal trap. The rope tightened around my ankle and dragged me on the ground before lifting me into the air. I was left defenseless dangling in the air. I wanted to use my fire bending so badly. I could burn the rope and fall to the ground. I didn't though because whoever set this trap would probably be here soon to claim their prize. Luckily, I wasn't still wearing my Fire Nation clothes, but I fear even without the clothes someone would be able to recognize me. Having amber eyes is a popular trait with many people in the Fire Nation. I don't know how long I hung there until I heard voices and footsteps approaching.
"Uh, Jet I don't think we can eat this," a small boy says coming into my vision.
"Hey girl, looks like you've gotten yourself in some trouble," the boy, Jet said.
"Yeah, can you get me down?" I ask.
Jet doesn't reply as he bounces up the tree and cuts the rope with a knife. I fall shortly before he catches me by the waist. Soon, we are back on the ground. Jet lets go of my waist, but my knees buckle. He catches me again and then lifts me to carry me bridal style. The warmth coming from his body was enough to lull me into sleep.
When I woke up, I was in an unfamiliar, makeshift bed. I thought back to everything that happened and I remembered Jet getting me down from that tree. I got up and I was a little shaky, but eventually I was able to walk again. I went out the door of the hut and realized I was up in a tree. I remained calm and just sat outside the hut waiting. While I was waiting I saw all of the bright lights that dangled from the trees. I also realized that whoever this group was that there was a lot of them. I soon got tired of waiting and decided to just yell, "Hello!"
I heard a quiet rustling of the leaves and suddenly Jet was there. "Hey there," he said smoothly sitting by me.
"Hi, thanks for helping me back there."
"You're welcome, so what are you doing out here?"
"I was travelling with a group, and they kicked me out," I said looking down.
"I'm sorry that had to happen to such a pretty girl. What is your name by the way?"
I thought about making up a fake name, but there weren't wanted posters for me. At least not yet, so I told him my real name. "I'm Akari."
"Well nice to meet you, I'm Jet," he said raising his hand. I shook his hand and smiled, but my stomach ruined the moment by growling. "Let's get you some food."
I nodded smiling, "So, what is this place?"
"Oh, right. I'm Jet and these are my Freedom Fighters," he said gesturing around.
"What is it that you want freedom from?"
"The Fire Nation, of course," he told me simply. I should have known from the beginning. Of course there wouldn't be a place where a Fire Nation girl, like me, could hide out. "Scum like them shouldn't be able to walk on this earth. All they do is take."
"Yeah, they are really horrible people," I said scratching my neck.
"So everyone has their sob stories of encounters with them. What's yours?"
I remained quiet trying to think of a story, "Uh, my father joined the Fire Nation's efforts and gave me up to a group of them. It was that group that kicked me for speaking against the war." Eh, mostly true.
"That's horrible. Your father is a," Jet started.
But I cut him off, "He's still my father. He's just not the greatest. What's your story?"
"There was a raid on my village when I was young. I had to watch as the Fire Nation killed my parents. I was able to come to the woods where I created the Freedom Fighters. All of these kids are Earth Kingdom children that have faced similar tragedies to mine," Jet told me as we walked.
I felt ashamed that my people have been causing so much destruction. I felt worse knowing that my family and friends have been a big contributor to this pain. Jet realized that I became very quiet and dropped the subject as we went to get food. By the time the food was sitting in front of us the tension had left.
"So Akari, can you fight?" Jet asked.
"I don't know. I guess I'm pretty decent," I said smirking.
"Yeah well that smirk says otherwise. Just to be sure we will find out after this," he told me.
"Okay, but you may be disappointed," I said trying to look innocent.
We finally made it to a clearing where we could practice, but I couldn't hide that I was nervous. Not because I thought I would lose the fight, but because fire benders are like volcanoes. Volcanoes build up their mass destruction over time and when they release their lava the time bomb starts over again. Every time I bend I'm releasing my lava, but with my anger or just anxiousness to bend my lava builds again. I'm worried that I could slip up, not that I have before, but there is so much at risk if something goes wrong.
Before I was even through with my thoughts, Jet started his attack. I was quick to defend myself. I held my arms close to my sides with my fists up. I blocked his advances with my elbows, but he then went to assault my lower half. While he was concentrating on connecting his body blows, I was able to take the upper hand. I risked getting a blow to the stomach, which was a lot harder than I expected it to be, I brought my arm up and grabbed Jet's head in a headlock. He quickly realized what I was doing and put me in a headlock as well. We wrestled to the ground, but shortly after hitting the plush grass. He flipped me over, so that I was on my back. I tried to get from on my back before he could climb on top of me and ultimately win the fight. We continued to push and pull at each other to get the other in a defenseless position. I guess without realizing it, Jet had picked a spot that was too close for comfort near a hill, and we were soon rolling down the hill. When we reached the bottom near a river, I was luckily on top. I kept his arms in a position crossed over his chest and straddled his lap. I smirked in triumph and Jet gave up trying to get up. Suddenly, my face went slack and all I could do was stare into his eyes. In that moment all I wanted to do was lean down and kiss him. Is that something he would want to do? We just met. He helped me out of a tree, so what that doesn't mean a couple of hours later that I go kiss him, but his lips looked very inviting. Our breathing was ragged and I felt the pull for our lips to meet, but instead I just blushed furiously and stood from our inappropriate position. Jet picked himself from off the ground and we looked at each other briefly, but I couldn't keep his gaze and dropped my head.
"So, I guess you win," Jet said rubbing his neck.
I smiled glad that he wouldn't let the moment stay awkward, "Yup, I won fair and square."
"No you didn't. If I hadn't picked that spot near the hill, then I would've pinned you first."
"And whose fault is that? It's not like I cheated. I don't know the area, so that must've been your attempt at cheating," I said smirking.
"Yeah, well take in all the glory now because next time I will be the one on top," he said confidently.
"If I were you, I wouldn't look so eager to be beaten by a girl again."
"We will see about that."
After our fight Jet and I decided to go for a swim in the creek by the hill.
"Akari, I have something to tell you," Jet said lying on his back in the water.
"Oh, that doesn't sound good," I said stopping my attempts at floating.
Jet stood and faced me before pretending to look at something really interesting in the water, "We're leaving."
"We as in you and me or you and everyone else?"
"Uh, the second one."
I looked down in disappointment. I've only been here not even a day and this new group is already trying to get rid of me. "When?"
"Soon, we will probably be gone before the end of this week," Jet smiled, "But you can come with us if you want."
"Yeah, I just wasn't sure if you would want to leave with someone you just met."
"You're right we did just meet. It doesn't matter though because to a homeless girl living with the sand benders looks like luxury," I told him smiling. "So where are you going?"
"Bah Sing Se; we will be refugees when we get there, but it's the perfect place to make a new start."
That's where Azula was headed. What if we run into her? I doubt she will be willing to accept me back into the group so soon. Is this worth the risk of being further black balled by her? This may be my only chance back to civilization and to people that don't live in trees. No offense to Jet, but that's not how this girl was raised to live.
"Yeah, Bah Sing Se sounds like the best place to go right now," I said smiling.