Mar. 9th, 2013

attackfish: Jet and Zuko fighting in the teashop, text "Obviously this is the place to come if you want to get murdered by lunatics" (Jet Juko TDL quote)
Written for [livejournal.com profile] avatar_500 prompt #72, Patience.

Summary: Azula has taught her to see the world as she does, as a collection of weaknesses.

Blood, Water, and Fire

He was such a tiny, soft, helpless thing, a living spot of weakness, that stood out bright and unavoidable to any enemy of any member of her family.  As he lay there in the arms of some gawky boy her age, Mai stood tall. "You brought my brother?"

"He's here. We're ready to trade."  A wide-eyed boy in a hat stood in front, hugging his staff to his side.  It was strange, Mai thought, that she hadn't noticed him until he started to talk.  What else was she missing, she had to ask, that she just couldn't make herself notice with her little piece of weakness in the arms of a stranger.

There was a girl there too, and a blue sky, and the planks of the scaffolding creaked under her feet.  She could feel King Bumi's eyes on the back of her neck.

Azula turned to her, Azula who wasn't a stranger.  "I'm sorry, but a thought just occurred to me. Do you mind?"

"Of course not, Princess Azula," Mai intoned.

"We're trading a two year old for a king," she smirked, and Mai wondered if she understood anything about weaknesses except as something to exploit.  "A powerful, earthbending king."

King Bumi hummed an affirmative, and Mai wished she could ask him, please, just please pretend like you wouldn't be dangerous.

"It just doesn't seem like a fair trade, does it?"  Azula smiled at her like she was thinking the same way.

Her brother was in the arms of a teenage boy who was playing finger games with him whenever he didn't think anybody was looking, a boy who was a stranger when Azula was not.

"You're right," Mai said without inflection.  "The deal's off."

After the battle was over, and her brother back home with the parents who had left him alone to be kidnapped, or just walk away, as she had so many times as a child, Mai convinced herself Azula never would have hurt him just for being a weakness.  But Azula was always going to be so strange to her, even if she knew her.

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attackfish: Yshre girl wearing a kippah, text "Attackfish" (Default)
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