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)
[personal profile] attackfish
Disclaimer: If I owned Avatar the Last Airbender, I'd have money to give to Pakistan instead of this.

Summary: For the Kyoshi Warriors, capture and imprisonment in the Fire Nation means learning a thousand new ways to fight.

Author's Note and Warnings: Written for the [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan fandom auction. [livejournal.com profile] happiestwhen made the winning bid, so a big round of applause to them! They wanted a story about Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors. I hope this isn't too depressing. Warnings for a scene containing abuse with sexual connotations performed by guards on a prisoner and public nudity used as a form of humiliation.


Drink it Down




The girl with the blue fire raised one hand, and the guards at her side unlocked the cell door.  “Which one of you is the leader?”

Suki started to push herself up, but Sao shot to her feet first.  “I am,” she lied.  “You...”  She glanced down at Suki without meaning to and dragged her eyes back up.  “You don’t have to touch anyone else.”

The girl with the blue fire’s eyes flicked through the shadows, and followed Sao’s.  Suki’s hands shook, and itched to wrap themselves around Sao’s throat.  The blue fire girl’s eyes landed on Suki, and her lips curved up.  “You.”

Suki found her feet.  Sao looked to her, eyes wide with anxiety and helplessness.  “Suki...”

“Guards,” the girl with the blue fire turned around nonchalantly and started walking down the corridor. “Bring her.”

“But Princess, the other girl-”

The princess turned her head and leveled the guard who had spoken with a poisonous expression.  The rage poured off her in palpable waves.  Cowed, the guards grabbed Suki’s arms, but she twisted, and elbowed them away.

Glancing back and forth between the guards, Suki held her arms protectively out from her sides, and the guards stayed back.  “What are you going to do to my warriors?”

“Why should I do anything to them?”  The princess looked oddly pleased by the display, a subtle, distant pleasure that left Suki cold and afraid.  “You’re already beaten.”

The guards grabbed for Suki’s arms again and hustled her out of the cell.  She let herself hang in their arms for just a moment to kick out at both of them.  Her foot collided with the knee of the guard who had spoken back to the princess, but bare-footed, her kick barely made the man flinch.  She dropped and jerked her arms out of their grip, but one of the guards caught her wrist.  “What are you doing?” he mocked.  “You’re not going to get away.”

“I can walk by myself,” she snapped, keeping her arms tucked against herself.  There were bruises running up and down them where the guards’ hands had been.

The guards again tried to grab her, and she dodged, ducking out from under their hands.

“Let her walk between you.”  The princess didn’t even turn her head, but Suki could hear the sneer in her voice.  “So long as she doesn’t try to run.”

Suki glanced up at the guards and walked between them, her head sinking down, and suddenly wished the guards were still holding her up.  It would have been so much easier just to let them push her along, force her where they wanted her to go, and pretend that there was nothing she could do about it.  It was so much harder to walk between them and follow, and not try to run.

They had her comrades.

The room the Fire Nation princess led her into had no windows.  On the opposite side of a table was a wooden chair with chains for her arms and legs.  The guards shoved her forward, towards it as the princess held her hand out to it sardonically.  Suki folded herself into it, holding her legs and arms close together.  The princess leaned over the table and tapped the tips of her fingernails, one after another on the table.  After the guards closed the door, the only illumination came from the glaring handful of blue fire licking at the princess’s fingers.  Her nails kept clicking down onto the table, cutting through the quiet, and holding Suki pinned and shivering to the chair.  The princess didn’t speak.  She just clicked her nails against the table with one hand, and held her fire with the other.

“What do you want?” Suki demanded at last, unable to take it any longer, her voice sounding small in her own ears.

The princess smiled coldly.  “What’s your name?”

Suki gazed back puzzled, but didn’t answer.

“How do you know the Avatar?”

“What makes you think we do?” she shot back.  “We just found his bison, we don’t know him!”

The princess’s nose wrinkled as she smirked.  “Of course you do.”

Suki glowered back at her.

“Should I ask one of the other girls?” the princess asked lightly.

Suki shook her head.  “Are you hoping he’ll try to rescue us?” she whispered.  “Is that why you didn’t kill us?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” she tapped her nails harder.  “He has no idea where you are.”

“The war’s going to end.”  Suki smiled back at her underneath her makeup.  “He’s going to win, and it won’t matter.”

“Tell me how you know him.”

Suki swallowed and didn’t speak.

A challenge.

The Fire Nation princess with the blue flames in one hand stared into her eyes intently and lapped it up.

~*~

The iron door slammed down on them.  In the stuffy darkness of the ship’s brig, the Kyoshi Warriors braced themselves against the iron walls.  A lantern, hanging from the wall outside the cell door bobbed and bounced with the ship, throwing dizzying orange flickers skittering across the painted faces of the girls beyond the cell door grille.  Suki pulled her arm away from the wall, and lay it over Yingming’s.  Soot clung to it from fingertips to elbow and smeared onto the other warrior.

“Where do you think they’re going to take us?”  Yingming whispered.

Suki closed her eyes against the swinging lamplight.  “Don’t think about it.”

Sao groaned, head on her knees.  “Where do you think, Ying?”

“Don’t.”  Suki pulled a piece of string out of the unhemmed edge of her sleeve, unable to look at them.

It was her fault.  For a hundred years, the Kyoshi Warriors had held off the Fire Nation ships.  They had never left their posts.  It was their duty to guard their home against the world, and stay there, and it was Suki who had taken them away from that.  It was just...  When the Avatar had come with Sokka, the idea that they could really win, that the Kyoshi Warriors could help stop the war completely, and not just hold off the ships until they all fell on their island’s shore, if they would just leave and fight.  She had never thought there were fighters out in the world who were so much better than the ones on the raiding ships that had landed on their island.  She hadn’t thought at all.  She had just picked her four best warriors, and they had left with her, and she had thought it would be enough.  She had had no idea how large the world was.

And so it was her fault.

She wrapped the thread around her hands and pulled it taut between them until it broke.

Sweat rolled down Suki’s forehead in the dark, sweltering cell.  As it went, it picked up the grease and eggshell powder of her makeup and the grime, leaving salty, sooty streaks down her face.  The ship carried them far from Kyoshi island, where the snow lingered on the roofs, rocks, and branches even in the summer, through the tropical Fire Nation waters, drenched in their never ending heat.  She wiped the sweat away with the back of her hand, pulling her makeup away with it.

Her warriors could have been home instead of sailing to a prison.

The knowledge left her mouth bitter and her throat raw.

~*~

The rumble of the engines died.  The ship’s gangplank creaked down, and the Kyoshi Warriors, together in their cell stood up on wobbling legs and fell into their easy, familiar, fighting stances.  When the guards opened the door, the warriors were ready.  They rushed them, but the hunger and creeping weakness of the cell itself trapped them inside, letting the guards (there were so many more of them than the girls) throw them against the iron walls and carry them out.

“No!”  They weren’t carrying Suki out.  She hung in the arms of one of the guards, vision swimming.  The word gurgled up her throat through the throbbing in her head and spine and the clumps of cotton in her brain.  She was going to be alone.

~*~

The ship’s corridors smelled like iron, like dead, dried blood.

Sao rammed her foot down into the inside of the guard holding her’s leg, forcing down the top of his boot.  He yelled in shock as she twisted and bucked in his grasp.  Behind her, Chaoyang bit a finger too close to her face, but Yingming and Tian just let the guards carry them, limp and expressionless down the iron corridor.

A cold coil of fury built in Sao’s stomach, looking at them.  The guard she had kicked passed one of her wrists into his other hand and squeezed her wrists hard together.  With his free arm, he grasped her around the middle and pressed the air out of her.  She gasped and kept struggling, but he just pressed tighter until she gave in and slumped over his arm.  The arm loosened just a little bit, and Sao sucked in air.

The guards dragged them up onto the deck, and for a moment, all Sao could do was blink against the sunlight and feel the wind on her face.  She pulled breath after breath of clean, salty air into her lungs.  Her hair stuck to the gooey, sweat-soaked patches of makeup.  The sunlight streamed down on her.  In the cell, the grime, and weakness had been nothing.  But under the sun, the humiliation washed over her, and whatever she had been in the cell wasn’t good enough.  She gulped down the ocean wind as if it could clean her from the inside, but the air was hot and sticky.  She longed for snow.  Back home, it was winter, and whisps and whirls of snow would be falling from the sky.

She could still taste the iron in the back of her throat.

~*~

The high, narrow window in the prison tower’s walls let in more shadow than sunlight.  Sao struggled to keep her shoulders steady under Yingming’s weight as the other girl climbed up to the window.  “Can you fit?”

Yingming  pressed her forehead to the opening and rested her head against the stone.  Below her, the prison tower’s stones stretched on forever.  The fire loop from when the prison tower had been a fortress for war, and the Fire Nation had truly feared invasion of their own shores let her see all of it, all the way down to the ground.  It did everything but let her through.  “No.”

“Then get back down, Ying!”  Sao yelled.  Her voice bounced around the stone room.  Her shoulders felt like they were going to fall off and Yingming’s feet were going to sink into her body.

“Hello?”  The voice that rose to their window and came into their cell was hollow and faint from echoing off the stones.

Yingming turned her ear to the opening.  The sunlight sank into her skin, and her breath caught in her throat.  “Are you a prisoner too?”

“Yes,” the voice said.  There was something strange in that voice, almost, but not quite like regret.

Yingming swallowed.  “Can you stick your hand out the window so I can see where you are?”

“No,” the voice echoed back to her.  “I can’t reach.”

“I’m sorry.”  Yingming kept turning her face so that the air and sun would touch as much of her skin as possible before she had to leave it again.

“Please, Ying,” Sao pleaded, her hands shaking around Yingming’s ankles.  “Please.”

“I have to get down now, but could you tell me your name?”

The voice hesitated for so long, Yingming thought he wasn’t going to answer.  “Iroh.”

Yingming climbed off Sao’s shoulders with a bitter taste in her mouth from the memory of the Fire Nation general who had helped burn her village.

~*~

Days passed in the dank darkness, with only Suki, and the lamp swinging outside her cell.  The absence of her warriors left a deep, unassuageable ache in her stomach that left her unable to eat and drink without vomiting it back up into the bucket in the corner of the cell.

The vinegar in the water and the worm-maggots in the bread left her stomach heaving, and her cell stinking of sourness and rot.  She couldn’t sleep, she couldn’t sit still, and she could hardly breathe.

When the ship dropped anchor and lurched to a halt, and the guards unlocked the cell door, her feet were tracing the outline of the cell, and her heart beat out a hard, hollow rhythm in her ears.  Her arms and legs shook with hunger, and the guards caught her out of the air and kept her from falling as much as they captured her.  They wrinkled their noses and tried to touch as little of her as possible, lest her filth and stink contaminate them.

“Where are you taking me?” she croaked.

“Shut up.”  The guard who spoke shook her shoulder, and jerked it back and forth until the hallway in front of her swam in and out of focus.  “What is it with prisoners?  You all have to talk all the time...”

“What did you do with my warriors?”  Her voice rasped with disuse.  “Where are my friends?”

“Didn’t we tell you to shut up?”  The shaking didn’t stop until her head wobbled on her neck and her eyes rattled around in their sockets.  She hung in the guards’ arms as they dragged her though the bowels of the ship, the tops of her feet scraping against the floor.  The metal steps rang with the sound of their boots as they hauled her up, and out onto the deck.  Heavy gray clouds rolled overhead.  Suki tried to pull the air into her lungs.  Her mouth gaped open and the water laden air groaned in and out of her body.  Sweat rolled down her skin, and her makeup felt like a dead scab, waiting for the slightest breeze to peel it away.

She couldn’t feel the difference between the inside and the outside of her cell, not when the Fire Nation soldiers had her by the arms and there was nowhere to run.

The gangplank squealed to the dock.  Suki listened to it descend, but didn’t look.  There wasn’t any reason to.  It bit deep into the sand covered wood.  The guards marched her across the deck, her feet swinging in the air when they got tired of the sound of them dragging.  Their steps rang against the gangplank, but the heavy, humid air muffled everything.

“You see where we are?” the guard on her left chuckled.  She saw the jagged peaks of stone, with the steam billowing over them, like clouds, or the snow on top of the mountains back home.  When she didn’t answer, he elbowed her in the ribs.  “The Boiling Rock.”

Suki sank her feet into the gray beach sand.  “Never heard of it.”

As the guard on her left gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes, the guard on her right just snorted.  “Don’t worry, pretty soon you’ll know all about it.”

She kicked the sand.  It crunched wetly around her foot, and the soldiers halfway picked her up again.  As one of them dropped her to knock on the door of an ugly little building with a rust colored roof, she imagined swinging her legs into the one still holding her’s knees and running, but there was no where to go, no ships but the one she had come in on, nothing on the beach but the sand and the faceless rock walls all around.

A guard opened the door and the soldiers pushed Suki past her.  “That’s the girl?” she smirked, looking up into Suki’s face.  “What is it, anyway, some kind of circus freak?”

Suki bared her teeth.  She couldn’t help herself.  “Careful,” the soldier who had told her she had nothing to worry about said, pounding his hand down onto her shoulder.  “She bites.”

She laughed as she and another guard took Suki’s arms and unlocked the cuffs around her wrists.

“Mind if we watch?”  The guard who had opened the door gave the soldier who spoke a black look.

“Watch what?” Suki growled.

The guard yanked the ragged edge of Suki’s shirt up over Suki’s head, and it tangled in her arms.  “Checking you for weapons.”

“She’s got nothing,” the other soldier sneered.  “If she had, she would’ve used it by now.”

“Regulations,” a new guard retorted, his hand slipping down Suki’s back to the waistband of her pants.  As he started to pull it down, she kicked hard and wrenched her arms out of the ball of fabric pinning her wrists, snarling and yelping as more guards came to hold her down.  “Don’t flatter yourself.”  He grabbed her pants and pulled them all the way down.

Suki squirmed, and struggled to her feet when they let her go, lunging for her clothes, but the guards held them out of reach.  Someone’s hands found the front of her shoulders and pushed her down to sprawl against the wall before another pair of hands grabbed her and held her down one armed as the guard who owned them picked through her hair.  Her fingers tugged and pulled, and probed, and scratched over Suki’s scalp, and Suki grunted in helpless rage.  “She’s clean!” the guard picking over her head yelled to the whole room.  “Well, she’s got no louse-mites, anyway.”

The woman let go of her, and Suki scrambled to her feet as the guards around her laughed and new ones grabbed her arms.  One of them held her old shirt in his hand.

There was a barrel in the corner.  Suki hadn’t noticed it until they shoved her head into it and held her under the water inside until her lungs burned and she thrashed with reflexive terror.  They lifted her out by her hair and she gasped for air, shaking and heaving.  The guard who held her shirt from the ship dunked it in the water and scraped it over her face.  Specks of greasy makeup floated on the barrel water, turning it milky and foul.  They shoved her into it over and over, and rubbed her face in the shirt over and over, until the makeup was gone and her skin showed up reddish and raw where it had been.  She cried, furious with herself for letting them see, and tried to curl around herself, to hide her skin, her body and her face.

They thrust a bundle of clothes into her arms.  Suki almost couldn’t see the point after it all.  She licked the barrel’s water, stale and lukewarm off her lips.

~*~

The day the sun went out, the tower guards raced around outside the cell door, yelling to each other.  The warriors pressed themselves together at the door grille and watched.  Someone had escaped!

If only it had been them.

Later, the Kyoshi Warriors watched the guards drag new prisoner after new prisoner up to the tower’s last remaining empty cells.

~*~

“So who’s new?” Chaoyang shouted out the cell window.

Yingming rolled her eyes and lay back on her folded arms.  “That’s not how you’re supposed to ask.”

Chaoyang turned her head and glared down at her. As Tian clutched her friend’s legs desperately to to keep her from falling off her shoulders.  The sounds of people shouting their answer out their cell windows reverberated around their cell, and Chaoyang turned back to the window, and tried not to wince at how many voices there were.  “What happened?”

There was no moon the night after the sun went out, but the sky was full of stars, and to the Kyoshi Warriors, it sounded as if their fellow prisoners, all shouting their answers at once, were trying to shake them down.

“One at a time!”  The man’s voice cut through the roar, and the other voices quieted.  “I am Hakoda of the Southern Water Tribe, and we gathered together to invade during the eclipse.  They captured when we failed.”

“Wait,”  Sao cut in, before Chaoyang could speak.  “Southern Water Tribe?  So do you know Sokka and Katara?”

“Were they captured too?”  Tian’s hands around Chaoyang’s legs squeezed tight with anxiety.

Yingming bolted up from the floor.  “Is Aang dead?”

“How do you know my children?” Hakoda asked mildly.  Chaoyang shivered.

“They came to our island with the Avatar-”

“We’re the Kyoshi Warriors-”

Chaoyang took a deep breath of the humid, outside air.  “I thought I picked the long straw, and it was my turn to talk!”

Her fellow warriors blinked back at her in the gloom.

She closed her eyes and turned back to the window.  “Are- are they okay?”

~*~

Suki chopped her hand through the air, deflecting an imaginary blow, and leapt up to kick the metal cell wall.  Restless desperation forced her out of bed before roll call each morning.  Restless desperation forced her to train.  Restless desperation forced her to force herself not to run like it would really get her free every time they let her out into the yard.

New prison food, new prison clothes, new prison shoes, new prison cell.  It was a lie.  Nothing changed.

But she could think again, and she could eat again, and she was going to get strong again, strong enough to escape and rescue her warriors.

Suki punched the air.

~*~

The airship rumbled and jerked under Sokka’s clumsy steering.  Suki pushed herself away from the wall and held her arms out to the side as she picked her way across the floor to where Prince Zuko stood, with his hand in the furnace, stoking the flames.  She folded her arms and stood next to him, feeling the vibrations in the metal in her teeth and bones, shaking her words.  “I need to find my girls.”

The sparks building in his palm winked out, and he hastily rekindled them.  “What do you mean?”

She crossed her ankles and sank back against the gondola wall.  “They separated us, took them somewhere else.  I need to find them and set them free.”

He turned away from her and stared into the flames.  “I can’t help you.”

“Yes, you can!”   She sprang away from the wall.  “I just need the airship as soon as we get to the temple, you can show me how to get there-”

He took his hand out of the furnace and let it fall to his side.  “Sokka’s dad said they’re holding them in the prison tower.  They’re right in the middle of the capital city.  There’s no way we’d be able to sneak in.”

“You and Sokka got me out,” she pointed out coldly  “You got Hakoda out.”

“Yeah.”

She narrowed her eyes.  “My friends aren’t any less important than either of us.”

The fire roared higher behind the furnace door.  “I told you, I can’t help.”

“We-”  Suki swallowed.  “The Kyoshi Warriors, we have to regain our honor.”

His expression darkened and he turned away.  “Look, Azula’s going to be waiting for us to try something.  She’ll have Mai with them, she does that, they’d just be bait...  The best way to free them is to help Aang win the war.  If you try to get them free now, you’ll just get them killed.”

“That girl-”  Her eyes drilled twin holes in the back of his skull.  “The one with the blue fire, she’s your sister?”

Zuko nodded.

“And the other girl.”  The one who helped capture her and her warriors.  “The one who helped us escape, who’s she?”

He shrugged and opened the furnace door to push another handful of flame into it.

~*~

The voices echoing in the corridor outside their cell were familiar.  Tian and Yingming pressed their faces to the door, to peer out the grille, as their fellow warriors crouched in around them.  The voices drew closer and they listened as the guards tried to silence them, but the girl with the numbing fingers kept talking, and the girl with the knives kept grumbling.  The Kyoshi Warriors remembered those voices.  They didn’t need to see the girls to know who they were.  They were the girls who had taken them down, and they were coming closer.

The cell door opened inward.  The warriors darted out of the way, back to their corners as the guards tossed the two girls through the doorway.  Before they could launch themselves to their feet and spring for the door, it was already shut and the guards already had the key in the lock.  They grinned at the prisoners through the bars like jackal-sharks, eyes gleaming in the darkness.  “Play nice, girls!”  None of the girls could tell which guard called it out, but it didn’t matter.  They didn’t know them, didn’t know their names, didn’t care about their faces.  They were their captors and their enemies.  They didn’t have to know or care.

As the guards’ footsteps grew fainter and fainter, the Kyoshi Warriors in their gooey, mangled makeup separated themselves from the stone walls and surrounded the Fire Nation girls, wearing the same ash colored brown prison clothes as they, circling closer with each step.

The white paste made Chaoyang’s face into a mask in the darkness.  “Did the Fire princess get tired of you?”

“We remember you,” Yingming whispered.

“Oh,” the girl with the fingers that numbed and killed their limbs murmured, jutting her jaw out stubbornly.  “How nice.”  She stood back to back with her friend, arms raised to protect them both, but the other girl just stood there.

Sao’s mouth twisted with hate.  “They expect us to share a cell with you?”

“No,” the girl who had once had the knives said coldly.  “They expect you to kill us.  That’s what’s supposed to happen to traitors.”

~*~

Yingming put her hand on the girl who had once had the knives’ shoulder and shook, just slightly.  The girl thrashed in her sleep and opened her eyes.  “Thought you should know, the food’s here,” Yingming muttered.  “If you and your friend don’t eat something before the guards come back, they’re just going to take it away.”

“Ying!” Sao grabbed her friend’s hand off the knife girl’s shoulder and held it high over her head.  “What are you doing?”

“I just thought that...  They should know...”  Yingming stopped and rolled her eyes.  “I was just telling her it was time to eat, that’s all.”

The knife girl elbowed her friend in the ribs before getting up.  “Thanks.”

The girl with the numbing fingers sat up and stretched her arms.  “What’s up?”

Sao and Chaoyang glared at her, while the knife girl pointed at the giant bowl of moldy, worm-maggoty rice.

She followed her friend’s finger.  “Oh.”  She looked around at the Kyoshi Warriors.  “So, um, do I have this right?  You’re Tian.”

“Sao,” she grunted.  “She’s Tian.”

“Look,” Chaoyang snapped.  “Why are you even talking to us?  Just stay on that side of the cell, and talk to each other, and leave us alone.”

The girl with the numbing fingers bit her bottom lip.  “And you’re Chaoyang?”

Chaoyang let out a high pitched growl, throwing her head into her hands.

The girl who had once had the knives shot Chaoyang a dark look before putting her hand on her friend’s arm.  “Aren’t you going to eat something?”

She grimaced.  “I think I’m going to need to be a lot more hungry before I eat any of that.”

The knife girl glanced at it too and nodded.

Chaoyang snorted.  “You’re going to be grateful for it soon.”

The knife girl’s expression hardened.  “I thought you didn’t want us to talk to you.”

Chaoyang stared at her, taken aback, then her lip curled.  “Aren’t you scared?  You said yourself they threw you in here expecting us to kill you and do their dirty work for you.  You’re all alone, shouldn’t you be afraid?”

The knife girl shrugged.  “We beat you once.”

Sao put her arm between Chaoyang and the Fire Nation girls.  “Chaoyang.”

“You’re not Suki,” Chaoyang muttered behind her arm.  “You don’t get to tell me what to do.”

Sao sighed.  “Behave, Chaoyang, please.  And you two.”  She turned to the Fire Nation girls, glaring.  “Your princess isn’t here.  You’re stuck-”

The girl who had once had the knives cut her off with a sharp wave of her hand.  “Your leader isn’t here either.”

Choayang balled her fists and pushed Sao’s arm aside.  “There are four of us and two of you.  You are not better fighters than we are-”

“Oh, so that’s what this is about,” the knife girl interrupted dryly.  “Your pride’s hurt.”

“We couldn’t move last time,” Chaoyang snarled, and Sao brought her arm up again, hastily.  “Next time we’ll know to break your friend’s fingers first.”

The girl with the numbing fingers shuddered, and stood up straighter.  “I could always teach you how I do it.”  She smiled disarmingly, and the Kyoshi Warriors stared back.  “If you wanted to learn.”

Shock showed on the knife girl’s face so briefly, but so plainly that the girl with the numbing fingers backed away from her unhappily. 

Sao leaned in, lips white beneath the stain, and the knife girl made an abortive to grab her friend and pull her back.  It took a moment for Tian’s brain to unstick itself and her lips to move.  “You realize we could always use it against you.”

The knife girl whirled on her, eyes narrowed into thin gleaming lines.  “You won’t.”

Her friend grabbed her arm.  “You wouldn’t want to.”  She smiled again.  Tian wished she wouldn’t do that, act like se was their friend.  “It would make Azula too happy.”

“Azula?” Sao asked sharply.

“Princess Azula.”  The knife girl turned to the wall balefully.

The warriors turned to each other.  Sao kept seeing the Fire Nation princess with the blue fire taking Suki away from them, and the way their leader had looked when the guards brought her back.  She met each of the warriors’ eyes in turn and nodded.  “Okay, show us.”

“Great!”  The girl with the numbing fingers bounced up and down.  “I have to warn you, I’ve never taught anybody anything like this before, and um,  I really have to get this straight before we start.  She gulped audibly and pointed to each of the girls in turn.  “So you’re Tian and you’re Sao.”  They nodded.  Her face fell as she turned to the glowering warrior.  “A-and you’re Chaoyang.”  Chaoyang nodded, and the Fire Nation girl brightened.  “And you’re Ying.”

Yingming looked down.  “Yingming.”

“Sorry.”  She looked down too.  “And I’m Ty Lee, and this,” she grabbed the knife girl’s hand, “Is Mai.”

~*~

Suki laced up her armor.  She hoped it would hold her together.  She settled her headpiece into her hair and dipped her brush into the white eggshell paste.  This was the first time since they had been captured.  Even once she was free, there was no armor for her, no makeup pots.

The rest of the Kyoshi warriors were already in their armor, even the new one.  She had to hurry up.

Her lips curved up, but it felt so strange.  The war was over.  They had won.  Everything was bright, and safe, and good, and Suki was supposed to be happy.  It wasn’t even that she wasn’t.

She just couldn’t drink it down.



Date: 2011-01-03 09:57 am (UTC)
ferricent: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ferricent
This is great! I kind of love Suki and the warriors even more now.

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