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fn_rebel wrote in adstrngndumlog
Characters: Jet, Mai
When: Post-event.
Where: Queen Anne's Row.
Rating: PG. Might go up for Jet's psycho.
Summary: Jet managed to fight himself into unconsciousness with Mai as his caretaker, much to his distaste.

A groan escaped Jet’s lips as he regained consciousness. He didn’t remember what happened or know where he was, all he knew was that he wasn’t fighting and his limbs were sore. He felt weak again, and it only took him so long to figure out that he lost whatever battle he was in. There were so many, how could he be expected to keep track? His head throbbed as he eased himself up.

He figured he’d lost a good amount of blood, he remembered that, but how did he end up in his room, and why was his vision blurred? And that incessant throbbing was really starting to get to him. His eyes scanned the room, taking in its familiarity, looking for his swords. Of course they weren’t in sight, they were probably downstairs, at least he hoped they were. If they were left at the scene… His eyes got wide. How long had he been out? Where were Katara and Sokka? Were they safe? in the house?

It was around then that it hit him the pounding he was hearing wasn’t between his temples, it was his door. Groggily, he swung his legs over the bed, slowly making his way to the window to see for himself that whatever it was the Animus were pulling, it was over. And relief washed over with him, only it was mixed with worry. He wouldn’t be content until he knew everyone was okay, and he couldn’t make a clear thought with that knocking, which made him grit his teeth and approach the door, swinging it open. His annoyance vanishes, as he expected Katara and sees Mai standing in front of him.


“What’re you doing here?” There was some hostility there.

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He growled, trying to keep to himself. A part of him was relieved his swords weren’t here, the other part, the part even he found hard to control, wished they were so he could make one good swing at her. Just enough to make it hurt, a clean cut. Gripping the sheets, he shook his head to dismiss the darkness that lied in those thoughts. From what he knew, she wasn’t a firebender, but she was still from the Fire Nation. That, he would admit, was something that would continually blind him. He would never be able to stop judging any background from there, and it almost made him feel disappointed in himself. He was letting people he cared about down with that mentality. But it wasn’t his fault.

They took everything away from him.

“Yeah, I gave my word I wouldn’t, so don’t push it, okay?” His words managed to escape through his teeth, though it wasn’t so much in aggression as is pain by now. His wounds were reminding him what he’d endured. “I already told you, Katara’s not my girlfriend. You can go run and tell Sokka that I don’t need any help, I’ll be fine.” Even though his voice is starting to cave on him, his stubbornness cracking.

Mai's eyebrows raised, but that was it. She leaned against the table nonchalantly, finally taking the opportunity to cross her arms over her chest.

"There's one benefit of being from the Fire Nation in this case." Mai tried to maintain an air of humility, as though her heritage was something she held an inkling of regret for. After this event, that wasn't entirely false, but--"I can recognize what damage can be left untended, and what needs attention." At that, her amber eyes looked Jet up and down once-over, and she shifted her weight. "And while I don't think all of your bandages need to be changed, I can think of at least two or three that will get really gross if you don't let me freshen them up." Surely he wanted to die in a blaze of glory, not from an infection, right?

Hopefully he didn't want to die at all.

That feeling probably wasn't reciprocated. Hmph.

She paused for a moment. "You seem the opportunistic sort. If you let me do as I'm told, I'll offer a favor in return. With stipulations."

Her words made him tense, and that made the blood rush and the pain surface. He was doing his best to stay quiet, to do anything but snap, but it was getting hard. Jet wasn’t taught self-control, not after what life had forced him to experience. He was a loose-canon, and well aware of it, but that didn’t mean he wanted to be. If Sokka sent Mai, then clearly he trusted her. He trusted her to deal with his friend, and Jet knew the other boy would never put him in harm’s way. But still.

He thought about when he was on edge. Back when he was losing it, when he tried to break down his mentality to Sokka, and Sokka didn’t get it. the war wasn’t a part of Adstring, but the war would always be a part of Jet. The war made Jet who he was today. The war made him hate. He couldn’t shake it off anymore; he couldn’t put his anger aside. He turned sharply, ignoring whatever backlash his wounds gave him, and let the words come out.

“You’ll give me a favor? Do you have any idea what your people did to me? They ripped everything I ever had away from me with no mercy! It’s their fault I hate you! It’s their fault I have nothing left back home!” And he could really use those swords right now, or at least his stamina. Would he physically hit her, no? But holding his own sounded really good right about now, showing her how serious he was, in case how worked up he was didn’t. He made a quick move to snatch his pillow and toss it to the other side of the room, watching it slide down the wall. Not too surprisingly, it didn’t serve its purpose in calming him down. With one deep exhale, he laid on his back and stared up at the ceiling.

He was too quick to snap, because he already knew what he wanted in return. He already negotiated a trade in his mind, and if his temper hadn’t flared so quickly he wouldn’t look like the psychopath he probably really was. In a calm voice, he whispered: “What’s her weakness?”

Mai listened to Jet's ranting diatribe about the ills that soldiers, Ozai, people she'd never even exchanged words with did to this broken boy. She didn't respond, but instead walked over to the pillow that Jet threw, and picked it up.

She fluffed it a few times, slapping it firmly, and a familiar scent wafted up from its stuffing. What was it? A charred smell? No...

"I am sorry for everything that you went through." Mai wasn't used to saying those words, but it was clearly what Jet was looking for, wasn't it?

She walked over to his bedside, and extended the hand with the pillow so he could "roughly" snatch it with what little strength he could possibly have. She was used to Zuko's fits of rage. This wasn't much different. She would never understand why expressing one's discontent had to be such a show, but maybe this guy liked negative attention?

"You mean Azula's?" Of course that's what he meant.

“I don’t want your sympathy.” He wanted her to know, not just her, the entire nation. He wanted them to suffer, the way he had to. In the back of his mind, he knew they never would. They wouldn’t lose an entire village, they wouldn’t watch everything they’d ever loved burn right before them. They wouldn’t have to be self-reliant in order to survive, especially not as children, but the thought of pity made Jet cringe. It would be the last thing he ever wanted, from a firebender or anyone.

And, as expected, he snatched the pillow from her hold and gave a sharp glare, inspecting her. if she was going to pull something, he had to be ready. And of course she was going to pull something, she was from the Fire Nation and nobody was here to stop her. But his tiredness was starting to weigh on him, and it took most of his energy just to prop himself up on his elbows.

He didn’t like it, but he sure was good at attracting it.

“No, Ty Lee’s.” He rolled his eyes. Really, he was giving it his best effort to refrain from everything he was saying. He was just really bad at it. “What do you think?”

"Ty Lee's weakness is boys." Mai snorted, half in jest. She retreated from the bedside, and returned back to the bandages, collecting them so she could treat Jet's wounds at his bedside.

She pulled the chair she had originally moved to the bedside, and sat. She set the bandages on her lap, and looked down at them. "It's not that hard to figure out Azula's, when you've been close to her."

Her eyes lifted, sharp and full of a resentment that could be seen as familiar, if Jet ever had the chance to see his own reflection. Maybe she hadn't suffered the way Jet had, but at least he was free. He wouldn't know what it was like to be a hostage in your own home. Living in a guilded cage like a songbird sharing a room with a loose python. He didn't have to care for watching his step, or his mouth, for that matter. He never had to question if the very words he breathed into a lover's ear were to be distorted and used against him when he waked in the morning. He never had to fear that volunteering to play the 'rebels' in childhood games would be reason to fall under scrutiny as they matured to adulthood.

"Betrayal." Mai rolled up a sleeve to her shoulder, exposing a slender arm with a cut-off glove reaching to her elbow. She opened her hand palm-up, and held it out in Jet's direction, waiting for him to offer an arm.

He didn’t respond, having already used charm against Ty Lee. Charm which led to luring her which led to his blades at her neck. But he got his point across and, for the sake of everyone else, apologized to her. She was different than both Mai and Azula, even if he didn’t care for any of them. She was easier to swallows his pride for.

He had freedom in all those years when all he needed was guidance, which was something he would never admit aloud. The look in her eyes was easy enough to catch onto, and he did acknowledge it. to him, it meant she was just as unhappy to be here, just as unhappy to help him. It kept them enemies as far as he was concerned, and he wouldn’t dare question it on chance there was another meaning behind it. He didn’t want to hear Fire Nation sob stories; he knew it was nothing he would feel bad for. Because while they had everything, he had nothing.

But the one word, betrayal, rang in his ears and caught his attention. When he looked back over to her, his brows were arched. Betrayal. He was all too familiar with how that worked; if anything it was a way of getting by for Jet. But getting close to Azula? He couldn’t see that happening.

“You’re already close to her.” He gave up his arm.

"And I already betrayed her."

Mai gently took Jet's arm, and looked down at it with a thoughtful frown. The faint dark blotches peeking through the cloth showed that the blood appeared to have stopped, but it took a while. She set the arm down on her knees and reached into a sleeve slowly, so as not to cause any undue alarm in the--was he Earth Kingdom? It was hard to tell--the rebel, Jet, that's all she knew. Maybe he refused to align with any sort of establishment.

That...well, it seemed sad, although Mai could get a faint idea of those perks.

She pulled out one of her knives and set it on the mattress for Jet to inspect. She didn't need to be accused of harming him, but the tools offered to cut the bandages were dull, and would tug at his arm more than was necessary. It would only hurt him more. A clean cut would make things easier.

"Does she know that?" The question seemed general enough. Jet didn't learn that he'd died until he got here, with the time change and all and if anything her response left him somewhat inrtigued. She'd already betrayed.

So what was a second time?

Pursing his lips, the freedom fighter did all he could to hide his pain. The longer he was awake, the more everything seemed to hurt. The simple movements made him cringe, and he mentally noted that the opposite arm may be broken. He didn't want to look at the damage, so he didn't. He did, however, look up when she held up the knife she would be using to cut the bandaging. In return to the gesture, he rolled his eyes, like he wasn't paranoid. Like he didn't give her a reason to make sure he knew what she was about to do.

"What happened? When you betrayed her?" Overall, his mood seemed to have mellowed. He wasn't tense or aggressive. His gaze was still locked with the ceiling and he looked pretty deep in thought, piecing something together.

Mai shrugged at the rolling of Jet's eyes, and proceeded to cut through the bandages. The blood had started crusting against his skin, but luckily the bandages weren't sticking.

"If she does, she's handling it a lot better than last time. But I doubt it. She's letting Ty Lee stay with her, after all." Mai took some damp cotton and lightly stroked it across Jet's arm to clean off the dried-over blood. Her movements were deft, not spending any more time than necessary over Jet's injuries. She knew he wanted this done quickly, and Mai was quick with her hands.

Mai didn't have to pause in order to remember how Azula responded when Mai turned against her. She wasn't keen on giving this actively loathing individual the scandalous details of her captivity, nor did she want any of this getting back to Azula before its time.

"What do you think?" Mai retorted. "After I thwarted her plan to kill her brother--who was with the Avatar at the time--" Mai felt the need to add that little detail as a side. "--she tried to strike at me. Ty Lee immobilized her."

Mai sighed through her nose and began to wrap up Jet's naked arm. "We were immediately thrown into prison." She kept her gaze lowered, but her amber eyes flickered up to Jet for a moment to make sure she wasn't hurting--and to gauge any reaction, not that she expected any. "Which, believe it or not, are far worse than the ones in Omashu or Ba Sing Se. I would know."

“Ty Lee’s living with her?” He didn’t know that bit, but remembered he wasn’t exactly around for Azula’s arrival. It was a thought he would push aside for now, maybe ask more about later. He couldn’t help but feel like he was opening old wounds, old fights, but he couldn’t stand not knowing or understanding. Or being prepared.

His fist clenched slightly in her lap as he couldn’t help but let his muscles tense. It aroused the pain, but it was a pain he would have to deal with if he wanted to get this over with. His teeth grit and his eyes closed. “Zuko?” He asked when he decided he could speak again. Of course it was Zuko, who else could it have been? And his curiosity was getting the better of him; he couldn’t hide that in the malicious smirk on his face.

His pain seemed to have left him, at least when she looked up to him, and he slowly eased himself to sit up across from her. Everything was throbbing, and it felt like he was losing more blood- or maybe his previous blood loss was just starting to kick in. “So you betrayed her, she locked you up and left you to rot, and now she doesn’t remember it.” Good job, Jet.

“So riddle me this, if there’s no prison in Adstring and she doesn’t have half the influence she had at home, what’s stopping you from putting her in her place now?”

Mai snorted a laugh. "The story didn't end there. She was eventually over-thrown. Without Ty Lee and myself there to back her up, she began to question herself." Not that Mai necessarily gave Azula any of the validation she so earnestly sought--Daddy issues, anyone?--but still, just having those warm bodies around her must've given Azula some false sense of security. "She lost her mind. It was easy to take her down, then."

She finished wrapping Jet's arm and slowly rested it back on the bed. She sat back in her chair, neatly folding her hands in her lap and looking straight at Jet.

There were many reasons Mai didn't aim to strike Azula the moment she arrived. Namely, Ty Lee's safety could be compromised. For all the peculiar company Mai kept, Ty Lee was the only one back home she could call a friend without blinking. She was loyal to a fault. Such loyalty was exemplified by her choice to stay with Azula. But Mai knew where Ty Lee's priorities were, so she didn't question it.

Mai's almond-shaped eyes narrowed pleasantly, her lips curling up to a smug smirk. "What, and take away all your fun?" Really, it had more to do with timing. And now wasn't right.

Let it not be said that Mai wasn't a sharing type.

“Huh.” Was all he said for a while. Any hostility he had just a few moments prior was gone, he was thinking. And that was never good. He was glad she showed up, Mai, and he was put in this situation. Not that he entirely trusted her, but for the chance that there may be truth behind those words. It was all plausible; it’d make everything add up.

He continued to stare, waiting for her to say more, maybe trying to see if she was lying. If she was nervous, or something was going on in her mind… Jet was a very gifted liar. He could usually tell when someone else was doing it, but Mai was good at letting her emotions remain unknown. His smile doesn’t falter, though.

“There’s plenty of fun to go around.” That said with a snort, and then he leaned in slightly, hushing his voice. “If you did anything, you wouldn’t be facing her alone.”

Mai didn't move back when Jet leaned in. She didn't feel threatened, and clearly he wasn't on the attack like he was moments ago.

It was progress. If Mai could be thankful for anything pertaining to her upbringing, it was being able to recognize worthy bargaining chips when they were available. And what better was there for someone who hated the Fire Nation than the tyrannical daughter of the former Fire Lord?

"Are you sure?" Mai's voice was smug, kept at a low hum so no one would over-hear. "Wouldn't that make us sort of allies?"

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