A Red Silken Wake
Zuko let out a sigh of relief when a soft whimper escaped his sister's lips. Though she still made no indication of waking up anytime soon.
"Azula…she moved…when she was in the Spirit World. She's stuck there forever isn't she?" Zuko finally asked.
Aang didn't respond, his lips pressed into s thin straight line. His expression looking uncharacteristically grim. "I'm sorry Zuko." He turned his head. "As far as I know, you're right."
Naturally Zuko loved being right, this however was different. His sister was gone, at least to the physical world.
He spared a glance down at Azula's sleeping form. She looked so serene. So calm. The marks on her arm faded (save for the one on her wrist). She looked rather harmless—if he didn't know any better he'd say that she'd never done a person harm in her life.
Zuko brushed her hair behind her ear and sat there next to her listening to her soft breathing. He sat there like that for a considerable amount of time, fearing that if he left, her breathing would cease.
He then stood up and found himself two blankets and a pillow. He set up one blanket for himself and draped the other one of her Azula.
"So..." Mai muttered. "You're going to watch your sister sleep all night? That's a bit creepy if you ask me."
"I just want to make sure she's okay." Zuko frowned.
"Yeah, yeah. I get it." Mai said with a dismissive wave. "I guess I'll keep you company."
Azula woke up in her mother's arms. The woman was rocking her slightly and stroking her hair. Azula pushed out of her grasp—an impulsive moved that landed her on her back and in the dirt.
"It's alright sweetheart." Ursa reached out.
"I'm fine." Azula said abruptly.
"Azula, you almost died."
"I know that. You pulled me out of the water didn't you?"
"No. The other spirits wouldn't let me reach you." She paused. "He was the one to save you."
Azula followed Ursa's gaze to Xin. The boy perched himself on a log and entertained himself by drawing pictures in the dirt with a stick.
She met his gaze.
And just like that her mind went back to the fact that she had no clothing. She couldn't stop the immediate blush that spread over her cheeks. She quickly crossed her arms over her chest.
"And what took you so long?!" Azula huffed, still trying to recover.
Xin on the other hand seemed rather unfazed. "I was doing spirit stuff, human princess. You know, the usual; making little girls cry when they find me in their closet, moving peoples' belongings around, stealing cabbages from some crazy old merchant."
"And all of that was more important than me?" Azula frowned.
"Relax. I was joking…well, except for the cabbage part." Xin shrugged. "The Spirit World is vast, luv. Tracking you down was the easy part…getting to you, not so much."
"Great. Do you know what I did to the last person to show up late?"
Xin chuckled. "You can't exactly banish me, human princess."
"Apparently Chan can." Azula muttered.
"Your mother is really sweet, by the way." Xin changed the subject.
"Now that you're here," Azula returned the favor "perhaps you can show me how to get back to the Physical World."
"I actually cannot. Remember, human princess, I never made it this far when I was still alive. However I do know a spirit who can help you."
"Well, what are you waiting for? Take me to him." Azula got to her feet. She hesitated before continuing. "Are you coming…mother?"
Ursa nodded. "Of course I am."
"Lucky for us, my good friend isn't too far from here." Xin pointed out. "So…do tell me. How did you manage to block that spirit out?"
"I just thought of something else. I thought of my trip to Ember Island and my birthday."
"Ah yes…memories. The only things that are completely and truly yours. I don't know why I didn't think of doing that."
"Because you aren't as smart or talented as I." Azula declared.
"Fear not Firelady Ursa, your daughter has made a full recovery." Xin grinned. "If she can take jabs at my self-worth, she's doing just fine."
Azula thumped him on the back of the head.
That was one of the only good things about the Spirit World; here, Azula could actually make physical contact with the spirits. If only she could use her bending…
"Azula, this is my good friend, Wan."
Azula looked up at the man. He was rather charming with his with his bright gold, playful looking eyes and his long wavy black hair. His scruffy goatee wasn't half bad either. It went well with his outfit.
Why was it that Azula was the only one who didn't get clothing.
"He was the first Avatar." Xin added before Azula had a change to vocalize her complaint.
"Nice to meet you, princess Azula. Xin's mentioned you quite a bit." Wan extended his arm.
"How cute." Azula remarked sarcastically as she allowed Wan a firm handshake—keeping the other arm over her chest.
"I've been waiting to meet you for a while now. The balance has been a mess lately. The human spirits are restless and just don't want to stay put."
"I've noticed." Azula muttered.
Wan gave her a quick once-over and then looked to a little oriental house built around a tree. "We have a lot to talk about, but first, let me find you something to wear."
"That would be…ideal." Azula responded. Truth be told she had to fight an urge to jump for joy at the mention of clothing.
The kimono Wan had to offer was a rather pretty one—though Azula didn't know why the man owned such feminine attire. It was made of red silk and embroidered with golden dragons and pink lotuses. It was comfy enough.
By the time Azula had slipped into it, the others were seated around a small oak table.
"Tea?" Wan offered.
"No, thank you." Azula replied as she took a seat on the mat between her mother and Wan. "I'm curious as to how I'm supposed to get home…and how I'm supposed to close the gates."
"I would imagine you are." Wan replied. "But where to begin…"