"Misery is Knowing You'll Never Be Rid of Me" Avatar: The Last Airbender(Jet/Zuko)
Title: Misery is Knowing You'll Never Be Rid of Me Author: nanthimus Rating: PG-13 Warnings: Blood, non-con Word Count: 1,005 Summary: Zuko will never be alone again. Prompt: Avatar: the Last Airbender, Jet/Zuko: ghosts - "Are you sure you're not just going mad?"
Zuko lay alone in his room in the palace of Ba Sing Se. It was dark, the sun long ago set, and only a small candle was lit. In his minds’ eye, the scenes replayed over and over: Azula and the her deadly lightning; the Avatar, tattered and smoking as he fell out of the sky; Uncle, turning away, disappointment bare on his face.
Zuko sat up and kicked off the sheets. Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he stared at the single candle lit, eyes narrowed as he pictured Iroh again. I’ve never seen him look like that before, he thought, before shaking his head. It’s his own fault! We could have returned to father as heroes. Instead he…betrayed me.
“He betrayed me,” Zuko said, the words bitter, rusty as worn down metal.
A noise in the hallway just outside his room distracted Zuko from his thoughts and he looked up. The sound was muffled through the wall but he could still hear it: an odd, tapping echo. Brow furrowed, Zuko got up and make his way to the door. Sliding it open, he peered out, eyes quickly adjusting to the comparatively bright hallway. But it was empty, no meek servants, no smirking Azulas, no enraged waterbenders seeking vengeance.
Suddenly, a breeze blew through the doorway, ruffling his hair before extinguishing the candle, a small, silent death. Cursing under his breath, Zuko pointed at the candle and, with a shock of power, it was lit again. In the moment that the fire was brightest, Zuko saw something lurking in the darkness of his room.
“Who’s there?!” he said, immediately angry at being disturbed. Laughter answered him, low and vaguely familiar; Zuko couldn’t place it. Gritting his teeth, Zuko spoke again. “Who are you?!” he said, lashing one arm forward. The rest of the candles exploded to life and Zuko’s eyes grew painfully wide as he realized who stood there.
“…Jet?” he said uncertainly.
“So, you remember me,” Jet said. “I’m touched.” A smile was on his lips but his eyes were cold, hard, almost reptilian as he stared at Zuko.
Zuko blinked rapidly before shaking his head. “What kind of joke is this?” he said. “Jet died at Lake Laogai. Who are you?!”
The boy who claimed to be Jet raised his eyebrows. “They told you about that, did they? I wasn’t expecting them to.” He shrugged and grinned. “It’s nice to know my death is being remembered.”
“That‘s enough!” Zuko said, hands curling into fists. “Stop acting!”
Jet sighed, like wind rustling through dried, dead leaves, and tugged the ever present wheat stalk out of his mouth. “You’re as stubborn as ever,” he said.
“I’m not discussing this anymore!” Zuko said, and the temperature in the room heated up. “Jet’s dead! You’re not him!”
Jet grinned again, sharp as a razor’s edge. “Jet’s dead, and I am him,” he said, the words nearly a whisper. The temperature changed again, resisting Zuko’s hot rage and plunging downward, the cold shocking.
Heart suddenly hammering in his chest, Zuko shook his head. “You…that’s impossible,” he said. “Spirits can’t return from the Spirit Realm!” Or could they? Zuko suddenly wished he had spent more time discussing such things with Uncle. “That’s impossible!”
Jet cocked his head to one side, lip curling. “Is it?” he asked, eyebrows raised. Within a blink of an eye, he was gone. Zuko looked around, shivering suddenly in the cold, dark room. The door behind him slid shut with a clamor and Zuko whirled around, hands up defensively to face emptiness. Something pushed him forward, slamming him against the wall. A hard , ice-cold hand clamped firmly around the nape of his neck, pinning him there.
“Are you sure you’re not just going mad?” The words, barely a breath against his ear, smelled of earth and death and Zuko struggled, pushing against the wall with all of his strength. The oppressive weight against his back didn’t budge.
“Maybe you are going mad,” Jet said, delight in his voice, and Zuko shook his head frantically. “Maybe you know that you’ve done everything wrong: you’ve failed your uncle, you killed the Avatar, you helped Ba Sing Se fall. Maybe I‘m a figment of your imagination, conjured up to help you deal with your guilt.” Zuko felt the weight shift and this time the words puffed against his cheek. “That does sound crazy, doesn’t it. Perhaps I really am here, summoned to seek revenge for all that you’ve done.”
Zuko shook his head against the wall, feeling small, stinging cuts open on his face. “No…”
A chuckle. “Personally,” Jet said, “I’m hoping it’s a little of both.”
“No!” Zuko said, shoving backwards. He paid for it, getting slammed against the wall so roughly that his lower lip burst open, blood running down his chin. Pitiless hands grabbed Zuko’s shoulders and spun him around, pressing him back against the wall.
Jet’s eyes were bright, unholy as he stared at Zuko. “You should have joined me,” he said, the words a harsh whisper. “You should have come with me, left all of this behind.” He pressed closer, forehead against Zuko’s. “Now I’m joining you,” he said. “Everywhere you go, I go. Everything you see, I see.” Leaning down, he flicked his tongue over Zuko’s split lip. “I’m always going to be there, hovering over you,” he whispered.
Zuko tried to press backwards, to get away, but there was nowhere to go. “S-Stop,” he said, hating the stutter, the fear in his voice but unable to hide either.
Jet raised an eyebrow. “For now.” He slammed his mouth over Zuko’s, biting and chewing, sucking the blood there. Drawing back, he smirked with bloodstained lips and cold eyes. “See you around, Prince Zuko.” And he was gone with nary a wisp of smoke. And Zuko was alone.
Zuko panted, sliding down the wall until he was on the floor, knees pulled up to his chest. He stared at the little candle that fluttered and flickered, and quaked.
NOTES: Well, there you go. I hope the prompter likes it. :D