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Closer: A:tLA

Series: Avatar: the Last Airbender
Word Count: ~6,500
Rating: R
Characters: Jet/Zuko
Summary: When the Dai Li come to arrest Jet for his Fire Nation rantings, Iroh saves him and Jet goes free. Later, Jet ends up with a job at the tea shop and kind of drives Zuko crazy.
Warnings: Semi-explicit sex.
A/N: Written for jin_fenghuang in the ridingthedragon exchange. I re-edited it and expanded it a little since it was posted there. My first time writing Jetko, and one of my longest oneshots ever! I had fun with this, and I'm glad it got me to write something because I feel like I've had writer's block for months. I realized today how little I've been posting here lately. Hopefully I can fix that, and be more productive.
Oh yeah, and after I wrote this I realized that the canon spelling of 'Li' is actually 'Lee', and I was gonna change it, but... I just don't really feel like it! So if that bothers you, I'm sorry.


"They're Firebenders!  You have to believe me!"  Jet's shouts rang through the streets, and the bystanders glanced at each other nervously.  A Firebender in Ba Sing Se was simply unheard of.

Zuko gripped the hilts of his borrowed swords tightly to keep his hands from shaking, trying not to let guilt or nerves show on his face.  His heart was racing and it had little to do with the intense fight he and Jet were in the middle of.  
The crowd behind Jet parted and a couple of grim-faced Earthbenders appeared.  Zuko could tell by looking at them that these soldiers meant business, and he felt a thrill of fear for Jet.  Sure, it was annoying to be attacked in a tea shop, not to mention their cover could have been blown, but this was getting too serious.  He didn't want Jet arrested.

Zuko looked desperately over his shoulder at his uncle- he would know what to do.  Iroh met his nephew's gaze and sprang into action, slipping into his charade of the gentle, helpless old man.  

He hurried over to the Dai Li, who already had Jet restrained.  

"Please, don't listen to him!  He doesn't know what he's saying," Iroh said.  He laid a hand on Jet's shoulder, as if to comfort him, but it also made sure that the soldiers couldn't whisk him away all of a sudden.  
"He's had a rough time lately.  Drank a little too much tonight.  Let us get him to bed so he can sleep it off," Iroh continued.  "We don't want to cause any trouble."  
The Dai Li conferred with each other through a few measured glances.  Jet was silent, unable to move much, and looked like he didn't want Iroh touching him.

The stone handcuffs around Jet's wrists crumpled, and he was free.

"It's late.  If he causes any more trouble, let us handle it," one of the soldiers said.  Iroh smiled and thanked them, offered them tea, while Jet rubbed his wrists and scowled at Zuko.  He gathered his fallen swords and put them carefully away.

"This isn't over."

Zuko stared levelly back at Jet's glare, even though his words had sent a chill down his spine.  What else would Jet try to do to expose them?

It occurred to Zuko that he would probably never, as long as he lived, have a quiet and peaceful life.
*

Things at the tea shop went mostly back to normal.  Mundane, boring normal, filled with steaming cups and thirsty lower ring citizens whose faces Zuko could never bother remembering.  A life of servitude didn't suit him, but for now it was better than sleeping in the dirt.  

He wondered sometimes where Jet had gone off to--maybe it wasn’t far.  There were days at the shop when Zuko would feel an unsettling prickle on the back of his neck, like he was being watched.  Sometimes things in the apartment would be moved when Zuko swore he hadn't touched them.  One day he found a piece of straw on the floor.  He told himself it was there accidentally, had probably clung to a pant leg, and he was being paranoid.

Then Jet showed up at the tea shop.  

Zuko didn't see him come in.  A big group of teenagers had sat down just before and Zuko was in the back, making their orders.  He pushed the curtain aside, tray laden with cups, and his eyes fell on Jet.  The other boy had obviously been waiting for him- as soon as their eyes met, the corners of his lips curled into a grin.  Zuko did not like the looks of that.  He turned away pointedly and wished that he was doing something that took more concentration.  
The entire time he served the table their tea -- and he took his time with it -- Zuko felt Jet's eyes boring into his back.  When he was done serving them, he meticulously wiped down a nearby table, stalling all he could.  
Jet's stare was infinitely distracting, and after a while Zuko couldn't ignore him any longer.  Pao, he noticed, was staring at this new customer with concern, possibly trying to remember where he had seen his face before.  Zuko didn't want Jet to start a scene.  He gave in and went to talk to him.
"What are you doing here?" Zuko kept his voice low.  Jet was still smiling and looking at him in a way that couldn't mean anything good for Zuko.
"Didn't you know that this place is rumoured to serve the best tea in the city?  Maybe I just wanted a cup.  Green, please."  
Zuko slapped the rag he still held onto the table.  
"You're not getting any tea.  Not until you tell me what you're really doing here," he said.

Jet considered him, his ever-present piece of straw twirling deftly between his lips.  

"Alright, I’ll tell you.  I want a rematch," Jet said.  Zuko scoffed and picked up his rag, flicking it over his shoulder.

"No.  I'm not fighting you again."

"Scared that I'll beat you?  Or, better yet, make you Firebend so that everyone knows who you really are?"  Jet looked far too cocky; Zuko only wished he could take him down a few pegs in a fight.

"I'm not a Firebender," Zuko said through gritted teeth.
 Constantly having to deny something that was such a deep part of him was growing tiring, and Zuko hated it.  Even when he was at home, with only his uncle for company, he couldn't bend.  It was for the best that they practised this restraint, especially if Zuko was actually being spied on, but he missed it.  

Speaking of spying.  Zuko spread his hands over the table, leaning in closer to Jet.  
"Someone's been watching me.  Going through my things.  That wouldn't be you, would it?"  Zuko gave him his best glare, and Jet met his eyes easily, still twirling his straw.  Their faces were so close together that the tip of it brushed Zuko's nose, and he pulled back, suddenly uncomfortable.
"It's you!"  

Pao's triumphant call turned many of the heads in the shop, and Zuko looked over to see him pointing dramatically at Jet.  The owner of the tea shop followed his finger over to their table, and jabbed it in Jet's face.

"You're that mad boy from that night, who assaulted poor Li and destroyed half my shop!"

Jet sunk down in his chair, eyes darting left and right, seeking an escape.  Zuko wouldn't let him.  Iroh had heard the commotion and wandered over; he stood next to Zuko and looked on. 

"I demand you pay for the damages!  You're lucky that Mushi vouched for you, but you're not getting away from me."  Pao tapped his finger impatiently on the table, just as Zuko had done a moment before, and rambled about broken tables and windows.  Jet looked more and more like a cornered tigerdillo with every passing damage.
"Look, I don't have any money!" he finally burst out, interrupting Pao mid sentence.  "So I don't know how you expect me to fix anything, but you should really be thanking me, because these workers of yours are F-"

Uncle stepped forward, to patch things over yet again.  

"You know, things are getting busier around here.  Why don't you give this young man a job, so he can work off his debt honorably?"  he suggested.
Pao looked like having Jet as his employee was the last thing he wanted.  But Jet, after shooting Zuko a satisfied look that he didn't understand, nodded and stood.
"That’s an idea.  I'll work off the damages."
Pao was trying to decide if he should argue.  "Well…Things have been hectic around here, not that I'm not complaining."  He gave Jet a once-over.  

"You're to be here an hour after sunrise tomorrow, and if you don't show up I will be pressing charges."  

Jet nodded again, his eyes on Zuko.  "I'll be here."  
The three of them watched Jet leave, and Zuko waited until Pao had gone to the back room before he rounded on his uncle.

"Why did you do that?  He attacked me!"  

Iroh was already busy clearing off a nearby table.  

"We need the help.  It really is getting busier around here.  I've heard so many compliments, word must be spreading," he said, pausing in his cleaning to indulge in a proud smile.  Zuko was still pouting.

"You two got along so well on the ferry," Iroh continued, turning to Zuko with a meaningful look.  "Maybe if you give him another chance, he'll figure out that we mean him no harm."

Zuko wanted to object, but he didn't know what to say.  He didn't know how to explain his strange feelings towards Jet to himself, let alone his uncle.  The two of them had a good time on the ferry.  They worked well together, and Zuko admired Jet's leadership.  But the strong interest Jet took towards him made Zuko uncomfortable.   He wasn't used to people being so forward, and after months of being on the run from the Fire Nation trying to avoid notice, any sort of attention felt wrong.    Jet had to have been spying on him.  If only uncle hadn't Firebended that stupid cup of tea.  Now they were supposed to work together.  Things could only go downhill from there.
*

To everyone at the tea shop's surprise, Jet showed up for work on time the next day.  Zuko had to give him props for his reliability.  Then he was put in charge with showing Jet how things worked around the shop.  
Zuko barely got by serving tea; he didn't know the first thing about customer service, and he rarely paid attention when his uncle talked about tea, so he knew little about brewing it.  

He took Jet to the back room and waved his hand around vaguely.  

"This is where we brew the tea.  Just keep it clean, make sure you're making the right stuff..."  He shrugged.  "There isn't much to it."  

Jet, who looked weird with an apron on instead of armor, hardly spared the room a glance before looking back at Zuko.

"I find it hard to believe that you turned down being a Freedom Fighter for all this," Jet said.

"Well, I did," Zuko said, annoyed.  He didn't want to have this conversation.  How could he explain to Jet that him becoming a Freedom Fighter would be completely hypocritical?

"I don't get it," Jet went on, leaning against the doorway and crossing arms.  "This isn't the place for you, Li.  You're meant for better things."

"Stop acting like you know me," Zuko said, hating that look Jet was giving him-- like he could see right through him.  He really was too perceptive.  But strangely, this time, Zuko didn't feel like he was unfortunate for attracting Jet's attention.  It was somehow flattering.

He swallowed, and attempted to steer the conversation into slightly safer territory.

"Even if I did join, what would there be to do?  No one mentions the war in Ba Sing Se.  Everyone is free here."  

"There's always a need for us somewhere," Jet said.  "It's just hard to spot sometimes because the people in charge want everyone to believe otherwise."  

Zuko could hear the morning rush starting in the shop-- Pao was going to need him soon.

"I'm not going to get into a discussion about politics with you," he said.  "We have to get to work."  Emphasis on the 'we'.  Zuko didn't want Jet slacking off.  

He grabbed a pot of tea at random but, before he could leave the back room, Jet reached out and snatched a handful of his apron, pulling him back against the door frame.  

"Lemme just get one thing straight with you," Jet said, pressing Zuko hard against the wood.  "I didn't come here so I could pay back that old man.  I came because you and I have unfinished business together."

Zuko didn't appreciate getting pushed around in his own tea house.  He shoved Jet away from him with a scowl.  

"I don't have any business with you." Then, tea in hand, he went out into the shop and started work, feeling Jet's eyes on his back the whole time.

*
Jet made a horrible employee.  He brought people the wrong kind of tea.  He never cleaned up tables.  He tried brewing tea once, and the result took them hours to clean up in the back room. 

He was always on time, and he never did enough to make Pao so fed up that he gave up on their deal, but if Iroh's tea hadn't been so good they might have lost a lot of customers.  

The one thing he didn't do was talk to Zuko.  Well, he talked to him as much as he had to- to relay orders or clarify something.  But there was no more cornering in the back room, no more piercing stares.  Jet never even tried to follow him home from work.  At first, Zuko was relieved.  Jet's attention made him uncomfortable with its intensity.  Zuko was busy enough with picking up the slack at the shop, which kept getting more popular, and he wouldn't have had time for the Freedom Fighters anyway.  

After closing down the shop one day, Zuko came outside to see Jet talking with the girl and boy that had also been on the ferry.  Zuko remembered their names after a moment- Smellerbee and Longshot.  Jet had his back to Zuko, but Longshot was turned so that he say him walking out of the shop.  When the other two noticed him looking, they stopped their heated discussion and turned as well.  Zuko got flustered by all the eyes on him and hurried away.

The Freedom Fighters came back to the shop every night that week.  Sometimes the conversations were friendly, and judging by the nostalgic looks on their faces they talked about old memories.  Zuko was envious of how at ease they were with each other.

There were other times, though, when Zuko saw them arguing.  Once or twice he was sure he heard the name 'Li' dropped into the conversation.  On those such occasions, he tried to hang around to catch more of what they were saying, but Uncle would always wonder why he was taking so long, or Jet would notice him and stop talking.

Smellerbee and Longshot might have been fed up with what Jet was doing, but they kept coming back to see him.  Ba Sing Se was a huge city, and there was plenty else for them to do, but apparently they weren't going to abandon each other over something like that.  Zuko didn't know what it was like to have friends that close.

Now that Jet wasn't breathing down his neck, Zuko had the space to come to realize why Jet was able to get that ragtag group to follow him.  Jet was charismatic.  He knew how to say exactly what people wanted to hear.  This came in handy at the shop when he forgot someone's order - they were so charmed with Jet that it didn't matter anyway.  Zuko wondered how Jet had learned to read people like he did.  

Then, he started to wonder what had happened that made Jet leave him alone.  Didn't he take the job to keep a closer eye on Zuko?  Wasn’t the whole point to find out if he was a Firebender or not?  Every day that Jet was civil, polite, and utterly distant with him made Zuko miss the time he had cornered him in the back room.  Zuko berated himself for it- he should be happy that Jet was leaving him in peace, he didn't need attention from that peasant- but he couldn't help how he felt.  Jet was the closest thing he had had to a friend in years, even if things were rocky between them now. 

  

Even Iroh had noticed that something was distracting Zuko.  There was no way Zuko could voice his feelings about Jet out loud, so he was becoming increasingly withdrawn at home.  Whenever Iroh asked what was going on, which was often, Zuko shrugged him off or gave a vague answer.  His head was so full of the things Jet said, or didn't say, he couldn't even give a good excuse for his behavior.

*

After a few weeks of the distance, Zuko had enough. This polite Jet just wasn't right.  

"Can I talk to you?" he asked the other boy.  The shop was closed, all the customers gone, the only thing that was left to do was clean up the tea that was left out.  

Jet, who was hanging up his apron, turned around and looked surprised.  

"Uh...sure."  

He followed Zuko outside, to the side of the shop, where they had some privacy.  

Once there, Zuko realized that he had no idea what he wanted to say.  He felt a little ridiculous for pulling Jet out like that- it wasn't like he had been doing anything wrong.  

Jet watched him expectantly.

"What exactly are you doing here?" Zuko asked, driven by the need to say something.  

"I'm...talking to you," Jet said, eyebrows raised and face teasing. 

"But you don't talk to me.  You act like you can push me around, like you can bully me into joining your group, and then you just stop talking to me?"  Zuko could hear how stupid he sounded.  But at least he was finally getting his feelings out in the open.  

Jet looked far too amused.  

"I thought that was what you wanted, Li.  You said you weren't going to be a Freedom Fighter."

"Yeah, but do you really expect me to believe that you're here to make an honest living?"  Zuko was becoming more agitated, while Jet leaned casually against the wall, produced a stalk of grass, and chewed it languidly.

"Why else would I be here?  I have to pay off my debt," Jet said simply.  

"That's not what you care about.  You told me."  Zuko felt very foolish, getting worked up in front of Jet's calm stare. "It's just…It's not what I expected," he finished lamely. 

 Jet quirked an eyebrow, no longer looking bored.  

"Not what you expected?  Or not what you wanted?" 

Zuko didn't like the way Jet was looking at him.  

"What are you talking about?  I don't want to be harrassed!"  Zuko heard his voice echoing around the alley, and lowered it quickly.  Jet pushed himself off of the wall, plucked the stem from his mouth.  Zuko went on.

"I don't understand why you'd-" 

Jet silenced him then, abruptly and completely, by pressing their mouths together.  Zuko was so surprised he could only stand there, frozen, while he felt the hint of Jet's teeth against his lower lip.

Jet pulled away just as quickly, replacing the grass between his teeth as he went. 

"How's that for unexpected?" he said, laughing at the blush that was spreading across Zuko's face.  

"So, you wanna be a Freedom Fighter, Li?"  

Zuko couldn't answer that.  He turned and ran from the alley, seeking the safety and comfort of his apartment.  

*
Zuko's apartment turned out to not be that comfortable- his uncle was there, and when he saw the look on Zuko's face he became concerned.  

Iroh, who had seen Zuko go outside with Jet, asked him what was wrong.  

"It's nothing," Zuko mumbled, trying to get the feeling of Jet's lips on his and the accompanying twisting of his gut out of his head.  "I'm just... tired."  With that, he crossed shakily to the bedroom, wanting privacy, and went to bed.  

*

The next day, Jet was at the tea shop when Zuko got there, which gave him a bit of a nasty shock.  He had planned on having a few minutes to himself to get his thoughts together, and Jet's stare that early in the morning was extra off-putting.  Zuko found himself staring back, his gaze more than once lingering on Jet's lips, and forced himself to stop.  He had been kissed before, but not like that, not by someone so intense, and it was hard to get it out of his head.

The morning rush of customers had started to trickle in when Jet cornered Zuko in the back room and kissed him again.  Zuko had been tying his apron on, and his hands were occupied, so Jet grabbed his chin and slipped a bit of tongue in his mouth.  

"You don't belong in a tea shop," he said against Zuko's mouth.  "But the apron sure looks good on you."  

Zuko was too stunned to move, again, even after Jet pulled away. He wrapped his own apron halfhazardly around his waist, and went back into the shop to start work.  

*

And so it began.  Zuko was no longer ignored- quite the opposite.  It seemed like whenever the two of them were in the back room together, Jet couldn't keep his hands off of him.  Zuko stopped keeping track of how many times they had almost gotten caught by Uncle or Pao, but they always managed to separate just in time.  The two of them became masters of looking innocent.  In all honesty, Zuko had no idea what Uncle might think of what the teenagers were doing- Iroh was always encouraging him to do this sort of thing, but it was always with girls, and Zuko had a feeling Uncle would have wanted his romantic rendezvous somewhere other than the cramped back room of a tea shop.  It was better to just be sneaky about it.

Zuko questioned, for a while, why he put up with Jet in his personal space all the time.  He could have easily made him stay away, but instead he found himself kissing Jet back -- it was more fun that way.

Maybe it was the thrill of it.  Zuko liked feeling the surge of adrenaline he got when he managed to get Jet away from him a split second before Pao pushed the curtain aside and entered the back room to fill a pot of tea.  

Maybe it just gave him something to do.  Wondering idly when their next tryst was going to be helped to break up the monotony of his days, and Zuko needed that sometimes.  

Maybe he liked the attention.  Jet loved to compliment him, and was never shy about telling Zuko what he thought or what he wanted.  Somehow, Jet's approval of his kissing technique meant just as much to Zuko as Uncle's approval of his moral fibre.  

And maybe the reason for kissing Jet back all of those times, for making up some bullshit excuse for them to 'brew tea' together in the back, for planning the best time to hide in the back room, was that Zuko had come to rather like Jet. 

*

Smellerbee and Longshot still came by the shop occasionally.  Whenever Zuko saw the three of them talking, he wondered if Jet had told them what he and Zuko were doing.  Most of the time they didn't linger long, and instead disappeared around the corner shortly after picking up their friend, so Zuko didn't have long to work himself into a nervous ball of self-consciousness. 

Jet usually left with them without a backwards glance, but one day he stopped and turned to see Zuko lingering in the doorway, where he was watching them walk away while he waited for his Uncle.

"What do you guys think about Li coming with us?" Jet asked Smellerbee and Longshot.  

Longshot's expression was hard to read, but Smellerbee looked Zuko up and down appraisingly.

"Sure, why not," she said gruffly.

"Hey Li!"  Jet called.  "Come with us!"  

Zuko was surprised to be addressed, as he had assumed he and Jet were supposed to act like they barely knew each other while in the public eye.  He looked back inside, where he could see his uncle and Pao talking.

"I should ask my uncle first," Zuko said, not quite sure if he wanted to tag along with them.  

Longshot quirked an eyebrow.

"I know.  He has some attachment issues," Jet said in an undertone.  Then he called to Zuko again, "Just tell him you're coming and let's go!"

Zuko hovered uncertainly in the doorway for a little longer, before finally deciding that if he was letting Jet grope him daily he should really be comfortable enough to spend an evening with the guy, and went to tell Iroh where he was going.  A few moments later, he was trailing after Smellerbee, surrounded by the last of the Freedom Fighters, and having the all-too-familiar feeling of being out of place.

*

He didn't have the faintest idea of where Jet, Smellerbee and Longshot went at night.  Jet never told any stories of what they did in Ba Sing Se or mentioned where he lived.  So Zuko followed and listened as they gave each other some good-natured ribbing.

"How long are you going to be stuck wearing that apron, Jet?"  Smellerbee asked.  

"As long as it takes.  Or maybe longer.  Maybe I have a thing for serving drinks to the masses," Jet said easily.

"I wouldn't say you have a talent for it," Zuko chimed in softly, still not entirely sure of his welcome.  Jet looked at him, false bravado diminishing.

"What's that supposed to mean?  I do a better job than you do; at least I don't forget the tea someone wanted right as I get to the pot."

Zuko frowned.  "What about that time you poured tea all over a woman's lap because some rich man came in, and you were staring at him?  I've never done anything like that," he said.  

Smellerbee stopped in her tracks and blinked up at Jet.  "You poured tea on some lady?"  

"Oh, it wasn't even that hot," Jet said.  "She got over it; she still comes back every once in a while."

"It's a good thing my uncle knows how to brew, or no one would ever come back with service like ours," Zuko added.  Jet laughed at him, a short bark of a laugh, and threw an arm around his shoulders.

"That's why I invited you out tonight, Li.  You deserve a break from that place."  

They turned down a street Zuko didn't recognize, but he walked on, unable to do anything else with Jet holding onto him.

"If it wasn't for Smellerbee and Longshot, I would have gone crazy by now," he continued.  "I think you're going to have fun tonight, Li."  

The four of them were walked through a ramshackle part of town, one hidden far away from the train tracks and mostly forgotten.  The streets were unevenly cobbled, some of the buildings looked as if they were about to collapse at any minute, and panthercats poked through alleys that were littered with garbage.

"I know it's pretty different than your uncle's precious shop," Jet said in Zuko's ear.  His arm was still around his shoulders.  "But this is the only place in the city where you can just be, and no one bothers you."

When they arrived at the abandoned house that the Freedom Fighters had set up camp in, Zuko found it hard to believe that Jet was trying to 'just be'.  The house was completely furnished, none of the stuff matching, all of it obviously stolen.  Jet reclined on an overstuffed chair and noticed Zuko's expression.

"Yeah, this is all stuff we liberated from rich people.  They don't miss it," Jet said, sounding a little defensive.  "We have to keep our skills sharp some way, and we have to make a living."  

It wasn't like he could return all this furniture to the owners.  Zuko only wondered how the three of them had managed to get an extremely wide table through the door.  When Zuko sat on a floor cushion nearby without comment, Jet relaxed and changed the subject.  

"Remember how it was on the ferry?  We worked so well together.  It was like you could read my mind."

Zuko didn't want him talking about that and remembering what had happened after.  He shrugged.  

"That was the first good meal I'd had in a while," was all he could think to say.

"But things are better for you now, right, Li?" Jet asked, leaning towards him in interest.  "The reason we came to Ba Sing Se was to get a fresh start, and I think we've got that.  I've been in worse places."  Jet had managed to find a piece of straw, and he chewed that as he brooded.  

Smellerbee and Longshot had taken their own seats across from them, and Longshot gave a grave nod.  

"I agree with Longshot," Smellerbee said.  "It's good that you were able to let go of that whole thinking-Li-was-Fire-Nation thing.  We never could have started over then.  You could be in prison instead."  

Zuko stiffened, fingers clenching on the cushion underneath him, and hoped no one noticed.  He forced himself to relax.  Those accusations were something Zuko had wished fervently for Jet to forget, or at least ignore, and things had been so peaceful lately.  He looked carefully at Jet's face, hoping that he wouldn't see a trace of the hatred that had been there the night of their fight.

Jet still looked contemplative, but he was no longer chewing on the straw.  Instead he was still, and staring at nothing in particular.  Smellerbee didn't seem to notice.  She was looking at Zuko with kindness, unaware of the impact of what she had so flippantly said, and as soon as he looked at her he had to look away again.

"I'm glad you're all not in prison," Zuko said slowly, because he felt like he should say something.  

Jet still wasn't looking at anyone.  

After a little while of fidgeting, Smellerbee stood, Longshot close behind.

"Are you coming out with us, Jet?" she asked. Jet finally snapped out of whatever thoughts he was having and turned to her.  It took him a second to figure out what she was asking.  

"Oh.  No, I think I might show Li around here a little more," he said finally.  Smellerbee's surprise that their leader wasn't joining in was quickly masked.  She looked at Zuko again, curiously this time, then shrugged.  

"Alright then.  C'mon, Longshot."  

When they were alone together, Zuko tried to look anywhere but at Jet.  It wasn't hard- the house was full of interesting things to grab his attention.

"You look different without your apron on," Jet said finally.  

"So do you," Zuko said, returning his stare.  Jet's expression was hard to read, but if Zuko had to guess, it would be amusement.  

"I don't think you ever told me how you got that scar on your face."  

That was a topic Zuko hadn't expected.  He frowned.

"You're right, I didn't.  It's not a story I like to tell," Zuko said.  

"I never asked before because I guess it would have been rude," Jet went on.  "We're all just supposed to ignore it, right?  Pretend it's not there, even when it's staring us in the face?"  He snorted and spat out his straw, and all of a sudden he was right in front of Zuko, practically in his lap.  

"Don't get me wrong, I think you're beautiful with or without it.  I just hate pretending."  

Before Zuko could come up with a response to that, Jet was kissing him again.  It felt very different from all of those times at the tea shop.  Jet's weight was on top of him, pressing him against the cushion, so that Zuko could feel all of Jet's hard angles and muscles against his own. 

"You can't be Fire Nation," Jet said when he pulled back.  "You hate the Fire Nation.  They destroyed you."

He wasn't giving Zuko a chance to speak; he just kept kissing him.  

"You're not one of them.  You're too much like me.  You hate them."  Jet was repeating himself a lot, but Zuko was fairly sure that he didn't even realize it.  When he felt Jet's hand against his chest, sliding into his shirt, he jumped.  His fingers were cold.  Jet was kissing his neck at the same time, licking behind his scarred ear, and Zuko gasped at the unfamiliar sensations.  He couldn't decide on what to focus on more: the hint of teeth along his jugular or the dance of fingertips against his stomach, and before he knew it Jet had his shirt completely open and his kisses were going lower.  

"Wait," Zuko gasped out, and was surprised at the huskiness of his own voice.  "What are you doing?"  Did Jet really want to be doing with with someone who was Fire Nation?

Jet's attentions to Zuko's chest ceased as he lifted his head.  

"What does it look like I'm doing?  I didn't think you were that sheltered."  

"No, that's not what I meant..."  Zuko could feel himself start to blush.  Jet's smirk when he saw his pink cheeks only made it worse.  

"Relax, baby," Jet said, pulling himself back up Zuko's body so he could kiss him properly again.  By now Zuko was lying stretched out on the floor, and Jet pressed their bodies flush together.  Zuko felt Jet's strong erection against his thigh, and heard the moan he made when Zuko moved against it.  Suddenly, what felt like most of his blood rushed southward to fill Zuko's own arousal, and things started to get a little hazy after that.  Any protests he might have had were kissed away by Jet while he worked at getting Zuko's pants off.  Zuko felt like his hands had a mind of their own as they reached up and flowed through Jet's hair, down his neck, and over his back.  By just pressing his fingertips in lightly he could feel the other boy's heat and the slide of lithe muscles, strong and solid against him.  

Fabric parted or was pushed aside, and Zuko felt fingers that weren't his own wrap around his erection for the first time. He closed his eyes and let his head thunk on the ground when Jet gave him a few slow pumps, and Zuko could feel the smirk on Jet's lips when he kissed his neck.  Zuko no longer cared who was Fire Nation and who was a Freedom Fighter, he just wanted Jet to keep touching him.  He had never realized how much he had been craving this closeness with someone else.

"Hold on," Jet said, withdrawing his wonderful touch.  

When he heard the rustling of more cloth, Zuko opened his eyes with difficulty and watched Jet's pants come down.  Then Jet was pressed against him again, skin to skin now, and Zuko surprised himself with the volume of his resulting moan.  He was mostly reduced to panting after that, but Jet whispered all kinds of sweet nothings in his ear while they ground their bodies together.  Jet kept calling him the wrong name.  Zuko grabbed a fistful of his hair and pulled him into a kiss to keep him quiet and to better focus on the amazing friction going on down below.  

They slid against each other perfectly, and when Jet reached down to help things along with his hand it was even better.  Zuko broke the kiss then and looked down, watched Jet bringing them both off, grabbed his hips to guide him to the perfect angle.  Zuko dropped his head and closed his eyes, so his whole world became Jet's body against his, Jet's breaths harsh in his ear.  He wished Jet could call him the right name.

When it was over, when they had brought each other to crashing, toe-curling climax, Zuko forced himself to sit up.  It was way too tempting to lay there on that cushion, maybe curl up against Jet's warmth, and forget who he was for a while.  But he couldn't do that.  

Jet had been the one to make all the advances, but Zuko felt like he had violated Jet somehow.  Sex under false pretenses.  This would have never happened if Jet knew who he really was, if Jet knew even half of it.  Things would have been so much easier if he really was an Earth Kingdom boy named Li.  But then, where would he and Jet be?  Zuko would have never had his scar, would have probably never even caught Jet's attention.

The fact was Zuko wasn't from the Earth Kingdom.  Jet couldn't know that, and this couldn't continue. Zuko tried to come up with excuses while he listened to Jet catch his breath behind him.  When he felt Jet's gentle hand on his back, he stood and re-arranged his clothes with as much dignity as he could muster.  Jet's lazy, happy expression vanished when Zuko moved away from him.

"I have to go," Zuko said.  

"Why?  So your uncle doesn't wait up for you?"  Jet asked with a scoff.  

"Yes.  And no."  Zuko was having difficulty tying his belt back on; Jet's eyes on him felt much more intimate than before.  "I can't be here anymore." 

He had almost reached the door before Jet grabbed his arm.  

"Woa, Li.  Wait!  I don't get it.  You didn't like what we did back there?"  

It would be so easy to lie, but when Zuko looked into Jet's face he found that he just couldn't do it anymore.  

"It's not that."  

Zuko sighed, trying to come up with the right thing to say without having to tell the truth.  

"So tell me."  Jet's voice was getting harsh and impatient.

"I can't."  

"Yes, you can.  I think I deserve some answers."

Zuko turned away.  "You wouldn't understand."  

Jet grabbed his arm and yanked him back.  "What wouldn't I understand?  That's garbage!"  Jet was angry, now, almost yelling in Zuko's face.

"Just leave me alone, alright?  Like you should have done in the first place, when I told you I wasn't going to join your group."  

Jet looked like he had been slapped, and Zuko felt horrible for it.  He softened his tone.

"You would have been better off not knowing me.  So maybe we should just forget about it."  

Something was clicking together in Jet’s head.  Zuko watched as sudden clarity dawned on him, horrible comprehension spreading over his features.  Jet backed quickly away from him.

You’re a Firebender.”  The words were barely a hiss, but Zuko understood them anyway.  The last word was tossed at him like an insult, hatred burning in Jet’s eyes.  

Zuko swallowed and met the hatred with a steady gaze.  

“I'm sorry.”  

Then he ran for the door and didn’t look back.


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(Deleted comment)
lepharus
Mar. 18th, 2012 05:41 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, I guess I'm just evil hahaha. c: Glad you liked it! your comment made me happy!

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