This piece of fanfiction is based on Avatar: The Last Airbender (the original animated show, not the movie)
This is set six years after the coronation of Firelord Zuko. Jet and Zuko have an established relationship, but Zuko is forced into an arranged marriage. Feeling abandoned, Jet seeks comfort in the arms of another. Will their relationship survive?
Chapter One: Look
Look at me. Look at me. Jet stares straight ahead, through the crowd, at where Zuko stands under an archway of volcanic rock. An official stands besides him, wearing the sort of benevolent look he supposes is typical of someone who is about to conduct an important marriage ceremony. Jet wants to push the crowd aside and slap the idle smile off his wrinkled face. Don’t you know this is all a lie? Didn’t you see that your Firelord was happy before this stupid wedding arrangement? But mostly he wants to grab Zuko by the collar of his fancy robes and scream in his face. Why won’t you look at me? Just one small look, just the smallest hint of sorrow, regret, anger, whatever in those eyes would have been enough to comfort Jet.
Then, the gentle sound of a horn playing a slow melody, and all eyes turn around to watch the bride walk down the aisle. Jet, set on getting at least one second of Zuko’s attention, remains facing straight ahead. There are the expected gasps and whispered comments about grace and beauty as she makes her way down the aisle. Jet feels his fingers clenching and loosening at his side. Beauty is well and good, something Zuko has that he never will, but will she make Zuko laugh until he’s breathless, or fuck him until he screams? No. She’ll never be to him what Jet is. Was?
He feels a prickling on the side of his neck and turns his head to look. After a few seconds of blank staring, he recognizing the man who’d been watching him as Sokka, one of the Avatar’s friends. Jet’s surprised he is sitting up at the very front row with the Avatar and Katara.
When the bride reaches Zuko’s side, they hold each other’s hands under the altar. The gathered crowd sits. Jet sees the soft, happy look that enters Zuko’s eyes when he takes the hands of his bride, and Jet finds it hard to bend his knees and sit down. His stomach hurts. He feels sick. He looks back over at Sokka, to distract himself. The future chief of the Southern Water Tribe certainly looks different from when they’d first met, almost six years ago. He’d grown out of his teenage gangliness in a way Jet never had, and in addition to older-looking facial features, his shoulders had gotten broader and his arms were lined with musculature. He is certainly easy to look at, and Jet can register his attractiveness even though the pain of watching Zuko marry someone else. The thought causes a corner of his mouth to curve up, thinking of all the times his wandering eyes had caused fights between he and Zuko. He’d never really strayed of course, and the fighting had always led to fantastic make-up sex. If only this could be like one of those times. He’d be in my bed tonight instead of hers.
The thought of Zuko fucking his pretty new wife sends a powerful wave of nausea through Jet. He realizes that he is still staring at Sokka, who has noticed his attention and returns the eye contact with a smile.
Jet flushes in anger, though he’s sure Sokka will misinterpret that as well, and turns away.
The ceremony itself seems to last forever. Before, Jet had decided that would slip away quietly before the reception. It had seemed like watching Zuko pretend to be happy with his new bride would be the most painful thing he could experience. However, it seems to him that Zuko isn’t pretending to be happy with his new bride. Their kiss at the archway is anything but chaste, and his happiness seems genuine as they smile at each other and walk down the aisle away from the ceremony. Jet stares at the Firelord. Look at me. Look at me. But Zuko just walks right past with his new bride. So now he has to go to the reception, just to see if that happy exterior will crack. He follows the crowd from the outdoor ceremony site to the palace, and in the shuffle of the crowd he notices Sokka walking besides him.
“I wasn’t expecting to find you here.” Sokka says, smiling, “Last I’d heard of you, you were still recovering from your spinal injury after Lake Laogai.”
Jet grimaces. He doesn’t like remembering the agony or the painfully long recovery. He’d spent months that had felt like years re-learning to stand, to walk, to move in all the ways he had before.
“I’ll never fight like I used to.” Jet grumbles, not feeling particularly conversational.
Sokka, same as ever, simply laughs and keeps talking. “Well, fighting isn’t the way to solve everything. Why are you here, exactly? Are you some sort of ambassador or something?”
Jet can’t help but smile wryly. He can’t exactly tell Sokka the real story: he showed up as soon as his injury had healed two years ago, continually demanded to see the Firelord until they let him in, discovered that Zuko had felt the same spark of interest Jet had felt years ago in Ba Sing Se, talked Zuko into giving him some sort of bullshit advisory title, and eventually found his way into Zuko’s bed.
“I’m an advisor, the ‘Rebellion Prevention and Dissent Control Advisor.”
He can see Sokka trying not to laugh.
“I know. It’s a total bullshit title.” Jet catches a note of humor moving into his own voice.
Sokka shakes his head. “Not necessarily.”
They enter into the large reception hall, probably normally the site of royal balls and things of the like. The walls and floor of the room are black, but the fires burning in the sconces lining the walls keep the large room feeling warm. With a quick parting word, Sokka leaves to take his place at a table with Aang, Katara, and Toph, closest to the head table where Zuko sits with his bride. Jet sits at a table further back, with some of the other less important advisors and government officials.
He taps his fingers on the table impatiently, ignoring the conversation around him and trying not to stare at Zuko while he waits for someone to come around and pour wine. When they finally do, he downs the glass of deep red liquid quickly. When a plate of food is placed before him, he feels his stomach twist with the thought of eating. He pushes the plate away without touching it and asks for more wine. He drinks this glass more slowly, watching Zuko and his wife laugh together at the head table. He’d only met her once before the wedding. How could they have so much to talk about? He’s aware he’s staring daggers at them as he takes another sip, but he can’t seem to drag his eyes away. Zuko places his hand gently over hers. Jet forces himself to turn away.
Zuko’s hands. They aren’t soft as most aristocrats due to his years of exile, but they are always warm and gentler than Jet had expected. Jet can remember the feel of them on his cheeks, digging bluntly into his back, moving over all the most sensitive parts of his body.
Jet turns his glare to the other officials at his tables. These had been the ones who had forced Zuko to marry. Zuko didn’t want to…or at least, he’d told Jet he didn’t want to. They’d had two years together, not nearly enough time, two years of laughter and sparring and sleepy moments together in bed as the sun rose. They’d been careful, barely even touching each other outside of Zuko’s room. In a way it had been incredibly arousing, keeping all that physicality pent up until they unleashed it on each other in private, tearing at each other. At first the talk about them had been good natured. At least the Firelord has found a companion his own age to enjoy the end of his adolescence with. Look at those two, thick as thieves. As careful as they’d been, it’d been impossible for them to hide how they felt about each other. They couldn’t do anything about how they looked at each other. Whispers had started circling among the officials. It’s really time for the Firelord to settle down. The Firelord really needs an heir to secure his rule. Zuko had brushed them off for as long as could, but eventually they had gotten insistent, and he could no longer misdirect them without exposing he and Jet.
When the servants come around again, Jet switches out the wine for something stronger. It tastes strongly of cinnamon, and like most things in the Firenation, it burns. He loses himself in ordering more drinks and watching Zuko and his bride. It doesn’t take long for the room to start spinning. When he orders another drink, he notices the servant give him a wary look, but he’s just a servant, so he pours the drink for Jet anyway.
The music starts, and Zuko takes the floor with his bride. He spins her around him happily in a traditional dance, shooting small streams of fire to accentuate his movements. Jet thinks of the night before, when Zuko had gripped him tightly as Jet had thrusted into him again and again, both of their cheeks wet with tears. The whole night, Zuko had clung to him.
Jet stands suddenly from the table, and the other officials look at him with shock. Jet mumbles some sort of excuse and leaves, trying to make a quiet exit. He steals one last look at Zuko and his wife before slipping quietly out of the ballroom and down the hallway.
As he moves further down the hall the memories flood him faster, and faster. Before he knows it he’s half-running, half-stumbling down the hallway. He trips over nothing with a clumsiness that is nothing like him and falls against the wall. Crumpled up in the junction between floor and wall he bangs his fist against the black stone. Tears fall onto the stone and he angrily swipes them away. He tries to stand but his legs shake and do not listen to him.
Then he feels warm hands on his back. In a moment of senseless hope, he thinks that Zuko has come after him, and he turns expecting to face the Firelord. The face that stares down at him is not the pale-skinned Firelord, but Sokka. His blue eyes are wide in concern. Jet instinctively pulls away, but finds the alcohol has made him so weak that he cannot react as he’d like to. Sokka’s hands on him are strong. He pulls Jet to his feet and supports him, wrapping an arm around Jet’s thin waist. Jet, unable to stop crying, leans into him.
“Where are you taking me?” Jet asks blearily.
“That depends.” Sokka begins, “Do you remember where your room is? Otherwise I’ll just take you to mine.”
“Too many memories.” Jet mumbles, “Take me to yours.”
Sokka looks at him curiously but says nothing, helping Jet shuffle down the hallway until they reach one of the guest rooms where Sokka is staying. There is a guard in the hall who flashes them a suspicious look, but Sokka tells him he is simply assisting “Advisor Jet” before lugging him into his room.
Sokka helps Jet to the bed and lays him down. The bed sinks with his weight as his sits down at the end of the bed.
Sokka takes a deep breath and looks over at Jet.
“I know I was never the smart one, but I’m not stupid. There’s something between you and Firelord Zuko.”
Jet groans and pressing the palms of his hands to his eyes.
“I just want to forget all about him.”
Sokka moves further up the bed and pushes his hand into Jet’s hair.
“I can help with that.” He says, leaning in.