Senna slowly opened her eyes assuming she was still in the Spirit World hugging Uncle Iroh. However viewing the powder color tulle right towards, she couldn't grasp where she was or if she'd come back. She lifted her right hand, tried to compose fire flames, which resulted in success.
"I came back to the real world." She muttered still in confusion and increasing questions in her mind, looking at the sides of her hand.
"Are you okay, princess?" Mako kindly asked, approaching the bedside little from his chair, with risen brows, endeavoring to understand her actions.
Senna automatically turned her face to his side instantly lowered her hand. She pressed both hands on the bed and speedily pushed herself up, already forgetting her wounds, made her groan slightly, yet she didn't accept the failure or attempts by him to help her, she got up in and sat downturned at the edge of the bed and placed her hands on both sides of her body.
"I-How long have I been sleeping?" She contemplatively asked to comprehend everything, eying the ground.
"An hour probably." She rose her brows in shock.
"An hour?" Her eyes blankly slipped up at her hands, composed tiny fire flame. "I'm sure I spent at least four hours in there."
Mako questioned her sentence, still not able to give any meaning to anything she'd been doing or saying since waking up. "Four hours? What are you talking about?" They made eye contact Senna exhaled breath or strangely feeling relieved to see him. However, Mako was still able to see the confusion in her eyes. She shook her head.
"Nothing...What are you doing here?" Senna jumped into another question, not expecting him to understand something she'd almost no idea either. Mako stood up, cautiously sat down next to her.
"Lord Zuko asked me to accompany you..." She didn't listen to the rest of the sentence as now absentmindedly muttering the name.
"Lord Zuko..." Senna put her hands to her forehead and moved it back to the backside of her head, pulling her forelocks away from her face, repeated a few times since trying to pick and figure her thoughts.
She suddenly remember his friendship with Avatar Aang, who was supposedly a bridge between the real world and spirit world, that she assumed the Avatar must have told even a piece of information to her grandfather that could be useful for her to understand her state.
"I have to see him." She pressed her palms on the bed and hastily attempted to stand up regardless of the pain. On the other hand, instantly noticing her movements, Mako speedily placed his hands on her shoulders, made her sit.
"Princess I think you shouldn't-" Senna pushed away his hands with hers, didn't let him finish.
"Don't touch me!" Her shouting made Mako astonished, since not able to reason her sudden sharp attitude. He just watched her, waited till she got up, walked to the edge of the bed with holding its side, and then one of its columns erected each corner; her hands grabbed it firmly become even lighter.
Despite her warning, Mako approached her side in case she could black out, held both of her still-cold hands and turned her body to him to convince the princess to stop and rest. "You should stay here. Your wounds are still not fully recovered, and you could see Lord-" Senna didn't let him finish, harshly torn her hands away from his, lifted his forefinger as the other hand was now grabbing and pulling from his collar to find her balance. Mako confusedly looked at her with widened eyes, saw the obvious fire in her eyes just like his first day of guarding her in Republic City.
"Listen to me carefully, detective. You have no idea about my potential, yet you never avoid standing against me or crossing my boundaries all the time. I can tolerate that for a while but if you force me too much, you will have to encounter the consequences that I'm sure you won't like." Senna pushed him away, enough to make him stagger back a few steps even if she was injured as shouting. "Now get out of my sight!"
With her frigid thick tone emphasizing words one by one and frowned face, Mako easily sensed the capacity that she could burn him anytime she wished regardless her current state and knowing he wasn't wanted now with her clear point. Therefore, he didn't react or follow her but just watched her, still ready to run if she staggered.
Even after he wasn’t able to see her anymore, he kept standing in the same position for a few minutes, not knowing what to do. He suddenly recalled the picture which he drew last night before deciding to come there and see her and took it off from his pocket. He laid his eyes on it, recalled he took it to give her after the nervous-ended breakfast to moralize her. He slightly smiled. As he wrote her in his first letter, he wanted this journey full of happy memories, her laughing, but now it seemed far away, even impossible.
Mako put it on her bedside table and put her buckle on it to stop it from flowing and silently left the room.
"Grandpa!" Senna briskly ran to her grandfather's office regardless of the pain in her belly with trembling body getting support from her hand leaning to the wall.
With his granddaughter's concerned voice, Lord Zuko easily surmised there was a problem. He speedily walked outside, then to her side, softly grabbed her hands. “Senna, what's going on? Where is Mako? Are you okay?" She looked up at his concerned face.
"Grandpa...I-I went to the Spirit W-World." She stated spasmodically. "I-I saw U-uncle Iroh." He instantly reacted, shocked with widened eyes.
"You...how?" Senna tore her hands from his and tried to explain the situation by using them.
"I don't know. I was lying down on my bed thinking about Azula, then lounged and...Bam! I woke up in there." He pondered for a few seconds but decided not to share the thoughts inside of his mind before understanding the situation thoroughly.
"Let's go inside so that you can tell me everything."
With Lord Zuko's leading and help, Senna sat down on the couch, speedily drank a glass of water, struggle to regulate her breath since having run there from her room. He patiently waited with slowly fondling her back to calm her down, then attentively listened about her journey to the Spirit World...
"Hah...Uncle..." After hearing all the story, he muttered right after but didn't continue. He put his thumb and forefinger on his chin, cogitated what he just heard with his granddaughter, now impatiently waiting for his answer as viewing the scratches on her hands, moving her fingers in harmony on her knees.
Lord Zuko protected his silence for a few minutes because he had almost no idea about Spirit World except what he heard from his friend Aang or read from books. However, one thing he was sure of was that there had to be a reason for this journey...What if his sister was there? He assumed it the seemingly impossible since if someone’s spirit is not fully cleansed he or she had no place in there except in The Fog of Lost Souls and it was impossible to go outside or call someone from there. Also if she'd been, then she was supposed to see her not his uncle. There had to be a reason...
"Maybe you should listen to him and have a trip to the Ember Island." With her grandfather's sudden conclusion, she instantly shook her head.
"I don't think I can face it." Senna just looked up at him with undecided eyes that Lord Zuko concluded before anything, first he must convince her. He held his hands, fondled softly with eye contact.
"Senna I know this is hard enough for you. Believe me, I do but I know he is right about this, also..."
"Also what?" She asked stiffly knowing nothing good could come after this.
"Today, I received a letter from Tommy conveying that Zoe was really worried about you after your injury." Senna speedily squeezed his hands concerned with widened eyes awaiting his answer.
"Nothing's happened to her right?" He shook his head with an appeasing smile.
"Don't worry, darling. She is fine but just sleeping and eating too little." She exhaled a breath of relief as he continued to his speech. "Also, you should take the Team Avatar with you too. You know they came here for vacation and so far they've seen nowhere except inside of the palace." Senna broke the contact with his eyes the same color as hers and stood up with a stiff face even admitting she already lost her chance to look strong.
"I'll think about it...Thank you, grandpa." Lord Zuko moved up right after her, didn't answer first, but hugged compassionately and carefully not to hurt her.
Senna reached the room by herself regardless of his grandfather's insistence to accompany her. Taking the necessary equipments to change her bandages on her back and arm, she walked to the dressing room right beside the bathroom, to change her clothes to see Druk. She reckoned her to have a use in helping her decide depending on her past chats with her. She brooded her as taking off her rape of nightgown, then the bandages with slow movements.
Druk'd always had a special place in Senna's heart. Since her childhood, she'd been used to sitting towards her and sharing about her life or nuisances for hours, with a sense from inside that Druk was carefully listening to her with her eyes and the emotions she felt from her not knowing how or why at that time. However, If an outsider'd seen her, he or she would have certainly theorized she was crazy, speaking with a dragon surely wasn't an ordinary thing, yet this was their communication style with her breaths, heartbeats and emotions she felt from her, and slight roarings as an answer.
This relationship was easily noticed by everyone but especially and firstly by her grandfather, which led her to discover the Dragon's Fire flowing inside of her veins, enough to explicate the reason for her connection with dragons, yet how they understood her or reach her was still in darkness, mystery. Still, right now, Senna was up to receive her support, approval about the journey Uncle Iroh'd advised since especially after Azula's death she had no one to open herself freely without being afraid of being judged, except Druk and the ancient dragons.
Leaving just a clean bra and knickers on her body, she walked through the full-length mirror at the right corner of the room, firstly viewed her wounds from belly and arm, then light skin with full of scratches, and checked them if they were open.
Her eyes easily filled with tears. It wasn't because of her messy look, she knew that most of the scratches would wipe out in just a few days, but because of the feeling that all she'd achieved was in vain. All the fights she gave for her nation, for her life, against Red Lotus, her people...Physically or mentally all concluded with nothing when she lost towards Noah...again. She didn't want to go deeply into the reason why she couldn’t fight properly, maybe afraid of confessing. She just stood against the mirror for a while, viewed the tears moving down to her cheek and her light-skinned body. Again and Again. She badly wished to remember this woman. No! She had to remember her. A woman with wounds, scratches, suffering for years so that next time, she could find him, not stand weak against him, beat him, and finally kill him...
Senna felt the squeezing fire through her veins and rising temperature that she knew she should stop brooding more if she didn't want to burn the palace. Also, it wasn't mentally healthy for her to regain her normal body temperature with pain or anger. It should be because of love, happiness that she had no idea how and where to find.
Hardly achieving to close her wounds firmly with bandages and wearing a short-sleeved red long satin dress, Senna walked to her bedside table to take her gold buckle, planning to tie up part of her hair, yet saw the painting on her bedside table. Forgetting about the buckle, she grabbed the picture and lifted little to see clean.
The backside was full of tones of dark yellow and brown, and right in the middle of it, a knelt man was holding a woman tightly in his arms. The blood was flowing from his hand on the woman's belly, from her back and arm, enough for Senna to understand the woman was her and the man was Mako. She hardly achieved to recall before closing eyes in the Sun Warrior Island, their conversation, all these emotions, everything. He was with her till the last second endeavoring to help her in every way he could, in obvious concern that she would die. Her heartbeats increased in pure content, confessing she should be thankful to him, whereas she shouted to him disdainfully. Even still assuming he deserved it since crossing her boundaries countless times, she still believed she should apologize from him. However, first, she had to find him.
Since she couldn't lift her right arm due to injury, she left her hair open, on her back, put on a slight and quick make-up just to hide the scratches on her face, and colored her lips with a light red tone. Then, she first walked the corridor where the Team Avatar's room was supposed to reside, asked one of the guardians from the entrance about the detective, and received the answer that he took some papers and pencils, walked to the garden.
Reaching there, Senna saw him sitting alone in the garden behind Druk's back and drawing. She absentmindedly rose her brows, surprised to see Druk's letting a stranger sit with her alone. She silently walked to Druk first, touched between her eyes and closed hers for a second to feel her throughly, tell her that she was okay. Then, her eyes slipped down on Mako. It was the first time she’d ever seen him drawing and wasn't exactly what she'd imagined. His movements were fast as if exactly conscious of what or how to use his pencils, as well as his speedily breathes and heartbeats, she could feel, but still, he achieved to put a normal face contrasting everything he was showing with other behaviors. She admired his zest, likening it to the times when she fire-bent and wondered what he could be possibly painting right now. However, before even she could see it, Mako heard the dragon's breath of relief and concluded somebody was on the front side of Druk. He speedily hid the paper he was working on and put out a plain paper.
Senna looked at the papers on his legs beforehand, but they were all empty, white that she realized he sensed she was there.
"May I sit?" She asked as approached his side. Mako slowly laid his eyes to the right side, on her that enticed him in a matter of seconds, but since realizing her questioning face, with eyes still on him, he answered, stammering.
"O-Of course." Senna slowly knelt then putting her legs up leaned back to Druk with a wry face due to her pain and inanely waiting for help from him contrasting with the morning. She turned her face to make eye contact with him, yet he was just looking down playing with the red pencil.
"I guess you gave up offering help." She voiced desperately smiling. "I must have frightened you." However, what she felt was telling her the opposite that made her smile shortly wither.
With her gloomy voice, Mako instantly turned to her side, met the ambers, needed to explain himself. "No, I just-" Senna looked up to the sky, the obvious confusion easily appeared from her voice didn’t let him finish.
"I had a bad dream... actually not a dream...a reality or..." She exhaled her breath with a small fire flame. "Whatever, I got tense and took it out from you. I'm sorry."
Just like her, Mako turned his face to the sky. "Sounded familiar." Mako smiled to soften the area. "I guess I was a little persistent too." She didn’t answer right after, yet then it was out of the topic.
"How did Druk let you in to her zone?" Mako first couldn't grasp that it didn't take long.
"I don't know. I attempted to feed her before drawing and although she hissed yesterday in our first trying, today she easily let me." Senna just nodded making no contact to test him, comprehending from his intimately honest tone that he was telling the truth.
A silence fell over the garden and Senna closed her eyes, waiting for Druk to understand her thoughts and answer her. However, suddenly remembering his drawing, she rapidly took the drawing out and put it between them. With her movements, Mako turned to her side with a questioning face soon softened, he slightly smiled.
"You saw." She reciprocated his gesture with the same face, making eye contact with him, but took it short and looked down at the picture.
"I didn't know I looked that beautiful when injured. I thought I looked like shit." She pointed the woman in the man's arms made him giggle. He fully turned to her, crossed his legs.
"I might have added some changes to make my piece more precious." Senna sarcastically laughed back at him.
"Your arrogance always stays alive detective."
"Always." Senna coughed to regulate her voice with a desire to continue their conversation.
"As you offered in the letters I thought maybe you could show me some basics about drawing and when my belly gets better, I could show some tricks in fire bending as I offered." He didn't answer first, just put his papers and pencils between them.
"With a pleasure..." He took a paper, placed it on a rectangular piece of the wooden smooth file, he'd bought to draw a picture from Republic City, reached it out to her. "First let's see your capacity. Tell me what you want to draw. It could be anything." She nodded obediently, her eyes strolled all around the garden, ended on him. She shrugged.
"The only thing I could draw is you right now." Mako rose a brow with acrimonious titter on his lips.
"Me? You're playing too high, Your Highness. Depending on what I read in the letters are you sure you can?" Senna pouted just as a little kid.
"You said you wanted to see my capacity. On this occasion, I think this is the best way to do it." Mako rolled his eyes in joy approved her.
Senna turned her body to him and positioned her legs just like his. She took the file and started drawing him trying her best to make it beautiful. However, his eyes carefully watching her movements was enough to increase her heartbeats just like his and as well as her tension.
"I shouldn't have said that." She muttered, thinking she wasn't heard, but it wasn't the case.
Mako slightly smirked, now hardly holding himself from drawing her face right now. It was changing due to the parts of the painting. In some parts she beamed, Mako assumed they were probably the parts that became easy to her but generally frowned likely because of the hard parts. She sometimes stopped, analyzing the picture carefully for a minute and then quickly continued.
She looked nothing alike that woman who was about to burn him before. Now, she was like a little kid. Once again Mako acknowledged that she was surely a volatile person which could cause a great amount of trouble in her in life and actually for him and people around her, but still, it didn't cease his drawing zest against her which actually made no sense, much he experienced, since generally the whim revealed when he looked at the objects or the scenery, generally related to his emotions or past, then he found himself against the paper. However, now, he desired to draw each of her smallest movements till impossibly nothing left to do it. He kept carefully looking at her face like memorizing, probably to draw her later at night.
"Now close your eyes, detective to see my masterpiece." Mako nodded, obeyed her request with the same smile since the beginning.
Senna blissfully turned the file to him and put it on his legs. As soon as she did, he automatically opened his eyes and examined so-called himself on the paper. He hardly saw the body of a man, hair or tangerine eyes, and it was hardly looking like him or even a human. He struggled to hold himself but couldn't, that he burst out laughing.
"I was hesitant at first, but now I should thank you for choosing to draw me because you're a lost cause." Senna rose her brows with this unexpected answer, wrinkled lips in disappointment and soft anger.
"Why? I tried so hard for this." Viewing her face Mako's laughter widened hardly enabled him to speak.
"Are you sure you looked at me? Because...this man doesn't even look like me and...even doesn't...look like a man." He kept mocking that enraged Senna. She harshly pushed all pencils to the side of the garden like a spoiled kid but left a pencil in her hand. Moving closer to his side, she began narrating by pointing each body part with the pencil.
"Why not? Here is your body slim but muscular, your tangerine eyes generally seem to be in deep thoughts, black hair like coal, original eyebrows, your jawline, and the part I worked the most: your arm with a scar like a tattoo." Mako watched and listened to her with a grin smile on his face, pleased to notice she did study in him in their interactions and still remember.
However, his feature annoyed her more to ignite her to bet with him. "I saw you drawing something before. If you're that talented, then show me." Senna made eye contact with him trying to stump him. He again saw the fires but it didn't scare him. His laughing turned into cynical giggling.
"I believe you know how skillful I'm with the two drawings I've given to you so far." However, he was one step forward from her; Senna figured she was outwitted. She rolled her eyes but with no intention to give up.
"Then I'm ordering you as the princess. Show me the picture." Senna crossed her arms, voiced with a strict tone.
"Sorry, princess, but I don't have to obey your orders," Mako stated in joy, for a few moments forgetting she was the princess, which made her frown and raise her anger. She pointed down with her forefingers.
"You're in my palace, in my garden, sitting beside my dragon. Of course, you have to obey my orders." Now Senna was sure to have baffled him, soon he showed she was wrong.
"Then as you told me, I'm really fond of breaking them." Her mouth unwillingly opened little since no one could be able to talk to her like this, yet shortly closed, recalling that was what he usually surpassed.
"You surely are." She looked away, unsatisfied. "Whatever, I don't care anyway." She harshly reached the file to him, but with the pouting face, Mako easily grasped she was lying.
Even if feeling hesitant, he took the unfinished picture of her watching the sky yesterday the night when she woke up, slipped her body closer to hers, yet hearing Bolin's voice enthusiastically calling the princess, he had to give up on his intention and hid the paper between the others.
Senna slowly stood up, not interacting with him in any way, walked to the crew, as Mako followed after picking up his stuff.
They started chatting about their short tour to the palace and Senna's waited till Mako's arrival to ask their opinions.
"It is beautiful and amazing that it contains the history of almost all Fire Nation," Asami stated in delight in her voice. "Though, the Hall of Fire Lords is a little intimidating." Senna chuckled at her statement.
"Fire Lords can be intimidating." The group laughed softly at that Senna slightly coughed to continue. "Today I planned to take you to the capital square where all shops and restaurants are located. I want to give you a good taste of life in the Fire Nation and especially in festivals."
"But you're injured." Bolin subsequently objected that others agreed with him.
"It would be just strolling around, nothing much or including danger for my wounds." Senna paused. "Also because of me, you've been stuck inside of the palace and you must be bored. So from now on, I must treat my guests well till the end of their journey just as I've planned."
As the Team Avatar was attempting to object again, stating they could go out later, and advised her to rest, Senna heard Druk’s slight roaring, comprehended she confirmed Uncle Iroh’s advice. However, she wasn’t sure, needed time to think.
Senna kindly rejected all objections of the crew and request them to get ready and meet up with her at the gates of the palace in thirty minutes to create some time for herself to ponder.