Title Chapter 12

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Indyira barely let Zuko out of his sight while they were at the air temple. He wanted to go with him to the fire temple but Zuko pointed out that he couldn't bend and therefore would be putting them in danger rather than protecting him. He and Aang made it back safely and Zuko regained the full power of his fire bending. Indyira rationalized that the eclipse must've thrown him out of sync. When he and Sokka were making plans to break into The Boiling Rock prison there was no way Indyira was going to let them go alone.

"Not this again. You can't coddle me." Zuko said as he crossed his arms. Sokka suddenly felt very uncomfortable - like he was intruding on something private. "Indyira you—"

"This time I can because you and pony-tail-boy over here have never been to prison." Indyira interrupted.

"And you have?" Sokka asked as he absently touched his hair.

"Yes." Indyira answered. "When I was twelve - Heno thought it'd toughen me up to have to fight for my life. He left me there for about six months. Paid a punch of the guards to look the other way if I was ever harassed by other inmates. And I was... a lot. Before I hit puberty I was very... girly looking." Sokka and Zuko just stared at him - speechless for a few seconds.

"Was there any part of your childhood that was happy?" Zuko asked.

"No." Indyira answered flatly. "I've been through a lot of horrible things that would break any number of people - even you. Despite how strong you think you are there is always someone stronger and faster. Someone more clever and definitely more depraved. So to save your smooth little asses - I'm going with you. This doesn't require bending - I know what to expect, from the prisoners and from the guards. And if necessary I can fight my way into and out of anything."

"Fine. Let's just go." Sokka hurried them along. Zuko had the air balloon up and flying within the hour and they were coming up on the prison by day break. Sokka looked at Indyira as he groaned into his hands. "You okay?"

"I'll be better on the ground." Indyira said. They all yelped when they started plummeting towards the prison - the air outside was hotter than the air in the balloon and they barely missed sinking into the boiling lake. They disguised themselves as guards but when Zuko was found out so was Indyira - he broke one guys arm and knocked another unconscious in the brawl he incited trying to keep the warden from having Zuko hauled away.

"I... I knew you shouldn't have come." Zuko stuttered as he tried to keep warm in the cooler. "Look where y-y-your bullheadedness landed us-s-s."

"So you would've been happier if I let them beat the crap out of you? Then I'd have to hear you complaining about how I stood by and did nothing." Indyira said. Zuko wondered for a moment why it didn't sound like he was cold. Indyira never seemed to mind frigid temperatures. But for him anything below seventy degrees was nearly too cold for him to function. "Just admit it was a mistake coming here, I'll skin that stupid water tribe boy for his stupid plan and we can get the hell out of here." They went silent when the door to the main entrance opened.

"Get the half-breed and the fire prince one at a time. Bring them upstairs to holding." Zuko stood up when two guards passed his cell. They went for Indyira first. He stood back and glared at them as they opened the door.

"Let's go." One demanded.

"No." Indyira growled. Zuko could almost see him in his head. Pressed to the back of the tiny cell in a defiant and predatory stance. One stepped in to grab him and the noise it made when Indyira kicked him back made Zuko jump. Several other guards came running in to help but it was a female guard that ended up taking him down. She scoffed at their attempts to fight him head on. When Indyira turned to her she simply landed a hard kick between his legs and ended the debacle. Everyone winced when Indyira yelped and crumbled to the ground - even Zuko. With him properly subdued they dragged him off. Not long after they came back for Zuko and he just put his hands up upon seeing the female guard.

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