He's Our Leader
Summary: Katara and her friends ran, but he was their leader, they couldn't leave him. So they stayed, they suffered.
Author's Note: They deserve an ending. Happy or not.
"We're not going to leave you," Katara protested from the ground. Jet looked at his companions. Longshot gave his leader a grim look.
"There's no time, just go," Longshot looked up at them.
"We'll take care of him. He's our leader." He caught Katara's eye. Her eyes plead with his, don't let me leave him.
"Don't worry Katara, I'll be fine." Jet looked up at her. He smiled, but no one smiled back. The waterbender closed her eyes and fought the tears before getting up. She bit her lip wanting to say more, but just couldn't. She ran, followed by Aang, Toph, and Sokka.
"He's lying." Toph said gloomily to Sokka when they were out of an earshot. Meanwhile, Longshot drew out his bow and arrow ready to attack. Smellerbee dropped to her knees and cried upon Jet's chest.
"Don't cry 'bee, I'll be okay." She looked at him, tears running down her face.
"Oh Jet." She stroked his hair.
"Remember, we're fighters." Longshot glanced down at his leader.
"That's right 'bee, we're fighters."
"Forever." Longshot glanced down at the two.
"Longshot, the Dai Li," Smellerbee started. "They aren't coming." The stoic boy lowered his bow.
"Let's go." He bended down and helped Jet sit up. Jet coughed and hacked some blood.
"Just leave me guys, I'm going to die." Smellerbee looked at Longshot. Their eyes caught one another in conflict. Leave him and go? Stay here and die together? Go and bring him? After a body language battle, they nodded.
"You're our leader." Longshot said simply.
"We're never going to leave your side." Smellerbee smiled. She took Longshot's weapons while he hoisted the leader onto his back. Jet winced when his chest contacted Longshot's body.
"Let's go." The two fighters took off running. The retraced their steps to the entrance where Toph had made a rock stairwell going up it. Longshot struggled, but he carried on knowing he was the one that had to bring he's leader back. As the reach the top of the exit, Smellerbee raised her hand to stop her fellow rebel.
"Wait." She peeked over the top for cover. She noticed the Avatar and friends fighting the Dai Li.
"We better run, the Avatar can't hold the Dai Li for long." She motion for the quiet boy to run. They ran past the fight, past the rock formation, and stopped in the middle of the forest outside the Lake.
"Let's stop." Smellerbee commanded. Longshot nodded before collapsing on the ground before him. Jet grunted, his chest throbbing with pain.
"Longshot!" she screeched, running back to her friends. She carefully flipped Jet off of Longshot, gently laying him on his back. Then she turned her attention to Longshot. His breathing was just as shallow as Jet's, tired from all the running. She flipped him too onto his stomach. She took off his hat and placed it on the side near his head. She stroked the side of his head. He huffed through his nose and pressed his lips together looking up at her. He lifted his hand to hold hers. Then he turned his head to the leader, eyes widen in shock. She switched attention to Jet. She heart raced as she noticed his chest bleed profusely. There was a thick trail of blood seeping through his mouth.
"Jet!" She screamed, tears running down her face. His eyes, unfocused, stared into hers. She gasped letting go of Longshot's head.
"Jet, Jet, it's alright, you'll be okay." She cooed. He tried to focus his eyes on her, but couldn't.
"'bee?" He moaned. He coughed up more blood and the girl panicked. Her eyes completely soaked with tears, she started pounding on Jet's chest. Longshot got up and crawled to her side. Slipping his arms around her waist and head, he held her back.
"Stop it 'bee, you're going to hurt him." Whispering softly in her ear, Smellerbee obeyed. Her tears engulfed her cheeks. She began to beg the gods to spare their leader, her leader, her Jet.
"Please! Please!" She begged. Jet smiled humbly at her. Beyond her, he saw a light. Figures were walking towards him. He tried to fight the light and stay with his two followers, but he couldn't. Taking one glance at the two, he spoke.
"Longshot, you're the leader now. And 'bee?" She placed her head onto his chest and sobbed into his wound.
"Be a good girl." She looked up at him. On a sudden impulse, she hovered over him and kissed him. Longshot felt his heart breaking. Jet returned the peck. She pulled back.
"I love you Beatrice." He revealed her true name. The figures in the light were coming closer.
"It's Smellerbee. The name you gave me." He nodded and looked to the boy behind him. He raised a hand indicating him to take it. Longshot leaned forward and grasped his hand.
"Tell her Long." Longshot widen his eyes immediately caught on to what he was saying.
"Tell her for me. Tell her now." He urged his friend on.
"What's he talking about Longshot?" Smellerbee turned back. She lost her breath as she noticed Longshot's hard expression.
"Long…shot?" He placed both hands on her shoulders. His hard face softens, turning into a look of nostalgia and longing. He takes a deep breath and contemplates what he's about to do.
'Why now?' He asks himself.
'Because your leader asked you to, just do it.' His heart argued back. He looked into the younger girl's eyes. Her lips parts, unaware to what it does to him. His heart races as he leans forward closer to her face. She turns a light shade of pink.
"Bee." He whispers simply before closing the space between them. Her eyes widen in shock, but slowly, they start to shut memorizing his own closed eyes as he kissed her. The kiss is soft and chaste. She places her hands on his elbow and he tilts in closer into her. For a moment, time had stopped. Her tears stop flowing, and they forget their leader's condition. Jet smiles at the two as the two figures in the light began to emerge clearer. Their faces were still blurred.
"Finally," Jet murmurs as they pull away. They give each other a lovesick gaze, ogling one another. Longshot smiles at her. She giggles. Suddenly, a grim expression falls upon the male's face. Her eyes widen in shock as she remembers Jet's state.
"Jet." She groans. She removes one hand off Longshot and runs her fingers through Jet's hair. He takes her hand. She notes his humble smile and the tears begin to fall again.
"Finally." He looks beyond her and sees the figure's faces. It's his parents. They've come for him.
"Looks like, I gotta go."
"No Jet!" She bawls. She pounds lightly on his chest.
"It's time 'bee. Don't worry about me. Just worry… worry about each other." Jet smiles again. Tears streak the girl's face. Longshot looks at jet helplessly.
"You're the leader now Long. Take care of our princess." He commands. Longshot says nothing but nods.
"If you see her, tell Katara I'm sorry." Smeller bee leans back into Longshot, still holding onto Jet's hand as if transferring her life into him. Jet smiles at his fighters, and then he smiles at his parents.
'Time to go son,' says his father. His mother holds out a hand for him.
'We're proud of you.' His mother beams. Jet takes her hand.
"Bye guys." Jet squeezes Smellerbee's hand one last time. His hand goes limp.
"Jet! No! Jet! It's not supposed to be like this!" Smellerbee screams shaking their hands, but Jet's ears do not hear her. His body does not feel her. His eyes stare up at the sky, but they do not see.
"Come back! No, no, no… Jet…" Smellerbee turns back and melts into the silent boy's arms. She clutches onto his chest and soaks through his shirt with her tears. Longshot holds her tight and leans forward. He touches their dead leader face. He moves his hand to Jet's eyes and shuts them.
"Like he's sleeping." He mumbles. Smellerbee stops her sobbing to take one more glace at their leader. After a moment of silence, she continues to weep into Longshot's chest. They stay there for hours staying by their leader's side.
Five Years Later
Nineteen year old Smellerbee stared into her tea cup. Her companion, twenty two year old Longshot stared at her. She looked up him knowingly.
"'Bee, are you okay?" The Duke, now thirteen, asked his makeshift mom. She looked at him and patted the top of his head.
"It's just this day Duke." She replied. He smiled up at her and she smiled back. Nineteen year old Pipsqueak put a hand on the boy's shoulder. He looked up at the bigger boy. They were mourning. It had been five years to the date. It was the fifth anniversary of their leader's death. After Lake Laogai, the two had buried their leader in a makeshift grave within the forest. They returned to Ba Sing Se, settling into their own existence. They both gotten jobs to make ends meet. It was hard especially without their leader, but they had managed.
Over the years, they met up with some of their old fellow Freedom Fighters. First they found Sneers. Originally, he was going to come along with the three of them, but they had lost him during a storm. Though Sneers was sincerely sorry about the death of their leader, he didn't remain in contact with the two. After Sozin's comet, Smellerbee was helping with the clean-up of Ba Sing Se, she found the Duke and Pipsqueak. The air was tense when she and Longshot approached them. Before they entered the Earth Kingdom city, Pipsqueak had gotten into a fight with Jet. They quarreled for an hour, screaming at each other and physically attacking each other. In the end, Pipsqueak and the Duke left the group.
Upon meeting them again, Smellerbee invited them to have dinner with her and Longshot. The dinner was awkward, but when the Duke asked about Jet, Smellerbee disclosed the death of Jet. The Duke, being just a child, cried in Smellerbee's arms. Pipsqueak showed remorse, but didn't say anything. After their dinner, Smellerbee and Longshot took them to the grave. They stayed until morning bereaving the fallen leader. Afterwards, the two former members decided to live with the couple.
They became a family again. Smellerbee traded in her boy clothing and red make-up for the mother role. Being the only girl, it was obvious that she took over the matriarch task. Longshot, being the oldest and most mature, took the role of the father. Pipsqueak took the role of the older brother, protecting the family. Mostly, he was the mentor of the young Duke. As for the Duke, he was the only one of the four who didn't work. Since he was the youngest, it was decided but the older members that he would go to school. They settled into a peaceful life.
Now, on the anniversary of the death of Jet, they all sat in the Jasmine Dragon Restaurant together. No one had spoken a word for they were waiting for one more person to arrive. Iroh appeared at the table to drop off some dumplings. Smellerbee tucked her now long hair behind her ear.
"Thank you uncle Iroh." Smellerbee spoke delicately. After the fall of the Phoenix King, Iroh had resumed his place as the owner of the Jasmine Dragon. One day, two years after the end of the war, Longshot happened to find the place. Iroh had immediately recognized him and invited him to a free dinner. Longshot asked Smellerbee to join him. They had a private dinner with Iroh. They confided in the wiser older man about their old and new life. He gave them words of wisdom, and in return they called him uncle. 'Bee took a job as a waitress at the restaurant.
"It's on the house." He smiled to the party. They returned the gesture. Pipsqueak and Duke immediately dug in, but the other two refrained. They didn't have an appetite. They never did on this day. Longshot looked at his wife. They had wedded on her sixteenth birthday, the legal age of consent in Ba Sing Se. Iroh had walked her down the aisle. Only he, Pipsqueak, and Duke were present at the ceremony, the same for the reception. It was a small affair, but nonetheless, the happiest in their lives.
"'Bee," Longshot whispered. She looked up at her husband. They had a silent conversation through their eyes. She crawled over to the his cushion where he make room for her. She sat by his side. He wrapped his arm around her thin body and held her close. The four of them sipped their tea in silence awaiting their fifth constituent.
"Hello." The four looked up to see a familiar waterbender standing before them.
"Katara, hi." Smellerbee stood up to shake the water bender's hand. The blue-eye girl took her hand. They sat down together and Iroh bought her a cup of tea.
"Thanks for coming." Katara nodded.
"I'm sorry for not meeting up with you guys sooner." She apologized. Longshot shook his head.
"Don't be," 'Bee smiled softly. "You had obligations to attend to first. Don't worry about it." Secretly, Smellerbee thanked God that Katara didn't bring Toph because she was lying. She couldn't forgive Katara for leaving them and not coming back. She knew that she shouldn't be mad, but she couldn't help it.
"I think about Jet all the time. I regret not being able to make time to see you guys."
"Like I said Katara, don't be, you're here now." There was an unnatural silence.
"So is Toph here too?" Duke asked. The others chuckled knowing his crush on world's greatest earthbender.
"No, I'm afraid she's with Aang in the Western Air Temple." She smiled.
"Oh, Aang didn't come either? Does that mean Appa's not here?" The boy was curious.
"I flew with Zuko, he wanted to visit Iroh." She merely replied.
"Would you like to pay your respects to Jet at his grave?" Smellerbee interrupted. Katara nodded. After a small debate, it was decided that only Longshot and Smellerbee would escort Katara to the grave. They walked silent to the burial site. They had buried Jet by a large tree. He always loved trees. In the trunk of the tree, Longshot had craved 'Jet' and underneath, 'A Freedom Fighter'. Katara kneeled in front of the fallen soldier and began to pray. She prayed silently for a long time. Smellerbee place a hand on her shoulder. Katara started to cry.
"I'm sorry Jet. I'm so so so sorry." She whispered sobbing into the ground. Smellerbee fell down next to her and took the older girl into her arms.
"He was very sorry for what he did." Longshot said. Katara looked up at him.
"I know. I should've forgiven him." She cried. Smellerbee patted her back.
"Katara." The rebel placed both hands on her shoulder and pulled her back. She looked her in the eye. She wanted to slap the other girl, but instead she ranted.
"Jet wouldn't want you to cry for him. He didn't die in vain. You and the Avatar won the war. Jet would be happy. Don't cry for him. Just celebrate him, celebrate his life. Don't weep because he's gone, smile because he was here. He played his part; he may have died in the process, but he did what he had to do. So stop crying." Katara looked at her. She noted the changes in her. She was no longer the scrawny teenage girl who looked like a boy. She was now a woman with her light make-up and long brown hair.
"Okay." The waterbender whispered. She smiled at other girl. Smellerbee sighed and returned the smile.
In the spirit world, Jet sat with his parents watching the scene at his grave site. He laid on his head on his mother's lap.
'Is that her?' His mother asked.
'Yeah, she's quite the girl.'
'Well, she forgives you.' His father interjected.
'I know. I can die happy now.'
'You are dead,' joked his father. The three of them broke out into laughter. Jet smiled brightly as he watched his fellow Freedom fighters smiling with the girl he loved.
Happy? Not? Oh well, the end I thought they deserved.