I felt compelled to do this. I couldn't help myself. Enjoy!
She was a myth. A fantasy. A ghost if you will. One thing he knew for sure- she wasn't real.
The citizens of Ba Sing Se were well accustomed to extraordinary. It was like second nature. It was to the point that they didn't even know what war was. They almost began looking for Dai Li agents lurking in dark allies, hiding from rooftops. They had grown up believing that nothing could break down their walls.
That is until, the Blue Spirit arrived.
He had not physically caused their great walls any harm (the drill doing that job fine) but he breezed right through them. He snaked his way into the Earth Kingdom and no one knew how. The Dai Li could never catch him. He never used bending to identify him from a nation. He always hid his face with a water demon mask. He was a shadow the way he stole through the night, not ever letting people get a good enough look. He was silent, not daring to let them hear the deep rasp of his voice. He was quick. No one would catch him.
The most frustrating part: he was one of them. He walked amongst them in daylight. He smiled, bartered with merchants, ate in restaurants, drunk tea. But he was never caught behind the mask. He was hidden in plain sight.
For a while the Blue Spirit sightings were all anyone could talk about. Then, one day, he just left. He had not cornered some thug in an alley. He had not robbed some Earth Kingdom delegate. The people of Ba Sing Se had to conclude that the Blue Spirit was no longer among them. Slowly, the excitement wore down.
On his travels from Ba Sing Se, he heard whispers about the Blue Spirit, always pleased with himself when someone spoke of him in awe, amused when they declared him an enemy of the Fire Nation. Just wonderful.
As he started towards the Fire Nation, talk of the Blue Spirit became scarce. It was someone else who was giving the people of this nation goosebumps on their skin.
Suddenly he found himself pressing people for information about this spirit. This Painted Lady.
"She's like a ghost, you know she's there, but you can't quite put a finger on it..."
"I've never seen her myself, but I know she's the most beautiful spirit in the world,"
"She heals the sick, brings the poor food. Always helping those in need."
"The Painted Lady is real, I know she is. No one's seen her, but she's out there."
And indeed she was. The Blue Spirit found himself right in the middle of a place she regularly visited apparently. The atmosphere was thick with anticipation. And something else. Something that hadn't been around when The Blue Spirit was in Ba Sing Se. Hope.
There was no question that these people adored this spirit. They put their very lives in her hands and trusted that she would heal them and make them whole. At first he thought them foolish for putting trust in such things. Then he saw an old women, lying on her death bed. He thought to himself, where is your Painted Lady while this woman dies?
The next day, the same woman was spotted in the market- whole and healthy. With an aged smile, she told the merchant, "She came to me last night. I know she did."
And at this moment, the Blue Spirit decided to find this spirit. To see for himself how real she was.
A night or so later, he picked up the old mask and placed it over his face, instantly feeling like another part of him was being reawakened. He felt confident that he would see her for sure. Besides, what made the Painted Lady so special that the people of this village knew almost nothing of the Blue Spirit?
Silent as the shadows, he stole over the roofs of building, jumped over tree branches, sprinted his way thought the market place to the edge of town.
He came across a deep pond. He could swim it, but didn't really want to. From his research, he learned that the Painted Lady was a river spirit. It would make sense that she be here. Right?
So the Blue Spirit sat and waited for her to come. It was nearing three hours after midnight when he heard it. The feather light footsteps. He looked up and saw her emerging from the trees on the opposite bank.
She was obviously the one this village lived for. She was wearing robes of deepest purple, with rope tying at certain spots. She had red markings over her exposed arms and a wide hat and veil covered her face from view.
He could tell she wasn't a spirit. But yet she was the Painted Lady that they spoke so highly of.
He jumped to his feet and she stopped dead. From under the brim of her hat and through the eye slits of her masks, the two locked gazes. He heard her breath hitch.
This ghost, this shadow, I had no idea he could possibly walk this same Earth. He's real. So why is he here?
They stood like that for a while, staring at each other. The Blue Spirit looked her over carefully, noting the pleasantly brown complexion of her skin, her flowing dark hair and her small, nimble form.
She stared at the man in front of her. Clad fully in black, and a white and blue mask, no skin was visible. But she could see the broad chest his shirt concealed. The strong arms that wielded the swords on his back and the confidence that seemed to roll off of him in waves.
When she saw his hand twitch, instinct took over. She bended the water in front of her and flung it at him in a shower of icy blades. He pulled his swords out and deflected them all but she had already disappeared. He glanced around widely, wondering where she could have possibly gone. He walked nearer to the edge of the bank as he considered this option. She was a river spirit after all, or pretending to be. She could have gone down their...
He recognized his mistake too late. And now she was rising slowly out of the water, freezing him in the process. He could not move. She had the ice up to his neck now and she continued to let the water push her up until she was eye level with him. He looked down to see her standing on the pond. She's not a river spirit. She's a waterbender.
She stared at her captive intently, trying to see past the mask. The Blue Spirit averted his eyes, so she would not see the gold glint and assume he was the enemy.
Steeling himself, he spoke for the very first time while in his mask. "Tell me Painted Lady, do the people who devote themselves to you, know that you are no more human than themselves or myself?"
She didn't miss a beat. "Tell me Blue Spirit, do the people you rebel against know that you're one of them?"
His throat tightened. How would she know this? He had been so careful as to not let people learn of his secret. The consequences would be more dire than that of that fateful day when he was just thirteen years old...
"You must know my identity then." he resigned himself to saying. The coldness of the ice was finally penetrating the layers of clothes he wore. But when she answered, it chilled him more than any ice cube could do.
"It's because I know who you are that I haven't killed you yet."
Then she raised her head enough so that he could see the blue orbs that stood out against her skin tone. Blue eyes that rivaled the ocean. The same blue eyes that had stared back at him defiantly when he stormed her villages so long ago.
Then she touched the mask gently, her hand in the same spot that it was when they were trapped under Ba Sing Se. She closed her eyes as if remembering that time.
When she dropped her hand, she raised them high above her head, causing a wave to come out of the pond and crash down over them both.
When the Blue Spirit had regained his balance from the impact of the water, she was gone. He reached up and to his horror found that his hand met skin instead. He looked around frantically but had to conclude that the mask was gone. Washed away by the girl who had once tried to heal him. He ran a hand through his black shaggy hair, his hand brushing his face in the process.
He nearly fainted right then and there. His blood ran cold for a moment.
His face was smooth and unmarred. Both sides.
After all this time, she had kept her unspoken promise. She had healed him. In more ways than one.
I'll continue on with it if I get
enough people who want to read what happens next.
I hope you all liked this story. I had always wanted
to do a Blue Spirit/Painted Lady fic, but I never
could wrap my head around my ideas.
Finally, I got it done! Let me know what you think!
Reviews are like water in the middle of the Sahara Desert.
Don't let me dehydrate! :D