A/N – Two things, 1. The following story begins what will be the series of one-shots chronicling the World War 2 in the world of Avatar. I am happily ready for what will take place.

And 2. They call the following a crossover: I'm writing this fic while listening to a My Little Pony song, Friendship is Magic, not that 80's shit.

And there's my blatant advertising! Enjoy the fic…

Title – Lotus of Gray

Rated – PG-13/T

Summary – Sokka and Azula have both made it out of the prison, and find themselves on the run in the Fire Nation. They make a stop in Iroh's tea-shop looking for company. Are they welcomed with open arms, or is Iroh one to hold old grudges?

Other Note – Piece by piece, snip by snip, crou-da-grage, shoulders hip, fold by fold, primed and press, yard by yard, always stress, and that's the art

I had to go back three times to get that. And now I'm listening to "Ridin'" TRANISTIONS!


It's a rainy night in the Fire Nation. The war in the Northern Water Tribe has been followed by everybody, and the utter failure that was the involvement of the Fire Nation has been ridiculed by all cultures, Fire Nation included.

However, the Fire Nation has been a fluster for the past week. News of Azula's escape has spread all over. Never before have the Fire Nation been scared to sleep, afraid of what she would do if they were to meet her.

While it will not happen, the option has crossed her mind.

Wearing hooded cloaks to hide their faces, Sokka and Azula make their way through the storm. When a lightning flash rings out, followed soon by thunder, the faces of the two renegades tells the story: Sokka's facial hair has grown out considerably, while Azula's lack of relaxation and treatment, built up over years, has caused her hair to grow down the sides of her head. If the hood was not there, the hair would no doubt reach her ass.

They hide behind a lamppost, making sure the passing guards do not pay them any attention. Once they are out of sight behind a corner, Sokka drags Azula across the bricked street. On the other side lies a small coffee shop.

The shop is currently inhabited by a few small groups: a family of three with a son no older than 10, two lovers hiding from the rain, and a group of men who start to laugh about some joke that they share. Unimpressed, Sokka and Azula maneuver their way to a corner seat on the wall nearest the door. They sit at a table in two different seats across from each other.

Just as they sit down, one of men in the group takes notice. He points over to Sokka.

"You!" he shouts.

Sokka turns towards the man, his face mostly shielded by the cloak. Sokka releases a sigh.

"Yeah?" he asks.

"You look like a guy who knows things," the man says.

Sokka looks over towards Azula. All she does is stare at the table, paying no attention to the conversation at hand. With another sigh, Sokka looks back over to the man.

"Depends, what do you want to know?" Sokka asks.

At this, the man smiles at Sokka. Judging by his type of smile, one of compliment, he's probably a Fire Nation guard, off-duty for the day. His buddies are more than likely all guards as well, with the potential "brother of their wife" thrown in.

"Have you heard anything new about the former Fire Princess escaping from her prison?" the man asks.

Sokka clears his throat before he replies.

"No. They're probably long gone, hell, they're probably not even in the Fire Nation anymore. Oh, you heard who busted her out?" he asks.

The man shrugs at this.

"Nobody knows for sure, but they've said it was the best laid prison break since the Boiling Rock fiasco," he says.

This notion causes Azula to smile. It lies unbeknownst to the males in the room.

"Alright, well, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the princess, the whore she is—" Sokka begins to say.

This makes Azula lose her smile, returning to her blank stare at the table.

"—she probably screwed the guy, then left him to die on the side of the road," Sokka finishes.

The group of men begins to laugh at Sokka's unfortunate joke, at Azula's expense. The man talking to Sokka waves him off.

"Alright, alright, thanks anyway," he says.

As soon as the man turns away, Sokka swiftly turns back to Azula. He clutches her hand in both of his. As she tries to pull away, Sokka holds on tighter.

"Hey, I'm sorry I said that, but I had to blend in," he whispers.

He uses his thumb and massages the back of her hand. He continues to do that until Azula subsides in them.

It doesn't take long for a waitress to walk up.

"Hello, welcome to the White Lotus tea shop…" she starts to say.

Both Sokka and Azula look at each other, raising their respective eyebrow at the restaurant's name.

"…can I take your order?" the waitress finishes.

The two renegades look back at the waitress. She has dirty blonde hair that is tied in a single ponytail. It falls down her back, reaching the small. Other than that, she's wearing usual waitress attire, nothing too fancy or out of the ordinary.

Once more, Sokka clears his throat and lets Azula's hand go. He places his own hands on his lap, while Azula reluctantly returns hers.

"I'll take some Jasmine, please," Sokka says.

The waitress writes it down on a piece of paper in her hand.

"And you, darling?" she asks.

Azula glances over at the waitress, but doesn't move her head. Azula gives off a smirk, hidden by the hood, before giving her order.

"White Dragon, if you wouldn't mind," she says.

Sokka looks at Azula, his eyes squinted in annoyance. The waitress writes it down and is off.

"I'll get your order soon," she says, all with a smile.

After she is gone, Sokka continues to stare at his companion. Azula looks at him, her smirk still evident.

"What?" she asks.

She tilts her head a bit in mock innocence.

"You know damn well what. A White Dragon, really? You might as well have asked for tea from the sperm of Koh," he tells her.

Azula laughs at Sokka lightly, putting her hand in front of her mouth.

"Oh Sokka…first of all, you know tea is made with flowers, silly," she says.

Sokka resumes his squinting, annoyed gaze at Azula.

"And second of all, I'm pretty sure if I wanted something from the dick of Koh, I'd make him my personal bitch," she says.

Sokka quivers the right side of his mouth a bit.

"Okay, you're probably right, but still, try to blend in, okay?" he asks.

Azula simply shrugs, which does little to remedy Sokka's squinty face.

A few minutes pass, and neither of them speak. Azula resumes her stare at the table while Sokka fidgets around in his chair, trying to find a comfortable spot. Soon, the family of three and the lovers leave, meaning only the two renegades and the group of guards remain.

After the minutes pass, the waitress walks up with a tray. She hands the cups of tea to the respective customers.

"Jasmine tea for you sir, and a White Dragon tea for the lady," she says.

And with that, she heads off to the back once more. Once she leaves, Azula begins to sip away at her tea. Sokka tries to sip, but after the tea graces his tongue, he spits it back in his tea.

"That's disgusting," Azula says.

"That's disgusting," Sokka mockingly says in response.

He then looks around his area, trying to find something. Once his search comes up unsuccessful, he looks to the window. While glancing away from it, he unlocks and opens a portion of it. Upon its open, Sokka tosses the tea out of the café. He quickly places the cup on the table, closes the window, and promptly locks it, all unbeknownst to everybody.

"That was delicious," Sokka says.

"That was a waste," Azula says.

Back to the squinty, annoyed glare at Azula.

Once Azula is finished with her tea, the waitress makes her way back over. She takes the cups from the two, placing them on her tray.

"Is there anything else I can get you two tonight?" she asks, smile still evident.

Sokka raises one of his fingers in the air.

"Um, yes, I was highly impressed by the deliciousness of the tea—"

Before Azula even mutters a sound, Sokka places one of his hands on hers, conveniently located on the table.

"—I was wondering if I could see the owner of the shop?" he asks.

The waitress nods at Sokka.

"I'll see if he can see you," she says.

And again, she is off. Once she is gone, Sokka puts his hands back in his own company. Azula sighs at Sokka.

"What?" he asks.

Azula doesn't answer; she just resumes staring at the table. Sokka places his hands back in one of hers.

"What's wrong?" he asks.

Azula smiles, not her arrogant smile, not one to mock him, a genuine smile. Sokka takes notice, even with the cloak in front of her face.

"I love it when you smile," he says.

Azula snorts at her companion.

"I look like shit," she says.

Sokka holds her hand tighter.

"No you don't, you look beautiful. You should smile more often, it really brings out the light in you," he says.

Azula continues to smile at Sokka, much to her own chagrin.

Soon, the man himself, Iroh, makes his presence in front of the two. When he arrives, they detach their hands back to their own personal company.

"So, I heard somebody likes my tea," he says.

Upon hearing her uncle's voice after so long, Azula places her hands back on the table. Sokka notices this and places her hands in his own.

"That would be me," he says.

"Hmm….I see we are quite enjoying your time in my shop, eh?" Iroh asks.

He raises both of his eyebrows in response while looking right at Sokka. This causes the water tribesman to smile at Iroh, not at all annoyed by the old man's…um…ways.

"Actually, there's something I wanted to show you, a lotus piece," Sokka says.

He retracts one of his hands from Azula's. That hand makes its way inside his cloak. When it comes back out, a single Pai'Sho tile is in it. Sokka flips the piece up, like a coin, aiming towards Iroh. The old man offers his hand, and the piece lands in its palm.

The White Lotus tile.

Iroh holds the tile in a balled fist before placing it in a pocket. He then puts on a smile for the restaurant.

"Would you like to see where I make our delicious tea?" he asks.

"That would be lovely, thank you," Sokka responds.

The two cloaked renegades stand up. Walking through the café, past the group of rambunctious males, they make their way to the back. Once they get there, they weave through some stacks of pots, pans, cups, ingredients, the sort. In the back, they find themselves in front of a painting of Zuko with what was his former lover, Mai. It looks like a royal painting made to represent their legacy. Iroh looks at the painting before taking it down, revealing a door.

He opens the door to reveal a red-lined room. He leads Sokka and Azula in. They comply, but Iroh waits a bit.

"Make sure those guards pay their bill, but try and get them out. Have a nice night Laura," he says.

All the waitress does in nod, but she has a smile on her face. It's not her "waitress to customer" smile; it's one of compliance, like a "soldier to its general" smile. She is off. Iroh enters the red-lined room, closing the door shut. He then turns a handle, locking it in place. Once the door is locked, Iroh turns around to face his companions. Sokka lowers his hood.

In the light, Sokka's features are more evident. He has become what one would expect from a "water savage". His hair has grown abundantly, covering his ears, forehead, and the back of his neck. The sides of his head, his chin, and his upper lip are entirely covered by black facial hair, gruffly in the entire sense of the word.

"My, my Sokka, you've grown," Iroh says.

Sokka smiles at Iroh, who smiles back.

"Is it safe to talk in here?" Sokka asks.

Iroh nods, glancing around the room as he talks.

"This red vinyl keeps the noises in, but we can still hear what happens out in the café. It's very convenient for some meetings, or some 'Iroh-time'," he says.

Sokka nods at Iroh. The three pause a bit in their conversation, but Iroh picks it up.

"However, I fear you did not come to me in such secret for a talk of old-times, unfortunately," he says.

Sokka sighs and looks over at Azula. She remains staring at the red floor, not moving. Sokka takes one of her hands.

"Please, Azula, reveal yourself to me. I assure you I hold no ulterior motive for vengeance due to your prior betrayal," Iroh says.

Both Sokka and Azula look at Iroh. In response, Azula takes her hand back, removing the hood to reveal what was once the Fire Nation Princess. Her hair falls into her hood, but it overflows a bit, making its way over the edge. Looking at her now, you would never have known she was once the great and powerful Azula. She looks more like a prostitute you'd find on the corner of the red light district.

Iroh takes notice of his niece's appearance, but waves it off.

"So…you're not angry?" Azula asks.

She barely releases her question, and when it is asked, a squeak joins it.

"While I do hold disappointment for the direction you chose to take, there are chances for every person to appeal for their wrongs," Iroh says.

Azula looks at Iroh a bit, her expression blank. However, with a bit of force, half of her mouth raises in a half smile/half smirk. Iroh beams at this, laughing away.

Once his laughter dies, he releases a breath. With another few paces of deep breaths and a minor meditation on his part, Iroh begins to speak.

"After you escaped from your cells, Azula, it didn't take long for word to spread. After the soon to be queen, Katara, was informed—"

"Excuse me?" Sokka asks.

He stares on at Iroh, his anger growing quickly. Iroh sighs.

"Katara and Zuko are set to be married upon Zuko's return. They are expected to remain together until a proper heir can be born. Upon the reveal of her birth, Zuko will return to the frontlines. Now, can I please finish uninterrupted?" Iroh asks.

Sokka nods, but his anger is still evident. It's now Azula's turn to take his hand in hers. He looks over at her, and nods, his anger somewhat relieved.

"Thank you," Iroh says.

"After Katara was informed of your escape, Azula, she scoured whatever remaining soldiers and civilians she could find in the Fire Nation capital. They set off to search for you, hoping to find something. That was a week ago. Since then, the attack in the north has turned dangerous. The Earth Kingdom, led by their king and queen themselves, ransacked the Northern Water Tribe."

Sokka's anger grows once more, and not even Azula's touch can cease it.

"After a while of the Water Tribesmen successfully defending themselves, the Earth Kingdom broke through. They were no match for the Water Tribe. However, with the world's most powerful earthbender and the Avatar on the opposite side, their numbers started to decrease. Soon, only the royals and a number of the soldiers remained. Of the soldiers that were left standing, the Earth Bender Queen offered them a chance to change sides. Some of them complied, but the majority of them refused. Those that refused were murdered by the Earth soldiers. Of the royals, Pakku was the last one to remain alive. After his family and friends fell…they killed him too."

Sokka lets go of Azula's hand and balls up a fist of his own. He starts to growl. After it begins to grow, it explodes. Sokka punches one of the walls of the room, hard. When Sokka retracts it, the blood from his fist blends in with the wall. Sokka sighs and looks to Iroh.

"I'm sorry, continue," he says.

Iroh releases a few more rounds of deep breaths.

"While the Northern Water Tribe fell, much like the Southern Water Tribe, the Fire Nation fleet, led by Zuko himself, fought against a small amount of Earth Kingdom fleets. This was by sea. The number of Fire Nation fleets that went up against the Earth Kingdom fleets was unbelievably unequal. The Fire Nation brought everybody they had; the Earth Kingdom only brought 50, maybe 60 ships. Obviously, nobody was impressed. As of now, Zuko and his solders return home. By now he has probably learned of your escape, and if I know your sister like I think I know her, Sokka, she knows that you were the one to set her free."

Sokka looks over at Azula, who retains her stare at the floor. When she doesn't move from her position, Iroh continues.

"The Earth Kingdom soldiers also return home, but they now control three out of the six portions of territory in this world. Basically, in terms I'm sure either of you would use: this world is turning…to shit," he says.

This usage causes Azula to release a laugh, stifled by her own accord. However, the smile is there. After a bit, Azula starts to laugh wholeheartedly. Eventually, she starts to snort. Once she does, she covers up her nose and mouth. Sokka and Iroh look at each other before laughing themselves. Azula stares on, a blush forming on her cheeks.

The three let the moment die within itself. Once it does, Iroh looks at Azula, who has a small smile on her face.

"Your smile…it reminds me of your mother's," he says.

Azula takes this in stride, looking away, but the smile on her face shows her thoughts perfectly.

The three of them just stand there in the red-lined room, nobody speaking. Iroh releases a deep breath once more.

"It's moments like these that make you know that there is able to be everlasting peace in the world. Believe it or not, there was once a time where there was everlasting peace. But of course, a mixture of power, greed, and a little bit of vengeance got to some people. Chin, Azulon, Long Feng, Zhao, Ozai, and now…well, I'm not sure who's the one with problems," Iroh says.

Neither Sokka or Azula respond. In fact, they both are glancing at the floor, a look of depression set upon their face.

"I'm assuming you came here for help from the Order of the White Lotus?" Iroh asks.

Sokka nods to his friend. However, when Sokka looks up at him, the fire and vigor he had moments ago is lost.

"What's wrong?" Sokka asks.

"The Order of the White Lotus is dead. Jeong Jeong left in anger, your master, Piandao, died from an accident, and Bumi died a while back form natural causes, that old fool. We tried to replace Jeong with Chey, a student of his, but he refused. An old friend of yours, Longshot, proved a viable White Lotus member, but he joined the Earth Kingdom in the war. Hell, we even asked Ty Lee, but she couldn't join thanks to her dedication to the Kyoshi Warriors. The only members that did join, and are still alive and well, are the kid named Smellerbee, the wise young lad named Teo, and two others…"

Sokka and Azula look at Iroh, eyes wide in curiosity.

"Who?" Sokka asks.

"Mai and Suki," Iroh says.

With the last two, the smile on his face grows wide.

"So, Smellerbee, Teo, Mai, and Suki are part of the Order?" Sokka asks.

"I have no idea who half those people are, and you expect me to put my trust in them?" Azula asks.

Iroh sighs at the two youngsters' reluctance.

"Also, there is, hopefully at least one other," he says.

When neither of the renegades respond, Iroh smiles once more. He points at Sokka.


Sokka uses a pointer finger and points at himself.

"Me?" he asks.

All Iroh does is nod.

"You are Piandao's student, you will make a perfect fit. Plus, you both are fighting for peace, something the others are doing as well," Iroh says.

Sokka uses his hand and scratches the forest known as his chin, stuck in thought.

"Is there anything else we should know?" Azula asks.

Iroh shakes his head at his niece.

"Unfortunately, this is all I know. Everything else can be learned from word of mouth. I suggest making your way to Teo, last time I knew he was located near the border of the Earth Kingdom in some village," he says.

Azula and Sokka nod in unison. The young warrior releases a breath and holds up his formerly bleeding fist in front of him. He looks at the dried blood before making a fist.

"We need peace. Anymore wars and this world is going to crumble," he says.

"It is a very unfortunate fact, but wherever there are humans with emotions, there will always be conflict, and wherever there is lust for power and greed…there will always be war," Iroh says.


A/N – And so we conclude another episode with Sokka and Azula. This just opened up a HUUUUGE array of future plot points, and that's only with these guys! We've still got Zuko finding how his sister's escaped, Katara and him getting it on and getting married, and Toph and Aang as co-leaders. Will this ever relax?

In the world of Avatar, war is like professional wrestling: shit's always happening, and depending on what it is, it may or may not be good. :3