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|B2 Chapter Five: Wo Ai Ni|
The more time that Akytreu spent with Yi the harder he fell for her. In his eyes, Yi was simply...magnificent. He loved everything about her. When they were on the roof during Nanaki's training Akytreu's attention never diverted from the object of his affection. He loved the way the sunlight danced through her coal hued hair. He loved the way she laughed as she romped and played with Yakkara, on those time when the great cat allowed it. He even loved the large buttons she always wore on her shirts, their funny little sayings and how they jingled with every step she took. He decided, ultimately, that he could wait no longer and the time for him to act had come.
After breakfast he approached Yuhzu, while Nanaki - deciding she wasn't in the mood to train today - engaged Yi in a game of Pai Sho while a conglomerate of Fire Sages looked on with great interest.
"Yuh," he said quietly, hoping a more affectionate shortening of his second cousin's name wouldn't put her into a foul mood, "can I borrow your Satomobile?"
She eyed him suspiciously. "Why?"
Here then was the question he had been hoping she wouldn't ask because he had no real answer to give her without dying of embarrassment. He hemmed and hawed, glancing a few times at the game as he tried to fashion an adequate response. Yuhzu followed his gaze and smirked. She murmured something that could have been deciphered as 'about time' and surrendered her keys to the young man, holding the little ring they were hooked onto out on her fingertip. Red-faced, Akytreu thanked her and took the keys. He turned to move to the Pai Sho table but his momentum was arrested by Yuhzu's sudden hand on his shoulder.
"How much money do you have?" She asked.
That stopped him. Money was something he didn't have. In fact, he hadn't even thought about it. What was he going to do, take Yi out on a nice drive? He suddenly felt very stupid. Seeing the dilemma, Yuhzu snickered and fetched her purse. She counted out a deluge of silver coins into his hand.
"Take her into town. Buy her lunch, and buy her something nice," she said.
Akytreu grinned and pocketed the coins, feeling very grateful.
It was a beautiful date. Yi and Akytreu had lunch at a small sidewalk cafe, where they shared steamed turtleduck breast, twice-fried ice cream, and a small portion of Fire Flakes that sent Akytreu reeling and grabbing for the water pitcher whilst Yi laughed in delight. After lunch they strolled casually through downtown Crescent City, window shopping. Yi was captivated by all the items she saw for sale, but fell particularly in love with a short cheongsam of imitation red silk with gold ivy pattern designs along the sleeves and hem. Seeing that Yi liked it so much Akytreu invited her into the shop to try it on and half an hour later Yi walked out wearing it proudly. Akytreu's coin purse was much lighter but he didn't care. For his reward, Yi slipped her hand into his and kept it there for the remainder of the afternoon.
As the sun prepared to go to bed and drooped ever lower on the horizon, the kids found themselves in the city center. There they found an unoccupied bench in the center's gorgeous rose park and sat down. Yi slid closer to Akytreu and he put his arms around her. Together they watched the sky ignite in golds and crimsons of the most majestic sunset they had ever seen. When the colors had muted to deep mauve, the teens shared their first kiss. When the moon, full and rich in her best gown of silver, made her entrance into the night sky she found the pair still seated there.
"We should probably get back," Akytreu said, not without a note of disappointment creeping into his tone.
Yi smiled and stole another kiss from his mouth. "If we must."
Hand in hand they walked slowly back to where Akytreu had parked the car earlier in the day. As they approached the vehicle Akytreu noticed another couple loitering near it. The man was a little beefy and apparently extremely bored, munching casually from a bag of Fire-Roasted nuts. The woman with him was playing on one of those new-fangled mobile phone contraptions that only the rich could afford. Seeing the teens approaching, the man casually got the woman's attention by nudging her.
The gesture and subsequent attention on them caused dozens of red flags to flare up in Akytreu's instincts. He glanced at Yi and saw that she had also seen the interaction of the other pair, and was tensing slightly. Maintaining their casual and unconcerned approach, Akytreu fished Yuhzu's keys from his pocket.
"Hey," the man said, as if greeting them.
"Hi!" Yi chirped, smiling sweetly at him even as her eyes were sweeping the vicinity for any other potential threats.
"You're the kids with the Avatar," the man said, and his tone was not friendly. He took a step toward them, dropping his bag of nuts.
How could he possibly know that? Akytreu thought, but he didn't hesitate. As the man closed the gap the young man dropped and spun at the same time, hooking the man's ankle with the top of his foot and yanking up and in hard. The man was easy prey for the foot sweep and fell straight backwards, his head ricocheting off of the pavement. The woman was also coming in, reaching for something in her purse. Yi was swarming all over her instantly, her fists lashing out to connect solidly to the woman's sternum, where her arm connected into its socket, and the hollow of her throat. Paralyzed, the woman feel with a shriek.
Even before the woman hit the ground Akytreu saw the door of a nearby shop explode outward and give birth to a dozen more individuals. Each member of the horde was carrying a weapon: bats, knives, lengths of chain. Without missing a beat Akytreyu grabbed Yi's arm and spun her toward the sidewalk.
"Go go go!" he shouted. Yi needed no further urging and fled as fast as she could go, Akytreu right beside her. The crowd of Unbelievers followed. The pair unconsciously aimed in the direction of the Fire Temple as they ran, knowing of nowhere else they could be safe.
Both of them realized within the same moment that they could never possibly run the hour by car distance back to the temple. Akytreu's mind raced as he saw Yi start to slow, the fire in her eyes making it evident that she had every intention of fighting the men and woman following them. He grabbed her hand as an possible refuge flickered into his mind.
"Yuhzu's club," he shouted at Yi and she put on the speed again, not letting go of his hand.
They sped across the street on the diagonal. What frightened Akytreu the most was not the pursuit itself, but that the pursuers were not making any noise. No cat-calls, no laughing, no shouting. Each of them, to the last, was dead silent. To Akytreu, that implied fatal intent. He glanced sidelong at Yi and his heart broke. He had openly professed his love of her and now that was going to get her killed.
Rounding a corner the pair of fleeing teens were pinned down by the twin eye beams of an approaching Satomobile. The car passed them and slammed it's brakes on. Fearing some new danger Akytreu yanked Yi into an alley close by, hoping it would provide them an eluse to their pursuers and a shortcut to the club. It did neither. Halfway down they found that a large van was parked there, blocking the way.
"I thought stuff like this only happened in movers!" Yi shrieked.
They spun around to face the mob coming toward them. The Unbelievers were walking now, knowing their quarry had nowhere else to run. Akytreu shoved Yi behind him, shielding her with his body.
"We won't tell you where the Avatar is," Akytreu hissed.
One of the lead men, slapping the business end of his bat into his open palm, leered at him.
"We already know where she is," he said.
Akytreu heard Yi suck in her breath behind him. All at once the entire mob began to scream in agony. Their bodies contorted horribly, limbs being yanked akimbo by an unseen force and twisting in directions that nature had never intended. Akytreu looked back at Yi, thinking she was somehow responsible for this and saw that she was just as astonished as he.
The Unbelievers toppled to the ground, revealing the slight form of a woman behind them.
"Mom!" Akytreu said, gasping.
Tu'uri never moved from her stance: Her back straight, her left leg cocked at the knee. Her right leg was extended with only the heel of her foot touching the ground. Her left arm was cocked with her hand in a knife edge position, her right arm fully extended with her right wrist cocked so that her fingertips were pointed down at the ground.
"Get out," she said.
Akytreu and Yi jumped over the fallen forms of the Unbelievers and raced past Tu'uri to the mouth of the alley, and from there smack into the arms of Jinora, Kah-Pa, and Guo. Both kids were immediately crushed into bear-hugs by their respective parents, whom inundated them with exclamations of relief, are you hurts, and thank god we found yous. Soon Tu'uri rejoined the group and smashed Akytreu against her breast harder than Kah-Pa had done.
The adults ushered the kids into the safety of Guo's car. Yi was smashed into the front seat between Guo and Jinora, while Akytreu was held prisoner between his parents in the back seat. The fawning over the children continued. Tu'uri leaned forward to kiss Yi out of relief too. Yi shied away from her and deeper into Guo's embrace. Tu'uri understood.
"I know what you must think of me," she said to Yi, "and I'm sorry for that. Understand, Yi, under any other circumstance I would never use bloodbending on anyone." A hard look came into her eyes. "But nobody threatens my child."
Yi supposed she could understand that. Akytreu, on the other hand, was highly impressed.
"I never even knew you could do that," he said to his mother, looking at Tu'uri with frank and honest admiration. Tu'uri amiled and peppered his face with kisses again, not stopping until he started to fuss.
Jinora smiled. "I am truly sorry to interrupt this heartwarming reunion, but I have to ask. Where's Nanaki? Is she safe?"
Akytreu nodded. "Yeah. Yuhzu's been taking care of us." This announcement honestly surprised the adults, and made Jinora smile all the more. Akytreu proceeded to fill the adults in on everything that had happened to them since they fled Air Temple Island, his story often interrupted by Yi whom had her own viewpoints and opinion to interject. After the whole tale was out, Akytreu's expression darkened.
"Those Unbelievers knew where me and Yi were going to be. They knew who to look for, and what the car looked like. One the Fire Sages must have told them," he said.
"Or Yuhzu did," Guo said.
"She wouldn't do that," Akytreu said, jumping to the defense of his relative. Yi agreed.
Jinora looked at Guo.
"We must make all haste to the temple," she said. "This might have only been part of a larger attack."
Guo started the engine and threw the car into gear, stomping on the gas.
Akytreu finally allowed himself to relax and saw that Yi was watching him, her dark eyes glittering with mirth. He grinned.
"Hell of a first date, huh?"
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