|A LOOONG Walk in the Woods
Author: Alexis Night PM
I noticed that Aang was very trusting of Zuko in the Sun Warrior eppisode. I figured something probably happened in between to make Aang not afraid to be alone with Zuko. I know the title's not that great. I'll see about changing it not at three am.Rated: Fiction K - English - Friendship/Hurt/Comfort - Aang & Zuko - Words: 1,442 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 5 - Published: 08-17-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7295378
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hi. Random one-shot of half-asleep girls noticing things that were probably not meant to be notices and probably aren't even real considering the half-asleepness.
Disclaimer: Avatar's not mine. I just really like the show, and wish there were more episodes in between their fieldtrips when Zuko joins the Gaang.
Aang gulped as he walked behind Zuko. Alone. With Zuko. The guy who wanted him locked up for life only a month or so ago. The young Avatar had decided to give the fire prince a chance at redemption, but he wasn't completely stupid. He didn't trust Zuko yet.
Zuko heard a small gulp behind him and felt a wave of guilt. He knew the Avatar didn't completely trust him yet; he would have to be a fool to. The plan hadn't been for them to go alone, but Toph got sick, and Katara and Sokka were already out collecting medicinal herbs. Unfortunately, they still needed the food to be gathered, so Aang and Zuko were now on a two-day expedition to the woods, alone. There was no way Zuko could've planned Toph getting sick, but no one would put it past him to take the opportunity the situation provided to capture Aang. Especially Katara. The fire bender was a little afraid of the girl.
The newest member of their group pulled out a rope. He tied one end high on a branch. Only when he turned did he notice that Aang was stiff and had slid into his fighting stance. It took Zuko a minute to process what the young air bender was thinking. Zuko internally facepalmed. 'Stupid!' He dropped the rope and stepped back. "It's okay, Avatar. I'm setting up camp, that's all."
Aang breathed a sigh of relief and slid out of his stance. "Sorry, Zuko. That wasn't called for."
Even with those words, Aang couldn't help but take a few steps back, tensed, as Zuko finished by tying the other end the opposite tree. He finished up by tossing a large tarp over the rope, at which point the Avatar relaxed a bit. It hurt to Zuko just how called for Aang's nervousness was. There were many things Zuko regretted in his life, and relentlessly chasing the boy was one of them. "Come on, Avatar. It would probably be best if we slept for now. We can find food tomorrow, and use the next day to get back to the temple."
Aang nodded stiffly and set up his sleeping bag as far away from Zuko as the tarp would allow. The fire bender frowned, but said nothing. He could only hope the Avatar would feel more comfortable around him with time.
The two rose with the sun to begin their search for food. Aang didn't turn his back to Zuko once. They returned to their small campsite with a couple weeks worth of food. Zuko had done the hunting so Aang wouldn't have to worry about his beliefs and Sokka's meet obsession warring. Zuko got a nice campfire going and the two sat on opposite sides, Zuko looking like normal Zuko, and Aang looking like he was trying not to look nervous. As time passed, that look faded, and the monk wore his, 'I'm deep in thought' face. After about an hour, Zuko decided to attempt a conversation. "What's on you're mind?"
"Oh!" Aang looked up at the unexpected voice. "N-nothing important."
Zuko shrugged. Eventually they just ended up sleeping again.
Zuko's eyes flashed open at the sound of an agonizing yell. He looked over to see Aang thrashing around in his sleeping bag. The fire prince ran over to wake the boy he hoped he could soon call his friend. He gently shook his shoulders. "Avatar! Avatar! Aang!"
Terrified grey eyes fluttered open, meeting gold, then widening exponentially. "No!" Aang squirmed out of Zuko's grasp and started running.
Zuko cursed, running after the small air bender. When he caught up with Aang, the kid was surrounded by bandits. They were earth benders. Aang was still in a frenzy from whatever he was dreaming about, and he was having trouble fighting them off. He ended up in box of rocks, with his hands stuck to the sides so he couldn't bend.
One of the earth benders smirked. "Alright, men. Now all we do is deliver him to the Fire Nation, in exchange for Ba Sing Se. It's an offer they can't resist, and with our strongest city running again, the Earth Nation can end this ourselves!"
As they turned and started walking away, earth bending Aang along with them, Zuko sent out a blast of fire. The bandits reacted quickly, blocking with slabs of stone. Zuko rolled around, sending a well-placed fire-kick towards the earth bender's head. They continued their dance until only one of the bandits remained.
"Release the Avatar!" Zuko's tone was cold and demanding; the same tone he used to use with his crew.
The bandit stood his ground. "Why should I?"
"Because." Zuko was behind the earth bender in a flash, swords to his throat. "There's more than one way to get the Avatar out, but I will not be very pleased if I have to use it."
The man gulped and released Aang. The young air bender walked away with his newest companion, leaving some very confused Earth Nation natives in their wake. "Sorry about that, Zuko. Running off was pretty dumb of me."
Zuko gave a small smile as they returned to their camp. "It's fine, Avatar. What were you dreaming about, anyway?"
Aang felt the sudden urge to study his shoes. "It was nothing."
Zuko looked at him skeptically. "That didn't seem like nothing."
The Avatar sighed. "Nothing important."
Zuko was getting rather aggravated with that answer, but, remembering that he was skating on very thin ice over a volcano, kept himself calm. "My uncle always told me it would help if I talked about things like this."
Aang looked almost guilty, as he quietly muttered, "You." Zuko probably should've seen it coming, but still he was shocked. What would his uncle say? He had become the star of a child's nightmare. "You caught me. I was burned really bad. You chained me up in your ship like the time at the South Pole. It was dark. It seemed like days went by, and all that would happen was you coming by to gloat. You told me that was what the rest of my life was going to be: locked up on the brink of death, but never allowed to die; never able to reincarnate. I was alone in the dark again, then you shoved the door open, yelling, 'Avatar!' That was when I woke up, face to face with you. I still didn't quire realize it was only a dream, and I panicked."
Zuko was at a loss for words. He had caused someone else, a boy no less, so much pain, only thinking of himself. It was horrible. "I'm so sorry, Avatar"
Aang took a deep breath. "Don't be. Even if you were wrong, you did what you thought was right."
Zuko was amazed. He had to admit that sometimes the twelve-year-old reminded him of his uncle. "That's not much of an excuse on my part. Your life was hanging on the balance of my stupidity."
"The past is the past; nothing can change it. All we can do is learn from out mistakes to create a better future." Aang dragged his sleeping bag and pulled it more towards the middle of the tent thing. "'Night, Zuko."
Zuko smiled at the fact that the air bender seemed to be trusting him more. "Goodnight, Avatar. You have nothing to worry about. My days of hunting you are over."
The next day they packed up camp and headed back. Aang was definitely less suspicious of Zuko. The fire prince had the perfect opportunity to capture him, but he didn't take it. Either way it was hard for the air bender to trust the star of his nightmares this easily. He wasn't quite ready to let his guard down yet.
Zuko knew Aang still didn't completely trust him, but he never expected it to be that easy. He had a lot to atone for. For now, he contented himself with the fact that the Avatar would turn his back to him, if only for a second.