|Show Me your Heart Tonight
Author: Selene Metis PM
It's Katara's seventeenth birthday, and her brother and father planned a huge party. And when she meets a handsome new stranger, she figures it might not be that bad of a night after all. Modern-day, Zutara, possible one-shot.Rated: Fiction T - English - Katara & Zuko - Words: 4,106 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 7 - Published: 05-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8101855
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Okay, so this is a modern-day Zutara.
I got some random inspiration for this one, and i hurried to put it up, so enjoy the story!
Katara sat in a chair in front of a vanity in a dressing room. Ty Lee was working on her hair, talking excitedly and not waiting for a response from Katara. Mai and Suki were coming on time, instead of arriving early like Ty Lee.
"Katara, smile!" Ty Lee said, pulling particularly hard on one of Katara's braids. "You only turn seventeen once!" She was practically singing when she finally dropped the hairbrush onto the countertop.
Katara's eyes widened as she went straight for the makeup. "Oh, it won't kill you," Ty Lee said with an exasperated sight.
Beg to differ.
Tonight was the night of Katara's seventeenth birthday. Both her father and her brother, Sokka, had decided that they needed to do something extra special for it, since Katara hadn't had a birthday since her mother died when she was six. When Katara was begging them not too, saying that Sokka never got anything that grand, he had snorted, saying he wouldn't want one anyway.
Katara was dressed in a gown made of blue silk, which drifted to the floor in light blue waves. She had to admit that the dress did look nice, but she would have been fine without her hair and makeup done.
She didn't even look at the invitations, she just trusted her dad to not invite anyone that bad. Sokka, however, might end up inviting a lot of his buddies from school. All of whom Katara hated.
Although she had made sure Suki, Ty Lee, and Mai were invited. There was no way she could get through tonight without her three friends.
"Done!" Ty Lee sang, putting down the compact and allowing Katara to look in the mirror.
Katara's eyes widened. It did look good, even though she wouldn't tell Ty Lee that.
The two girls, Ty Lee dressed in a pink dress that changed between three shades before dropping to the bottom of her feet, headed out of the dressing room to the door of the ballroom that Katara's father had rented for the night.
"This is where I leave you," Ty Lee said, taking Katara's hands. "Oh! One last thing," she dug around her person before touching the top of her head, "Here it is." And she placed a mask over the upper half of her face.
Oh, right. Tonight was a masquerade party.
Katara sighed, but smiled at her reflection in the mirrors on the doors. The mask was a slightly deeper blue than the color of her dress, and it looked as if it had been ripped. It covered the top of her nose, the majority of her left cheek, and up to her forehead.
"Thank you, Ty Lee." Katara said, smiling at her friend's mask, "You're a great friend." Ty Lee dropped Katara's hands before slipping discreetly into the ballroom.
"Feeling nervous?" A voice behind her said. Katara turned around and saw a boy standing at the end of the hall, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest. He was dressed in a simple black tux with red accents over the lapels. His mask was a deep red.
Katara narrowed her eyes at him. He was clearly a friend of Sokka's. "What's it matter to you?" She asked.
The boy shrugged, moving from the wall and coming to stand near her. "Just don't throw up from nerves or anything, okay? My sister isn't the biggest fan of vomit." He winked at her with one eye, and was through the door before Katara could realize he was gone.
"Jerk." Katara muttered, straightening her mask. She turned around and saw someone who turned her frown right back into a smile. "Gran-Gran!" She cried, running to gather her grandmother in a hug.
"Careful, dear," her Gran-Gran said through a laugh. "I don't want to ruin that special dress." Her grandmother was dressed in a dark blue dress that looked like something right out of a classic movie. "Are you ready, Katara?" She asked, taking her granddaughter's hand.
"Yes." She answered, although now that it was happening she really didn't want to enter that room filled with people she rarely spoke to.
Her Gran-Gran opened the mirrored doors, and immediately the laughter and conversations drifted off. The band began playing 'Happy Birthday' and her father, Hakoda, came to take her other hand as soon as the doors closed behind them. The crowd, all dressed formally with masks, began to clap. Ugh.
The room was huge, with balloon arches towering over every window. A large table was at the back of the room, set up with specialties from anywhere, and the tables were set up on the outskirts of the room, with chairs at every one. There was a small stage with a band playing in the middle.
Katara smiled, though, before her father and Gran-Gran a dropped her hands and left to wherever they were going to go. Suki was immediately at her side. "You look gorgeous, Katara!" she said, smiling.
"Me? What about you?" Katara asked, holding her friend at arms length. Suki was dressed in a green dress with a darker, fitted bodice with a few gems scattered throughout. Her dress went about mid-calf, and was a lighter green on the bottom than at the top. Her mask was a small green fan covering only both of her eyes.
"Hey, little sis!" Katara flinched as Sokka clapped his hand over her shoulder, before bringing her in for a huge hug. His tux was black, but his mask was the same blue as Katara's dress.
His eyes lit up when he looked at Suki. He reached for her hand before twirling her into his arms. "Babe," he said, leaning down to kiss her. She giggled, breaking away, and leaning her head against his chest.
Katara had to look away. She had finally gotten used to them being together, her best friend and her brother, but when they PDA'd right in front of her, it was kind of awkward.
"Let's go find some food, dad said there'll be a killer buffet," Sokka said, taking Suki's hand and leading her away. She shot Katara an apologetic smile before taking Sokka's arm. Katara scowled. Her friend ditching her for her brother. At her own party. Didn't see that everyday.
"What? You hate it already?" A morose voice said from behind her. Katara couldn't help but smile.
Katara turned around and was granted with a smile. "Mai." She said, hugging her friend.
"I personally don't think it's so bad." Mai said, pulling out of Katara's grasp. "And I hate everything." She winked, crossing her arms over her chest. Her dress was dark red, and looked almost purple when she moved, with a wider skirt than top. Her mask looked like a red flame. "But I'm still glad my parents wouldn't do this. Stupid political leaders," she muttered before meeting Katara's gaze again.
"It's beautiful," Katara agreed, "but I just think it's a bit too extravagant. Especially if it's only for one night, and only for me." She poked her blue heel out from under her dress, wiggling it. She hated heels.
Mai pointed one finger at something across the room. "At least someone looks like they're having fun." Katara followed Mai's finger, and couldn't help but smile.
Sokka and Suki were taking over the main part of the dance floor, spinning and twirling each other like there was no one else in the world. Suki's laugh, like a wind chime, floated above the noise in the room, and even Sokka's laugh wasn't annoying for once.
Everyone in the room started to dance, and even Mai wandered off to dance with the boy Katara had encountered in the hall. She had wanted to ask Mai whom that was, but before she got a chance her friend had gone.
Hakoda walked up in front of her, smiling. She smiled back when he offered his hand and twirled her out onto the floor. "Happy birthday, Katara." He said, starting their dance.
After their dance Katara had hoped to get some food, because it did look good, but Sokka grabbed her around the waist so she would dance with him.
"Can't I eat something?" she had said angrily, and he had just laughed before dipping her.
"Hey, sis. 17, that's a big year." Sokka winked at her. "Don't do anything too stupid, 'kay?" And with that, he was gone too. Probably leaving to hunt for food.
"How many more people am I going to have to dance with," she murmured, filling her plate at the back of the room. She turned around and saw Suki, Mai, and Ty Lee sitting at a table in the front of the room. Katara made her way over to them, a smile finding its way onto her lips.
"Katara!" Ty Lee said, practically pulling Katara into the seat next to her. "This is Toph. We just met her tonight, but she's pretty darn cool!" Ty Lee said, pointing to a girl sitting next to Suki.
Katara smiled, "Hi, Toph."
"She's bliiiind." Ty Lee whispered exasperatedly into her ear. Katara and Mai glared at her.
"I can hear you, you know." Toph said, but her face was lit up in a smile. She was wearing a green robe, and it didn't look too fancy, but Katara admired it nonetheless.
Suddenly, a hand touched Katara's shoulder. "Sokka, I-" She began, fully expecting to yell at her brother for interrupting her meal. She had barely taken a few bites. But what she saw stopped her from speaking.
He was older, maybe even as old as her Gran-Gran, and he was dressed in some kind of monk's robe. Katara could practically feel her body trembling. She had never met this man before, and didn't know how he could be close to her family.
"No, not Sokka. Although he is making quite a fuss over there at the buffet table. Does he take great pleasure in eating?" The man said, smiling down at Katara. "I'm Aang, by the way. I've known your father for years. Care to dance?" Without really giving her a chance to answer, he took her hand and led her onto the floor.
"Um, nice to meet you, Aang?" Katara said, feeling hesitant about placing her hand on his shoulder.
He smiled at her before saying, "Seventeen. Wow, I remember that day as though it was yesterday." Katara had to stifle a laugh as he stared at something over her shoulder. He wasn't a bad dancer, but he was older than her dad, and that made it quite a bit awkward.
"Be good to this year, all right?" He said, bringing his gaze back to hers. "This will be one of the greatest times of your life."
Katara thought he would end it there and let her go, but he continued to twirl her all through the next song. Now Katara felt slightly nauseous. She hadn't eaten anything all day, and he wasn't giving her a break to catch her breath.
"May I cut in?" A smooth voice said from behind her. Katara breathed a sigh of relief. If it was a stranger, she could dance quickly and end it. If it was family she could laugh and walk away to eat.
Aang nodded, bowed at Katara, and went off to the other side of the room. Suddenly the boy she had seen in the hallway had his hand in hers and his other one resting lightly on her hip. Startled, Katara reflexively put her hands where they were supposed to go.
He laughed, slowly, and looked down to meet Katara's eyes. He was a few inches taller than she was, probably older than she was, and his hair fell messily in front of his mask. "You looked like you were going to be sick," he whispered, laughing again.
"Yeah, well, I didn't know the guy. And he's really old." Katara raised an eyebrow as he twirled her in a circle. "Who are you?" She blurted, eyes widening at her bluntness.
He raised an eyebrow back at her. "Zuko." He answered, looking away towards something at the back of the room. As they turned Katara craned her neck to see what he had been looking at. And older man and a girl about Katara's age were sitting alone at a table. She was dressed in a beautiful red dress that had a plunging neckline and a train folded around her ankles. His suit was black with no accents. They both had similar masks to Zuko's. They were glaring in different directions, not even speaking to each other.
"Are they your family?" She asked, turning back to face him.
A muscle tightened in his jaw, and he looked over her head when he answered, "Yes. That's my sister, Azula, and my father, Ozai. I was surprised when we got the invite. Your brother has mentioned several times at school that he does not like Azula."
He glared down at her. "Don't feel sympathetic for my family." He suddenly dropped his arms, ending the dance. "You know nothing about us, and I can do perfectly well without you feeling the urge to 'understand what I'm going through'." He crossed his arms over his chest and within a few seconds he was gone.
Katara stood there for a minute, absorbing what had just happened. For a few moments it had felt as if they were getting along pretty well, and then he had just exploded. Katara had only wanted to be nice. She hadn't wanted to offend Zuko or his family.
She decided to find him and apologize, again, when a hand grabbed her elbow. Hakoda. "Sweetheart, time to cut the cake!" He said, pulling her back to the middle of the room.
A cart was being pushed into the room by a chef in his regulation uniform, and everyone in the room was gathering around it, leaving a little circle for Katara and her family to fit through.
She went to stand in front of the cake. It was a large rectangle, covered in blue icing with 'Happy Birthday Katara!' in a swirly dark blue script. The chef lit the candles, all seventeen of them, before stepping back into the crowd. Katara blew out all of her candles in one blow, and the room erupted into applause.
After everyone had cake and Katara had already finished with her slice, she and Suki were standing by the base of the stage. Sokka was walking towards them, talking with Zuko about who knows what, before stopping in front of the girls.
Suki smiled again at Katara before taking her boyfriend's arm and walking towards one of the tables.
"Must be weird." Zuko said, his hands in his pockets and his gaze on the floor.
"What?" Katara asked, surprised that he would speak to her after his outburst earlier.
He chucked slowly, raising his head to jerk it in the direction of Suki and Sokka. "Them. Your best friend and brother dating." He shrugged then turned to face her. Katara nodded and opened her mouth to say something when he cut her off, "Want to go to the garden?" he asked, heading for the mirror doors.
Katara stayed where she was for a moment. First he laughed at her, then he yelled at her, and now he wants to walk with her? But Katara couldn't help herself. She was interested in this boy, and his history, and why he seemed so difficult to understand. She moved away from the stage, making her way to the door when Mai stood in front of her.
"Where are you going?" she asked, her voice bored.
Katara faltered, trying to look innocent, "I was just going out for some air."
"Uh huh, sure." Mai said, rolling her eyes and crossing her arms. "I dated that guy a while back, he isn't the farthest thing from a jerk." Suddenly her expression softened. "Don't trust him too quickly, alright?" And she was gone.
Katara sighed, and walked through the doors, walking to the end of the hallway, and making a right before opening another mirrored door that led to the back garden.
She looked around but couldn't see Zuko anywhere. So she decided to turn around, figuring that he had simply left her. But then Katara saw him, laying against the wall about a foot away from the door. She smiled, and he looked up to catch her eye.
"I always come here," He said, not uttering any greeting or preface, simply jumping into a conversation. "Even if I don't have a room rented or anything, I still sneak in here to get away from my family." He moved from the wall and walked away, sitting on the concrete bench surrounding a fountain about twenty feet away.
Katara followed, smoothing her skirt underneath her before sitting down. "Why?"
"Because it's difficult to deal with both of them all the time. Why do you think I go to school on the opposite side of town?" He asked, dipping his fingers into the water. "Aula and my father argue a lot. My father thinks she could have done something great with her life, but she chose instead to follow her own thoughts." He laughed, cold and dark, "I don't even know what she does."
"Zuko, I'm sorry. It must be difficult to manage a lifestyle with the two of them fighting all of the time." Katara said, taking Zuko's hand from the water, placing it on the bench and putting her hand on top of his.
He didn't move it.
"When my mom died, I thought my father would never get over it. My Gran-Gran ended up taking a lot of care of Sokka and I. He got better after the years, but I don't think he'll ever be the same." Katara said, looking down. She was unable to meet Zuko's eyes while talking about this.
He laughed, turning where he sat to face Katara.
"What's so funny?" Katara cried, shoving his hand away and crossing her arms. Mai was right; he could be a jerk.
But Zuko looked nervous, almost as if he regretted what had just happened. "No, no, Katara. I wasn't laughing at you or your family." He said, pulling on her arm to take her hand back. "I just thought it was ironic that both of our families are so screwed up." He took her other hand and met her eyes the entire time.
Katara smiled and laughed a little. "I guess you're right," she said. "Plus Sokka's dating my best friend, so the two of them being all romantic really irks me."
"I never have to worry about that." Zuko said, looking away. "Azula has never dated anyone."
He met her eyes, a smirk on his lips. "Just means there's one less thing for her and my father to fight about." He shrugged. "Blessing in disguise?"
"I guess that's one way to look at it," Katara said, laughing.
She looked up and realized that the moon was full tonight, and that it was almost in front of the two of them. It was later than Katara had thought before.
A comfortable silence descended over them that lasted for quite a little bit. Katara decided that he wasn't so bad, that he was just misunderstood and scared of sympathy.
"How does it feel being seventeen?" Zuko asked after a few more moments passed.
"I wouldn't know. I've only been seventeen for a few hours." She scowled at the ground. "I'm so sick of everyone asking me that."
Zuko raised an eyebrow. "Why is that?"
"Because there are so many more important things to do with time than go to a birthday for a few hours." Katara said, feeling embarrassed.
Zuko laughed, "How very noble of you," he said, putting his arm around her shoulder. Katara tensed slightly, unable to meet his eyes. She had been close to guys before, but this time it felt different, like she was supposed to prove something to him.
"Shut up," she laughed after a few seconds, lightly shoving his chest. He caught her hand and kept it there, and she could feel his heart beating under her fingers.
She looked up to meet his eyes, and in that moment it was as if everything froze. Suddenly there weren't a hundred people in a ballroom fifty feet away from them. There weren't any family problems or insecurities. It was just her; her and Zuko.
"Zuko-" She began, but her voice cut out as he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers.
She was startled at first, but eventually she started to kiss him back. She moved her hand from his chest and encircled his neck with both of her arms, his hands stayed lightly at her waist.
After what seemed like an eternity, they broke apart, and stared into each other's eyes. He kissed her temple, and before she had time to process what was going on, he stood up and headed back towards the doors.
"Where are you going?" she nearly cried when her hands slapped against the concrete.
He stilled, his back tense and hands in his pockets, before saying, "I don't want to hurt you. Getting caught up with someone like me won't end well for someone like you." And he walked through the door.
"Zuko!" She cried, standing up to run after him. She whipped open the door, sprinting through the hallway before entering the ballroom again. It was nearly empty, and Katara realized that the party was over.
Hakoda, Sokka, and Suki all came to her from one of the tables after noticing her entrance. "There you are," Hakoda said.
"Yeah, the party ended and you weren't here to say goodbye to anyone," Suki said, taking Katara's elbow.
"Sorry. I was hanging out with someone."
Sokka clapped his hand on her shoulder again. "Don't worry about it, I don't think anyone was mad about it."
The four of them turned around to leave the room through the mirrored doors. They eventually made their way to the parking lot to get to the car to go home. When she opened the door to the backseat she froze. Suki climbed in before her, and Katara turned to where she saw something out of the corner of her eye.
Zuko, with his father and sister, was walking out of the lot with his hands in his pockets and his back hunched. He turned suddenly, and caught her eyes.
He raised his hand in a farewell gesture, and Katara found herself doing the same. She could still remember how it felt to kiss him, and have his arms wrapped around her.
He turned back towards the road, and his family disappeared into one of the shadows of the road.
As Katara climbed into the car sadness settle in. He didn't want to hurt her, and in order to do that he was willing to let her go. And as a few tears escaped her eyes, Katara couldn't help but smile.
But when the car pulled away and they began to drive in the opposite way that Zuko went, Katara realized that she might never see him again.
She silently vowed to ask Sokka in the morning where he lived so she could find him, and fight his belief that he would hurt her.
Katara was strong; she could handle anything Zuko threw at her. And she knew that he was strong enough to handle any of her troubles.
A/N #2: So there 'ya have it(:
Let me know what you thought by reviewing.
If i get any more inspiration or have a good day, this might gain some more chapters.
But for now, it's simply a one-shot(: