Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender I'm just sort-of giving ideas to the writers ;0P
A/N: Just so you know this takes place in Book 2: Earth, meaning Water bending has already been mastered. And although this is General/Romance the couple wont be Aang/Katara but rather Zuko/Katara because (although I think she can be with both :0) ) I think it'd be interesting if a proud Firebender falls for a Waterbender (it'd be ironic don't you think?) Plus Zuko is cool and should be with someone! And thus I wrote this Fic, please enjoy. :0)
Also you might want to know that Katara is in her big winter clothes: jacket, gloves, etc. . . (When I wrote this that's all she wore, I revised it since due to Zhao getting promoted)
Stuck with You
It started out like any night. We were flying on Aang's flying bison when we had to stop on land to rest. After both Aang and I mastered Water bending we've been traveling to the Earth nation, so the land that we stopped on was basically a cave with a shore.
I look up from the dark ground I've been staring at the whole time. My eyes narrow in on the teen across from me trying to melt the rock. I scowl and quickly turn my head to my left with a 'humph' escaping as I close my eyes determined not to look at the idiot. It's all his fault we're in this position anyways. Stupid Firebenders, they're all idiots! I mentally sigh, I shouldn't say that I'll begin to sound like Sokka; I'm just a little frustrated that's all . . .
My own little family slept here last night, we made camp, set up a fire, made a food stack and it was a nice little rest stop but having a rest is too nice I guess, for in the morning this Firebender had to come in our little home, uninvited, and start fighting with Aang. During the fight our little cave started shacking, and well . . . I don't even want to remember the rest. I sigh to myself; I guess I'm the idiot for tripping. Heh, before the second and third layer of rocks collapsed I could hear my brother.
"Katara! Katara you klutz create a flood with that magic of yours and force the rocks out."
"Don't worry Katara, we'll find a local Earthbender to move this, just hang in there!" I heard Aang's voice, saturated in concern, although he tried to sound hopeful.
I sigh again, that was the last time I heard from the two. And now I'm trapped here with "Mr. Ultimate Firebender" himself, who slipped on the mud I created when I tripped and released the water I was building up for an attack.
I peek open my right eye and look at him for another moment. He's still fire-punching, and fire-kicking that wall. I feel my look soften and I turn my head back to looking straight at him. I feel sort of bad for him; he's trying so hard but no matter what it won't work.
"You can't melt these rocks." I say to him. He ignores me. "You're wasting your energy." I say again, my confidence building a little.
"Erg!" He throws an arm in front of him as fire spews out in warning to back off. "At least I'm doing something about being stuck in here; unlike you."
I sigh; I know this Firebender has a hot temper so I have to think of the best way to make him listen.
"Look." I simply say as I start to gather a ball of water. All around us the 'gloss' of the cave walls start to move and gather into my ball. "The walls are damp, there's no way your fire can break it, all it's doing is heating up the water."
I see his face get increasingly mad as the fire he's holding in his fist glows brighter. "Fine!" He says with a 'humph' as he fire punches the ground right in front of me. I keep my same facial expression and look right at him; he looks a little stunned for a moment but shakes it off faster than I can be certain.
I sigh as I begin to stand up, "If you want to start a fire I think our little camp is just a little while down." I say as I start walking towards the direction I was pointing in, deeper into the cave.
"Humph." Is the only reply I get as he starts to follow me.
I smile to myself, him following me is a sign of civility, maybe he'll lighten up a little. "Mind providing a little light?" I ask.
"I don't take orders from anyone." He says bitterly.
"But I wasn't ordering you, I was asking you."
"Well it is dark, but this has nothing to do with you, let's get that straight." He says as fire starts coming out of his hand.
I smile to myself again as I take a quick peak to my left to look at him. He's proud, too proud perhaps, but when Aang isn't around he almost seems normal and not so mean.
"Stop smiling, you shouldn't be so smug." I suddenly hear.
I shake my head 'no' to wake myself out of my thoughts. "I just smile naturally, you know one of those 'glass is half full people'."
"Whatever . . ." He says as he looks away from me.
"We're here!" I cheer. Finally food, and some-what shelter!
"Huh?" The Firebender lets the words escape before he turns his head back in front of him. But it's a little late and he trips on Sokka's sleeping bag; I instantly laugh.
"DON'T LAUGH!" He commands as he gets up, again fire springing from his fists.
"It's okay," I continue to giggle "You should lighten up, it's no big deal." My giggling slowly stops and I smile back at the proud teen in front of me. But my smiling seems to make him feel uncomfortable and he turns away from me.
"H-how dumb you guys were to leave your sleeping supplies and food behind in this cave." He says while sitting himself on the ground and lighting the sticks in the burnt out campfire to my center right.
I watch the fire burning for a moment then turn my attention back to him. I throw him some fruit from our pile for dinner. "Well you did surprise us. We figured we would come back for our belongings and if not, we can gather food else where."
"Humph, I guess that's reasonable." He mumbles to himself.
"It's Zuko right?" I ask
"Prince Zuko." He corrects me.
"Zuko's a nice name." I say more to myself, "Can I just call you Zuko while we're in here instead of Prince Zuko?"
"Not even my uncle calls me Zuko."
"Well, it'd only be while we're in here. I mean a cave is pretty informal, so should we really keep formalities while in here?"
I hear a 'humph' come out of him. "Fine, do whatever." He says as he turns his head to the left to look at the fire and continue eating.
I smile to myself on my accomplishment, "My name is Katara; I know you probably hear my brother shout it when you attack us, but I thought I should properly introduce myself."
He doesn't say anything but I think I see a small smile on his lips as he slowly shakes his head.
I gather some water, divide it into two balls and float one to him. "Here, you're probably dehydrated."
He looks at the floating ball strangely then obverses me as I drink the ball while it's floating in air and copies what I do. The only thanks I get is him gulping the water down.
I start to eat some fruits and also turn my head towards the fire. The fire, it really is pretty, it looks like yellow, orange, and red flames are dancing around each other, trying to see who can be the tallest. It's a shame fire has such a bad name now, all because of this war. If it wasn't for fire, my tribe in the South Pole wouldn't be able to live. It's an amazing concept; the thing that keeps us alive is also trying to kill us. I sigh; well I shouldn't say that, it's the people controlling the fire who are trying to kill us so they can win this dumb war.
I look back to the teen. Y'know, he's hard to understand. I know he's trying to capture Aang but one memory of him keeps popping in my mind.
We were just coming back from the North Pole, still in the cold air, when we stopped in a small tribe; then the Firebenders came. But it wasn't Prince Zuko and his Uncle, no it was some tall husky man with a flaring sideburns, I think I he was called Admiral Zhao. He was destroying what little the tribe had, but then Zuko came, and he was mad . . . I still don't understand why but he didn't try to capture Aang that day, instead he fought with us and with three elements on our side Zhao retreated saying something about 'You really are a traitor. What a disgrace to the Firelord.' or something like that. I'm sure, looking back on it, that the two had something between them, but . . . Even after the battle he didn't try to capture Aang but rather chased that Fire Ship for a little bit.
"Umm . . . Z-Zuko?" I ask, a little uneasy about using his first name and about the question I'm about to ask. I look down a little and take a quiet deep breath. I look back up at him to see him looking at me. I blush a little, he must've seen me take a deep breath, he must know I'm a little scared . . .
"What?" He finally says. He almost seems amused by my nervousness, which, of course, only makes me blush a little more.
"W-why did you help us? Back in the North Pole . . . You even saved me . . . when that Zhao guy had me cornered, you jumped in and warded him off." I ask, although the memories of me being helpless as a Firebender had his fist pointed at my face ready to hurt me, or, at least scar me isn't exactly the most pleasant feeling to remember.
"Zhao's after glory, no matter by what means all he cares about is his own glory. And he wants it by capturing the Avatar." He explains as he stares off into the fire.
"Isn't that your reason too?" I ask without thinking.
"NO!" He quickly shouts back, fire coming out of his fist as he throws them down to the ground, "I need to capture the Avatar to regain honor in my fathers . . ." His anger stops suddenly as a 'humph' could be heard as he looks at the ground in front of him. "I don't need to explain myself to you." He says more coolly as he looks at the fire again.
'You really are a traitor. What a disgrace to the Firelord' I repeat the words Zhao said in my head. It suddenly makes sense. I try to focus my vision on the eye that I can see; I swear it's full of hurt of some sort. I can't honestly say I know why but for some reason my feet start to shuffle and I begin to get up and walk over to him. I bend over and lean in right next to the side of his face, he's a Firebender shouldn't he be able to sense me or something?
"Hey . . ." I quietly say. He turns around upon hearing me. As he turns I realize how close I was leaning in, we're practically nose to nose.
"ICK!" The words just sort of come out of both of our mouths as he backs up a little and I get taken back, lose my balance, and fall on my butt. Oww . . . I look up at Zuko to see how he's doing. He's blushing! I giggle a little, which only makes him look away from me and the redness on his cheek get brighter. My cheeks feel hot too, maybe from all the giggling? Or maybe I'm blushing as well. I stop my giggling, although I'm still laughing on the inside. He acted like a teen! He acted a little animated instead of like a stone and now he's blushing! I mentally giggle some more, though I'm sure the bubble-ness inside of me is shown in my smile.
"W-what is it that you wanted Katara?" He asks, cutely stuttering the first word.
I smile some more, he called me Katara, probably subconsciously, but none-the-less acknowledge that I'm a person, an equal, and not something lower than that.
Oh my question . . . I lower my face, not exactly excited about what I'm about to ask, but it'd be nice to know, so I can understand him better. I sigh, "It's about . . . Your scar . . ." Upon hearing this he instantly raises his face to see me then turns his head so I won't be able to see the red mark. He doesn't even bother saying anything; he seems ashamed of it.
"That Zhao guy . . . Did he give that to you? Is that why you protected me? Because it's exactly what happened to you?" I ask as gently as possible, I scoot up closer to him but not nearly as close as we were before we fell back.
He looks off into the fire; I can only assume the memory is replying before him like a bad scene in a play. He then rests his head in his crossed arms. "No, not him. But someone like him. It was two years ago, I was your age: fourteen, and I was always challenging people, even if I couldn't beat them. If they got me mad, if they questioned me, I'd challenge them. My hot temper . . . my constant need for respect it cursed me forever and banished me. . ." I don't quite understand how, but he was calm when saying this. He's usually angry and irrational but . . . not now. Maybe it's something he's coming to terms with.
"I see . . ." Is the only words that come out of my mouth. We just sit here in silence for a few moments, gathering thoughts of what was said, or what we could say next.
"Here." I finally say. "Zuko, I want to show you something; can you create a flame in your hand?" I ask. He gives me a subtle look saying I was strange but did as I asked.
"But for the record, I'm not doing so because you asked, I'm just curious of what you want to do." He said while looking away, his eyes closed and nose high, trying to act superior again. Heh, you can't fool me, not anymore, I can put one and one together, you're really a nice guy; you just want your father's respect, and his affection as well so you put of this façade to show you're not hurt to prove that you're his definition of being "strong".
I take off my gloves and set them in my lap as I close my eyes and begin to gather water from around me into a ball. I open my eyes to look at the size of the ball, just a little more.
From the corner of my eye I can see his right eye take a peak of what I'm doing.
"What are you doing?" He asks, somewhat impatiently.
I smile back at him. "You'll see, just keep your flame burning. You'll see right . . . about . . . now." I clamp our hands together, his right hand with the flame in my right hand with a ball of water. Steam floats up in the air at the moment of contact, and even though one might've thought it'd hurt, it didn't.
We both look at our hands clasped together for a little while, both of my hands holding his right one. "What was that for?" He asks his eyes full of uncertainty.
I smile at him and my eyes seem to soften as I unfold our hands to see a little black charcoal piece in our hands. "You see . . ." I start to say while returning my gentle gaze back to him. "We're not meant to fight." I scoot back a little and let go of his hand, watching the charcoal fall. I draw four lines in the arrangement of a plus sign with the charcoal piece as the intersection.
"When this world was created four main elements were also created in perfect balance. Without one the others couldn't exist." I say as I draw the four symbols, air closest to me so it's be at the top from his view, earth furthest so it'd be at the bottom from his view, then fire and water one on the right and one on the left. "Fire, and water, they support the air and the earth." I draw lines from the corner of fire and water and join them to create an arrow pointing at air and another one pointing at earth. "Air and earth supports fire and water." I draw the same arrows as I did before pointing in their proper elements. "See." I say gleefully. "They're all connected in perfect harmony."
I look up at him to see his reaction. He's studying the dirt diagram almost like he's never seen it before.
"The only way for this world to be in harmony, to truly prosper, is if all four elements work together, not have one be superior to the others." I say while studying his face; I want to see if he understands this.
"So . . . we shouldn't fight, we should all work together." I restate. He looks up at me, a questioning look still on his features. "JOIN US!" I say in haste without really thinking about it.
"W-What!" He moves back a little, obviously surprised by my sudden outbreak.
I blush a little, embarrassed by forwardness, "You should join us." I say again as I slightly look away, unable to look him in the eye. "I-I mean . . ." I look at him again, my eyes pleading the case, "You want honor right? What can be more honorable than restoring harmony and prosperity to the world?" He continues to stare back at me, at first surprisingly then he seems to soften. "Aang needs to learn Firebending anyways, y-you can teach him . . . You can be part of our family!" I implore.
He closes his eyes, like he's pondering it for a moment, then smiles. A smile! A real smile from him! "Hey, Katara?" He asks; eyes still closed.
"Yeah?" I reply, unsure what question he would ask.
He looks up and our eyes meet. "Why aren't you afraid that I'm going to kill you?" he asks.
I'm a little taken back by the question, but I don't show it. Instead I immediately smile and answer, "Because, Zuko, we're two people in a bad situation, not two countries fighting each other. Plus we need each other to survive, you for fire, and me for water. Why would you kill someone who can help you stay alive?"
"I see . . ." Is all he says. We sit in silence once again, but it feels more comfortable than before.
"Shall we go to bed?" I ask, suppressing a yawn. I reach for Sokka's sleeping bag to give him but then stop. Sokka would kill me.
"Katara you let a Firebender, the people trying to take over the world, sleep in my sleeping bag! How can you do such a thing! You should've let him freeze in that cave! Now I'll have to wash it a bazillion times to get the Firebender smell out!"
I shake my head. No way I want to hear that for the rest of the journey. I grab my bag and unzip it. I walk over to Zuko and hand it to him. "Here. You should keep yourself warm. When the fire goes out you'll be cold."
He looks back at me and smiles a little, "Umm . . . . . . . th-th-thank you." He mutters out as he takes my sleeping bag and raps it around himself.
Shock is written all over my face. He said 'thank you' . . . He said 'thank you'! I begin to smile. He actually said 'thank you' I swear this must be a first!
"I told you, you shouldn't be so smug." He says seriously.
I take Sokka's bag unzip it, rap it around myself, and sit next to him. "I told you before, 'glass half full person' remember?" Actually I'm more of an optimistic realist, but for the sake of my excuse I'll just stick to the optimistic part.
"Uh-huh . . ." He says, doubtingly, while looking at me, a curve on the tips of his lips.
I smile again, as my cheeks feel a little flush from him seeing through my reason for me being so happy. "M-mind if I rest my head on your shoulder while sleeping?" I ask
Now I see him start to fluster around a little, "W-whatever!" He quickly says while looking away from me.
A content smile returns to my lips as I rest my head on his shoulder. "Thank you . . ." I say a little more quietly as I begin to feel myself drift. His head turns and he tries to look down at me. "Good night . . ." I say with a small yawn.
"Good night" I hear him say softly, his head resting on mine.
"Katara!" Huh? I slowly open my eyes but blinding white light enters them. Erg. The sun . . . I close them again. Wait . . ! The sun! That means . . . The cave's entrance is open!
"Katara!" I hear a voice eco.
"Zuko!" I say quietly but urgently. I look up and see he's not there. "Zuko!" I ask more urgently wondering where he went.
"Your family is waiting for you." I suddenly hear. I look up and turn to the right to find him standing there looking back at me, smiling. I get up and stand in front of him, my mouth getting ready to speak.
"Prince Zuko? Are you really in there?" I hear an old man's voice. I look towards the source of the light, although due to turns of the cave we can't see them, only the light, reflecting off of the damp walls. I mentally sigh, and look back towards Zuko. "I guess your family is waiting too . . ."
"Yeah . . ." He walks up to me. "Ready to go back into the world, to reality?"
"Yeah . . . I guess we have to." I say a little disappointed for some reason. I look up to meet his golden eyes; please don't forget what you learned here. I then quickly turn around and gather our belongings, Sokka's gonna kill me for eating all the food, but oh well. I look back at Zuko and sigh, "Let's go then!" I say cheerfully.
"Katara, get your butt out here before we give you another cave-in!"
I shake my head, Sokka . . . "We're coming!" I shout back as we start walking out.
"Prince Zuko, you're coming out too am I correct?"
I hear him sigh, "Yes uncle!"
"What! No Katara leave him in there!" I hear Sokka shout.
"Sokka where's your heart!" I shout back while walking.
"It's where there aren't any Firebenders escorting my sister out of a cave."
Erg, Sokka! "He's not escorting me! We're walking together!" I say a little ticked off.
"WHAT! My sister and a Firebender!"
We're getting closer to the entrance; for now I can hear Aang's voice.
"Calm down Sokka, as long as she's safe it doesn't matter!"
"We're getting close!" I tell Zuko. We make a turn and I can see the entrance a little while in front of us. I turn to him again, "To reality . . ." I say a little sadly.
"Yeah . . ."
"Zuko . . . Y'know, i-it wasn't bad." I grab his hand and look at the two, "In fact I had fun, getting to know you . . . And about my offer . . ."
"I can't." He says as he snatches his hand away and starts to strut towards the exit. "I need to look out . . ." He says.
I begin to speed walk, but it's difficult with all our supplies on my back, look out for what?
"Prince Zuko." I hear his uncle say as he gets out of the cave. "I'm pleased to see that you are well. When you suddenly took off . . ." I can hear his uncle say as he begins to walk along side the prince.
I step outside and see Aang still trying to calm down Sokka. "Oh just give up Sokka." I say, taking Aang's side.
"Stay out of this Katara! Wait! Katara!"
"Katara's out!" Aang says while running over to me, embracing me in a hug. I giggle and hug him back. Even Sokka joins in the hug.
"Katara you're so stupid." I hear him say while water builds up in his eyes.
I giggle, "Sokka, are you crying? Were you really that worried?"
"No, I just have something in my eye that's all!" He says defensively.
"Yeah right! Sokka was sooo worried he was crying all last night!" Aang teases.
"Why you little brat I was not!" Sokka says angrily as he starts chasing Aang. I giggle at the two then look at the not so distance shore where Zuko is.
"Thank you for helping us." I hear his uncle say while bowing in gratitude to what looks like an Earthbender merchant.
"So . . . What actually happened between you two in there?" I hear Sokka suddenly ask.
"Huh?" I look besides me, Sokka's resting on my left shoulder and Aang is leaning on my right side. They came out of nowhere! How could I miss the end of their bickering? I sigh, "Nothing . . . nothing at all." My voice sounds disappointed; I just hope these two don't notice.
"So, Prince Zuko, aren't you going to try capturing the Avatar like you always do?"
I feel Aang move off of me and start to go in front of us, ready to fight.
"No." I hear him say. He turns his head to the left and looks at us. "I'm tired uncle; I think we can capture him tomorrow." He says with a little smirk below his scar. I look down and see his left palm facing us with a small fire coming out. I smile back at him and he returns the fire to a fist. "Come on uncle let's go."
"As you wish." I hear the uncle say, he sounds a little surprised by his nephew's actions. But he maintains his composure as they walk onto the ship.
"Aang didn't you think about an attack when you decided to help that Firebender's uncle by telling him where to find them!" I hear Sokka affectionately yell at Aang.
"Ha ha," I hear Aang laugh in embarrassment. "I guess I didn't think about them attacking me when they got here Sokka. I was just thinking about how to get Katara out and they said they'd pay for the merchant so it seemed like a win-win situation to me!"
"Well, you're lucky Zuko was tired! We could've gotten into another battle if he wasn't! You should be more careful! What if you fall into the Fire nation's hands?"
I laugh at the sight of Aang and Sokka, Sokka being overprotective again, and Aang with his arm behind his neck and apologizing continuously with Momo on his shoulder. That's my family for you.
But for some reason I can't help but to look back out at the sea, to Zuko's ship sailing away. "Maybe something did happen in there." I say with a faint smile, and blush spreading on my face. I face my palm out toward his ship and form a ball of water, "I won't forget either." I say to myself as I shut my palm into a fist and the water falls onto the earth below.
"Come on Katara! We loaded the luggage now get your lazy bum over here!" I hear Sokka's voice.
"We're going to drop off this merchant then head towards the Earth Temple!" I hear Aang's cheerful voice.
"If we can ever find it." Sokka adds in.
"Coming!" I shout as I run towards Appa. I thank the earth merchant before getting on and we start flying toward the merchant's home.
Our family, maybe someday Zuko can join, I look at my right palm and smile.
"What's with you Katara?" Sokka asks.
"You've been pretty spacey since we got you."
"I'm just tired that's all . . ." I say while watching us pass some clouds.
"Both you and that Firebender tired?" My brother begins to visibly think, "Ah! I see you kept him up all night, keeping a close eye on him. Never let him catch you off guard; good thinking Katara!" Sokka says happily, satisfied with his conclusion.
I smile back. Okay it'll take a while for Sokka to get used to the idea, a long while, but . . . maybe . . . someday . . . My smile grows wider at this thought. I look at my right palm again. Yes; maybe someday, someday soon!
A/N: YAY! This is my first finished story, well, because it's a one shot, but that's not the point! I know it's not the popular couple, but there is potential. I wouldn't mind reviews but you guys don't have to, I'm happy with the story but I also hope you guys enjoyed reading it. THANK YOU for reading it!