OMG! My first Zuko and Katara fic! XD They seem to be really popular... Anyway, I hope you like my story, it's really intense! :wink:
"Fire in the Moonlight"
Katara panted heavily as she placed Aang down to rest behind a stalagmite of the damp cave they were hiding in. Looking behind her, she saw the black expanse of the cave...how deep did this thing go? Looking ahead of her, she saw out the entrance of the cave, the moon and stars outside providing the dim light to see with. Looking down, she saw an unconscious Aang, exhausted from using his Avatar spirit earlier to escape Prince Zuko and the other firebenders. Things weren't looking good. She touched the knife Sokka had given her minutes before they parted ways in front of the cave; he and Momo to find Appa and bring the flying bison here to make their escape, she to hide and watch over Aang until they returned. She prayed she wouldn't have to use this or her waterbending skills. Prayed the firebenders swarming this island wouldn't find them.
They were trapped on this island with Prince Zuko, hellbent on capturing Aang. Though, judging from how ferociously Prince Zuko fought Aang, she couldn't tell whether he wanted him dead or alive. Shivering, Katara snuggled closer into their hiding place, watching the entrance for any orange glow.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Katara listened to the sound of water dripping from the stalactites into small pools spread throughout the cave floor. Like the ticking of one of those "clocks" she had seen once. Counting down the time. Sokka, hurry, she thought, Where are you? She clasped her hands together and prayed the firebenders hadn't found him. The island had a lot of steep cliffs on this side. As long as Sokka rode Appa along the ledges, he should remain unspotted. Should. She patted Aang's head as he let out a small groan. He should be waking up soon. Katara stiffened...there were voices nearby. The voices died down after a while and Katara eventually relaxed.
The sound went like an arrow though Katara's heart. Sokka? She peeked out over the edge of the stalagmite she and Aang were hidden behind. A silhouette stood out against the soft glow of the moon behind it.
Not Sokka. Not Sokka. Zuko.
Katara felt every fiber in her being tighten into a hard ball. This was bad. Really bad. Prince Zuko was the last person Katara wanted to cross right now. Aang...
Prince Zuko snapped his fingers, the sharp sound echoing throughout the cave, and a ball of fire came alive in his hands, lighting the cave like a torch. His even footsteps echoed softly as he walked deeper into the cave, coming closer, closer... What do I do, what do I do? Katara panicked to herself. They were hidden in the cave a good ways in, but Prince Zuko kept walking forward, closer, showing no signs of stopping. Eventually, he was going to come close enough to see them, and then... Dangit, why does Aang have to wear yellow and red? Katara lamented silently, watching Prince Zuko's approaching figure. Soon, she could make out his eyes they were so near. The amber eyes scanned the cave, studying every last detail, looking so intense they might have seen through the cave's walls.
Katara couldn't allow him to come any further. But she couldn't openly attack him from where she was...that would give a red flag to Aang's location. She would have to launch a surprise attack...one that would force him back towards the entrance of the cave and give her time to sneak away from where Aang was and find a new position to continue her attacks. Luckily, there was plenty of cold water inside the cave.
Eyes narrowed, Katara focused on the water on the cave floor. Made it flow silkily along from its puddle of origin to under Zuko's feet. Still striding forward, Prince Zuko stepped down on what was supposed to be dry floor and slipped. Katara took advantage of his surprise to hit him squarely in the chest with a water-ball made from a puddle nearby. This launched him backwards. Zuko tried to avoid falling, but Katara kept placing water under his feet, until he had slipped and slided back near the entrance of the cave. Meanwhile, as Prince Zuko had struggled to maintain balance, Katara had steathily crept to a new hiding place closer to the entrace of the cave and away from Aang.
Phew. That went okay. Katara decided it would probably be a wise thing to stay hidden. From her hiding spot, she could attack without worrying about any counterattacks.
Zuko looked around. The waterbender was here. But it was unlikely that she would be hiding here alone...so she must be protecting someone. The Avatar, of course. After he had fought with the Avatar and managed to surround and capture his companions and him with his firebenders, the airbender had activated his spirit and used its tremendous powers to force their escape. From what he had seen in battle before, using the spirit often left the Avatar drained and weak for a little while. So, his waterbender companion must be hiding and protecting him until he recovers. But what of the others? No matter. His men would take care of them.
He would deal with the waterbender himself, and find were the Avatar was hiding. Zuko heard a splash behind him and whirled around in time to create an arc of flame to evaporate a water attack. Another splash to his left; he turned and thrust forward with his palm, reducing the water-ball to steam. Now two from opposite directions; he spun around, creating a whirlwind of fire to deflect both attacks.
But the water bender wasn't letting up. Zuko jumped at a cracking sound by his feet, and by the light of the flames in his hands, could see a whip of water, lashing out towards him. Thanks to agility given to him by years of firebending practice, Zuko was able to evade the whip's lashes and attempts to strike at him again and again. However, this manner of attack was much faster and more unpredictable than the simple water-ball attacks, and Zuko found himself exerting almost all his energy simply on defense.
Zuko weaved and dodged, barely missing the stinging blows. The firebender prince frowned; this cave was to his disadvantage, for a number or reasons. Firstly, unlike firebenders, who had to create fire first and then use the element to attack, waterbenders could strike from wherever their element was present. That meant his attacks could only come directly from him, whereas the waterbender could attack from any direction there was water. Secondly, this cave was to the waterbender's elemental advantage. All the water-attacks he fended off with fire resulted in large amounts of steam. The evaporated water would rise to the ceiling of the cave, condensate and drip back down. In other words, the waterbender, due to the confines and cool surfaces of the cave, had an inexhaustable source of water. Finally, his fire gave away his position. Everytime Zuko used his fire, whether it was to see in the dark cave, or to fend off an attack, it signaled to his position. He was a giant glowing target. As long as the waterbender could see him, she could strike him, and never be forced to reveal herself. Dammit.
Zuko stopped. He just had another one of his brilliant ideas.
Katara crouched in her hiding place, trying to keep the firebender busy with her water-whip attacks. When Prince Zuko stopped and stood still for a moment, she paused. What was he doing? She was surprised when the firebender took a flaming fist to one of the stalagmites and reduced it to rubble. He then took handfuls of it and placed it in his pockets. Katara squinted in Zuko's firelight. What was he doing? She watched, puzzled, as Prince Zuko raised his hand, paused, and snapped his fingers.
Katara blinked. Without the fire created by Prince Zuko, the cave returned back to its dark state. Why did he do that? Couldn't he see? Katara waited as her eyes tried to adjust to the new darkness. She saw, or rather heard, a figure moving in the cave. Prince Zuko. But where was he? Cold realization trickled down her spine as she discovered that was his intention: without his fire, she couldn't see him, and what she couldn't see, she couldn't attack. Katara snorted silently. That didn't mean she could hear where he was...
So Katara was very surprised when she heard a clatter behind her. She whirled and squinted, ready to attack. But no one was there. Another clatter to the left. Then one to the right. Then one a little ways off. The broken pieces rocks he had made...he was throwing them around the cave to cover the sounds of his own movements and to confuse her! And while he moved around the cave undetected, he was searching it out, looking for bodies or any sudden movement.
He was hunting her.
Well, two could play at that game. She waited till she heard another clatter, over somewhere to her left, and used her waterbending powers to create a splash nearby. Suddenly, a blaze of light appeared as Prince Zuko fired on the offending noise. So, he was waiting until she gave herself away before he fired, eh? Katara was surprised to see that Prince Zuko had moved such a large distance since he turned his lights out. She bit her lip...if she wasn't careful, Prince Zuko might discover Aang before too long...
Lights out once more, and the clatter of pebbles resumed. After a few throws, Katara placed another splash sound near the latest clatter. Another blaze of light as Prince Zuko attacked the sound. Katara tensed when she saw where Zuko was...a mere ten feet in front of her! If he turned around and walked a few paces, he would be on top of her! As the lights went out again, Katara frantically assessed her situation.
This was bad. Things were getting dangerous. It would only be a matter of time before this hide-and-go-seek game escalated to the point where they could seriously hurt or even kill each other. Not only that, but Aang was still in the cave, unconscious. The longer she fought Prince Zuko, the more chance Aang had to get caught in the crossfire, or worse, found. Katara needed a hiding place where she could be safe from Prince Zuko's increasingly accurate fire attacks, as well as keep an eye on Aang. But where...? AH!
Zuko paused and listened hard. Heard a faint splash nearby. And that splash had come from...directly behind him! Whirling around, he gave a fiery blast in the direction of the noise. A small puff of steam, but nothing more. Where is she? he asked himself, listening for any small noises or movements that would betray her. But the cave had become deathly silent, save for the dripping of water from the cave ceiling. Had she left with the Avatar? No, there was no way she could have snuck past him without catching his attention. Which meant she was staying put in a hiding place somewhere, biding time. Zuko didn't have patience to play cat and mouse anymore.
Katara watched from her hiding place as a dim figure stretched out. A glow radiated, and Katara could make out from the fiery gleam that Prince Zuko was positioning himself for a big attack...he was going to spread flames throughout the cave in an attempt to force her out of hiding! And while she was safe from her hiding spot, Aang was not! Concentrating hard, she summoned as silently as possible all the water around Aang and formed a protective bubble around him. Katara grit her teeth...it was difficult moving water around Aang while still having to maintain the water around herself. If she slipped up, just a little, she and Aang were toast.
Zuko let out a shout and radiated fire in every direction to sweep the floor of the cave. The fire would blaze into every nook and cranny, and either she and the Avatar would suffer burns, or the waterbender would have to reveal herself by protecting them with waterbending. In other words, smoking them out. As the fire burned outwards, a giant billow of steam caught his peripheral vision. A water shield, no doubt. There she was!
Katara felt her heart stop as Zuko's gaze snapped in the direction of the rising cloud of steam-and Aang! She would have to act now...there was no way she was going to let Aang fall into the hands of Prince Zuko. She reached for her knife.
Striding towards the direction where the steam had come, fireballs ready and in his hands, Zuko felt a small spatter of water hit the bald part of his head. Sensing danger, Zuko paused. Another spatter of water dripped into a puddle of water nearby. Glancing down at the rippling water, Zuko spotted the figure of Katara, suspended by ropes of water to the cave ceiling, positioned directly overhead of him, knife in hand. She had been hiding above him the whole time? Zuko reacted immediately and looked up just in time to see Katara disengage the ropes of water that held her aloft, and decend upon him. As she dropped on top of him, she brought down the blunt handle of the knife she held hard on his temple. Then everything went black.
When he regained consciousness a few moments later, he found the waterbender over him, one knee pressed against his chest, the other on the ground beside his shoulder, her two hands holding the blade of the knife to his throat. The waterbender's breathing was ragged as she said, "I don't want to hurt you..."
Zuko snarled and bent himself into two, catching the waterbender's head between his feet. He extended his legs straight out and sent the girl flying backwards. Taking advantage of her confusion, he roughly grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her, knocking the knife out of it, and shoved her harshly against a nearby stalagmite. Katara tasted iron in her mouth. "Then you should have just handed me the Avatar, "Zuko growled. "Not that I don't know where he's hiding now. That steam was from the shield you put around him while you watched from above. That was very clever. But now that I know where he is..."he trailed off menacingly.
Katara's eyes widened. "NO!" she shouted. She swung her leg behind her and bent it almost double, so the back of her heel hit the elbow of the arm Prince Zuko pinned her with. Zuko howled with pain as the force of the impact almost bent his arm in a direction it shouldn't and released Katara. She scrambled over to Aang and picked him up. Fatigue starting to wear on her, Katara prepared to summon as much water as she could to fend off any attacks while they made their escape.
But almost the moment she turned around, Prince Zuko was upon them, fired up and ready to attack once more. "GIVE ME THE AVATAR!" he roared.
"NO!" Katara shouted, hugging Aang clser to her. Zuko's face contorted with fury and frustration, and he prepared to strike a blow to knock the defiant waterbender unconcious. He paused midstrike when a voice behind him said, deadly serious, "Don't move." The firebender prince's eyes narrowed as he found a familiar boomerang at his throat. How did he sneak up on him?
"Sokka!" Katara cried. She had never been so relieved to see her brother in all her life! Prince Zuko's body took on an angry red glow. Sokka wrapped his hand in the firebender's ponytail and pulled his head back, pressing his bladed boomerang more firmly to the exposed throat. "Don't even think about it," he growled.
Sokka turned his eyes back to his sister. "Sorry we're late, Katara. Trouble. We need to leave, now. Grab Aang and get him on Appa...he's right outside, waiting. I'll make sure this guy," he said with a sharp tug, "doesn't try anything." Katara wasted no time in doing what she was told as she raced by her brother and the seething Prince Zuko. Placing Aang gently down into Appa's saddle, she saw Sokka march Zuko outside the cave.
"You realize once you release me, and will in order to make your escape, that I am going to torch you?" Zuko hissed, anger clear despite his low tones. Sokka caught Katara's eyes.
"I doubt that," Sokka chuckled.
Katara closed her eyes and summoned the water from the cave, forming it into one giant mass. "Now!" she shouted. Sokka let go of his hold on Zuko and bolted towards Appa. Prince Zuko wheeled and made to attack Sokka, but was overwhelmed by a sudden blast of water rocketing out from the cave. Sokka frantically yip-yipped, and Appa took off. Katara tried to keep Prince Zuko busy with the water as they put distance between them, but eventually lost control as she expended the last of her energy. Zuko stood up in a rage, collected a massive fireball in his hands and hurtled it straight at them.
Everyone braced for the worst as the flaming wrath flew straight at them, but Appa easliy dodged the angry attack and continued on completly unruffled. Zuko, furious, watched helplessly as the Avatar and his companions flew off into the distance.
"If you were so nimble, then how come you didn't use it when we were running our asses off before!" Sokka screamed at the furry giant as they flew away, who only grunted in response.
Katara laid back on the saddle next to Aang, panting. A little hand reached over and touched hers. Turning her head, she saw Aang looking at her. "Thanks, Katara. You were really awesome," he whispered.
"You were awake?" she asked, surprised.
"Only on some parts. You did really well. I'm sorry I couldn't have been more help..." he answered, eyes shifting away.
"Don't worry about it, Aang. You did plenty, saving us back there when Prince Zuko had us surrounded. I'm just glad everyone's okay...especially you."
Prince Zuko winced as his uncle gingerly cleaned the cut along his eyebrow and temple. The one caused when the waterbender had struck him with the back of her knife. "Don't worry, Prince Zuko," his uncle said consolingly, "there is always tomorrow to capture an Avatar." He placed a bandage over the bruised cut. "That one waterbending girl certainly did a number on you, didn't she...?"
Whaaaaaaaat? You thought my story was a romance? Where did the summary or foreword say anything about that? Silly! XD
KAKAKAKA, just my playful poke at all the ZukoXKatara fans out there. While even though I'll admit I'm interested in the coupling, I find what happened in this fic a whole lot more likely than any romance. Anyway, hoped you liked the fight scene. It was a lot of fun to write. XD