-Usagi is peeks out from her desk, readers only seeing her eyes up-

...I looked on my computer and guess what, this chapter was already written. -sweatdrops- I know this is diffrent than from regular procrastinating and you're all gonna kill me because you've all been waiting so patiently with your torches and picks... I wrote this 3 months ago and I forgot I had transfered it from paper -throws chapter at the readers to distract them and then runs before they lynch her-

The clouds had been absent that morning, but now the wind had picked up and dark ominous clouds were passing over them and waves crashed against the hull, making it rock. Zuko cursed the weather in his mind. They were no where near friendly shores and wouldn't be able to find any before the storm hit; they were going to have to ride it out.

Zuko's nose wrinkled as a drop of water splashed on his face; he hated getting wet. Perhaps it was just his element talking, but he still didn't like it. His crew was scrambling around the ship, tying things down and taking cover in the hull afterwards. Zuko made his way to the cabins of the ship, going to see where Sokka had run off to. He came to Sokka's door and gave two warning knocks before opening it. The Water Tribe youth was at the small window, watching the storm gather and the men scramble about. Sokka looked up as Zuko walked in, a glint of worry in his eyes; he remembered the last storm he'd been in, fishing with an old man from the Earth kingdom. If Aang hadn't been there, he wouldn't have survived.

"Get down in the hull, its not safe here." Zuko ordered and Sokka hesitated before stepping away from the window. Zuko stepped back out the door and Sokka soon followed, closing the door after him out of habit. Zuko headed quickly for the hull, where there were a few rooms that could be used for waiting out a storm.

As they were quickly heading for a room in the narrow hallway, the ship gave a huge lurch to the side, making everything and anyone that wasn't nailed down slide or stumble. Zuko caught himself with a hand on the wall, stumbling forward, and Sokka bumped into him. Zuko automatically caught the other's hand so Sokka didn't fall flat on his face. As soon as Sokka got his balance back he froze in place, Zuko's hand gripping his firmly. Sokka didn't know how to react, but Zuko didn't notice, instead he walked forward, continuing his way down the hall; though this time, pulling Sokka along so he didn't fall again.

"You're so clumsy." Zuko muttered with an irritated tone and Sokka bit his tongue. He knew he was clumsy, and that comment stabbed at what little self confidence he had. Maybe if he wasn't so clumsy he wouldn't be in this mess. The ship gave another lurch, a wave pushing up against the bow of the ship, making them stumble back. Zuko pulled Sokka closer to him so both of them had a base to stay steady, and both were tense until the lurch had ended, both relieved that the ship didn't flip. Zuko pulled Sokka closer and Sokka took a deep breath to steady his nerves, telling himself that Zuko wasn't going to hurt him or take advantage of him. Zuko soon pulled them into a small room where only a few large crates were strapped down. The ship gave a creak and Zuko shut the door behind them, blocking out all light. Zuko was confident that his crew had gotten to safety; he wouldn't doubt it if Iroh made tea for who ever was in the room with him.

"What do we do now?" Sokka asked as Zuko let go of his hand. Zuko lit a fire in one hand, sliding down to sit on the floor, back against the wall. The small fire lit the small room with a warm red glow.

"We wait." Zuko replied as the ship bobbed on the water, both teenagers feeling the shifting. Sokka nodded some, soon taking a seat by the prince, since Zuko was the only source of light. He didn't want to be left in the dark, even if it meant sitting close to a fire bender. They didn't say anything for the longest time, listening to the ship creak and groan as waves lashed the sides and a storm built.

Zuko let the fire go out, not seeing any point in seeing when there was nothing to look for. Sokka almost told Zuko to keep it lit, but then questions would come, so he said nothing. Still when he slept in the dark, Jet haunted him, and he feared that if he turned around, the Earth Kingdom rogue would rape him again. It was absurd, because Jet wasn't on this ship, but he couldn't stop hearing that cruel voice and burning touches that tore him to pieces. He shivered as he even thought about it. He wrapped his arms around his legs, under his knees and resting his forehead on his knees. He wished either the storm would end or Zuko turned the light back on before any memories were stirred up. Ti was dead quiet for a moment before a creak of the boat emphasized harsh words in his ears.

"Scared? You should be; you can't even take care of your self." Jet's cool voice rang in his head and he jumped, giving a near yelp, but not quite, bumping into Zuko. The fire prince was startled by the sudden noise and bump and he quickly produced a fire ball in his hand, lighting the area. The only thing he found was Sokka braced against him, visibly shaking.

"What happened?" Zuko demanded and Sokka seemed to come back to himself.

"I…" Sokka tried to answer, but how could he say that his violator was haunting him, "I-it was nothing." Zuko highly doubted it was nothing the way he stuttered, but said nothing about it. Sokka didn't move away from Zuko immediately, eyes darting around the small room for any sign of Jet, but there was none. He guessed that all the time Zuko had spent with him while he ate put him at a small level of ease; knowing Zuko hadn't made any sexual moves on him. He definitely felt safer with Zuko than Jet; and that in itself was saying something.

Zuko didn't shove the other away, there was no harm in it and he didn't want Sokka panicking on him. Hesitantly, he wrapped his arm around Sokka's back, startling him, and Sokka's fingers dug into Zuko's shirt, showing he was very tense and insecure. Zuko did no more and waited for Sokka to loosen his grip on his shirt before he let the fire go out again.

In the dark, Sokka's grip became more apparent and Zuko could feel the Water Tribe teen's shaking. He neither loosened nor tightened his grip around Sokka, sensing that both would be a bad move, so he just sat there in the dark, willing the rocking of the ship to seize.

Sokka slowly relaxed into the sensation of being touched. Zuko didn't even do anything, he just rested his warm hand on his back, and it had a small amount of comfort that he appreciated. He felt tears sting his eyes; he wasn't supposed to be comfortable around Zuko, or any fire bender for that matter. He rested his head against Zuko's shoulder, shutting his eyes tight. He wondered how his life had twisted up so badly. He didn't eve know what he wanted anymore.

Zuko felt Sokka' head on his shoulder and accepted it, waiting anxiously for the ship to stop rocking, but he wasn't expecting his shoulder to feel wet. A little startled, Zuko lit a fire, seeing the wet had come from Sokka's clenched eyes, which leaked tears, barely keeping himself from sobbing, but he shuttered with each breath. Without thinking, Zuko moved his hand up from Sokka's back, wrapping his arm around Sokka's shoulder, wiping away the streams of salt water. Sokka's breath hitched and his eyes watered more from the display of affection, even if it was only a small action. Zuko had no clue what possessed hi to be so gentle, but if it calmed Sokka down, he didn't care.

Sokka bit down on his sobs, the creaking of the ship being the only sound in the room. Just for the moment he wanted to be comforted and reassurance that he was safe, just once. He wished Katara was there, because even though they had their sibling fights, they were always there for each other. He wanted his mother back, o hold him until he felt better. He'd even take Aang's goofy antics to try to forget what was going through his mind; but all he had was Zuko beside him.

Zuko let the fire go out again and secured his arm around Sokka's back, hearing the ship creek dangerously around them. Zuko relaxed in the dark, knowing what was around him and where things were caused him to be at ease; Sokka's warmth against his side and arm felt nice, although it would have been more pleasant if there wasn't a storm and if he didn't know Sokka was having an emotional breakdown right ext to him. Zuko held the other tighter when the ship tilted, not wanting to slide around the floor. Sokka tensed ever so slightly, but then relaxed more; his tear had stopped for now.

Sokka should have pulled away fro Zuko's warmth, but his mind was not completely together. The warmth wasn't so bad; he couldn't remember a time when someone had just sat there and held him so casually, yet so warmly. For now he trusted Zuko. Sokka needed some anchor to keep him from gong insane in the dark. The rocking of the ship steadied, but it did not cease, and the heat from Zuko made Sokka drowsy. He really had nothing to do until the storm stopped, he realized, and before he could wound himself into paranoia about Zuko taking advantage of him while he slept, he drifted off into the calmer waters of sleep.

Zuko only realized that Sokka was asleep when Sokka's body went completely limp against his. He lit a flame for the fourth time that night and looked over to see Sokka's eyes were closed and he didn't. Zuko was intrigued by the darker skinned one's peaceful state. He didn't have to see that fear in those blue eyes. The fire went out and he reached forward where he knew exactly where Sokka's face was, but he stopped and pulled his hand back. What was he thinking? He could ruin what ever trust he had gained by just a curious touch of Sokka's skin. He had surprised himself by wanting to touch Sokka.

He let his head 'thunk' against the wall behind him; the usual hallow sound drowned out bu the storm. This was going to be a long night

I'm trying to update all my fics! Really! -Dives back into her rabbit hole-