SPOILERS LIKE PLZ FOR THE CHASE! AS IN, SUPER MAJOR SPOILERS! JUST TO, YOU KNOW, WARN YOU!
30kisses challenge 25—Fence
He ran into them again three days later, in a small quiet village not far from where they had met before. He hadn't exactly intended on finding them, but now that he had he wasn't sure what he was suppose to do. He looked rough, he knew that much—even without looking at his reflection he knew that. His face was gaunt and there were dark lines under his eyes and for the first time in forever, he had forgotten to shave and the smallest of stubbles was growing on his chin. His clothing was torn, ragged, and hung on his body like a broken rag doll.
To his surprise, they did not fight him, for which he was very grateful. The past three days had been the longest three days in his life, and he was not sure if he had the strength left to fight anyone (even himself). Instead, they merely came up to him, watched him, though they did not speak.
They did not need to; their expressions said enough.
The Avatar's was the easiest to read, the boy looked so torn, as if part of him wanted to run away while the other part wanted to hug him, in spite of his better judgment. All there was from the Avatar pity, pure, antagonizing pity, and perhaps a spark of regret. For that alone, Zuko turned and looked away from him.
The water tribe boy was also easy to read, although his expression surprised him. It was not disgust or loathing, like Zuko was use to, but it was not pity, either. It was empathy, and Zuko could almost hear the boy's thoughts aloud: I wouldn't want to be in your shoes right now, not for the world.
No, no you wouldn't. Zuko thought, and turned away before he could hear any false sympathies from him.
It was the blind girl, the newest member of the Avatar's gang, who shocked him.
There was no pity, no empathy, no sympathy at all in her hazy eyes—only judgment.
You deserve it, her eyes said harshly in a glare, We offered you our help and you refused to take it—and now an innocent man is dead to preserve your pride.
Despite the truth that rang in her unspoken words, it still hurt knowing that someone else thought that about him. It was true, all of it was true--Uncle was dead because he couldn't accept their help, because he couldn't trust them…Great Spirits, why was he trusting them now, now that it was too late? Why was he expecting them not to attack him now, after he had just spent the past three days giving Uncle the most honorable funeral he could offer…It wasn't much, but it was something…and he was so exhausted.
Spirits be damned, why did he have to die?
Out of nowhere, two arms wrapped around his neck unexpectedly, forcing him out of his guilt-ridden thoughts and back to reality. He could feel teardrops, not his own, but belonging to the girl entangled in his arms, brush against his face like kisses in the rain.
"I'm so sorry," The girl, the waterbender from the other day, mumbled against his ear. "I'm so sorry." She sobbed in his shoulder quietly.
Even though he hated those words, hated what they meant, and hated the pity and the worthlessness attached to them, he needed to hear them, and for that, he returned her embrace, holding her awkwardly, shaking as she sobbed in his arms.
"It's all my fault," She whispered slowly. "I should have done something…I should've stayed, I could've…You didn't know I was a healer, did you? I could've healed him…I should've healed him, and I'm so sorry."
She held him tighter as he spoke, his voice raw from disuse and shouting threats of anger towards the gods. "I didn't know…I didn't know…it's not your fault, it's mine, don't—"
She shook her head. "You had no reason to trust us, and you couldn't have known…it's not your fault."
But it was, damnit. He didn't deserve her sympathy, he didn't deserve any of it, save perhaps the blind girl's glare. She had no reason to hug him, to try to comfort him as best she could.
Yet maybe, for things such as these, there was no need for reason, either.
Gift for styromgalleries on LJ, who commented on my memes (speaking of which, if three people hurry really, really fast, they could comment on my lj and get a drabble of their request from me! HINT HINT!) Hope it's zutara enough for you, babe!
Also, pimping made easy, as brought to you by Jakia. Check out my profile, I have a link to burnbadart's artwork, which she drew because she was 'inspired' (no I did not pay her off, thx v. much, she did it on her own free will) by my drabbles. FOR THE LOVE OF OMA AND SHU, CHECK IT OUT!