Ru: Hello again wonderful readers!!!
Ru: After a year and a half of being away we are back!!
Bri: Yeah we're really sorry about that.
Ru: I know it's not an excuse y'all will like, but we just got busy with school and college applications, I'm sure many of y'all will understand.
Bri: And now that we are actually in college and don't have to worry about anything other than finals!
Tawny: (muttering) Nothing to worry about, yeah right.
Ru: Anyways… we decided that it was time that we made time and wrote the next chapter!
Ru: So readers, here it is what you have been waiting so patiently for… Chapter 13!!!
Chapter 13: Why So Sad?
Zuko was walking down one of the many halls in the Earth Palace after his tea with his mother and uncle. They had finally gotten Ursa to agree to live in the palace with them and the two adults had gone to talk about it with King Sujin. Which left him to think about everything his mother had told him.
"He promised me he would keep you safe…"
"Changed his will… thinking the next morning you would die…"
"You will learn respect, and suffering will be your teacher…"
Zuko gritted his teeth and balled his fists. He had tried to put those painful thoughts out of his head, but they wouldn't leave.
"Zuko?" A gentle voice from behind him said.
"What?" he spat. The person behind him recoiled from the harsh tone in his voice.
"I just wanted to say hello and ask how the tea with your mother went, but since you don't seem to want to see me, I'll just leave." The voice said. Zuko stayed where he was and glared at his feet, he didn't really want to talk to anyone right now. The person behind him had expected to be called back, but when Zuko stayed silent she came back instead. "What is with you? You're so angry all the time and when someone even starts to get close to you, you push them away!" The person behind him put a hand on his shoulder and forcefully turned him towards her. It was Katara, but Zuko just glared at the floor like it had just offended him. "Look at me." Zuko continued to stare at the floor. "Look at me!" Katara took his chin and brought it up so she could look into his eyes. They were filled with pain and anger that she still could not comprehend. "What's wrong?" She asked softly. Zuko wrenched his face from her grip and looked away. "Tell me." She commanded. Zuko stayed silent. "I know what your problem is." Zuko's head snapped up, a glare fixed on his face. "Listen to me before you make that face." Katara said calmly. "You feel like you can't trust anyone. After what your father did to you, how could you? But your mother is here now, and you already know that your father is crazy. So, what I can't figure out is why you have such an angry face on. You can trust your uncle and you can trust your mother. And… you can trust me."
She gently caressed the good side of his face. He reached up and put a hand over hers. He took her palm and put it to his mouth. Katara smiled and stepped closer. Zuko gently pulled her arm up over his head, so she would be even closer to him. Slowly, he bent down and claimed her lips. She met his readily and placed her other hand on his chest. He wrapped his arm around her waist, wanting to be closer to her. She pushed her body against his so that every inch of her body was touching him. Zuko deepened the kiss and slid his tongue into her waiting mouth. She made him feel so alive, like just being with her was an adventure in itself. She reminded him of the mother that he had felt he had lost, and he had been acting just like his father by being so angry and cold around her. He could trust Katara, and that was a nice feeling.
Aang was standing in the courtyard of the palace watching this scene play out. There was a frown on his face and angry tears in his eyes. He took his glider, which was always in his hand, and flew, out of the courtyard. He landed on the inner wall as the sun was setting. He stared at it angrily.
On a hill outside the city's outer wall, Iroh was kneeling in front of a makeshift altar. On the altar was an ink drawing of a young man that looked very similar to Iroh.
"Lu Tien, my son, Happy Birthday.
Leaves from the vine,
Falling so slow,
Like little tiny shells
Caught in the foam.
Little soldier boy,
Come marching home.
Brave soldier boy,
Comes marching home."
As he sang the last words of the song, he heard a quiet sniffling from beside him. He looked around. It was Saimei, she was crying quietly next to him. Iroh put his arm around her and let her cry on his shoulder. As he listened to her cry tears started to form in his eyes and he wept along side her. He wept for their forsaken love, for their dear son who had passed away all those years ago, for Saimei and her sorrow, and for all of the hardships they had experience through the years. When their tears had subsided, Iroh looked at Saimei. Her face was red and not painted like it normally was. She was missing the elegant clothes that she normally wore and was dressed in rough peasant clothing. Saimei looked up into his eyes and the next thing she knew, their lips had found each other. "Iroh…" she thought. "IROH!" She pulled away like she had been shocked.
"What am I doing!?!" She cried as she stood and back away from him. "I'm a married woman! I'm the mother to the prince and princesses of this nation! I'm the queen!"
"Saimei, please, we need to talk about this." Iroh pleaded. "It seems you've been hurting even more than I have these past seven years."
"No! It's just like I said before, talking with you always leads to other things! What was that that we were just doing? What do you call that?" She screamed.
"I call that pent up emotions and things that both of us have held inside for years, except I was allowed to mourn for Lu Tien and you were not, were you? So I have some closure, but you do not." Iroh reasoned. "Please, Saimei, please, we both need the closure."
"You're just saying that, I know what you really want!"
"Saimei, I'm not the young arrogant man that you used to know, I've changed. There are many things that have happened in my life that have changed me. Please, let me help you heal!" Saimei didn't know what to think or to believe, so she did the only thing she could think of doing, she ran.
A Dai Lei agent was walking along the wall with two kegs of green liquor. He almost walked past, when he saw Aang's expression.
"What's eatin' you kid?" The man asked.
"Huh?" Aang looked up at the agent confusedly.
"What's eatin' you?" He repeated.
"Nothing…" Aang replied.
"It's a girl isn't it?"
"What's her name?" Aang looked around restlessly. He wasn't sure if he wanted to tell this guy his life story.
"Come on, drink with me and tell me your troubles." The man sat down and handed a cup he had been keeping in his sleeve to Aang. He sat down next to the older man and took the crude wooden cup. He wouldn't talk at first, but once he had some liquor in him that changed.
"Katara… that's her name. I've been in love with her ever since I first saw her." He said dejectedly.
"So, she break your heart?" The Dai Lei asked.
"She has no idea that she owns it. She's too busy giving hers to someone else, some guy who has just been hunting us down for the past several months, who is all of a sudden a 'good guy', and he's just gonna use her!" Aang replied and took another swig of liquor.
"Well… I know what ya gotta do." The agent said.
"And what's that?" Aang asked.
"Ya gotta tell her!" He said.
"You're kidding, right?"
"Nope! Declare yourself! Let her know that you got feelins' for her! Then, let her decide what she wants, you, the Avatar, or that insensitive jerk. Who knows? She might choose you in the end." The man exclaimed.
"You know what? You're absolutely right! I'll do it! But first…" Aang grabbed the second jug and chugged it.
"Boy, take it easy! You don't need that much courage, do you?" He ripped the jug away from Aang, as the Avatar staggered back.
"No, I'm good." He took his glider and took off into the night sky.
Katara was on her way to her room after dinner. I wonder where Aang was? He's usually at dinner. Then she stared off into the night and saw his glider coming into view. He flew closer and nearly crashed into a pillar.
"Aang!" Katara ran to him to see if he was hurt, he normally wasn't this uncoordinated while flying. "Aang, are you alright?" Aang staggered to his feet using his staff for support.
"Katara…" he slurred. "There's somethin' I gotta tell you."
"What is it Aang?" She asked, trying to get him to let her help him.
"I… I… I love you!" He blurted. Katara gave him a shocked stare. Then she readjusted her face to show a blank expression, when she realized what his breath smelled like.
"Aang, you're drunk." She replied, putting his arm around her shoulders, so she could help him inside. Aang threw off her arm and grabbed both of her wrists.
"I know… I'm drunk…and there are three of you right now, but I know exactly what I am saying. I've been in love with you since I woke up in your arms and thought that you were an angel. All I want to do is hold you in my arms." Katara looked at him, speechless. Finally she found her voice.
"Aang, you're very sweet, and I'm flattered, but I'm dating Zuko, and I really like him. You're like a little brother to me and we can't be anything more than just friends." Aang frowned and, as he was still holding on to Katara with both hands, pulled her towards him and kissed her. Katara froze. It wasn't bad, but she felt nothing. She was certain now that she should be with Zuko and not Aang, and could not return the kiss. Aang pulled away.
"Katara?" A voice from behind asked. Katara's heart stopped. She whipped around; it was Zuko, he had seen the entire kiss.
"Zuko!" Katara cried. Zuko turned on his heel and stalked down the hall. "No, Zuko wait!" Katara yanked her hands away from Aang and took off down the hall after him. She ran into his room where the door had practically been torn from its hinges. "Zuko, please, let me explain." Katara pleaded.
"WHY SHOULD I?" The firebender roared. He was pacing back and forth trying to calm his temper, before fire started shooting out everywhere.
"Please," Katara cried. Tears were flowing from her eyes as she looked at her furious boyfriend.
"NO! I WAS A FOOL! I should have never believed I could trust you! GET OUT!" He raged.
"But Zuko this is just a misunderstanding! Aang is in love with me, but I want you! He's nothing but a kid brother to me. He's drunk and kissed me! I felt nothing I swear! I thought it was really gross! Please!" She sobbed. "Please." Katara broke down in tears as Zuko continued to fume.
"Just… get… out." Zuko said quietly with his back turned to her. Katara looked around hopelessly and wrapped her arms around herself, as if to hold herself together. She waited another minute, hoping that he would turn around and end her sorrow, but he didn't, he just kept his back to her. She ran from the room. Zuko looked at where she had been after she had gone, slammed the door, and broke down.
Ru: Oh no!!!
Bri: That's so sad!!
Tawny: This was a really sad chapter.
Bri: It's really long though. And I really liked the part at the beginning, with the Zutara action! (hehe)
Ru: Ok readers, this chapter is a present to 2wingo!
Bri: Thank you for your support!
Tawny: Yeah, thanks.
Ru: You all should know what comes next!
Together: Please review!!!