Theme 043---Dreams

A Minute With The Rising Sun


He woke up first, a fact in and of itself not very extraordinary. It was normal for the Fire Prince to wake up before everyone else, as his people had a history, as well as a habit, of rising alongside the morning sun. He figured it would still be a good two hours or so before the Avatar or the blind earthchild awoke. The two water tribe siblings would more than likely be the last to awake, as the two tended to stay up as late as they possibly could. He suspected that that might've just been their elemental nature, as they were moonchildren and enjoyed the night hours more than anything else.

He normally did not mind being the first one awake. In fact, there were days where he sometimes reveled in it. Time spent with just one's self was hard to come by when traveling with four others, and Zuko was a loner at heart. He quietly rolled out of his sleeping bag, attempting not to wake his companions. The fresh dew tickled his nose as he began to collect spare twigs and limbs for the morning fire.

He barely even realized it was still dark outside.

Once the fire had started he kneeled before it in the grass, his knees quickly becoming soaked from the dew, and began to meditate. The daily routine was something he had done since he was a child, perhaps even before then, and had continued throughout his life and into exile. If he were to stop now it would be like letting go of everything he once was, everyone he once loved, and as painful as his past was he couldn't give it up, not now especially. So he tried his hardest to ignore his wet knees and instead concentrated on the embers escaping into the morning sky, focusing himself in deep meditation.

Nature, or perhaps karma, had other ideas, for he did not mediate for very long before a fuzzy, white, flying lemur landed itself on top of his head. He opened one eye and raised his eyebrow at the creature curiously. The lemur circled the top of Zuko's head before deciding that, yes, this matted nest of brown and black was soft enough, and it wasn't wet like the grass or the bison's fur, and it was probably the best place for him to sleep at the moment.

The fireboy let out an amused chuckle before he carefully pulled the lemur out of his hair and set him down beside him. So much for meditating this morning. Still, he wasn't too disappointed—there were other things that called for his attention as well.

Like the sunrise.

Normally, Zuko was not an appreciate of beauty—a childhood spent surrounded by gold-coated, shimmering, sparkling things of magnificence had made him almost immune to their glory. Noblewomen of every shape, size, and stature, too, had dulled his interest in the fairer sex just a bit.

Maybe it was his exile, or maybe it was simply Uncle's influence, but for some reason this morning's sunrise was, perhaps, the most beautiful thing he had ever laid eyes on. A wide assortment of reds, yellows, and blues spread across the morning sky, as if a child, given a set of paints and allowed to go wild, had put them there. There was no rhyme or reason in the colors chosen to accompany the sky, but the raw mixture of the shades brought out a sort of hidden treasure, filled with the dazzling luster of magnificence, that Zuko found unexpectedly.

He almost wished someone else was awake, too, so they could enjoy the sunrise as well. A quick glance over his shoulder towards his soundly sleeping companions told him what would happen should he dare ever wake them for something so seemingly silly.

Aang, for example, would appreciate the sunrise more than some of the others, and he would probably be the easiest for Zuko to wake up. If anything, he could always write it off as a calming, meditative practice needed for firebending--yet he was hesitant to wake the young Avatar. Aang was so easily distracted—he would probably enjoy the sunrise for three minutes, tops, before becoming bored and distracting himself with an insect or a rock or something shiny, no doubt dragging Zuko into his mischief as well, and that would be the end of the sunrise for them both.

Call him selfish if you will, but he wanted this moment to last.

Toph would kill him if he woke her up this early. He could almost feel the ground beneath him quake as an imaginary boulder flung out from it's earthly prison and collided with body, accompanied, of course, by the high-pitched reel of "YOU WOKE ME UP TO SEE THE SUNRISE! DAMNIT, SCORCHY, I'M BLIND! I COULDN'T SEE THE SUNRISE EVEN IF I WANTED TO!"

And that would be the end of Zuko's miserably short existence on this earth.

So no, he wouldn't be waking Toph up. Not any time soon, at least. Not if he wanted to live.

No doubt Sokka's reaction would be similarly identical, only with more grumbling threats and less rock throwing. A sharp glare, complete with a wide variety of colorful swearwords learned from Earth Kingdom scallywags, Water Tribe vagabonds, and drunken Fire Nations soldiers would be just about all the reaction Zuko would get out of him, unless the warrior was feeling particularly bold at the moment and decided to stupidly throw his boomerang at the former Fire Prince and receive a fist full of fire instead.

Not to mention that Zuko didn't care much for Sokka's company anyway. He and Sokka didn't get along even when the young warrior had gotten a full night's rest, and Zuko didn't think they would like each other any more if he woke him up at dawn and expected him to enjoy the sunset.

Then there was Katara.

He smiled warmly at the thought of her. He liked Katara. A lot. Not in the fawning, lovesick puppy-cat way that Aang liked her, or the harsh, brutal, sisterly way that Toph liked her, and he couldn't even say he liked her in the protective, brotherly way that Sokka did. He didn't really know how to describe what he felt for her, if there was even a word out there for such a strange and curious feeling.

She always tried to make him feel warm and welcomed among their group, and she was kind to him always. She was compassionate and sympathetic towards him, but she always respected his privacy when he asked her to. Her fiery nature, while a bit more withdrawn than it use to be, drew him to her as well, if only out of the curiosity of how a tiny little waterbender from the South Pole came to hold such passion inside of her. She felt like a kindred spirit to him sometimes, especially when he watched as she struggled with a particularly bracing waterbending move. And the pure respect and admiration he held for her grew daily, especially as he watched her try to hold them together, to keep them bonded through ties of family-like love and friendship.

Not to mention she was beautiful.

He allowed his gaze to wander from the bright morning sunshine to the sleeping form of the lady in question, and was surprised to find himself feeling dizzy and slightly light-headed, but in a good way. Her hair was tousled from it's normal braid, leaving wild, silky brown curls cascading along her sleeping bag instead. The recently settled dew had found a haven on Katara's body, leaving tiny, crystal droplets on her dark skin and hair, adding a glistening hue around her. She had stripped herself of her usual outer blue robes, the summer heat finally getting to them all, and slept instead in her white undergarments. (A decision Sokka fought her against tooth and nail, but finally relented—the maddening heat was getting to him, too.) The soft glow of the sunrise made the glittery dew on her skin sparkle, highlighting the womanly curves of her body more easily seen due to her light clothing, and the shadows showing off the sheer smoothness of her…

All too suddenly, it seemed far too hot outside, for out of nowhere his face flushed bright red (from the heat, of course) and his palms seemed surprisingly sweaty.

But he did not turn away. Instead, he left his eyes glued to her virtuous form.

Katara would love the sunrise, he thought to himself. He was half-tempted to wake her up, just so she could enjoy it, too. Distantly he noticed the moon was still out, as well as a few sparse stars. The entire sky was a complete merge of the sun and the moon, the night and the day.

Fire, and water.

Yes, Katara would be the one to enjoy the sunrise. He could picture himself on the top of the hill with her, in companionable, yet comfortable silence, basking in the glow of their respective elements, for once not harmful to one another, but at complete and total peace.

Tentatively, he found the courage to stand up and walk over to her sleeping form. She looked very much like an angel this morning, cloaked in white and glistening from the dew. He kneeled beside her carefully, breathing in her scent like some sort of intoxicating drug. Katara was always beautiful, but like the sunrise she stood out this morning, and he couldn't explain why. All he knew was he couldn't get enough of her. The gentleness of her hair, the slight curve of her smile, the way blood rushed to his head when he caught sight of her and the lightheadedness he felt when he was thinking about her.

He was falling in love with her.

It was simple. So brilliantly simple. He thought falling in love would be a bit more complicated than that, but no, it wasn't. The world did not end when he came to this realization, nor did time stop. The heavens didn't sing, and a light didn't flash in the sky to alert the world of his newfound feelings.

It was simple. He was a boy, a young man, and she was girl, a young lady, and he was in the process of falling in love with her. It was as easy as that. And in it's own way, that's what made it so wonderful. The painless ease at which he was falling was like nothing he had ever felt before. Nothing in his life had ever come to him so easily, and a part of him cherished it, and would cherish it for the remainder of his days.

Absentmindedly, he found himself brushing a stray hair out of her face. He kept his hand near her, gently caressing her hair, a stupid, lovesick smile plastered onto his face. By the Spirits, she was beautiful. Nothing could ruin this moment for him, his mind already lost in the depths of complete and total euphoria.

Then she woke up.

He panicked instantly, his euphoria gone in a flash, replaced by every stupid, irrational human emotion toiling itself inside his brain. What would she do---hell, what would she say, even? Here he was, some stupid teenaged boy, the son of her enemy, watching her as she slept, stroking her hair fondly like she was some sort of exotic pet there for his amusement!

Would she be angry? Would she ever speak to him again? What if she hated him? Damnit to hell, he just realized he was falling in love with her! He wouldn't be able to live with himself if she decided to hate him because of his own stupidity.

But she did none of the above. Instead, she smiled up at him softly, affectionately, blue eyes staring at him hazily.

"I had a dream about you." She said, sounding oddly distant. There was strange surrealism in her voice when she spoke.

"I hope it was a good dream, then." She still half-asleep… He thought, his mind racing excitedly. She probably doesn't even realize she's talking!

She nodded dreamingly. "A very good dream. We had a house."

"A house?"

"Yeah." She spoke quietly. "A house."

He wasn't for sure how he was suppose to react to that. Was she awake enough for him to ask her questions? Would she remember this conversation later? What did she even mean by that, anyway? A house? A house they shared?

He wasn't about to get his hopes up. Not yet.

"Was it a nice house?" He asked, feeling like a complete idiot for asking something that seemed so domesticated and simple.

As it was, it seemed like he had picked out the perfect question, for Katara's dreamlike state buzzed with pure excitement.

"It's a wonderful house." She explained happily, her eyes still slightly hazy. "Absolutely beautiful. Three bedrooms, two stories, all at the top of a hill. The view there is amazing at sunset, and there's a lake just at the bottom of the hill, can't miss it, and…" She yawned, tiredness coming over her swiftly. "…And it needs painted, though I think we can handle that."

She yawned again, stretching her arms high above her head tiredly, before she rolled over onto her side, curling up much like a cat caught sunbathing. "G'night." She whispered absently, allowing herself to escape back into her perfect dreamland.

He did not mind letting her sleep, and he was half-tempted to just let her be, but first there was something he had to know. Had to. It would eat away at him until he found out, and come later in the morning she might not remember or would possibly deny it.

"Why do we have a house?" He asked, his breathing suddenly slow with anticipation.

"…baby…" She half-whispered, half-mumbled before curling deeper into her sleeping bag.

It wasn't the answer he was expecting. "Baby?"

She nodded dimly. "Newborn. Barely a week old." She closed her eyes contently. "…You're really bad at changing diapers, you know…"

An odd mix of elation and relief and confusion soared through him. He wanted to talk to her, to ask her some more things. What was the baby like, for example? Did it have black hair, like him? Or was it tan, like her? Was it a boy or a girl? Blue eyes, or gold? Did it look like him? Her? Did it have her brother's nose and Uncle's eyes and her wonderful smile? Or was it something completely different?

It was too late to ask, though. Katara was already well into a peaceful slumber, no doubt dreaming happily, and distantly he noticed the sun had risen completely, marking the start of a new day.


Author's Notes:

(you mean Jakia has an organized thought process?)

Have you ever had a dream that felts so real and vivid that when you woke up you had to go and check yourself to make sure it didn't really happen?

Yeah, that's what happened to me a few days ago, and is what prompted this fic.

In order to understand that, though, I'm going to have to give you some backstory. ;)

You see, about a year and a half ago, I was knee-deep in the Harry Potter fandom, and a violent Harry/Hermione shipper. I lurked for the most part, but I did take place in forum discussions and wrote a few fanfics. Then the sixth book came out. I can't even describe to you how disappointed and how angry I was over that book. It didn't even feel real. It was horrible, and depressing, how bad the sixth book was compared to the rest of the series. I felt cheated, and for the most part have become very bitter towards the series in general, leaving the fandom almost entirely. (I still have two HP related com on my friend's list, just in case something happens I won't be completely lost. I don't post or lurk anywhere else, though.)

Anyway, a few nights ago I had this really vivid dream. I dreamed the seventh HP book had come out and I didn't even realize it until I was online. I was just surfing my friend's page per usual when I came to the H/Hr com on my flist. It was a big page that said, "SPOILERS FOR THE SEVENTH BOOK IN THIS THREAD! DISCUSS HERE!" and it had a lj-cut. But under that there was this little note that said, "I know most of you don't want to know spoilers if you haven't read the book yet, but still, I figured you'd want to know: We aren't delusional anymore!"

I. Could. Have. Killed. Her.

For spoiling me. Which is odd, because I'm usually don't care about spoilers, but for some reason in my dream I was ticked. Then my phone rang and it was one of my friends who, as soon as I answered the phone, went, "OMG! Ron died!"

Me: "ARGG! Shut up, shut up!"

Again, odd, because the friend in question is a pretty slow reader and usually only reads the book after I've bought them and am done. You'd think my brain would have caught on to the fact that it was a dream, but no, it didn't. Instead, I wandered around the rest of my dream the day sulking because I had been spoiled for the seventh HP book hypothetically.

Finally, my aunt (who lives in a different state for crying out loud!) just rolled her eyes and handed me her copy of the book and told me to just read it already. I remember in my dream that I sat down and read it in one sitting (it was a short book!) and then feeling torn about how it ended. On one hand there were things I really liked about it (H/Hr, and when Harry ended up killing Voldemort, Volde turned into 11-year old Tom Riddle ghostboy who just went, "No one ever even gave me a chance." And I was like, "You go, emokid.", because on my list of Things I Hated Most About Book 6 was Tom was evil from step 1 and never given a chance to turn good.) There were also things I hated about my mental version of book seven. (Ron's death was clichéd and no one seemed to care, nothing was ever explained about Snape and Draco, Sirius/James/Lupin/Dumbledore/ect. Were all completely forgotten about.)

Then I woke up.

And…and I could not tell if what had happened was a dream or not. Crazy, I know. I ended up frantically hunting down some old HP sites I use to visit, found out that the seventh book had in fact not been released yet, and in the process, came across my favorite's HP fanfic of all time, which this fic was named after and inspired by.

I love that fic. Really, I do. I love all the descriptions and the title and the wording and everything. The style, it eats my soul! So I decided I would try to write an Avatar fic in the same style. I used the same title because, hey, got to give the one author some credit. And the title, in fact, became the entire basis for which the fic was written. Also, I wanted to have Katara talk in her sleep. Because I'm awesome like that.

Hell, this is a long A/N.

One last thing then I'll let you go: the references to feeling lightheaded—scientifically, lightheadedness has been linked as a feeling you get while you're falling in love. :) (adds to list of Things Being An H/Hr Shipper Has Taught Me)

Much love,