Disclaimer: The Song "Held" is property of Natalie Grant as is character's in the Avatar Universe. (Pity) However, this story belongs to me, myself, and I.


She rubbed her sallow eyes until the sockets burrowed into her skull.

"Please watch over him." She pleaded irrationally to her last confidant turned skeleton. Its rotting jaw consoled her fears shortly. The decaying flesh filled her nostrils. With a dry heave, she expelled the last of her strength. It dripped over her chin, down her throat, and onto her simple gown. A guard snorted awake and peered at the pitiful, frail woman covered in vomit.

"Milady?" she choked bile and shuffled towards the door.

She grasped the door to hold her up, but she did not leave her knees. The man's pee colored teeth peeked from his cracked gums in a grimace and he bent down to her eye level.

"What happened?" she said unknowingly flinging flecks of food on his face. He spit putrid on the floor and refused to meet her eyes.

"Where is my son? How did the Agni Kai end?" she began to jiggle the bars fruitlessly.

"Shh." He soothed and patted her nearest bony hand.

He glanced behind him whispered, "he's not dead. His father banished him." He sighed and met her gold-flecked eyes, "he was injured. I'm sorry Lady Ursa." He added silently.

"Where?" she gasped as her ribs protruded through her cotton dress. The jailer shuddered and looked away.

"I don't know." Her knuckles tightened on the bars and she rested her brow on the cold iron.

"Two months is too little.

They let him go.

They had no sudden healing.

To think that providence would

Take a child from his mother while she prays

Is appalling."

Her breathing halted and she fell to the ground in a stupor.

The crashing of her body emitted a sickening thud as floor bent bone.

"What's going on?" A voice trumpeted.

The guard fumbled for his keys until the padlock gave way.

He checked her pulse underneath the clumps of dried vomit. Her eyes fluttered open as familiar footsteps trilled from nearby. She gasped and her eyes swiveled upward.

"Tell my son…"

"What mother?"

"Princess." The crusty jailer bowed low to the urine-seeped ground.

"Leave us." He saw a tall, shapely woman tapping a heel and grinning wickedly at the dying woman. He banged his head on the floor as a gesture of obedience, mentally cursed his cowardice, and fled.

Ursa's eyes could not comprehend the woman as a finger extended towards her.

"Goodbye mother."

"Azula? Why?" Ursa asked dazed. Wrinkles appeared just over her forehead as she regained control over her feeble mind. Ursa did not scream as her skin smoldered.

She stared mutely at her daughter. "Why?" she reiterated and the blue flames ate away at what little flesh she had left. Azula's fascinated eyes studied the form become devoid of life. She inhaled the fumes emanating from her mother's corpse. A huge smile adorned her face as he mother's murder brought a sudden joy to her bosom. She kicked the fresh ashes with her heels.

"Who told us we'd be rescued?

What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?

We're asking why this happens

To us who have died to live?

It's unfair."

The tears and snot clung to his tender cheek. Everything had been lost. He pounded the earth with his sorrows until his knuckles cracked.

"No Zuko." His mother's voice floated into his immaculate ear and he restrained his suicidal arms. He closed his eyes until memories laced about his body, then he stood, and returned to his ship.

"This is what it means to be held

How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive.

This is what it is to be loved.

And to know that the promise was

When everything fell we'd be held."

"Please tell me what happened." Her pleading dark eyes watered and he shook is head defiantly. She frowned and folded her arms.

His brows knitted, but after an intense look, he decided to confess.

He hung his ebony head. She scooted near him and placed her cool cheek upon his scarred one.

"I killed my sister." She tore off a piece of her sleeve and pressed it into his palm. She stroked the furrows in his hands.

"This hand is bitterness.

We want to taste it, let the hatred know our sorrow.

The wise hands open slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow."

He watched as she entwined her small arms about his shoulders. She pressed her head into his pulsing neck and stroked the tiny black hairs at the base.

Silently he lowered his head on her capable shoulders.

"This is what it means to be held.

How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life.

And you survive.

This is what it is to be loved.

And to know that the promise was

When everything fell we'd be held."

A howling bundle was placed into his fearful arms. The tears did not cease, but the little mouth muted. The little mouth closed silently and gold eyes refused to move off his father's face. Awkwardly he stroked his son's damp brown head while unfocused eyes wobbled about. A softness stole over his gruff face and he held out a finger.

The tiny hand closed over it. A shiver stole down his father's spine.

"If hope is born of suffering.

If this is only the beginning.

Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?"

He knew then that he had a purpose.

This is what it means to be held.

How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive.

This is what it is to be loved.

And to know that the promise was

When everything fell we'd be held.

This is what it means to be held."

Author's Note:

This is a sad one-shot that I was compelled write yesterday evening.

I would like to dedicate this to those who lost their lives 5 years ago on 9/11/2001 and to those who were left behind.