I'll be the statue of a goddess in the palace of your birth, made of stone and gold and not alive, but you'll stare at me just the same, if only for the blue in my eyes.


He's going insane.

For three weeks now, he's been back home. Three whole weeks. How or why doesn't matter to him anymore: all that matters is that it's warm outside, and the walls are red not green, and it's so very home.

(there are times, though, when it doesn't seem very much like home, days when an apartment in Bai Sing Sei's refugee section felt more like home, but he tries not to think about it very much, and pretends he doesn't miss Uncle's hearty laughter.)

It would figure, of course, that he as soon as he'd accomplished his goal of returning home, he'd start to go insane.

And he imagines it's probably Azula's fault, too, like always.

Three weeks ago, he thinks back, because it feels like it's been years not weeks. Three weeks ago, he didn't even think about the Fire Nation or honor or duty. Three weeks ago, all he knew were soft brown hands and sparkling blue eyes, and was perfectly happy with that.

And then Azula found him, and dragged him (rather reluctantly) back home to father, who (also rather reluctantly) restored Zuko's honor. While he had no doubt that his father and sister were probably trying to come up with the quickest way to get rid of him, he found himself facing a different problem. Somehow in the confusion and joy of returning home he had managed to forget about the waterbender, the blue-eyed girl whose name sounded sweet on his tongue, had managed to keep his mind on something other than the sound of her laughter.

Then the statue appeared, and it all went downhill from there.

It isn't a grand statue, or even one of any importance. It's golden in color, in the shape of a young maiden who looks absolutely nothing like Katara in the daylight. Which it shouldn't, because it's suppose to be a statue of one of the lesser sun-spirits, the guardian tenjin of the Shui clan, one of the daughters of Agni.

But, but at night, when he's tired and walking back to his room, he swears it looks just like her. He thinks it might just be the fact that the statue's eyes are painted blue (of all color!) but he thinks they look identical. And because of the constant reminder, all he seems to be able to think about is her.

Her, Katara, who he know thinks he may be in love with.

It's driving him mad. He can no longer focus. All he can think about are brown hands, blue eyes. And that he never said thank you. Or got the chance to say goodbye. Spirits, he wanted to say goodbye!

So he packs his things one day, a surprise to everyone, and announces that he's leaving. It's either leave, or go insane.

"I have to find something." Someone. He tells them. "I don't know when I'll be back."

Azula stares at him in shock but doesn't complain. Father's expression he can't read, but Zuko thinks he may be laughing on the inside.

He doesn't care.

Now, all he needs to do is find her again.


END

(Shui is Chinese for water. Ha-ha.)

Short chapter, I know, but at least it's something to get the ball rolling, no? I'm not entirely happy with it, but I suppose it serves it's purpose.

Next chapter: Jun! And maybe Katara. We'll see.

jak