Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Fire And Ice By Robert Frost
She is beautiful still, even with the shadows of suffering hanging over her war-ravaged frame. Her eyes are no longer the tender blue of a child's, bridging on the world of a woman – they are darker now, deeper. Reflective of the agony and powder soft melancholy that so many now bear in their hearts, but she carries in her eyes.
August has arrived with as much elegance as can be expected, it has brought rains to the Fire Nation, drought to the Earth Kingdom and moons and suns to the Water Tribes.
The land is humid; rains bring heat, stagnation and frustration. Sweat coats the alabaster skins of the Fire people, causing their silks and satins to cling to their corset tightened bodies. Aggravations, as a result, run deep, through every pore and behind each mouth, pursed tight with discontent.
Even as Fire Lord he is not immune to the weather. Not immune to the irritation that curses his people. Perspiration, he has decided, is the cause of all this. It's manner alone is infuriating, the measured pace at which it travels along limbs and faces, the salt which fuels its journey.
He can quite easily blame the wanting on the weather – on the insufferable heat – even so, he can't explain why it tortures him so. And for that, he blames her – silly to do such a thing, of course he knows that.
It doesn't stop him though.
Of course he blames her.
For only she – she seems to relish in this blasted heat. Perspiration as it layers her graceful neck and chocolate skin has never seemed so – appealing. It is like a drug, the way it glistens, glimmers and seduces in the light of the moon.
"Come to me Katara." He has left the comforts of the throne room, the satisfaction of his perfumed handmaidens with their doting gazes and soothing words for her. Although he doubts that she'll be appreciative.
"No." Her eyes are broken though her voice is fierce. She too is perfumed, and her face is painted, the norm for all concubines belonging to the Fire Lord. She has been washed and dressed, bejewelled and decorated, all for his amusement. And he knows, of course he knows, just how it disgusts her.
"Slaves should obey their master." Words he says simply because he longs to see that spark beneath her cold eyes: anger, revulsion. But at the very least, they are something. And he moves forward, to reap his reward, the screams and threats, the fire that he yearns for.
The heavy echoes that dance through the silence mark his footfalls. Her heart quakes with each sound, although, to her credit, her face remains unmoved. Her hands are tied in front of her, a necessary precaution it has been called, ever since she attempted to defend her honour with an ice spear. Her back stiffens as he nears, and now, as his strong, spicy scent wafts past defences and dilutes her hatred into mere nagging sensation, she speaks. Her words are as bitter and empty as her heart. "I am not your slave, Demon. And if you lay a hand on me, I shall kill you."
Her terrorization fails to have the desired reaction. Rather than shiver or balk at her hatred, he merely smirks with the arrogance of his nation. Their gazes meet; gold touches sapphire and triumphs. Had she not systematically convinced herself that he possessed no hold on her – she would have weakened then.
His skin practically burns with his desire to touch her. She is so lovely, so exquisite and exotic. His. Whether or not she chooses to accept it.
They are now mere inches apart, fragments of time, memories made tangible by the night, separate them – he knows that he shouldn't. But alas – his fingers have already grazed her cheek; his racing heart has already captured his breath; and all he knows is slowly coming to embody her.
She manages to contain the gasp and the shudder that are borne from his caresses, the trembling sighs that seep from her heart – oh Gods – his fingers trace the curves of her ear lightly, pausing only once to remove the heavy metal hoop that adorns there. He tosses the jewellery carelessly to the tiles; the thud that it makes is quieted nearly completely by the cry that escapes her lips when his mouth moves to soothe the affected spot, when his teeth and breath tease her flesh to a maddening degree.
He moves lower, apparently unaffected by her wordless surrender, for he knows it too well as well as he knows her – though she'd deny that as well. She is a woman who will need to be tempted, seduced and, yes, cherished. There is no other way to steal from her those tiny bits of herself that she keeps so close to her broken heart.
That he cradles so close to his.
"You want me." He whispers it in passing, as he travels past her neck to her shoulder, highlighting his point with a gentle nip of his teeth – she has forced herself to be silent by now, but her skin is not so easily controlled, and it shivers due to his ministrations.
The humidity has made her hair thick, the ends are curly as a result of the perspiration that dampens her skin, and he is transfixed by it all, his fingers loose themselves in the heavy mass of jasmine scented locks, he touches her scalp, her nape – all with equal reverence.
"I want you dead." How weak her answers must sound now that they are obscured through the heavy mist of desire. How pathetic she must look with her eyes so heavy lidded, with her lower lips caught between her teeth. "When I kill you Aang will be avenged…Sokka will…Toph…"
There is a certain degree of vexation that her words drive from him, so powerful in fact, that if she'd dared to look at his face, she would have been remarkably pleased with herself. When he speaks however, his voice is cool, calm and valorous. "And how my dear, do you intend to do such a thing?"
Her response is immediate, "I am not your dear." And then, as he has removed his attention from her neck, (much to her reluctant dismay) she continues, "I will wait for the rains…they'll be as sharp as razors, and I'll use them to slice off your neck."
Again stirs the annoyance, albeit softened by the emergence of another emotion, this one far more tender. "Not one for sweet words are you?"
"These words are sweet to me."
"Don't be like this Katara." It is not his duty to soothe her troubled mind, in truth, he owes her nothing, and yet – "The war is over."
"The war has stopped…" She is glad for the opportunity to remind herself of her animosity towards this Fire Nation bastard, and even more overjoyed that he is forced to listen. "And you are a fool if you believe that it is finished. Not when we still mourn the deaths of our people—of our families and friends…Because of you! Your betrayal! Your lies!"
She looks at him then, not with fire, not with rage, but with a storm of sensation that he can't allow himself to examine. "Stop this. I did not bring you here for talk of politics."
He grips her arms in his hands now; the pressure is firm, though not painful. "No. You brought me here to use me for your…" For the first time Katara falters, the words she seeks – will harm her more than him. "You disgusting piece of a man! No woman would want you; no woman would care enough to touch you! You make me sick!"
Now these, careless, effortless words that rain from her lips like brimstone, burn, scorch, and weaken. He may have accepted his fate at her hands, but still, hearing this, being made to feel like this – vulnerable and pathetic – it is something that he fears that he'll never be able to welcome. "You peasant! You filthy little whore! You will not speak to me in this way!"
"If I am a whore it is because you have made one of me! You are a monster! You have no right…" Sobs choke her now, she gasps and stutters as though being suffocated, and the cause is blatant, the tears that clothe her eyes, the reprieve that she doesn't allow herself to savour.
"I have every right to take what I want. It's really a pity for both of us that that happens to be you." Even through his tirade she cripples him. The tears have lost their footing and slipped, oh so gracefully over her dusky cheeks. They finally mingle with the perspiration that has stagnated in the hollow at the base of her neck, and it is truly all he can do to stop himself from kissing them away. "You say that you want my head. Well, deny me and I'll be tempted to return the favour."
Zuko has edged closer still, although the heated look in her eyes would have driven any other man away. She takes in his scent, his warmth, the look in his eyes coupled with the strain on his face. "Do it then." Her voice is slow, silent, whispery, a far cry from the screams that he desires.
His lips are on hers in an instant, his hands wind their way through her hair, knotting the silky wave about his fist and forcing her face backwards so that he may have full possession of her mouth. She would later tell herself that it was merely surprise that allowed him such an advantage – she'd never expected – he'd never kissed her before then.
Her breath is a slow whimper over her lips, his tongue has rapidly become daring, slipping within her mouth to mate with her own. She won't allow it.
Eyes that she'd not realized that she'd closed blink open, and her arms, still tied together at her front rush upwards in a powerful jab that barely misses its target. It does accomplish its owner's intention however, and he does, dazedly, stagger away from her.
"Don't…" Lips inflamed and face flushed, half keeled over and gasping for air, she hisses at him like a mad woman.
He doesn't seem to hear her, " Get on the bed."
"Fuck you." She's long decided that there are no answers for her questions. The "whys" and the "hows" that drive her nearly to madness – there is no room in the prison that he chooses to trap them in for self pity either. The questions serve as wardens, ensuring her incarceration.
"That's the idea. Now move." She hates the look that she finds in his eyes; hates the look if not the man who bears it.
She wishes then that she'd bitten him. When he'd decided to rape her mouth before – she should have ripped out his tongue with her teeth. If he tries it again, she swears, finding that she isn't completely opposed to the notion of a second kiss; that's exactly what I'll do.
"You'll have to untie my hands my Lord." He chooses to ignore the spite. Spirits, what she does to him.
He is before her again in naught but three paces, crowding her space, grabbing hold of her arms, dragging her, even as she kicks and screams towards the raised mattress at the centre of his room.
It is obvious by now, (three kicks to the shins and several threats on his life later) that she means to awaken the entire palace. "Be quiet!" A command, an order – a mistake, and her voice deepens when she hears it.
For one who has proven herself to be as malleable and as supple as the waters that she bends, in his arms, she is reminiscent of a flame – wild and powerful. All consuming, as even in this vicious state, she eats away at his patience, his self-control, and his dignity.
Zuko manages to force her writhing body around to face him, mindful now however, of the arms that attempted to castrate him moments before, those he traps tightly in his fingers.
She falls silent once she meets his eyes, made a reluctant mute by the blatant fury that burns there. "Is this how you want it?" He gives her arms a meaningful shake, "Is it?" She has enough bashfulness left to look away. "Answer me Katara."
Yes. The word against her throat and tongue and for a moment her lips part to allow it freedom – it stays still. She doesn't owe him the truth – he has taken everything away from her: her freedom, her honour, her happiness – and yet – "Let me go."
He softens then, dutifully surprised by her delicate words. She has lowered her eyes, staring at her bare feet, her breathing has slowed and her body, slackened. It is rare to see her so vulnerable, and that, the preciousness of it alone, softens his words as well. "Is it?"
Something within him has risen from the depths of his stomach. It climbs upwards, grazing the desire that burns his blood as it does – it festers in his throat, growing stronger, deeper, until he can scarcely bear it. "Is that what you truly want?"
Silence still, though she, audibly, swallows.
"Answer me Katara."
"It doesn't matter…does it? You tell me everyday that it is only what you want. So why the hell should I answer you?"
"You're right." The perfume of her hair tempts him, seduces him – "You're right." He is bewitched by every inch of her, enslaved by her – Gods – it is more than a desire now. It is a need, a soul crushing, a bone scorching need. The need to taste her, touch her, be with her – nearly steals his own breath.
He wishes that he could be gentle – for sometimes, only sometimes, the way that she looks at him, makes him believe the horrific words that she says. "If you knew what you did to me – how you make me suffer. You would soon forget about this desire to see me dead. Believe me, this existence is far worse."
But he can't – he wouldn't, even if he could. And it isn't his fault either, it's hers. It is what she does to him – she reaches inside of his frame itself to steal things from behind his ribs – emotions and sensations – knowingly of course – it has to be. Should she share in his suffering – yes, oh Gods yes.
"What do I care about your suffering? You've destroyed all those that I care for. And you won't allow me the privilege of joining them. You keep me here, and torture me…"
"Is that what it's like for you Katara? Torture?"
"Yes." Another lie and she speaks it without wavering, even through the mists of memories (his lips, his breath), which cloud her thoughts. "It's unbearable. I want it to stop."
It is the last thing that she is aware of – the sweet curve of his mouth and the heated glow of his golden eyes – and then, warmth sweet warmth, and his lips, caressing her own.
He doesn't force a path into her mouth as he did before, he merely tastes her, touches her, teases her with his lips, all the while running his fingers along the satiny skin of her arms.
He is so warm, and his mouth – her stomach quakes – is so wonderfully, soft. His fingers cause goose pimples, and slowly, without realizing it, her lips part to grant him welcome. Zuko doesn't hesitate, if he'd believed himself aflame before, he is burning by now.
His tongue seeks and finds, his lips tempt and are tempted, and as he presses his rigid, erect body against hers, he finds her soft, supple body arching, pressing back.
He moans, she whimpers.
And they both breathe.
His eyes are hazed. Hers are clouded. She is shaking in his arms and he is trembling, trapped, in her world.
It isn't a question, simply a sound, an echo that looses meaning in this lightless cavern of longing. His eyes touch hers and once again, the world about them collapses, and he finds himself drowning in her, gasping for air, struggling against a feeling that he can't quite seem to name.
She doesn't fight when his hands release her own to hook beneath her knees. Truly, her heart is still beating far too quickly and her lips burning far too much for her to consider anything else but the riot of emotions deep in her gut.
She does register the feeling of silk as it licks at her damp neck, the tender brush of his lips when he grazes his tongue against her pulse, and she finds that she is arching, straining upwards, closer, yes –
And he obliges her. Gratefully, without the smirk or the arrogance that she has grown accustomed to, he runs his hands through her dark waterfall of hair; he tilts her head upwards and devours her neck.
"Zuko…" And she is lost.
He is ravenous, starving for her – only her. The salty sweet taste on the arch of her shoulder, the spicy flavour of her collarbone—
"Katara." And slowly, it comes to be. The hissing and burning within his core ceases and languidly, like the first flight of a hawk away from its mother's nest, he sees what he's been blind to for months.
And it startles him.
He draws away, staring down at her flushed face and her kiss swollen lips with remorse, if not, confusion.
He loves her.
Slower still, she opens her eyes – a chasm of endless blue, as bright as any sea – the shock of colour gashes away at his wounded heart, he bleeds sorrow, and pain beyond anything that he's ever known fills him.
He loves her.
She, who would rather destroy his heart than nurture it. She, who screams damnation upon his name each time that she lays her eyes upon him, this water witch whose eyes torment him as terribly as any Iron Maiden ever could.
His chest aches to consider it, like an army of men marching onwards, uncertain yet unrelenting, their footsteps and battle cries mirroring the pounding of his mutilated heart. "I want you." There is confusion there, in her face, deep past the veneer of abhorrence and slowly, it becomes something tangible, a word—a sound: "Zuko."
"Let me have you." Her eyes are soft and bleary in the golden candlelight; her lips full and pink while she struggles for breath through the heaviness of the night. The side of her robe has fallen away, revealing the smallest curve of her naked breast as it thrives underneath its mask of perspiration—
He's never asked before either. Merely taken with his body and his mind – but yes, she's always given him – because, and she swallows, in spite of of her hatred, her pain and her suffering, he is still – something, someone – and far beyond this misery lies the true pain borne from a life of loneliness.
And Spirits, she can't stand to be alone.
The answer doesn't come easily, truly, upon the first two attempts the only thing that she does consider is just how much she hates him for asking and for placing her in this situation…humiliating her further.
There is a great deal more at stake here than just desire alone…she is aware of the shame and regret that will come to her tonight, when she is left to her own mind, in her own bed, clinging to the fragments of his warmth and aroma on her skin –
No, she won't beg. There is still pride in her veins, he may have taken her honour and her virtue, but he will not have her pride!
"I hate you." And she does. With every fibre of her being—with an intensity that makes her shiver, that makes her stomach clench and her heart ache with the sheer passion of this loathing.
A pause, the lick of his warm breath against her warmer skin, "I know." His mouth then, his lips against her neck, savouring the tang of her perspiration, making her hiss when he adds his teeth, he whispers her name – a low groan, surrender. "But you want me."
He can scarcely breathe, the air is so thick between them, a fog of longing, reminiscences, needs and fears, but he drives onwards, for wanting is something—something that he has derived from her.
Outside the rains have begun. Their footsteps sound heavily against the shingles of the roof and a slow stifling heat forces it's way indoors.
His mouth moves southwards, his hands slip along as well; both ceasing only when his fingers find the knot that hides the remainder of her luscious body from his eyes. Hearts pound, blood burns, skin smoulders—and she is revealed to him.
It is her breath that is released first, a low hiss that whistles over the barrier of teeth and echoes endlessly in the cavern between them. It is more acquiescence than either of them could have wished for.
"Katara." And she turns her head away, feeling the hot taste of tears that burn the backs of her throat and eyes—humiliation, hatred—she can't control it.
"Fine." In a voice that is low, broken because he has made it so, she surrenders, "take what you want."
He doesn't react to her words, but to the tone of her voice. In all the years that he has known her—the feisty waterbender with the sapphire eyes, the stunning woman whose body had stayed as regal as any empress while those of the court had jeered her and her fallen comrades—her, Katara.
With fingers that still, then tremble, he struggles with the knots that keep her hands bound. It is a mere instant before she realizes just what he is doing, then she risks the storm of shame to stare, with eyes drenched in tears, at his face—those heavy, golden eyes, she can't read him.
He must know of the rains—he must know that with her hands free it would be so, painfully simple to take him down—he must! She…she's already told him.
He pushes her wrists apart, raising his eyes to meet hers, sending a powerful thrill to her centre, to her core. "I'll…I will kill you." She whispers, words now, seem further away.
"I have no doubt about that."
And then he touches her face, capturing the long trails of moisture that have slipped from her eyes, he brushes them away, staring at her then as though he can see right through her, see everything, and she shivers because she now fears it to be true. "But before you are so surely tempted, I'll ask you again to give me what I what."
"I want you Zuko." Before she has time for the regret that is screaming in her mind to sully the feelings in her heart, he touches his lips to hers. Zuko continues on, and she reaches upwards, attempting to pull him closer, to beg from him a caress, an endearment, another show of affection, though it may be obscured by lust, by desire – it is still, something.
He echoes her whisper, and then covers her mouth again before she has a chance to reconsider. "You hate me," He gathers her bottom lip between his teeth, feeling, more than hearing her affirmation. And she does, she hates him because of who he is, what he has done, his selfishness, the weakness that he creates in her.
She hates him because she knows that she should – regardless of the deepening chasm of desire in her stomach, regardless of the gentleness in his hands when he first touches her breasts. He—he is a monster.
His mouth goes where his hands have just left, his tongue darts out from it's haven to sample the puckered flesh that now stands proudly upright, eager to receive more of his attentions. Her own limbs are frantic now; her palms skim over his back, tugging at his robe, the clasps at his shoulder—before he pushes them away, pinning her arms beside her head, leaving them there while he resumes his ministrations.
Katara is forced to remain still even as he begins to massage those identical mahogany coloured mountains of soft, sweet flesh, she sobs unashamedly when he begins to use his teeth to seduce her. Her fingers once again fly forward, this time to bury themselves in his smooth raven mane, but again he refuses her touch, again he presses her hands against the sheets, and once more his mouth skims lower along her body, relishing in the dampness that he encounters, going so far as to pause by her navel and suckle the pools of perspiration.
His smooth palms move along her sides, fingers encounter bones and skin with equal reverence, until they finally grow still at the initial touch of her hips. By now her skin is aflame, her nerves and desires are tied together inexplicably, and she trashes, truly trashes, when his mouth touches her damp mound of curls.
Satisfaction refuses to come easily, he worms his way into her folds, suckling, then sampling, but never once relenting. He's teasing her—his tongue plunges deeper—the bastard goes deeper.
Her heart is screaming so loudly that it drowns out all else, now al she knows is he, he and that delicious feeling he is so masterful at manipulating. "Z-Zuko…" She arches her back, attempting to find friction—fulfilment—alas, there is none to come. She begins to twist her hips, desperate now; each and every one of her senses is concentrated solely upon that one place that he has chosen to linger. "Please…" Oh Spirits. "Please…Zuko."
He pulls away then, drifts away from her to rest in the perpendicular. And in those few everlasting seconds, he strips from his robes, revealing that hard, muscular body, laden in sweat—
She wants to touch him. To press her palms along his back, to feel those firm, sharp protrusions beneath his porcelain skin.
He doesn't allow her, and honestly, when he once again positions himself above her, drenches her in his thick masculine fragrance, enters her in one long swift movement; the thought leaves her mind.
He fills her to the point of overflowing. He clouds her every thought, enslaving her very mind. She is so overwrought by now that it takes him naught but three thrusts before she stiffens about his shaft, falling haplessly into that pure chasm of bliss.
Her release is immediate; he feels it in the convulsions of her muscles and the whimpers that slip from her lips. Zuko is still fully aroused when he dislodges his body from hers and although her body is limp, languid and boneless, from beneath the haze of sweet contentment, she does notice. "You didn't…"
He hushes her with his sweet mouth and then urges her onto her stomach, she complies and when she does he tugs at her robe, removing it completely. Leaving her vulnerable to both the claws of the heat and the razor sharp precision of his eyes.
"Zuko…" Voice thick and body heavy, she still reels from the intensity of her climax, and she edges away from his kisses, the deep seduction of his lips, his words. "I can't…"
If he hears he doesn't show it, instead he eases himself patiently downwards, coming to a halt only when he knows that she can feel the heat that he exudes, until it causes her to whimper against the pillows that she is pressed into. Only then does he resume his careful seduction of her body.
He starts at her neck, biting, suckling, tormenting, all the way along her body. Kisses drift upon her spine, his tongue moves in slow, deliberate patterns along her ribs, and his hands—they knead her skin, the ripe mounds of her buttocks until she can scarcely breathe.
"Zuko…" All tiredness is presently forgotten for her body has been pulled taunt, like an instrument, a string and he with his mouth and his hands manipulates her into submission. "Zuko…inside of me…please." His hands slide around to her front, nestling in her curls once more, savouring the breathless gasp that falls from her parted lips when he first touches the hardened nub at the heart of her desire.
She trembles and shudders and sobs while he plays her, watching, she assumes as she passes through the basement, over the hills past the valleys and finally concluding with a magnificent crescendo, with his name at the zenith.
For the second time her body shudders, heavy, oh so wonderfully lethargic—and again, he comes to her, whispering promises in her damp, tousled hair.
"Yes, just once more." But her body is already pliant and he takes her naked, shuddering form into his arms, positioning her so that she faces him, her heavy lidded, unfocused eyes and swollen lips capture a piece of his insides and refuse to return it.
Now, he lies down upon the sheets and she straddles him, taking all that he has to offer her. Still too heavy, too weak, it is Zuko who holds her arms, he who drags her onto him, covers her lips and rocks her hips along with his. She moans with each gentle circle of his hips, she nearly screams when he adjusts her again thus increasing the pressure on her sex. And before she falls into yet another breathtaking climax, he seeks and finds her hands, intertwining their fingers, holding her, palm to palm when he watches her face as she falls.
And he follows her then, breathless and shuddering, half dead with the potency of her screams and endearments.
The rain has stopped, and the winds blow cold through the windows. The moisture between their bodies evaporates, and soon without the slick perfume of desire to tempt them, the space in his bed widens, and then falters to naught but the sound of their ragged breaths and the music of two thumping hearts.
It is she who speaks first. Tears will come after, she knows, for tonight, she has shamed herself more than ever, and that sensation seeping into her limbs as the contentment fades away is what she knows will remain. "I wish…I wish to return to my chambers now."
He is still within her slick heat, and she still lays atop of him, her lovely, yes, lovely, curtain of coffee coloured hair is all that shields her magnificent body from his eyes. He doesn't wish for it to end yet—and it won't, "Katara. Stay with me tonight."
"No…I need to return…to receive my potions…I don't want…" The remainder of her words are lost to her sobs, tears pool unceremoniously on his chest. He pulls her away to look at her. "Stay with me." He searches those deep blue orbs, looking for—an answer, a reassurance, but the words tumbling forth will no longer be barred by pride. "I want you Katara. I want you in every way that it is possible for a man to want a woman. You consume me…my every thought, my every breath – I want you, much more than this."
"You want." Dry, cold, her words come softly.
"You want! What makes you think that that's what I want?" The tears fall freely now; they mingle with the sweat on her face, the remnants of their night until there is little to distinguish.
"I can give you all that your heart desires. I can give you everything Katara."
"What do I want Zuko?" Venom, viscous, rancid, "You?" Spite.
He can't. He doesn't understand what he says. Lust isn't what she wants! He doesn't know—he—he cannot understand all that she desires—that selfish arrogant—"I don't want you. You can't give me anything. At least, not what I need."
She hates him. Hates him. Hates him.
"Leave then." The tenderness that had lain there mere seconds before vanishes, his eyes are no longer that sweet, tender amber, now they stare up at her, a cold, unflinching gold. "Leave my presence."
It is simply a pity that he cannot find it in his shattered heart to hate her as well.
Author: I've posted this everywhere else, so I guess I should post it here as well. I was in the smuttish mood and so I wrote this. It seems familiar to me, so I may have read something similar to this in a book somewhere, or maybe not, my mind is a very confusing place to be sometimes, I tend to confuses books with my own silly fanfiction plots. Regardless, here's some Zutara smex for yur enjoyment. Any sort of compliments would be nice.