Chapter 13 – Healing, the Ultimate Guide

"Yes?" Iroh shouted from inside his bedroom.

"It's Katara, can I come in?"

"Yes," he said, standing up and unlocking his door. Dirty plates littered his floor, and light from the hallway poured in and showed Iroh just how dirty it was.

"Hi," she said, coming in to the room and bringing a torch with her, "I heard."

"Oh." He sat down heavily on his bed, sighing deeply.

"Can I help?" she sat down next to him. She touched his arm, but he shrugged it off.

"Is there even any point?"

"It can't hurt, can it?"

"No, but I'm not expecting it to do much good either. You couldn't heal my brother, what makes you think you can heal me?"

Tears came to Katara's eyes, and she stood up again, offended. In the dull gloom, he saw her tear up, and said: "You can try, if you really want to."

She smiled back at him, turning around. She pulled out her water pouch and bent some water out of it. The cool water surrounded her hands, covering them like gloves and seeming to glow in the soft light. "Where does it hurt?"

"Around my lower back. Do you want me to…erm…take off my shirt?"

"If you would."

Iroh pulled off his red shirt, revealing toned muscles. Katara was, quite frankly, impressed. Even locked up in his room, with a fatal illness, he had managed to keep his figure.

After he had turned around, she placed her hands on his back, letting the cool water slide around on his back. His chi was horribly twisted, and there was a huge knot in the small of his back. She was not nervous this time; she knew she could do it. She tried to loosen the knot, and it did begin to soften up, but only slightly. She kept moving the water over his strong back for what must have been at least a quarter of an hour. She only stopped when his back began to shake with sobs.

Bending the water back into her pouch, she put a hand on his shoulder.

"I'm afraid that's all I can do for today. It seems to be helping, though. I'll come back tomorrow and see what I can do." He nodded, showing he understood. "Look on the bright side," she stooped down to pick up his discarded shirt, "It is getting better, and I'm not as nervous this time," she smiled as his tears subsided. She took the torch out of its holder and slipped out of the room, being careful not to let too much light in. She smiled at him as she left, saying, "Don't worry."

He sat in the darkness, still worrying.