She had spent so much time planning how it would happen, how he would rescue her, and she would thank him and fall into his arms, and it would all be ok. She had reviewed it over and over in her head, planning every minute detail. But now he really was here, right in front of her, and all she could do was stare. She brushed past him and started to walk. He followed.
"Suki! Are you okay?"
So many days spent in a dark cell, musty and moldy. The air was heavy with the cries and moans of her fellow prisoners. It was heavy with the dying breaths of hopeless captives. The only thing that kept her alive, kept her filled with hope, was the thought of him, valiantly rescuing her from this hellhole so they could live happily ever after. She was taken aback when freedom came in the form of a tea-loving old man. Even though she should have been thrilled, for some reason the only feeling she got from her freedom was heartbreak. Because he never came.
So many days he had spent, wondering where she was. If she was thinking about him too. So many times he thought about what their reunion would be like, how they would fall into each other's arms, and he would tell her how much he missed her, and they would stay together, in each other's arms until they were forced apart. There was a constant pang for her in his heart, and no matter how distracted he got, or how hard he tried to focus on something else, it was still there, a constant, excruciating ache. It was heartbreak. Because she was gone, without a trace.
"Than why are you acting like this?"
She had resisted so much; she had protected and cherished her hope through everything. She had been spat at, insulted, jeered at, she had been touched roughly, inappropriately, stripped of her clothing by the drunken guards, and therefore stripped of her pride. But she hadn't given up hope. She remembered how gently Sokka had touched her, how he had respected her, and she knew that when he came to save her, everything would be okay. But he never came.
"It's nothing Sokka."
"Tell me. Please."
"You never came."
How he would have loved to save her, just to have her back again. So many nights he had spent awake when all the others were peacefully dreaming. He looked up at the stars, thinking of her, thinking of how much he loved her, and whether he would ever have her back. He knew he wouldn't be able to find her, find the prison she was in would be hard on its own, but then breaking her out would be harder. Knowing this made the dagger of heartbreak sink deeper, wrenching from him silent tears, and loosening his shaky grip on hope.
"I would have done anything to have you back. Trust me."
"Than why didn't you do anything?"
"What could I have done?"
She remembered how, every time she heard footsteps outside the door, she perked up. And every single time, she told herself, next time, next time would be it. But it never was. For so many others the feeling of suspense would have dimmed and disappeared after the first few weeks, but she didn't let go. Every single time, she pictured him walking down the hall. But he never came.
"You left me hanging. It was cruel."
He remembered how many times he had planned saving her, how many different scenarios he had tested in his head. How many times he had killed Azula for doing this to him. Sometimes he scared himself how emotional he got, how violent. His passionate love for her had been turned into passionate hate for her captors.
"I didn't mean to. I love you, Suki; I would never try to hurt you. I missed you and I can't stand you being mad at me like this. Please give me a second chance. Please?"
And she remembered one final thing. She remembered how the Avatar and his forces had invaded the Fire Nation. She had heard things from her cell. One thing stood out more than the others. Suki's heart had flown when she heard it. "That water tribe boy asked about her. Threatened Azula. Azula took care of him, though. He won't be back for a while." Sokka was out there, she had thought. Sokka was out there and thinking about her. And now, as she thought about this and Sokka's request, something that Iroh had told her drifted through her mind:
"Everyone deserves a second chance."