Tough arc two part five.

Welcome to 'Tough arc two part five' also known as 'I waited over half a year for this and all I get is this crappy chapter' I'll try to be more regular with my updates in future.

Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar the Last Airbender

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A gasp burst from her lips before Katara could even think to hold it back and cross from her Zuko's good eye widened as he tightened his grip on the unconscious girl. Realization and deep horror burned within it and Katara knew it was in her eyes too.

They had both seen this before.

The thin tendrils of blood spread out across Toph's hand in an elaborate pattern twisting and curling , sinister routes on a map of flesh, spreading out from cities of pus filled sores sitting just beneath the skin.

"Can," Zuko's voice was heavy and strained, almost like he was trying not to choke on his words. He took a deep breath his chest rising and falling before continuing.

"Can you heal her?"

Katara raised her eyes to meet Zuko's briefly before lowering them again.

She shook her head.

And suddenly Zuko was angry.

"What do you mean you can't?" He yelled. Katara didn't yell back keeping her eyes downcast she simply said "I could heal the wound but not the infection in her blood" Her voice was hollow, defeated. And as quickly as it had come Zuko's anger dissipated.

"Can you draw it out of her, like you did when I got bitten?"
"It's not the same, there's too much of it and I don't think I could separate it from her blood"

Katara seemed to shrink as she spoke, like her words were weights pressing down on her. Things that couldn't be unsaid. The Tears she had been keeping dammed up behind her eyes spilled over and down her cheeks. She was overcome with the urge to snatch Toph out of Zuko's arms and cradle her in her own.

"There, there's nothing I can do" She whispered. And then Aang dropped down from the the vines that draped and looped across the floor landing in a graceful crouch on the ceiling.

In the years it had been abandoned the jungle that surrounded the Western Air Temple had all but over taken it. There was vegetation everywhere, vines hung from the floor in nearly every room, and most of the Temple was completely inaccessible because of the massive tree roots splitting through the stone work and blocking passages.

It would have been all to easy for an Airbender to access these vines and hang from them while observing what was happening below him unseen. And it was clear from the expression on his face that Aang did not like what he had observed.

"What do you mean there's nothing you can do?"

He demanded in a tone that Katara was all to familiar with, a tone that suggested if his chakra's weren't blocked Aang would be in the Avatar State. Katara didn't even try to placate him, she simply bowed her head and let Aang's barrage sweep over her.

"You're giving up on her? You're a healer and she's hurt, so fix her!"

A gust of wind howled through the corridors as Aang yelled and the entire Temple seemed to sway with it.

"Aang" Zuko said gently but with a tight authority Katara had only heard before in the voice of her father. Aang however was beyond listening to his teacher.

"You're Katara you fix everything. So fix her!"

The world all of a sudden seemed very small, like everything she knew was collapsing around her, the walls were closing in. Heat uncomfortable and inescapable surged through her veins and Katara knew she couldn't just couldn't be here any more. Before she even really knew what she was doing she had sprung to her feet and was half way down the empty hallway.

Katara didn't know where she was running too only what she was running from. Toph pale and weak with poisoned blood, Aang like a storm. And she just couldn't be there, not when Toph's cheeks looked like someone had slapped them repeatedly and Aang's gray eyes were a turbulent swirl of disappointment, accusation and betrayal.

The night air around her was cool but it did nothing to alleviate the heat she felt spreading through her bones or to settle the sudden sick ache that blossomed in the pit of her stomach. Her bare feet, she hadn't bothered to put her boots on when the Duke had woken her earlier before the world started to crumble around her ears, slapped rhythmically against the ceiling in a beat that was almost but not quite soothing.

She ran through the abandoned hallways as fast as her feet could carry her until she exploded out from the inner corridors of the ancient temple onto an unfamiliar balcony. Moonlight bared down from the expanse of sky that existed somewhere beyond the walls of the chasm in a thin ribbon barely illuminating the gigantic forms of three Air Nuns carved out from the rock face.

Katara all but collapsed against a giant toe her knee's buckled beneath her and she slumped against the structure, sinking steadily until she sat on the smooth stone floor. And then she wept. Large heart wrenching sobs that made her feel sick in the pit of her stomach and continued long after her eyes had literally run dry.

She stayed there kneeling in despair at the literal foot of the statue nearly choking on the sobs she couldn't seem to stop herself from making for what seemed like an eternity, but couldn't have been more than an hour. She wanted to scream, she wanted to cry, she wanted to run away from everything, she wanted to march right back into that temple and force Toph to get better through sheer force of will. But most of all Katara just wanted her mother.

Her mother to hold her in her arms and tell her everything was alright, nothing wrong was going to happen. Toph, she then thought as a wave of nausea crashed on her, Toph probably wanted her mother too.

'She called you her mother'

Katara thought suddenly a fresh sob catching in her throat.

'Toph thought you were her mother' The notion caused a new wave of guilt to slam into her gut. Katara had never felt so useless in her entire life.

But the feeling didn't last to long as without a sound Zuko emerged onto the balcony. His swords were strapped to his back and his face was like cold hard steel and he said in a voice that matched it perfectly.

"We're fixing this"

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STORY NOTES

Bloodbending: Being that this technique was really only explained in one episode (Where Katara kicked so much ass) not a lot is known about bloodbending and all of the uses it could have. In arc one I had Katara use bloodbending to remove vemon from Zuko's bloodstream but it must be said that there was considerably less Venom in Zuko's sytem then there is infection if Toph's.

Wuss: Why do I always seem to turn Katara into a crybaby, I hate Katara as a crybaby. I prefer kickass tough katara who takes no crap from anybody.

Okay that's all for now I'm sorry I've been away for so long and that this is so short. You may have noticed that the past few chapters suffer from my characteristic poor spelling and punction. That is because my lovely and talented beta reader, Saucebender is M.I.A. Sauce if you're reading this please P.M me every time I try to P.M you my computor freezes and I have to restart.

I accept critism just please be constructive and polite.

Ari out!