Disclaimer: Avatar the Last Airbender belongs to Michael Dante Dimartino, Brian Konietzko and Nickelodeon Studios.
Character: Katara/Zuko


They'd won. She still had trouble believing it. She supposed it was shock, that it was the reason she couldn't sleep; the reason her mind kept wandering. She glanced at the man sleeping beside her. He'd eyed her warily when she'd asked to sleep in his room, but had indulged her. Truthfully she was scared. She was used to small campfires and the heat from many bodies. The empty room, though elegantly decorated, had seemed so foreboding. She thought he must've known. Maybe he was a little scared too. She imagined it must be overwhelming to go from banished price and traitor to Fire Lord in one day.

He'd fallen asleep almost immediately. She knew he was exhausted from his confrontation with Azula and even more so from his injury. It'd been bad. She'd known it would be. Healing Aang had shown her the extent the lightning could inflict on the body. Aang had been lucky, she'd been able to get to him immediately and she'd had the spirit water from the oasis. Although severe, the only lingering effects had been his blocked chakra and, of course, the scars. Zuko hadn't been so lucky. Without the addition of the spirit water, her healing abilities were limited. She hadn't been able to reverse the damage to his heart.

Her eyes fell to the scar, inches from his heart. Reality slipped away and once again she found herself in that moment, Zuko's body a blur before her, a barrier between herself and death, his scream cutting through the strangely still air. She'd been terrified. A feeling she couldn't describe had exploded in her chest; it was still there, painful and raw and consuming.

She looked away abruptly. It was her fault. She should've known Azula wouldn't fight fair; she should've been ready! Because of her Zuko had been injured. Because of her, he had another scar. Suddenly she was crying, her shoulders shaking violently. It was guilt, she told herself. The moment he'd been struck by Azula's lightning, the excruciating pain she'd felt, had been guilt. She'd just felt guilty, and scared. That was all.

She smiled as Zuko mummered in his sleep, pleasant warmth spreading through her and she laughed lightly scrubbing at her eyes furiously as she struggled to get her rampaging emotions under control. It'd been a long day, she was tired. She really should try to get some rest. Tomorrow would bring another set of trials. If Aang had faced the Fire Lord as Iroh had said he would, if he'd defeated him, then the war really was over. If not…she closed her eyes unwilling to give that particular thought voice.

She had enough to worry about right now. Her eyes once again drifted to the sleeping man beside her. She'd have to tell him, about his heart, tomorrow, when they were both rested. She yawned, exhaustion finally claiming her, and she curled up beside him, his warmth and deep even breathing drawing her into her own peaceful sleep. She smiled, more asleep than awake, when he unconsciously moved closer, musing over how right it felt.