Cell :: Chapter 8

What if Katara had gone through with using her healing water on Zuko's scar? There wouldn't have been any left for when Aang needed it most after Zuko's betrayal in Ba Sing Se. There also wouldn't be anyone around to stop the Fire Lord. Zutara darkfic.

Warning: This is a dark fanfiction. Mature themes and hate, etc. This is EVENTUAL Zutara; they will not be reciting their love for each other by chapter 5.

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"Watch what I can do now!" the little girl squealed, shifting her weight back and forth, from one foot to the other.

Zuko stared down at the little girl in surprise. She looked to be maybe five or six years old. Her face was very familiar to him, yet looked slightly different than what he remembered. "Azula?"

The little girl looked around the throne room, then shrugged. "I don't know where she is."

Confusion showed on Zuko's face. He looked around the room. No one was present except the little girl and himself.

"I've been practicing my bending!" the little girl continued eagerly. When Zuko continued to look around the familiar, yet empty throne room, the girl shrieked, "Daddy! Watch me!"

Zuko fell back a few steps, his hand flying to his chest. He knew his eyes must have been wider than saucers.

Satisfied that she had gotten his attention, the little girl closed her eyes in concentration. Zuko watched in curious horror as the little girl fashioned a whip made of water.

He shot up in bed, panting heavily. He jerked around, eyes darting furiously around the room. They landed on Mai who was eying him with a small smirk on her lips. "Are you okay? You called out for Azula, of all people."

The Fire Nation prince breathed a heavy sigh of relief and fell back against the bed. He grunted a half-hearted answer while throwing his arm over his face. What the hell kind of dream was that… The little Azula-look-alike waterbender had called him daddy. His gut wrenched painfully, and he clutched at it, turning over on his side. He finally noticed Mai was still asking him if he was okay.

"I'm fine!" he snapped in annoyance, yanking the blanket over his head to silence any further probing from her. He forced his eyes shut, willing himself back to sleep.

"More, more!" she screamed, tossing her head from side to side, eyes squeezed shut.

Zuko pounded into her, breathing harshly as he did. He gazed at her face with half-lidded eyes. Her moans were becoming more high-pitched. He knew she was close.

"Oooh! Zuko…!" she cried, squeezing the life out of his fingers as they supported his weight. He shivered at the feeling of pleasure mixed with the painful tingling of no circulation in his hands.

"Unh," he groaned as he released himself. "Katara…!"

Zuko shot awake once more. His panting was just as heavy as last time, but Mai was still asleep next to him. He glanced down, then did a double-take as he noticed the tent in the sheets on top of him. He glanced at Mai again and bit his tongue. "Ffff--" he hissed.

As carefully as he could, he slid out of the bed and trodded to the bathroom. After relieving his body of its burden, he sloshed cold water on his face. As it always did, his hand unconsciously trailed to his left eye.

"What the hell is wrong with me?" he laughed lowly, darkly. He had never had a single dream related to Katara, and now he had two in the same night. With a haggard sigh, he wearily checked the clock above the mirror. Still a few more hours of sleep. He dragged himself back to the bed, willing himself to sleep dreamlessly for the remainder of the night.

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"Katara!" Toph called out as she entered the living room. "Is breakfast ready yet?"

Katara finished folding her sleeping blanket, then placed it under the floor sleeping mat. "Yeah, it's on the table." Katara had insisted on making breakfast for the past two days as the one house servant was sick with a stomach virus. Unlike the days of old, the Bei Fong family could only afford (and make room for) one servant. The elderly lady did both the housework and the cooking, but as it was a very small house, it was not too much for her to handle.

Toph felt the vibration from Katara placing the blanket under the mat. "You know, you really don't have to sleep on the floor. There's enough room on my bed."

Katara smiled. "Remember, I told you I am quite used to sleeping on the floor. This mat is heaven compared to the cement floor in prison!"

Toph waved her off. "All right, all right, Sugar Queen. I got it already!" She sat down at the kitchen table and started to eat.

"Hey, can you get me some water?" she asked while engulfing her bowl of rice.

Katara flicked her fingers to manipulate the water in the pipes, then brought it streaming out of the faucet and right into the empty glass on the kitchen table in front of Toph.

"Thanks," Toph mumbled, mouth full.

It was an unspoken agreement that the two of them could bend whenever and whatever they wanted, as long as they were inside the house with no one else around. Even Toph's parents did not like them to bend because they had an uncanny fear that a soldier might be staring at them through the window. Toph and Katara both felt like the soldiers had more important things to do than peek through windows to spy on young ladies.

Toph stared at Katara out of the corner of her eye. "It's been a whole day since you've mentioned Zuko." She spoke his name with a sneer.

Katara inwardly jumped for joy. A whole day! Go me! "Yeah, well." She coughed uncomfortably.

The little Earthbender pushed back from the table and stood up. She padded over to Katara. "When are you going to tell me what really happened?"

"What? I have--"

"The whole truth!"

Katara sighed. "Toph," she began hesitantly. "You won't understand if I tell you, and you'll hate Zuko."

"Who do you care if I hate Zuko? I already do! He's part of the reason Aang was killed!" Toph spat.

Katara waved her hands defensively. "I agree, and that's not what I meant. I just don't want you to hate anyone."

Toph gripped Katara's hands tightly. "Tell me! Please tell me! You're my friend, and I want to know what happened!"

"Err… okay," Katara conceded. She sat down at the kitchen table and motioned for Toph to do the same. When the girl did, the Waterbender cleared her throat.

"Well, I lived with Sokka in the cell for about two years. Then, one day, some guards came and got me and moved me to a room with only one cell in it. I only saw my guards for meals each day for a long time." She checked to see if Toph was following.

"Go on," the younger girl pressed.

"One day, Zuko came into the room. He looked really mad about something, but he didn't say anything. I started yelling at him and demanding to see Sokka, but he just stared at me. Finally, he came into my cell and he… well, he raped me, I guess."

"You guess? He raped you?" Toph stood up from the wooden table and bended it across the room. Katara cringed at the crashing sound and looked at it.

"Your parents will not like that," Katara joked.

"I will kill him. I swear I will kill him," Toph vowed.

Katara rubbed her face. "This is why I didn't want to tell you! Would you just sit down and calm down?"

Toph grudgingly sat down in one of the chairs still facing where the table used to be. "Katara, don't you hate him?"

"No," came the flat reply.

"Why not!" Toph shrieked.

Katara gently laid her hand on Toph's shoulder. "Won't you let me explain?" She took Toph's silence for a yes, and so continued, "I hate how he locked me in that cell for years and never told me if Sokka was even alive, but I don't hate him. I told him I did--many times. But, don't you see? If I hate him, I would be letting him win."

"But he raped you!" Toph protested.

Katara nodded, more to herself since Toph couldn't see it. "Yes, he did. We had sex a few times a month. But, I don't know." She paused. "It's almost like I got used to it and it wasn't rape anymore." Before Toph could start yelling again, Katara amended, "I mean, it was rape, but I didn't dread it after a while. It was just a weekly event." She laughed. "I guess I'm just screwed up, huh?"

Katara gasped when Toph suddenly threw herself at her. She hugged her tightly. "I still hate him," she whispered.

Katara smiled, caressing Toph's hair.

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"Are you ready to leave?" Zuko asked, tapping his foot impatiently. "You were originally the one who wanted to go, remember?"

Mai scowled at him. "I'm coming, so calm down."

Zuko just rolled his eyes and left their chambers to start making his way outside to where the ship waited to take them both to Ba Sing Se.