Notes from the authors!
The story was the combined ideas of myself and my bestfriend/boyfriend. I wrote the first chapter, from Katara's pov, and he wrote the second from Zuko's. We both took the time to get into the character's heads, and we hope you enjoy what we created!
I do not own Avatar the Last Airbender (boo).
First, it was those glowing green crystals. Dread filled the bottom of my stomach. How had the Ember Island Players even found out about this scene? Then, my doppelganger took the stage. I was clenching the edges of the bench before I'd even realized it. Come to think of it, ever since I saw Jet die, I had been dreading this moment. Zuko appeared, stage left, his ridiculous hair spanning half his features. I wanted to scream, cry, and run. I'd never divulged what happened under Ba Sing Sei to anyone, and I wasn't looking forward to anyone finding out through some ludicrous play.
The worst of my very worst nightmares played out slowly on the stage before my eyes. The moment that I had almost carelessly threw our future – Aang, and the whole world's future – out of the window.
Skillfully, out of the corner of my eye I noticed Zuko had taken a defense stance, his rigid posture become uncompromisingly stiff. I mentally sighed, pushing back the acidic thoughts in my head. Forgiven or not, Zuko's past was still a sore spot for the whole gang, and because of this moment in our history, more mine then theirs.
Drawing in a shaky breath, I turned my attention towards the stage.
The actress made her way across the stage in a manor that could only be described as sultry. The pit in my stomach just dropped a few feet. They weren't just going to replay the biggest open wound in the gang's history, they were going to make a mockery out of it! My knuckles became white against the wooden bench.
"I have to admit, Prince Zuko. I really find you attractive." My character cooed out.
I hissed, audibly, under my breath. My eyes grew to saucers. No, they wouldn't do such a thing!
The whole situation was completely and utterly false! Zuko wasn't attractive in the slightest! His eyes were fire nation, destruction and hate burned into the corneas. His hair was too long, his body too built. His skin was too pale. To add to that, Zuko had his scar, the ugly, twisted burnt flesh across his face…
Why, for all the fish in the sea would I call the ex-Fire-Prince attractive? Never.
I could feel invisible claws reaching around my sides to my stomach. It was a reeling feeling that made me squirm, an awkward, overly embarrassing feeling. It was made worse by the actors, for a single second, it felt like I had said Zuko was handsome.
"You don't have to make fun of me." The Zuko actor pressed out, pouting. His tone was rather offended, a fiery rendition of the old Zuko, the one who never showed emotions until he exploded.
"But I mean it." My character drawled out with sexual fervor. "I had eyes for you since the day you first captured me." She crawled to sit next to the actor-Zuko, leaning inward.
The only eyes I'd ever had for that Fire Nation scum was when he'd been attacking me and I was defending myself back! I gritted my teeth. The play writers really enjoyed playing this one up, didn't they?
Out of the corner of my eye I could see Zuko wince as plain as day, and his eyes dart in my direction. Of course he'd blame me for what the actors were saying. He probably thought that this was the truth! That I'd always had some sort of morbid feelings for him since the first day I'd met him. I wanted to yell that it wasn't true, but at the same time, I didn't want to give in. I wanted him to receive no sick pleasure of watching me squirm. It was only a play. It meant nothing to me.
As sneaky as I could, I tried to lengthen the distance between myself in the Fire Prince. I swore I saw him doing the same.
The Zuko actor stood in confusion. "Wait! I thought you were the Avatar's girl!"
I froze. Is that really what the people thought?
I was suddenly hyper-aware of Zuko sitting between Aang and me, and was almost thankful of it. This situation with Zuko was awkward enough, but Aang would make it worse. He would take this all the wrong way, the kiss before the invasion proved it. I could still feel his thin lips pressed against mine in a nervous rush before he flew away. The pit in my stomach grew worse. It was quite possible that this play had gone from awkward to downright impossible to stand.
Nevertheless, the Katara actress continued on. "The Avatar! Why, he's like a little brother to me. I certainly don't think of him in a romantic way." Was that completely true? My mind didn't get a chance to answer that, for my actress's next line floored me. "Besides, how could he ever find out about this?"
With my acute horror, the two actors embraced, their arms intertwining in front, and their hands clasped together. My actress hitched a leg, bare under her dress (I'd never dare to wear my Watertribe garments that way! What a floozy!) around Zuko's legs. From the nosebleed section, I could swear I saw her go googly-eyed for the Fire Prince. She was oozing adulterated affection.
I think I lost it.
This?? This?! There was no "this" with the Prince of the Firebenders. There would never be a "this". Was it rude to demand a refund for play whose facts weren't straight? Could I do that? Because there certainly wasn't anything going on between Zuko and I, and I was sure of it. A few weeks ago I couldn't stand the sight of him, and at the crystal catacombs, I had loathed his very being.
I wanted to sneak a peak at Zuko out of the corner of my eye, but my head wouldn't budge. He probably thought the idea was as senseless as I did. I couldn't wait to leave the theater, to get away from this crazy plot. The writer had everything so backwards! I'm not an over-emotional crybaby who whines about hope all the time, and I certainly have no feelings for Zuko!
I puffed, crossing my arms. The action caught Zuko's attention, and I noticed his upper body turn in my direction. Against my better instincts, I locked eyes with his.
Those stupid, golden eyes. Stupid pale skin and stupid too-toned body. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
The really stupid part was that I couldn't look away.
I could sense his tension. It was tangible, and I'm sure mine was as well. Whose wouldn't be?
Hadn't I just ranted to myself how preposterous anything would Zuko would be? It wasn't logical, sensible, or reasonable. It wouldn't work for a thousand reasons. There wasn't anything there. Nothing, nothing, nothing.
Whose idea had it been anyways, who would have thought to pair up the so-called Watertribe peasant and the Fire Prince? It wasn't the most logical choice for the playwright. He had to have known. But it wasn't possible. Nobody knew.
I certainly wasn't going to admit the infatuation aloud. It wasn't there. Hardly. Not even a little, but maybe a…bit? Slightly, I mean, Zuko was handsome, in a dark kind of way? Just a little, in the right sort of light.
And he had nice muscles. I'd give him that. Hair wasn't too bad either.
I watched his gaze absorb mine. I didn't focus on the play anymore, just the conundrum inside my head. Was I really allowing my mind to go down this path?
Yes, yes I was.
Stupid golden eyes gazed into mine. I knew he was thinking the same thing as he stared at me.
How had they known?
Now for Zuko's perspective...