A fic I had an idea for and rushed to write. In an hour. I think it's not too bad.
Memory of the Past
A girl of about six appeared from behind a tree , laughing and screaming. "He's gonna get me.! He's gonna get me!" She shrieked, running. A boy of about eight followed her, chasing after her. "I'll get you, Katara!" He cried, reaching out to grab her. Katara shrieked and ran out of his reach.
They ran until they reached a meadow. She collapsed on the grass and he followed suit. They both lay there, panting, tired after their high speed chase. Katara turned her head towards the boy, her brown hair a tangled mess under her head.
"Hey, Zuko," She said. The boy turned to face her. "We'll always be best friends right?" She asked, her azure eyes questioning. He laughed before answering.
"Of course you dolt. We've been best friends forever, and we will always be!" He chortled, his amber eyes lit up with laughter. Katara smiled at him, her smile lighting up her face. He leaned closer to her. "Just like this meadow will always be our special place. Just for the two of us." It seemed that time had stopped for them, giving them this special moment in time to cherish and remember.
"Tag!" Zuko touched her arm as he turned around and started to run. "You're it!" He shouted, looking back at the shocked girl. The moment had been spoiled.
"Hey!" Katara exclaimed. "No fair!" She called as she started after Zuko. The black-haired boy just grinned mischievously as he sped away, Katara behind him.
"Zuko!" An older girl called from the tree that grew by the fence between their houses. She had climbed up the tree to reach his window. The window swung open, revealing Zuko behind them
"Come in! One day you're gonna fall and break your neck" He scolded Katara. The brunette just smiled at him sweetly and stuck her tongue out.
"Just like you one day will." She retorted as she climbed in through his window. He flushed furiously.
"I'm a boy, you're a girl. It's different." Zuko tried to defend himself.
"Oh yeah?" Katara challenged. "How so?" She stood before him, her hands on her hips.
"I- It- I-" Zuko stuttered, at a loss how to reply.
"See?" Katara smirked, as if proving her point.
"Well. It's just different!" He shouted.
"Right. Just like the fact I can run faster than you."
"No, you can't!"
"Yes, I can!"
"Oh, I can. Just wait and see."
"Right. How 'bout a race right now then?" A challenge was issued.
"You're on." The challenge was accepted.
"You're gonna regret it." Zuko led the way, shimmying down the tree. Katara followed, fired up and ready to prove Zuko wrong.
Naturally, Zuko won.
"Told ya!" He rubbed it in, making Katara flush with anger.
"You just wait! One day I'll beat you!" She shouted angrily. They were at the meadow again, facing each other and panting, having dashed form Zuko's backyard to the meadow.
"We'll see." Zuko replied confidently.
"Hey Katara, tell my mum I'll be back late. Football." He explained, catching sight of the confused look Katara gave him. "I'll be back by six," He called, running off. Katara shook her head. Zuko had been doing that to her a lot. She sighed. But she was his best friend. The fifteen year old grabbed her bag and started walking home.
As she walked home, she thought of him. He'd grown up a lot. He wasn't the scrawny boy he had been in his childhood, nor the awkward, gangly boy he'd been in his early teens. Now he had filled out, and definitely the best looking boy at school. With his beautiful amber eyes and great smile, he was the school's heartthrob. Most of the girls were jealous of her. She was the hottest boy in school's constant companion.
But lately, he'd been cropping up in her thoughts more often. And she'd been blushing more when she was with him. She liked him more than she'd care to admit. Not that she'd tell him.
She stopped by Zuko's house and told his mum he'd be back late before she went home. Kya was in the kitchen, a tray of freshly baked cookies in her hands. "Hi sweetheart, had a good day?" Kya asked, setting the cookies on the counter.
"Yep. But I have a ton of homework." Katara answered as she snagged two cookies from the tray and headed to her room.
"Okay. Help me with dinner later." Kya called from at Katara's back as the girl ran up the stairs. She shook her head, suspecting her daughter was having a crush. She'd seemed rather preoccupied lately.
Upstairs in the privacy of her room, Katara took her notebook from her bag and started on her homework, pausing every so often to think about Zuko. Two hours passed as she worked on her homework. Before she knew it, it was six. Katara hurried down to help her mum with dinner.
As she passed the window that showed Zuko's backyard, she spotted him, half hidden by the tree between their houses. She could vaguely make out the silhouette of another person. He bent his head close to the other person. A sense of dread filled her. Zuko was kissing another girl. She stood there a while, looking out the window at the heartbreaking sight.
"Katara!" Her mother called. Katara snapped out of her reverie. She hurried to the kitchen, endeavouring to forget the heart wrenching sight.
"I got a job offer." Hakoda announced at the dinner table. "They're sending me to London." Kya exclaimed in surprise.
"That's wonderful, honey!" She leaned over and kissed her husband. Katara poked the macaroni on her plate with her fork.
"And of course, I can't leave without my two lovely ladies," He beamed. Kya rose and joined him. "Come, my darling." Hakoda beckoned Katara. She went to him, her face blank as paper.
"We're leaving in three weeks time. I'm sorry but you'll be spending your seventeenth birthday on the plane, sweetheart. He said, hugging his daughter. She hugged him and closed her eyes, trying to stop the tears. Perhaps this was a good thing. After all, Zuko had been rather busy with girls the past year and half to pay much attention to her.
She drew back and smiled brightly. "It doesn't matter; at least you got a wonderful job." Katara replied, her voice falsely bright. Her parents smiled, glad that their daughter was accepting it.
"You should tell Zuko. He's been your best friend ever since you were born." Katara's smiled faltered at this suggestion. She quickly finished her dinner and went to her room.
Tears leaked from her eyelids, as much as she willed them not to. It was for the best. After all, Zuko had just been telling her about his newest girlfriend yesterday, not noticing the pain that crossed her face.
She sat on her bed, facing the window. She remembered how Zuko used to climb up the tree and into her room through that window. She hesitated before deciding. Opening the window, she clambered out and down into her yard. Then she ran, running to the meadow where they had played, running to their meadow even as tears blurred her vision. She knew where it was and how to get there even when blindfolded, what should a few tears blurring her vision matter?
Later, she lay on the grass, looking up at the full moon. It shone gently, illuminating everything enough for her to see. A rustling sound alerted her to someone's presence. Only she and Zuko knew of this meadow's existence, so it could only be him.
She lay there, quiet and still, wishing that he would go away. "Katara?" Zuko called. "Katara, are you here?" He called. "Your parents are worried about you." He spotted her and went to sit next to her.
"What's wrong?" He asked. She didn't reply him. What's wrong? I don't even know if you would understand! She ignored him. Minutes passed as they sat there in silence. Eventually Katara rose and walked back, never looking at Zuko. She knew he followed her, and she stopped just before she left the meadow.
"Nothing's wrong, Zuko. Not yet. But maybe one day, you'll know." She answered. She turned on her heel and ran.
The three weeks passed by in a flurry of goodbye, tears and packing. Katara didn't see Zuko very often during those three weeks. Usually he was accompanied by the head cheerleader on the rare occasions she saw him at school. She never saw him when she was home.
On the day before she left, she sat on her bed, staring at the window pensively. She had been doing that lately, and she knew who or what she wished to happen. But it never would. She sighed and went to close the curtains.
That night, she slept fitfully, waking numerous times. At five, she finally got out of bed and got ready to leave. They had a ten o'clock flight and had to rush. The cab came and she looked at Zuko's window once more before she turned around and got into the cab. She would call him when she got to the airport.
After checking in, Katara took her cell phone and dialled his cell. He answered, sounding groggy.
"Zuko, it's me."
"Oh. Hey, What's going on? Why'd you call me so early?"
"I'm leaving for the UK."
"Why didn't you tell me?" He demanded angrily. She didn't answer.
"Goodbye Zuko." She sighed and hung up. Her phone rang, but she didn't answer.
"Calling for flight JK8167. Now boarding."
Mechanically, Katara followed her parents to the boarding gate, knowing that she would never see Zuko again. He would become a memory of the past.