AN: Yay! DreamsInMyHeart finished and updated an awesome reincarnation story! It's a little late, but hey, I promised you a oneshot, but this turned out to be a fanfic. So, what the heck! K, this is my newest "ATLA" fanfic. I should be working on "Not What it Seems," but this popped into my head in Algebra-where I have my best ideas (my friend calls them "daydreams"). So enjoy "Acts of Kindness."
I do not own "ATLA" in any size, shape, or form. At all.
CHAPTER 1: BLOOD
It all started with Zuko. The betrayer, liar, deceiver, devil's spawn.
In Ba Sing Se, I was ready to forgive him, let him join our family. Share in the troubles, love, and stupidity. Tell stories around the campfire. Laugh at Sokka's jokes or how he cooked (he still mistook rocks for nuts). Bicker about even the smallest thing. Comfort each other that we would win, be victorious.
But he turned against our group.
I trusted him. But it's all gone now.
I hate him.
Katara checked the rice in the pot. Not done yet. She focused her attention on the herbs she was going to top it with. Humming a Water Tribe song, she chopped the vegetables into little pieces and bended water to the bowls for the Gaang to drink.
it was a perfect day. The Western Air Temple was quiet. Aang was training Firebending with Zuko on the other side of the temple. Toph was sleeping in her room. Sokka was in the library, pouring over scrolls to see if they could be useful to win the battle. Haru, The Duke, and Teo were exploring the Hall of Statues. She was alone, watching the sun descend, bright orange into the west. Katara loved watching sunsets-they were beautiful and when the sun came down, the moon rose. Twitters of evening birds sang softly, as if singing the sun goodbye. A slight breeze blew through the temple.
It was quiet, peaceful, tranquil.
Zuko quietly walked to the fountain to get water. He stopped as he saw Katara, calmly humming and chopping carrots.
He had never seen her like this since he joined. She wasn't stiff, yelling, angry, or tense. She seemed relaxed.
It's because you're not here, and her friends aren't badgering her to like you. Zuko thought bitterly. The Water Tribe girl had been making his life miserable since he came here. Now that the group trusted him, she made everyone's life miserable on top of that.
She snapped at everyone. She nagged more than usual. She would scream over a stain. She would suddenly burst into tears at dinner. She went throughout the day with an air of murder around her. No one dared to cross her. Even Sokka stopped poking fun at her.
Zuko debated whether to ruin the moment. He was really thirsty from Firebending training with Aang-today had been a hard session. On the other hand, he had no desire to get his butt into the fountain and be chopped up into bits with the vegetables.
He didn't have much time, unfortunately, to either walk to the fountain or run back to the training grounds. Katara saw him and immediately began hacking at the carrots, clearly visualising his face on them.
"Zuko." she snapped curtly.
"Katara," he replied. "I was getting water."
"Hm." was her response.
Zuko leaned forward, and cupped his hands and dipped them into the fountain. He raised his hands and drank, splashing some on his face to cool off. The prince stood up to leave, but was stopped by Katara's voice.
"Tell me, Zuko," her tone was calm and neutral. "do you like my cooking?"
"Um, yeah. It's delicious." he replied, as truthfully as he could. "It's better than at...home." At the Fire Palace, the foods were often overspiced and so rich it was a wonder people didn't get diaherra every day.
"Really." she raised an eyebrow. "So tell me, Zuko, do you know what hemlock is?"
He gulped. "Yes." He did not like where this was going.
"Ah, what is it, Prince?" she calmly checked the rice and stirred it a bit.
"It's a...poisonous plant." he coughed awkwardly. "It can kill you."
"And can you give me a reason why I shouldn't chop into your meal tonight, Prince Zuko?" Katara locked her blue eyes with his golden ones. "Why shouldn't I take this knife-" she lifted her kitchen knife and dramatically sharpened it on the whetstone next to her. "And plunge it into your cold, black hole you call a heart?"
"Aang needs to learn Firebending." Zuko answered, his voice wavering a little. He knew it was a feeble excuse.
She glared at him. "Good answer. If you weren't his teacher, I'd kill you. I swear by Tui and La, I would."
"Katara." they both turned to see Aang, looking disappointed.
"Aang." she nodded and set the vegetables aside.
"He's my teacher and my friend." Aang told her. "You kill him, you kill me in the process. Didn't you used to say we are family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything-even die? The Duke would be heartbroken. Zuko was teaching him swordsmanship. Him and Sokka were planning strategies for Sozin's Comet. He was teaching Toph how to read and write. He helped Teo and Haru explore the Temple. He's even been nice to you, even though you've been a horrible person to him. Family doesn't treat each that way, Katara."
The water in the fountain, bowls, and pot suddenly burst and exploded all over the courtyard. She shot Zuko a withering glance and pointed at him, finger stiff and straight. "You will never be part of this family!"
"Katara!" Aang gasped, as he saw his friend's eyes dim and sparkle with hurt. Katara didn't take back her words. Her eyes were hard and unforgiving, like diamonds.
"If you're so family-like, have a good time cooking dinner!" she stormed out, the water churning behind her. "Leave me alone!"
"If he's your family, I'm not your family!" Katara spun on Aang and the boys were startled to see tears shining in her big blue eyes. "I hate you Zuko! I hate you!"
"Katara, I'm sorry for what my nation did." he softly told the shaking girl. "I'm sorry that the Airbenders are gone. I'm sorry the Fire Nation has burned and plundered countless homes. I'm sorry we're caught up in this damned war. I'm sorry...about your mother. She was important to you."
Suddenly the atmosphere went dark. Zuko knew he had made a mistake.
Katara's eyes spilled over and she screamed, "Don't you dare speak of my mother from your filthy Fire Nation lips!"
"Katara..." Zuko reached out to calm the Waterbender, but she lashed out with the knife in her hand.
It happened in slow motion.
The freshly sharpened knife cut into Zuko's face. There was a deep line following it. Blood dripped down his face.
Zuko stumbled back. The blood was pouring out of him fast. Aang gasped and stared at Katara. Katara looked back at him and stepped back. "Aang..."
"Get out of here, Katara." for once, his voice was icy cold to her. "Leave."
She trembled all over and felt bile rise in her throat.
AN: Ouch. That was harsh, wasn't it? Review!