Author's note: Hi everyone! Welcome to Part II of my series! Thanks to overwhelming demand, I have decided to post the prologue today.
Big thanks and love to my reviewers: AnnaAza, Tigerlilysmile, secretsofadarkangel, hg-always, Animus of Masada, sokkantylee, Moonlit- Silhouette, Katey123, Zorroami, ArrayePL, InItToWinIT, BlackMagicWhiteMagic, beastlySmalless, gretlcascade, Dreaming 11, a5h13y 101, SemperFi123, Demyx-Axel-2362, lostatseanomore, elemental573, Asabella, storm2011, and dnino. You guys all helped me reach over 100 reviews on Fire and Ice!!
And now I present to you…Sun and Moon. I truly hope you all enjoy it as much as you enjoyed Fire and Ice. I certainly did my best! I know I had fun writing it.
Doubt thou that the stars are fire;
Doubt thou that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt that I love.
--William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Night had fallen over the Fire Nation, and the darkness was enhanced by a thunderstorm that had rolled in over the capital city. Most of the palace was silent; only a few servants moved through the dark hallways.
In the Fire Lord's grand chambers, a fire burned low in the hearth; the occasional crack of a log broke the silence. The cool breeze, rich with the promise of rain, tugged at the crimson velvet curtains. The only other movement in the room came from the lone figure in the large bed that occupied the middle of the room.
The man tossed and turned under the silken sheets, and a sudden crack of thunder woke him up with a start. Fire Lord Zuko groaned as he sat up in bed.
He listened to the more frequent rolls of thunder for a moment, and heard the roar of rainfall on the palace roof grow deafening. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, and shuffled over to the wide window. He cast the heavy curtain aside and looked out at the storm.
The rain fell in sheets, and the violent wind raised whitecaps on the small pond just outside his window. His pupils contracted with each blinding flash of electricity the storm created.
Zuko looked up at the dark sky. The purple-hued storm clouds hid the moon from his view.
He hated when the clouds hid the moon.
The moon was the only way he could feel close to her.
When he was completely alone at night, he would look up and quietly whisper to the moon.
He loved her.
And he hated her for it.
He hated her for bringing out this pathetic weakness in himself. He hated her for being on the opposite side of the war. He hated her making him realize that he would try to kill her if they met in battle – and he knew they would meet in battle. He hated her for making him feel guilty for it.
Even now, he had a team tracking her ship as it made its way to the North Pole. The remnants of the Northern Water Tribe needed to be eradicated – and she was a member of the Water Tribe. It had been two weeks since the Water Tribe warriors had invaded his city. Two weeks since he had kissed her goodbye. Two weeks since he had promised her he would not let her stand in his way.
The team of Yu Yen archers had been doing its job well. They were expert trackers as well as an elite team of archers. They had taken one of the Fire Nation's few wind-powered vessels, so they could follow at close range undetected.
He had received his first missive from the trackers via messenger hawk one week ago. They had reported that they were successfully tracking the Water Tribe ship, and that they were still undetected.
Zuko had threatened their deaths if they failed in this mission.
In the final sentence, they had reported that they were about halfway to their destination, and would arrive in approximately two weeks, at which point they would send the next missive.
Once Zuko discovered the location of the Water Tribe remnant, he himself would lead the northern assault. He hoped to rid himself forever of the waterbending master who had taught Katara and the other waterbenders.
For all of her efforts, Katara would be the person who, in the end, had led him to the location of the master. He tried to shove down the unwanted feeling of guilt that was rising in him more frequently.
He tried to ignore the memory of her voice. The sound of her rare laughter permeated his mind. He tried to forget the feel of her soft fingers trailing across his skin. He tried to forget the look in her eyes as he had shared the painful stories of his past.
It was easy to remind himself of the pain he had caused her, so he focused on these memories. It helped him realize he was no good for her – that she never could have stayed. That she never would have stayed.
He thought of the times he had denied her food. He remembered her humiliating parade through the city. He recalled the smell of her friend's burning flesh – and the smell of her burning flesh. He pictured her lifeless body on the bare stone floor of her cell.
In the past two weeks, he had been trying to ignore the dreams that plagued him as well. He was certain the dark circles under his eyes were not going unnoticed by his advisers and palace staff.
He tossed and turned each night, his sleep ruined by images of her beautiful face. In his dreams, her hands gently cupped his face; her fingers caressed the rough skin of his scar. She would whisper to him softly, but he could never quite make out what she said. She reached for him, pleading, even as he filled his hands with flame.
And in the end, every time, he burned her.
He could not erase the image from his mind. Worst of all, he knew it was an image that would come to pass, unless she killed him first. Of course, he did not intend to let her win. The Fire Nation would triumph, and this cursed war would be over. After he dealt with the remnants of the Water Tribe, he would deal with his sister in the Earth Kingdom.
They were at war. In some of their last moments together, he had promised her he would kill her if they met on a field of battle. And then he had kissed her.
He flinched back from the window as a bolt of lightning ripped through the night sky and struck a cherry tree in the garden. He blinked, and realized it was the same tree he had leaned against as he had watched her waterbend in the pond under the night sky not so long ago.
He stood as the wind drove the rain through the window, soaking his robes. He watched the storm until a gray dawn began to peak through the clouds. In the pre-dawn light, he could see the blackened crown of the cherry tree, its bare branches reaching up toward the sky.
In vast ocean, a small fleet of wooden Water Tribe ships forced their way through the churning whitecaps. The weather had turned as they had approached the north, and Katara had just completed an exhausting twelve hour watch on deck.
She was grateful for the distraction of trying to keep the vessel afloat in the rough seas. It kept her mind off the recent turn her life had taken.
Now, she sat in her small cabin below deck, her body swaying as the ship rolled. As most waterbenders were, she was immune to seasickness. She had seen others afflicted with the ailment, and she was glad she had never been subjected to it.
It didn't help with her sickness at heart. She stared out of the small porthole, the image distorted somewhat by the paper-thin animal skin that covered the hole. She looked out at the gray skies, and decided she missed the sun. When she looked at the sun, she could once again see his golden eyes.
The storm had been raging around them for nearly three days now. Three days in which she hadn't seen the sun. The constant presence of the sun in the sky had made her feel closer to him. Now, as the ship climbed steadily north, and the clouds blocked the golden rays of the sun, she felt so far away.
She hated how he made her feel. She should hate him. He had killed her people, he had attacked her, tortured her – he had very nearly been the cause of her death. And yet, she thought of the times when he had been so gentle with her.
She thought of her last week with him, when he had opened up to her. She closed her eyes and could almost feel his lips on hers.
She wondered what would have happened had she been granted more time with him. In the short period she had been with him, she had watched the fierce Fire Lord begin to show compassion and love.
Was it possible that with a little more time, he would have seen the wrongness of the war and ended it?
Katara shook her head. The ship rolled again, and she tried to clear her thoughts. Perhaps she was deluding herself. Perhaps she was giving herself and Zuko too much credit.
She felt disgusted with herself as she recalled how her body had responded to his kisses. What would her people think if they knew that she had allowed him to kiss her-had wanted him to kiss her?
She would no longer be a hero. She would be loathed as an outcast. She felt as if she betrayed her people every time she longed for him.
A tear escaped the corner of her eye as she realized she loved the man who had destroyed her people. She loved the man who had very nearly destroyed her. She unconsciously raised her hand to her neck. She felt the newly-healed skin under her fingers.
In the end, however, she knew that he loved her in return. Sadly, that love would not be enough to overcome their status as enemies.
Katara, you must know that if I let you go today – we will be enemies. I will hunt you. If we meet on a field of battle… I will hold nothing back.
And she knew that if it came to defending her home and her people, she would hold nothing back as well. She prayed to Tui and La that it would never come to pass, but deep down, she knew he would come.
He would find her home and destroy it as he had destroyed the rest of the world. And that truth was the hardest to come to terms with. Despite everything, he was still the Fire Lord – the most feared man in the world.
He desired to conquer the world, and she was an obstacle in his way. Katara let out a shuddering sigh. His love for her would not be strong enough to stop him, she was certain of it.
In that case, she only hoped that she would be killed in battle. She did not want to live in a world where the Fire Nation had conquered her people as thoroughly as the Air Nomads had been conquered.
In a strange way, she felt a small satisfaction that her death would be a punishment for him. He could have her or the world. Not both.
She lay down on the furs and tried to sleep, but nightmares would not leave her be. She dreamt of trying to reach him, to love him, only to be burned in the end. She gave up on sleep completely when she woke up after dreaming she had driven an ice dagger through his heart.
She had watched as his eyes widened in realization that she had killed him, water mixing with his crimson blood as the dagger slowly melted in the warmth of his chest, the damage already done.
She sat on the bed with her chest heaving and beads of sweat trickling down her forehead.
She began to panic as she wondered if she would be able to actually kill him if it came down to it. If she couldn't handle it even in her dreams, how could she do it in reality? She calmed herself by thinking of the faces of her people. She would do it for them.
Of course, she had already faltered at one chance to kill him.
She got up off the bed, rocking with the movement of the ship. After pulling on her boots, she climbed up the stairs to the deck.
As soon as she stepped outside, the wind whipped her mahogany hair around her head, and she relished the feel of the cold salt spray on her face.
The chilly rain poured down around her, still blotting out the sun.
One more author's note: I just wanted to let you all know that I will be moving the last weekend in March. I will try my best to get the update up earlier in the week, but that may not happen. My life is going to be insanely busy the next couple of weeks. So bear with me – I'll get it up when I can! Unless Comcast is stupid (which is entirely possible), the latest it will be up will be April 2.