I was going to work on my homework, but with all those awesome (and threatening) reviews how could I resist? ^ u ^;;;

Zuko and Sokka had surprisingly made their way to school with good timing. Zuko waved Sokka away before departing from the boy. Sokka's suggestion didn't sound bad, in fact the idea made his stomach do flips, but he knew he couldn't leave his uncle. Holidays were hard when someone close died. In fact, Zuko could already see the pain in Iroh's eyes.

Zuko didn't want to leave his only real family in his time of need. Besides, it only seemed like he would be bothersome to Sokka and his family.

Zuko silently entered the school, his head low as he walked through the hall, unaware of the approaching trouble. A dull pain went through Zuko's shoulder as something hard slammed into it. Zuko's head bolted up and his surprised expression soon turned to one of annoyance.

"Jet, what do you want?" Zuko demanded, venom in his words and hatred in his eyes.

"What's wrong princess, vacation not long enough for you?" Jet tautened, a shit-eating grin on his face.

"You know damn well where I was," Zuko growled, having to control himself very hard to not punch Jet's head off for the princess comment.

"I bet you were faking it, wouldn't be the first time you've lied," Jet said, his fists clenched tight as if he were going to punch something. Jet looked pissed, but when Zuko focused on the boy's eyes he could only see hurt.

"Jet-" Zuko said calmly, slowly raising hand to comfort his once friend, but Zuko was slammed into the lockers and all the air was knocked out of his lungs.

"Don't you even dare, you fire-bending scum," Jet breathed, walking away as Zuko slide to the floor. Zuko watched Jet leave through half lidded eyes before he tossed his head back and sighed. This day wasn't going as well as he hopped.

"Want some help?" a small voice spoke, bringing the fire-bender out of his thoughts. Zuko opened his eyes and let his gaze fall until it landed on a young girl with tan skin and brown hair that was drawn back into a braid. She had bright blue eyes that resembled someone he knew. Instantly Zuko recognized her, but decided to ignore the girl.

"No, I'm fine," Zuko said unconvincingly, closing his eyes once again. He expected Sokka's sister to just walk away, but he didn't hear her footsteps leaving. Once again he opened his eyes and noticed the young girl was still there. "What are you doing?" Zuko asked when she extended her hand towards him.

"Offering to help you up, you jerk," she said with a playful smile.

Zuko paused before he took her hand and was pulled to his feet. Zuko gazed down at the girl, he hadn't expected her to even look at him after what had happened when they first meet. "Thanks," Zuko muttered.

"No problem," she said before turning to leave.

"Uh, hey, what's your name?" Zuko asked. He was sure Sokka had told him what his sister's name was at one point, but for the life of him he couldn't remember.

She turned her head to glance at Zuko, but refused to turn completely around. She hesitated for a seconded before giving him and answer with a friendly smile, "Katara and you're Zuko, right?"

"Yea," The male replied. Finally, he had properly introduced himself to Sokka's sister without making an ass of himself. The memory of the first time he meet Katara came back to him, he felt embarrassment begin to bubble inside. "I, uh, I'm sorry for...you know, what happened in the library, "

Katara seemed surprised that boy apologized. She turned to face him before giving a shrug. "That's okay, you aren't the only one to blame," she said, walking up to the pale boy. "So, what were you doing on the ground?" she asked, curiously.

"Nothing, I like sitting in the middle of the hallway," Zuko said, it was an obvious lie, but he didn't want to bother everyone with his problems.

"Right," Katara said, rolling her eyes. She stayed in place, staring at the taller boy, eyes narrowed in suspicion.


"I can't figure out what my brother likes about you," Katara stated, crossing her arms with a look of annoyance.

Zuko felt a mixture of annoyance and embarrassment; Sokka mentioned him?

"Anyway, I actually wanted to talk to you about something,"

"Talk to me? I'd think you'd be pissed at me,"

"I am...but for my brother, I'm willing to tolerate you,"

"How nice of you, so what did you want?" Zuko said, rolling his eyes, but deciding not to say anything more.

"If you have no one else you should spend the holidays with us," Katara said, frowning slightly.

Zuko practically chocked on air when the young girl spoke. What's with this family? Zuko thought, mentally slapping his forehead. Did they think he was some kind of stray kitten or something? "Why are you offering?" Zuko asked curiously.

"I just talked to my brother and he was pouting like a child. He mentioned that holidays were for loving families and he wanted you to be apart of one," Katara said, a smile creeping onto her face as well as sympathy into her eyes.

"He said that?" Zuko asked, his cheeks becoming tainted in pink.

"Not exactly in those words, but yea," Katara confirmed.

Zuko had to bite his tongue so he wouldn't jump at the chance. As much as he would love to be with his one and only friend, family came first. "Thanks, but no thanks. I have plans," Zuko casually lied before leaving.

Moments Earlier

Sokka hesitantly parted way with Zuko, he would have tried to convince the boy again to join his family for Christmas, but Sokka discovered his friend had already left. Sokka left with a frown, wishing he could find the words he wanted to say.

Sokka trudged his way over to his friends, Aang, Toph, and his sister, Katara.

"Hey Sokka, why the long face?" Aang asked once the tan boy was close enough to hear.

"Zuko's lonely and I..." Sokka said, he continued speaking, but his words were mumbled and not understandable.

"You'll have to speak up, Snoozles," Toph said, cleaning out her ear with her pinky and flicking whatever ear wax that came out away.

"I asked Zuko to join me and Katara for holidays because he's all lonely, but he won't accept," Sokka sulked, he looked like a child that was just denied his favorite toy.

"You offered him what?" Katara seethed, upset that she wasn't part of that decision.

"Come on, Katara, he's only got like one person besides me. Anyway, he said 'no'," Sokka added glumly. Katara frowned, examining her brother. She gave a sigh before departing.

"What's up with her?" Toph asked, jutting her thumb in the direction the young water-bender had just went.

"I'm not sure, I should see if she's okay," Aang stated, beginning to follow his crush before Toph grabbed his arm and pulled him back with violent force.

"Not until you tell Sokka what happened," Toph said with a scowl.

"Happened? What happened?" Sokka asked, confused. Aang looked just as confused as Sokka before realization struck.

"Oh, guess what! I found a group of people wanting to do something against the fire mafia," Aang said excitedly.

Sokka looked at the small boy in shock and confusion. Who would be brave enough to want challenge fire-benders and their supporters? "Oh, yea? Who?"

"They call themselves, The Freedom Fighters,"