Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender or any of its characters! ATLA belongs to Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. If I owned ATLA, as awesome as it is, I would have changed a few things. Jet wouldn't have died, Zuko would have reunited with Ursa, and Zuko would have ended up with Katara instead of Mai! But sadly, ATLA belongs to Mr. DiMartino and Mr. Konietzko. T.T
A/N. I've been having this idea floating around in my head for quite some time now, and I just wanted to get it out! It was nearly driving me crazy. XD I based this story on 'A Walk to Remember', which, for the record, isn't mine, either, and belongs to Nicholas Sparks, the greatest romantic writer ever! :D I got totally inspired to write this when I watched a fan-made trailer of 'A Walk To Remember' (Zutara style) on youtube. It is EPIC! I highly recommend it to any Zutarian or AWTR fan! :D Just go to youtube and type 'A Walk To Remember Zutara' in the search bar. It is BEYOND GODLY, I tell you! I can't believe I never saw the similarities between Landon/Jamie and Zuko/Katara before! :O The best part of the trailer is where Landon/Zuko says "She (Jamie/Katara) makes me want to be different - better." That totally made me melt into a pile of Zutarian goo. Awws... ^^
I love AWTR, and although I usually like the book more than the movie, I like the movie AWTR more than the book, although the book was still very good. This story is based more on the movie AWTR because I figured that Katara could never pull off the sweet, always forgiving Jamie in the book. She seems more like the movie-Jamie, who got mad at Landon for betraying her to his buddies and gave him the cold shoulder even after the play. Which totally cries out "Zutara!", doncha think? :D Oh, sorry if I'm spoiling AWTR for any of you guys who haven't watched it yet. But if you haven't, WATCH IT! It is one of the most beautiful, saddest, cutest love stories I've ever seen. :D
Anyway, I'm going to stop talking now so you guys can get on with the story! I really hope you guys like it. Although this isn't the first fanfic I've published, this is my first Zutara and first ATLA fanfic. Please review and give me some feedback or constructive criticism! I'd really like it if you guys could let me know if any of the characters seem OOC! I'm trying my best to keep everyone IC, but it's a bit difficult ... So I apologize in advance for any OOC-ness. :D If you guys have any suggestions, feel free to tell me! :D
The full moon cast its milky glow over the group of teenagers gathered together by Lake Laogai. It was a little after midnight, and the autumn breeze was chilly. Blowing out a puff of cigarette smoke between his lips, Jet glanced at his watch impatiently.
"It's been half an hour already," he said irritatedly. "Where the hell is he?"
"I bet he chickened out," Smellerbee sniggered, to which Longshot nodded silently in agreement.
Mai sighed and crossed her arms over her chest. "I knew this was going to be a complete waste of time," she muttered, her lips curling into a scowl.
Ty Lee shivered, rubbing her arms in a vain attempt to warm herself up. "Let's just go home, guys," she whimpered. "It's freezing!"
"Yeah, we should just call it a night and go home," Zuko muttered. "He probably won't show up anyway."
Jet narrowed his eyes. "I swear," he said in a low, dangerous voice, cracking his knuckles, "that prick has it coming if he doesn't show up..."
"It doesn't matter whether or not he shows up." Everyone turned to look at Azula, who crossed her arms and smirked. "Either way he's in for a whole lot of hell," she continued, her voice soft yet dripping with venom, "and we're going to enjoy every minute watching him squirm."
"You got that right, Azula!" Jet laughed. Mai rolled her eyes and sighed again, while Ty Lee chuckled nervously. Zuko merely stared off into the distance with a bored expression, as if wishing he could be anywhere else but there.
"It seems like Pretty Boy finally decided to show up," Azula spoke again, and all heads turned towards the figure approaching them.
Although Ty Lee smiled and waved at him energetically, Haru still felt like there was an ominous tension in the air. Aside from Ty Lee, everyone was regarding him with cold expressions. He forced a smile on his face and tried to pretend that he wasn't bothered.
"Hey, guys, sorry I'm late," he apologized sheepishly.
"About time you showed up," Azula said flatly. Haru flinched at her haughty tone. "We were starting to think that you didn't have the guts to even show up."
"S-sorry. I - " Haru hesitated. 'Sorry, I had to wait until my parents were asleep before I could sneak out.' He didn't think that would sound too impressive. "It's a long story," he said finally, trying to sound casual. "Let's just get this over with."
"That's the spirit," Jet chuckled, punching Haru in the arm. Haru suppressed a wince. "C'mon, the sooner you finish this, the sooner we can all get out of here." Everyone followed Jet as he made his way towards the water tower by the lake.
"So, what am I supposed to do, exactly?" Haru asked, his mind racing with the possibilities. Was he supposed to swim across the lake?
"It's simple, really," Jet said nonchalantly. "All you've gotta do is climb up to the top of that tower over there, jump off, and get out of the water."
"That's it?" Haru's eyes darted from the top of the tower to the lake below. That doesn't seem too bad, he thought. As if sensing Haru's relief, Jet stopped and gave Haru a grin, the cigarette still hanging from his lips.
"Yup. That's it," Jet confirmed. "Piece of cake, right? If you can do it, you're officially one of us."
Haru looked at all the members of the group, who were watching him closely, as if waiting for him to show a sign of fear or weakness. Clenching his fists, Haru turned his gaze upwards at the water tower.
"All right. I'll do it," Haru said with resolve. Azula and Jet exchanged satisfied smirks.
"If it makes you feel any better, I'll jump with you too," Zuko spoke up, stepping forward to stand alongside him. Haru turned to give Zuko a grateful smile. It couldn't possibly be that bad, Haru decided, if Zuko were jumping with him.
"Great idea, Zuzu!" Azula said sarcastically. "Just make sure not to belly-flop. It'd be so embarrassing if the new guy showed you up." The rest of the group, excluding Mai and Longshot, sniggered.
Zuko shot her a glare. "Don't worry, I won't," he retorted, taking off his shirt to reveal a well-toned chest. Following suit, Haru took off his own shirt, feeling embarrassed that he didn't have as much to show in comparison to Zuko. Ty Lee covered her mouth with her hand, trying to hold back an appreciative giggle. Haru turned away, blushing as he tried to ignore the butterflies he felt in his stomach. As he made his way to the water tower with Zuko, Haru took slow, deep breaths. Just jump into the lake and get out. It couldn't possibly be that bad, right?
There was a ladder that they would need to climb to get to the top of the water tower. The rungs of the ladder were icy cold, and Haru winced at how numb his fingers had become. By the time he got to the top, Zuko had already reached the edge of the water tower and was gazing down at the lake. Haru joined Zuko at the edge and stared down at the watery depths below, suddenly feeling very queasy. Now that he was actually at the top of the water tower, the lake no longer seemed tranquil and beautiful, but monstrous and eager to swallow him whole.
"How - how deep do you suppose it is?" Haru inquired hesitantly, hoping he didn't sound too nervous.
"Don't know." Zuko flashed him a smirk. "How 'bout we jump and find out?"
Haru laughed weakly. "Ha ha ... yeah, right," he said half-heartedly, turning to look down at the other teenagers below. Ty Lee seemed to be the only one who was smiling at him sincerely; when she saw that he was looking down at them, she waved at him eagerly and gave him a thumbs-up. As usual, Mai and Longshot were expressionless and bored, while the others were muttering amongst themselves and smirking as if they knew some secret that he didn't. Azula and Jet in particular seemed especially smug.
"You know," Zuko stated, "if you really don't want to do this, you can just back out now." It was hard to tell whether or not Zuko was being sincere in his remark. Haru looked at Zuko uncertainly, trying not to grimace. The side of Zuko's' face - the side that Haru was facing - was marred with an ugly scar that left Zuko's eye permanently half-lidded, even when Zuko had his eyes opened. Even though he was quite familar with Zuko's scar, he still felt uncomfortable at the sight of it.
"Well?" Zuko said in a monotonous voice, turning to fully face Haru. Haru averted his eyes, staring at nothing in particular.
"Well ... I - " Haru began.
"What's taking so long?" Jet called out from below, his brow furrowing with annoyance. "We don't have all night."
"Just jump already!" Smellerbee demanded impatiently.
"If you're too scared, you can just head on home now to your loving mommy and daddy." Azula's voice was sickeningly sweet. "Don't worry, we won't hold it against you."
Haru felt his insides grow numb. The meaning was clear in Azula's words. There was no way he could back out now. How could he? They were all waiting for him to make the jump and prove that he was good enough to join their group! If he couldn't do it ... Haru turned away, swallowing the lump in his throat. He didn't even want to imagine the kind of misery that they would put him through. No, he thought frantically, I can't mess this up. I might as well be digging my own grave.
"Let's just do this. On the count of three," Haru said to Zuko, sounding more bravely than he felt. A satisfied grin spread across Zuko's face as he started the count.
What have I gotten myself into?
Haru shut his eyes tightly and jumped. Cold wind stung his face and hissed in his ears. For what seemed like an eternity, Haru felt his stomach threatening to plummet right out of his ribcage and into the lake below. Pain registered into Haru's mind for a brief moment as his body slammed into the icy cold surface of the lake, and he knew nothing more.
"What an idiot!" Zuko heard Jet choke out between fits of laughter as he made his way to the group.
"Did you see the way he flapped his arms as he was going down?" Azula grinned. "Seems like Pretty Boy was trying to spread some nonexistent wings." More laughter ensued at Azula's comment. Zuko joined in their laughter, trying to push away the guilt that was gnawing away at his conscience.
The guy had trusted him ...
Well, he had it coming to him. Serves him right for being an idiot, right? As if the gang would ever accept him as one of them ...
Still, he had trusted him. He hadn't deserved what the group had done to him. Zuko turned away from the group, hoping they didn't notice his internal struggle.
"Look, he's not getting out!" Ty Lee's frantic voice jolted him back into reality. Zuko whirled and stared at the spot where Haru had landed. Haru's body lay limp and face-down in the water, bobbing in the water almost pathetically. "I think he's hurt!" Ty Lee cried out, her eyes wide with fear. Zuko could feel the color draining from his face.
"Oh, shit!" Jet, along with the rest of the group, had stopped laughing and was looking just as shocked and horrified as Zuko felt. "Shit," Jet said again, "we gotta get the hell out of here before the cops come!"
Just as the words left his mouth, the wailing of sirens pierced the tranquility of the night. Panic coursed through every fiber of Zuko's being.
"I'm outta here!" Jet declared, practically sprinting towards his car. As he continued staring at Haru's lifeless body in the waters, Zuko heard the screeching of Jet's car as he took off, taking Smellerbee and Longshot with him. Azula had already gotten into Mai's car, but Ty Lee did not move from her spot.
"Ty Lee, what the hell are you doing?" Azula snapped. "Stop gawking already and get in the car!"
"But - shouldn't we - " Ty Lee sputtered helplessly.
"Now, or we're leaving without you!" Ty Lee threw Haru's body one last remorseful glance before running to join Azula.
"Zuko, what are you doing?" Mai had turned back and noticed that he wasn't heading to his own car. "The cops are going to come any minute now!"
"I'm going in." Zuko started to head for the water, but Mai grabbed his shoulder, stopping him.
"This isn't the time to be stupid, Zuko," she hissed. "There's nothing we can do for him now! The cops will find him anyway. It'll be fine."
"It isn't right to just leave him there," Zuko retorted, wrestling his shoulder away from her grasp.
"Zuko - " Mai's usually monotonous voice was rising with frustration.
"Mai! Get your ass over here right now!" Azula was practically spitting with rage. "If my idiot of a brother wants to get landed in juvenile hall, we sure as hell aren't obliged to keep him company!"
"Zuko!" Mai called after him once more, her voice more pleading this time. Zuko was already in the water, suppressing a shudder at the sting of the freezing water as it lapped against his bare skin.
"Just get outta here, Mai!" The dark-haired girl reluctantly turned her back on him and ran to join her two friends. Ignoring the screech of Mai's car as she sped away, Zuko waded towards Haru, who still had not moved. As he approached Haru, Zuko vaguely felt something metal and hard against his foot.
Slinging one arm over Haru's body, he caught sight of Haru's face, which, to Zuko's horror and disgust, was entirely covered in blood. Still supporting Haru with one arm, Zuko began making his way back to land, breathing heavily from the cold and the sheer effort it took to propel both Haru and himself across the water. Again, his foot made contact with something metal and hard.
A pipe? Zuko thought, bewildered. Then it dawned on him. That explained Haru's bloody face. For a moment, Zuko felt sick as he imagined how it must have felt to collide into a metal surface after jumping from a place that high.
After what seemed like forever, Zuko reached land and placed Haru on the ground. He barely had time to wonder whether Haru was still alive when the sirens became louder, signaling him that the police were close. Without a moment's hesitation, Zuko jumped to his feet and bolted to his car, his heart pounding against his ribs. Just as the engine roared to life, Zuko saw three police cars turn into the parking lot of Lake Laogai, their headlights flashing menacingly.
"Shit!" Zuko growled, slamming his foot on the pedal. Turning the wheel vigorously, he forced his car away from the water. Zuko cursed again, realizing that the police were blocking the parking lot exit - and his only way of escape. His mind working frantically, he noted the grass next to the lake (and away from the parking lot exit, where the police were) and drove onto it. The sirens continued to whine obnoxiously as the police tailed him across the grass.
To Zuko's dismay, he realized that the police were catching up to him. One of the cars eventually passed his own and drove in front of him, forcing him to swerve. A grunt of pain escaped his lips as his car crashed into an oil can, sending shards of glass flying everywhere. His face stung where the broken glass had pierced him. Zuko tasted blood from where his lower lip had been cut.
His head spinning, Zuko looked out his now broken window and into the stern face of a police officer.
"Put your hands on the wheel, son." With a grimace, Zuko did as he was instructed.
A.N. I feel like I messed up somewhere in this chapter. It didn't come out the way I wanted... T.T Anyway, Katara should be showing up in the next chapter, hopefully! :D I still haven't decided if I am going to include the rest of the Avatar gang (Aang, Toph, Suki, Sokka) because I'm still trying to figure out how they would fit in here, since both book-Jamie and movie-Jamie were loners and didn't have any real friends. T.T
Although I am a die-hard Zutara fan, I do like Mai, so I'm not going to butcher her character like many Zutarians who make her out to be some psychopath who wants to kill Katara and keep Zuko all to herself. But like I stated in my profile, I do hate Maiko, so I'm going to try to keep their relationship to a minimum here. XD
I hope you guys enjoyed the first chapter of Angel Fallen from the Sky. I'd greatly appreciate any feedback or constructive criticism! Any anti-Zutara flames will just be used to fuel Zuko's passion for Katara. ;D