Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar the Last Airbender. Sigh. But I can pretend.

A.N. So, did they make up too fast? I am a Zutaraian, plain and true, so writing them hating each other is hard. They weren't too ooc, were they? It wasn't ridiculous or anything, right? Enough author's notes. Here's the chapter.

She gave him a small smile. "I'll leave you to think about it."

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Zuko's mind collapsed into turmoil as she finished her tirade. He didn't know what to think. Part of him was angry at her for dropping this on him, and another part was glad she had spoken her mind. As she smiled sweetly at him, he wanted to whack her one. She had just sent his mind into an uproar, and she wasn't affected at all!

Well, that wasn't quite true, he considered as he calmed. She had been affected, and it showed in the strain and passion in her voice. She had meant every word, and wanted all her perfect visions to come true. He wasn't sure he could deliver on that. Could he give up his search for the Avatar, his search for acceptance, just for a girl? He would be betraying his country, and would be permanently exiling himself, beyond redemption. He didn't know if he had it in him.

He thought of the way her voice had shook, so passionate, so afraid. She had wanted this more than anything, he realized. She really did want him around. That was something that had never been true about his father, or his sister. They would lie and manipulate him, but they didn't truly want him. The thought saddened him. His own family didn't really care about him.

But this Waterbender did. She cared about him, saw good in him, sought him out to apologize, wanted forgiveness. The truth of it all hit him like a ton of bricks. He stood in the hall, not moving, as these cruel facts sunk in. Soldiers passed him, glancing furtively at his odd behavior. He sat down, leaning against the wall, and considered his choices.

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Katara walked through the halls toward her room with a spring in her step. She had told Zuko how she felt, and her heart felt a million times lighter. She didn't know how he would react, but it was worth it to find out. She reached her room without incident, and plopped down on her bed with a happy sigh. She laid back, her arms behind her head, and smiled as she slipped into unconsciousness.

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Aang smiled as they narrowed in on the Fire Navy ship. He was sure no one had seen them this time, and he was ready to see Katara again. He wanted to see her smile, feel her touch, and listen to her voice. His heart ached with the pain of missing her. And now they were going to get her back this time, no matter what, at any cost. He nudged Sokka as they sank into the waves. Appa began swimming behind the ship, and they got ready to perform their rescue. Unbeknownst to them, another ship was coming at their target from the other side.

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Zhao smiled. He would destroy Prince Zuko, and punish that Water wench. He would sink the pathetic prince's ship, and take the girl to use as bait. He would get twin revenges and the Avatar, all in one shot. He would kill three lemurs with one stone. He didn't give two coppers about anyone on the ship, or the deaths he would be causing. The only thing that mattered was his own personal gain and safety. And he would be perfectly safe. He wasn't risking anything that mattered. He smiled his grim smirk, and gave the order. Launch a fireball directly at the side of the ship they were approaching. And so the battle began.

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Zuko was jarred from his still confused thoughts as the ship gave a strange lurch. It felt almost as though they had been hit! But who would be firing on them? He ran toward the deck to see what was going on. When he got above deck, chaos was all he could make out. Smoke filled the air, and shapes flitted about like ghosts. Everyone was running, and it seemed like they were listing to the side. As he hurried to the rail, he could barely make out the form of another ship through the smog. And the shape of a smoking hole in the hull just above the waterline.

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Katara was awakened as she fell out of bed. The boat had moved very strangely, as if on impact. She decided to head to the deck to see what was going on. She walked calmly, thinking they had been avoiding rocks or some such. When she reached the top of the stairs, however, it appeared that it was something much more sinister. There was smoke in the air, and screaming. Also, the boat was tilting strangely. She rushed to the railing, to see a hole in the side of the boat. They were slowly taking on water. She instinctively reached for the power of the water, and tried to seal the breach.

As she managed to stopper the hole with ice, she saw something she had missed before. A much larger Fire Nation vessel, and specifically one she had hoped never to see again. There standing at the railing, laughing manically at the destruction being caused, was Admiral Zhao.

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A.N. Well? How was that? Was it too short? It kinda ran away with me, and then smashed me into a wall. That was where the story wanted the chapter to end, so I let it. Sorry if it was too brief. I figured I would get Zhao in the way, and bring Aang and Sokka in on the fun! Lets see how this works out! Could be messy! As always, REVIEW!