Authors Note: Hi! This work of fiction is semi-dark and begins in "The Headband": ). This is my first fan fiction so please be nice, and it will definitely get better as it goes on : ) Thanks to my new beta Luca Windmover, Fire and Ice is being rewritten into THIS. So if you want to view the original it is on my sight. Please Enjoy
"Fire and Ice"
Katara was in a predicament. While Aang was presumed dead, she was stuck here in the Fire Nation palace dungeons. She had only been here for a week or two, wildly hoping that Aang and the group would carry on without her.
The lone secret that the Avatar was alive must be preserved no matter what.
Katara and her friends had stopped at a nearby Fire Nation village a few weeks ago to 'acquire' some clothing to blend in with their new surroundings. Sokka had been on edge ever since Aang had supposedly been killed. Every rock, bird and being on Fire Nation soil was considered enemy. Not that Katara blamed him for over-reacting. Aang being alive and well was their secret weapon.
That is, if he could manage to stay secret. It was obvious that the young air nomad was having a difficult time. They walked around the village until their feet felt as if they would fall off, putting up with Aang's constant Fire Nation slang. It was clear the locals weren't buying it. They had all bought some trinkets from a shop. Toph had gotten a headband while Katara found a torque to cover her mother's necklace. After another hour of Sokka's incessant begging, they had finally stopped for lunch at a local meat shop.
Aang had politely looked sick to his stomach and implied that he was perfectly fine with eating some lettuce from the garbage. After they had finished eating, Aang was nowhere to be seen. That had been where their troubles started. After searching the town for him for hours, then returning to their-also, newly acquired-cave, they set up dinner. Then Aang miraculously re-appeared.
He had returned happy and smiling and Katara's worry evaporated. He told them how he had gotten enrolled in a Fire Nation school and that he'd be going back the next day. Sokka, of course, had protested, and for good reason too, but Aang had been ready for him. He explained that the next day they'd be learning about a secret tunnel that led into the Fire Nation royal palace. Sokka relented and let him go back, even though they had already stayed longer then they had originally planned.
The week lingered on, days coming and going, each with its own sets of complications. She truly felt like a mother after being repeatedly called in by Aang's mentors. It was time to move on, especially after Aang was threatened to be sent to the coal mines. They couldn't risk staying in the same spot for too long, but Aang had insisted that they stay one more night for a secret dance party.
Sokka's mind had boggled at the idea, but after explaining his reasoning that these Fire Nation children were the future, Katara and Sokka reluctantly agreed. Toph of course, wasn't a very big help on the matter. It was clear that she didn't care either way. After bending earthen platforms and lighting up the cave, people began to arrive. In the beginning no one knew what to do, but Aang had quickly taken care of that problem. The ending result was a hit, everyone loved the party.
She remembered how everyone had stared in awe as Aang had whirled her about as they danced together. This thought made her smile, but she couldn't help but frown again while thinking of the ending of that night.
Near the end of the party, the teachers and Fire Nation soldiers had been led to the ensemble by a stuck-up, popular kid. She couldn't believe she was in this mess all because of some jealous boy. As they ran through the back tunnels of the cave and hit the cool night air, they found that Fire Nation soldiers had surrounded them. Apparently secret dance parties were a very serious crime in the Fire Nation.
Aang couldn't bend without giving himself away so Sokka and Toph had shoved him back into the cave entrance. Toph sealed it up after him. She and Toph took a few guards out of the picture, immobilizing them. Katara was on her fifth soldier when Sokka was hit in the arm by orange flame. Katara had gasped, wanting greatly to go heal her brother, but she knew what she had to do in order to save her friends.
They wouldn't all get out of this if she didn't sacrifice herself. She could be the diversion they needed to get Aang out of here. They couldn't ride Appa out, or people would know who they were, and they couldn't hide in that cave forever. If she could only lure them away then her friends could escape. She would get away from the soldiers then follow them later on.
"I'll hold them off!" Katara shouted, readying herself to bend a massive amount of water. Their cave was right by the bay, after all.
She could only imagine how upset Aang was at not being able to do anything to help them. No sooner had the thought arrived, the cave wall burst open and he stood there positioning himself into an earth bending stance.
"Toph! Stop him!" She had turned momentarily distracted by Aang.
"Don't be stupid, Twinkle-toes!"
Toph had earthbended him back into the entrance, but not before Aang seeing Katara fall to her knees from a sharp blow to the small of her back. And just like that, the assortment of guards and soldiers had her in cuffs, and hauled to her feet. She could hear Aang's anguished, muffled howl, her name bounced harmlessly of the enclosed walls of the cave.
Sokka had run forward with a warrior's cry, the ending result had him tripping over his own feet, or Toph's earth bending. She didn't know which but she was grateful for it either way.
Katara screamed to them, "Go! Leave! Save yourselves!"
Sokka stood and clutched his arm yelling in outrage. But Toph shoved him through the cave and disappeared, closing the back entrance. That was the last she'd seen of her friends.
They had all fought as well as they could, taking out more than half of the soldiers.
She felt numb as a soldier droned in a firm voice, "You are hereby arrested in the name of the Fire Lord for water bending, a serious crime, and the outlawed act of impersonating a Fire Nation citizen. You are now a prisoner of war. You will be hereby punished by the Fire Lord himself . . ."
She was taken to the imperial palace and thrown on her knees in front of the Fire Lord, Prince, and Princess. She didn't even look at Ozai or Azula. Her eyes went immediately to the Prince. He looked down at her, obviously shocked, then his expression hardened and he turned his eyes away.
The Fire Lord had glared down at her, bored. A guard read a list of the crimes for which she was apprehended. The Fire Lord stroked his bearded chin and said menacingly, "This case is not vital at this moment. Send her to the dungeons I will deal with the water bending peasant at another time."
The soldier was escorted out and Katara was jerked to her feet by two guards. When she didn't budge, they started to drag her backwards, but she wiggled free of them and ran toward the Fire Lord. She slid into water bending offensive stance as water poured out of her pouch. She spun and as the guards came for her, the water hardened into ice daggers, shearing through the guards' armor like a hot knife through butter. The guards were left pinned to the vast scatterings of columns in the throne room.
She winced as their furious cries echoed through the vast cavern of the room.
"You fools!" Azula practically shrieked. "You didn't take her bending water away!" But she looked to be the only one responding in panic. Ozai had raised a hand to calm her and she settled back down, obviously fuming. Zuko tensed but mirrored his father's cool composure, smirking on the inside at Azula's interruption.
Her outburst had completely taken him by surprise. Then again, he was unused to sitting at his father's side and offering his judgment when asked. He was used to seeing battle, well used to seeingKatarain battle, for that matter. It didn't surprise him that she had gotten free.
"Azula, Fire Princesses do not behave as such. Calm yourself," The Fire Lord scowled at his daughter's interruption.
Fire Lord Ozai turned lazily towards his son, nodding to him. Shame heated her cheeks while, Azula stared enviously as Zuko leapt from his cushion. The Fire Lord chortled with laughter.
Zuko wove through the whips of water. He tried not to bend. He didn't want to be chastised for reckless scorches, and she was just too agile to hit with a flame. He then realized with shock that he didn't evenwantto hurt her.
Before he could ponder over this thought any longer a small sloppy whip of water was flung in his direction and he did an aerial over it. The flip would give him just the perfect amount of avoidanceanddistance on her. He would win if he reached her, they both knew that. His heavy armor prevented her from actually hurting him and his general size outmatched her by far.
The black and gilded armor slowed him down relentlessly as he tried to avoid the ice and water. When her attacks missed and hit the floor behind her she would bend them back to her, for her disposal. She couldn't bend well with her arms restrained, but that didn't keep her from trying. She spun and jumped trying to keep control of her element, all the while trying to keep a good distance between her and the Fire Prince. It was tiring; a sweat had broken out on her forehead, and her hair hung down in her eyes, limiting her vision.
Through the fight, he must have seen that she was weakening due to her hands being shackled behind her back. Sweat was pouring down her face and heaving body. He realized that her bending was beginning to weaken to the point that she couldn't hurt him, especially with his armor.
Katara let out a loud grunt as she did a series of turns and jumps, water and ice was shot at him. But instead of trying to avoid it he braced himself and then heated his body's temperature. The water splashed harmlessly over his chest and the ice melted on impact, the remaining water heated to vapor. Zuko grinned. That was when she began to panic. She knew she would lose this battle.
Right before he reached her, she screamed in alarm, "Please Zuko! Don't DO this!"
Too late. She was knocked off her feet by what felt like a moving,heatedwall. Katara wheezed as his weight crushed all of the air out of her lungs. He stood with her in his grasp, turning her as her legs gave out.
He had tackled Katara and brought her up struggling to his chest where he locked her in a sleeper hold. One of his arms wove around her neck, and the other around her waist, pulling her off her feet and up against his torso; rendering her bending useless. She gasped for air as he shuffled her over to the Fire Lord. She would not escape from him.
The Fire Lord was clapping, amused by the girl's inner fire. Zuko grunted. "This is the master-" he sneered, "-water peasant of the Southern Water Tribe. She was traveling with the Avatar before he was killed." His eyes flickered to Azula's. She was smirking ear to ear.
At hearing these words the Fire Lord's whole demeanor changed. He was so tired of dealing with anything, or anyone, who was associated with the Avatar child.
Zuko glowered at the struggling girl in his arms, and then looked up into the scowling face of his father, faltering slightly. The Fire Lord rumbled and pinched the bridge of his nose. He growled, "Get her out of my sight, into the dungeons. We are far too busy to deal with childish squabbles." Zuko nodded and let go of the girl briefly to signal more guards.
She stumbled forward and then rounded on Zuko with a yell of outrage, ramming her head into his gut. He doubled over and stumbled back a few steps. "You peasant," he gasped in shock and outrage, couldn't she see what a lost cause this was? It was over. She was their prisoner now. He glared at her, gasping for air that wouldn't come. Her defiant figure started forward, probably to finish him off, not that there was much more to do when she was bound the way she was.
He shot a fistful of fire at the girl's feet, hoping to catch her off-balance, now not caring about a few marks on his father's black floors. She jumped to the side and he started forward, angry that she had even hurt him in the first place. He added another fist of flame to the first.
Quiet laughter followed and he made the mistake of glowering up at his sister before getting drenched in water. Katara had anticipated his second attack and turned her evasive footwork into an offensive water bending position. His sister's laughter had heightened in volume, bordering on wild cackling. It stopped quickly when the water evaporated into steam from his body's increased temperature.
A shadow fell over Katara's triumphant frame and she dropped like lead. Azula stood over the water bender's crumpled heap. She had struck Katara on the side of her head.
"You shouldn't play games with the filthy prisoner, Zuzu." Azula sniffed.
He fumed silently then snapped at her, "I wasn't playing with her!"
The royal guards were signaled to step forward and they dragged the water bender out of the throne room.
The water peasant had embarrassed him in front of his father, again. He stepped up to his cushion, to take his place next to the Fire Lord. Zuko stared straight forward, willing himself to ignore the ferocity that had been in those blue eyes and how she refused to give in without a fight. It was admirable, he lamented silently, nothing more. But she was none of his concern now.
Authors Note: I definitely enjoy feedback so please Review, it means the world to me.: )