The Sky is Grey
A Fanfiction by Miss Katara x
At first it was a haze of murkiness and confusion, the dark setting of dusk mixed in with the bitter coldness. He drew a sharp breath. Saltwater burned in his mouth; he couldn't quite remember what he'd just done. Or what it had meant. You really have to work on impulsiveness, Zuzu.
"My Lord, the girl, what shall we do with her?"
Zuko gasped for breath and rolled off the girl whom he had just rescued, her warmth left his abdomen like a fast, unpleasant pain. He struggled to force himself up and when Jee offered his assistance he was snarled at. The prince snorted fire and glanced deeply at his right hand man.
"Put her in my chambers, Lieutenant. This is a matter for discussion in the morning, send in Korin to check her over" he barked sharply, holding his gaze.
Zuko paused to examine the girl lying on the deck of his ship, as he glanced down multiple drops of stinging sea water dripped off his bangs. She was so young, but definitely Water Tribe, there was no doubt. As he drew his attention back to Jee again, his small but faithful crew were staring at him, mouths agape with wide curiosity in their eyes.
"Well, what are you waiting for, I gave you an order, Lieutenant!" he exclaimed gruffly. "I am the captain, I ask you to obey me-Isn't that what you signed up for?"
The crew stood in stony silence and guilt hit him like bombshell, when he remembered that everyone here were outcasts too, forced on this mission. Outcasts like him.
"I'm sorry…," he began.
"My lord, my only concern is your safety, I hope you know the consequences of this situation," Began Jee," I just…well, your bed, sir…"
Zuko shook his head harshly, flicking salty water in various directions. Jee was a good man, worthy of trust and a faithful lieutenant, however his inability to be decisive was always his downfall. When had he ever questioned the Prince's decisions?
"I'm fully aware of what tasks I am undertaking, but did I not say we would discuss this in the morning?" he shouted. He was worried but he pushed those dark thoughts out of his mind, besides he was tired and getting cold just standing there. Don't think, just act.
Jee flinched, though Zuko knew that Jee was used to his captain's temper by now. "As you wish sir. I will set up the chambers, are you capable of carrying her?"
They're afraid of her, aren't they? That's why the crew are keeping their distance and scrutinising my actions. That why they're leaving her to me. Dear Agni, why did I save her?
It was like a reality check had just sunk in. He gulped. "Of course, I carried her onto the ship didn't I?"
A very perverse part of his brain wondered why he was placing her in his chambers. To keep her safe of course, to stop the crew injuring her.
"See that someone of the crew consults my uncle, I want his presence,"
"Yes, my lord, Kasumi?"
"That shall wait" he almost smirked as he imagined the reaction.
The crew dispersed and Zuko prepared to lift her. He scooped her up-she was quite light but the clothes she wore were saturated with water and dragged her down, her unconscious frame seemed to sink into his chest as if he were a bed. He found himself enjoying her warmth. He was abruptly aware of his lack of clothing; just a loose pair of trousers and undergarments, noted that they were soaking. His dripping bangs poured onto her blue kimono and unconsciously he held her close. She was like fire; warm and alive in his possession.
"My lord, through here," a boy appeared from the ships main headquarters. A boy only just a month or two his senior, beckoned him inside. His name was Ty; he used to play catch with him.
Zuko followed hastily through the corridor; the warm embraced him like a heat wave.
Halfway through, he was stopped. Another girl appeared from her chambers.
"Zuko? What in Agni's name?"
He groaned. "Kasumi, a little busy," he stated gruffly.
"Sorry but…shit is that a…"
She flinched, her eyes flashing. He gave her a long hard look and she stepped aside. She was quick to follow him.
"Zuko, you know you can't keep her. I don't care what your ridiculous motive is this time, but you can't just take someone,"
"I didn't take her, I rescued her,"
"That's your excuse; I bet you raided her village because of rumours about the Avatar,"
He snorted fire. I know, Kasumi, yes it's stupid, yes it's crazy. But I couldn't just let her die,
"It's stupid, Zuko and its crazy…"
"Kas, shut it,"
"I mean it,"
She quietened after that and Zuko reached his room, entering cautiously. Almost all of the crew had assembled; they all stared at him- large eyes locked on his golden ones.
"I didn't ask for you all to be here," he said "Don't you have anywhere better to be?"
"I don't think they're gonna go anywhere, Zuko, they all think you've lost the plot," Kasumi said from behind Iroh.
Zuko ignored her," Where is Korin?"
"Here, my Lord,"
The ship's old healer stepped into the room she took a look at the girl and gasped, "Oh my Sages, Is that a Water Tribe girl?"
No, she's most definitely Fire Nation; I think it's the tanned skin and blue clothes that give it away.
Zuko lay her down and Korin began her examination, for some strange reason he felt like that 8 year old boy again, when he waited anxiously to hear the news of his grandmother, Lady Ihla's death, or when Lu Ten died. He glanced at Iroh and he had only a look of concern and worry, which he was sure, mirrored his own.
Please don't let her die, not after all I've done to rescue her. She's so young.
Finally, "She is fine, she must have been unconscious from being underwater for so long, but it's not a case of drowning, it was more of the shock of the coldness that caused her to collapse,"
The tight knotting on his chest was released.
"She was very lucky that his highness was there to rescue her, don't you think?" It was lieutenant Jee who broke the silence.
Azula was born lucky, I was lucky to be born.
Zuko flinched, his lower jaw tightened. "Dismissed Jee," I can't take this.
Jee looked partly hurt, but bowed and excused himself, the crew followed in suit.
"Prince Zuko…" Iroh began.
"Not you," he but in, "I want…I need you to stay,"
There was a long meaningful stare between both Uncle and Nephew, gold on gold. He broke away first.
"And you, Korin and…. I must be mad but Kasumi I want you to stay too," he continued.
"You are mad," she stated. "But I'm staying; I'm staying until the cannibal wakes up,"
"Kasumi!" he barked.
"What? The whole crew's thinking it; you think you can just do something like this, Zuko. Everyone knows that they're brutal savages who eat each other, that's why I'm gonna be here to kill her if she tries anything," Kasumi finished with a long breath.
Zuko shook, partly from anger also from the terrified feeling forming inside his gut. What have I done? Is she right?
"Quite the contrary, actually Miss Kasumi. The Water Tribe may be very exotic to us, but they are a grand society which immense knowledge that us Fire Nation will never know of," Iroh explained.
Kasumi rolled her eyes. "Well I still think she's a cannibal,"
Fire flamed in Zuko's fists. He grabbed her shoulder and spun her round to look at the girl.
"Tell me Kasumi, Does that look like a brutal savage to you?"
She flinched, but then shook him off. "Grow up Zuko, I was only teasing,"
She whipped a folding fan out of her small obi and began fanning herself, turning red from humiliation. He hung his head.
Nice one Zuzu, shout at your only friend, why don't you?
"Look, Kas-I'm sorry okay," he began.
"Don't bother, Zuzu, I'm used to your tantrums, I'm gonna have a shower, and if anything happens inform me,"
"Not when you're in the shower I'm not,"
She shot him a look but she managed a smile at him and left.
Iroh sighed. "I remember the time when we all thought you two were going to be married," Zuko made a disgusted face. "Never." He stated.
Kasumi was really his only friend though, they met through school and her being the royal healer's daughter (Korin) she was able to share lessons with both Zuko and Azula. Her black hair was unruly, but dead straight and she would always be a rebel. She was also very stereotypical and pretty much failed all her subjects. Her politeness was appalling, her mother was considering giving her ladylike lessons whilst her time accompanying the crew on Zuko's banishment. But Zuko insisted that they wouldn't have the time.
It was funny that back then he thought that his search for the Avatar would be new action every day, he'd wake up and there would be danger or maybe a new clue and it would be down to him alone to piece together the evidence to navigate his whereabouts. But in reality it was just a matter of waiting, there was occasionally a new place they'd stop off at and investigate. ("Hey look, they said the Avatar was sighted here 120 years ago…" or "No Uncle, we're NOT stopping at the market again,")
Iroh tapped him on the shoulder and excused himself, he paused at the doorway."You should get to bed too, Zuko, a man needs his rest,"
"I will, Uncle,"
"She's a beautiful girl,"
Zuko shot his Uncle a look, "Let's be serious, here,"
"And I am, she is beautiful." And he left.
He turned his back and ran his fingers through his hair, groaning.
Calm before the storm.
Zuko decided to use his solitude as a time to examine the girl himself, he had nowhere to go-she was in his bed. She was curled up on her side, both hands reaching out, fingers curled. Her skin was striking against the pale sheets but so smooth.
Hesitantly he reached out and lifted her head. Dammit, she's Water Tribe all right. He found himself foolish for actually clinging onto that piece of hope that she wasn't Water Tribe. She stirred in her unconsciousness, he froze.
Her brown curls were soaked from the seawater; beads of water kept dripping onto the sheets, making a damp patch where she lay. Her jaw was pointed and angular, he found himself liking it. Lifting it up he saw that on her neck she wore an exotic pendant, carved into some sort of metallic material. Well that's pretty, I guess the Water Tribe don't just wear furry pelts and ugly parkas.
Her kimono was slightly ripped, dark blue with a striking white obi. He began to check her pockets, searching for weapons.
This girl isn't a warrior, she's a helpless child without the knowledge to know that falling in Southern Waters will kill you.
His fingers found something; a water pouch and another necklace.
A Water Pouch….
Wouldn't that mean?
Zuko swore. "Dear Agni, what have I done?" he whispered.
Trembling he kept the pouch, dropped the necklace and turned to the door, he would tell Uncle, he'd know what to do. Already a plan was forming in his head, a plan involving metal bars and investigation.
"Give it back."
He spun, fire already drawn. There to face a piercing pair of blue eyes.
Authors Note: Heyyy :3
I'm back with another shot at story, I wanted to make it original and add my own fanon characters, I hope you like them xx Also I wanted to include a lot of Lt Jee-he's actually awesome and Zuko and him are good friends. This kind of takes place before and after the first episode, definitely in Season 1, however Zuko isn't as stupid, he still has ambition and angst, but he's a lot more experienced. I hope you like it.
I'm not really expecting reviews on the first chapter, but if I did I would be actually over the moon.
Long Live Zutara 3