Chapter 1. Captured

The first time wasn't so bad. But doing it again? Was he joking? Or was he really mad? Was he going to really hurt her? Or was he holding back? The questions rolled through Katara's mind as she glanced at Zuko, who tightened the rope around her waist, and then her hands. He pulled the rope around to the back of the tree, and stepped away, a satisfied look on his face. Katara struggled for a moment, but knew it would do her no good. She was tied to a tree...again. And this time, Aang or Sokka couldn't save her...They were probably still asleap on Appa, unaware of the fact that Zuko had captured her while she had simply been taking a morning walk! And now she was alone...With Zuko. Prince Zuko.

Why me? She thought. Why'd he have to pick me? Katara's mind swam with any possible way to escape, but she couldn't think of anything. If only I could waterbend with my feet...Or my mind! She wondered if one day she would be able to waterbend like that. But right now, she needed to at least try to think of a way to escape. Zuko was walking back toward his ship, only turning back before he entered to stare at her. The wind blew at Katara, her dress stretching out in the wind. She tried to put her best 'don't leave me here' look. Zuko hesitated before entering the ship, but then he turned around and walked back to where Katara was held stiff to the tree.

"You're coming with me," He stated.

Katara's shock turned to anger. "Where?" She asked. She needed to gather as much information as she could to begin planning an escape.

"My ship," He rolled his eyes in a contempt to break her steady gaze on him. She didn't. She kept looking at him with a long glare.

Zuko stepped behind her and cut the rope free from her waist, leaving her hands still tied together. "Come on," His raspy voice faided as another rush of wind hit them.

Katara slowly followed him into the steel red ship and hastily memorized the turns they were taking. She had to find a way to escape this time. On her own. Zuko led her to a small room with a bed and a nightstand. Hung on the walls were the Fire Nation insignia. He shoved her toward the bed and furrowed his brow. "Don't get in my way, and you won't get hurt," He mumbled.

Katara laughed. "You wouldn't hurt me," She stated with confidence, although she knew that might not be true. "Where are you taking me? Why didn't you just leave my on that tree like you did the last time?"

Zuko shook his head. "I don't know...It didn't look like the Avatar was coming to get you."

Katara noticed a worried tint in his voice. Had he actually been concerned to leave her there? "He would've eventually."

Zuko shifted his wait and began walking toward the door. He stopped, then turned around. His gaze turned from frusterated to an evil smile. "I know exactly what I'm going to do with you."

Katara felt a lump forming in her throat. What was he going to do with her? Torture her? Put her to work? She hoped she would be able to find a way around the ship to escape. "What?" Her voice came out with a crack.

Zuko smiled as he walked closer to her. "You just said the Avatar would have eventually come after you...What better bait but to use his girlfriend to capture him?"

Katara swallowed. "He's escaped from you once. He can do it again!" She glared at him. He was going to use her as bait! She should've just begged him to keep her tied to the tree...Now Aang was in danger! "Let me go, you...you...Brat!" She yelled. That wasn't quite the name she had in mind, but it seemed to suit him.

Zuko burst into a fit of laughter as his his pony-tail swung from side to side. He sat at the end of her bed. "I'll do just that, once I get the Avatar. In the time being, make yourself...Comfortable. I'll have word get around soon that I've got the Avatar's girlfriend. He should find out soon enough, shouldn't he?"

Katara shook her head. "He's stronger then you think! He's the avatar. You couldn't do it last time...You won't be able to fight him again!

Zuko stood up and leaned closer to her. "But I've got the element of surprise on him. I've got a plan. Do you have a plan, peasant?" He pointed to her hands which were tied up. "You can make this easier for yourself, or harder for yourself. Take your pick."

Katara closed her eyes. This was pointless to be aruging with him. He clearly wasn't going to let her go, and she was just giving him more ideas on how to put out his plan. "I hate you."

Zuko leaned even closer to her. She could feel his breath on her cheeks, and she could see the details of his scar. "I love you," He smiled. "Because you're giving me my honor back."