Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar the Last Airbender.
A/N: Thanks for all the reviews, you guys are amazing! Just want to point out a few things though. I agree, having that kind of car at her age is really expensive, and her job position usually takes years to gain. But I don't want to ruin any of this story so I'm not going to tell you what's going on, but you will later learn there is a reason she got that position so young. You will have to read to find out everything though.
The Boy in the Zoot Suit
Katara stared at the bright computer screen ahead of her with her chin cupped in her hand. She was tired, exhausted, and almost falling asleep at her desk. When she had left home earlier that morning, Aang was knocked out, sitting on a stool in the kitchen, with unfinished coffee in his hand. She could easily see why though, they stayed up all night talking at Aang's 'hideout'.
She learned so much about him that she didn't know, and would have never guessed. Aang explained to her how his Uncle died. How he ran away, because he heard something very disturbing, and ended up trusting a random stranger who had saved his life. The stranger claimed to know his Uncle, helped Aang look for him, and eventually they found him dead in the back of an alley. Shot. He described the pain he felt, how he blamed himself because he ran away. To her, he seemed like he was just a confused kid, scared and lost, so he trusted someone who made him feel secure. But to him, it was one of the worst mistakes of his life; that and running away because of it instead of talking things out with his Uncle. After Aang talked some of his pain out, they went up to the lake. They sat in front of it for a while before Aang completely shocked her. He got up from his position and did some simple Waterbending moves; she was still in complete and utter shock until she remembered she already had her suspicions that he was a waterbender.
He asked her to join him, a pleading look in his gray eyes. She joined him eventually, after refusing for a while, the water plummeting to the ground several times before she got the hang of it. Before long, they were drenching each other in cold water; laughing, running, chasing each other, spinning, and dancing. By the time they were ready to leave Katara was shivering even though they had tossed their jackets to the ground before things got too intense and were able to huddle up in them afterwards. Aang took off his warm jacket and placed it over her shoulders without hesitation.
"You'll catch pneumonia. Put it back on," she had instructed him. The jackets warmth was already having pleasant effects on her.
He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and smiled. "I welcome the sickness. As long as you're warm, I'll be just fine."
His kindness warmed much more than just her heart. They hopped onto his bike, took it back to the junkyard, and walked back to her place. It was a long walk, but the peacefulness and serenity made it worth it; plus, she couldn't help but feel a sense of security with Aang around. It was about 4 in the morning when they got back. Aang took a shower and got ready for bed once again, as did Katara. She felt nervous when she saw him sitting on her bed, in his pajamas, waiting for her.
She sat next to him and smiled. No words were spoken. Aang pulled back the covers, helping her into her bed, and kissed her forehead.
"Goodnight Katara," he had whispered, leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
"Katara, wake up!"
She woke up abruptly, her head swinging back and her eyes wide as she took in her surroundings. She had fallen asleep at her desk. She pressed the palms of her hands into her eyes.
Suki stood in front of Katara's desk, her hands planted firmly on her hips. "What were you up to last night?" she asked with a haughty smirk. "You seem exhausted."
Katara waved off her friends concern, and wiped at her sleepy eyes again. "It's nothing to worry about Suki. I'm just a little tired from work, that's all."
"Yeah. Sure." It was obvious Suki was unconvinced. She looked at her papers and shuffled through some things before she finally settled on what she was looking for. "I just want to let you know you have a delivery coming in. Apparently someone got you flowers, roses to be exact."
Katara rolled her eyes and laughed. "Thank you Suki."
Suki raised an eyebrow, her smile no longer present. "It wasn't me."
Haru came into the open door office room and looked at Katara for permission to enter. Katara nodded her head; he came in and placed the roses on an uncluttered spot on Katara's desk. Katara's eyes widened in awe as she looked at the beautiful roses set before her. She stood up and leaned over her desk, inhaling the rose's sweet scent. She smiled, picking one up and twirled it between her fingers, before going for the card peeking out of the bunch.
Suki clasped her hands together, running around the desk to join Katara's side. She craned her neck to read Katara's card.
"You have a secret admirer!" Suki exclaimed, clapping her hands.
Katara rolled her eyes and opened the card. She bit her lip but couldn't hold back the huge smile her face broke out into. Only she would recognize that chicken scratch he called a signature.
You deserve these, and so much more.
Thank you for all you do.
It was a simple card; nothing flashy. Something she normally would have just smiled at and tossed to the side forgetting where it was, or who it was from, a few hours later. The fact that it all came from Aang, though, made it so priceless. She read it a couple of more times, eventually putting it in her purse for safekeeping.
Suki looked at Katara with a smug expression.
Haru stared at the two of them, completely baffled. "Who's it from?" he asked, unable to stand not knowing anymore.
Suki walked over to Haru. "Her boyfriend," she whispered in his ear. "But you didn't hear it from me."
Katara eyed the two of them suspiciously. Haru opened his mouth and found the only word he could say came out in a whisper.
"Boyfriend?" he spit out.
Work is tiring. Aang picked up the large box that had to be at least twice his size. He groaned, straining his back to get the huge box off the back of the truck. It definitely wasn't the nicest job, but it did pay well. He's had it for about 2 weeks now. The best part is that he'd finally be able to pay Katara back for all the sacrifices she's made for him. Every penny she's spent on his clothes, food, and etc. He will finally be able to pay her back for it all, and then some! It's that thought that kept him motivated and moving during the day. Air condition hit his face, as he struggled to get the box inside the back part of the store.
He stretched the kinks out of his neck, before going around the store and entering the main building.
"There's more stuff that needs to be unloaded. Another truck has just arrived."
He barely had a chance to register the fact that he was inside before the new job was given to him. He placed the large box next to some others.
Aang smiled and nodded his head. "I'll get right on that sir."
When there was enough distance between the two, Aang groaned. He threw his head back, wondering when he had fallen so hopelessly in love.
His work day was over. Half past five. Aang couldn't contain the smile on his face as he hopped on his motorcycle, put on his helmet, and raced off to Iroh's tea shop; something that had become somewhat of a habit for him during the work day. He pulled his bike over to the side, took off his helmet, and headed for the tea shop, ignoring the closed sign completely.
Katara bit on the cap her pen tirelessly, frowning as she went over the next printing issue planned with her assistant Suki and some journalists in the main discussing room.
"This is good," she said, her mouth half distracted. "But we can do better. The sports column needs more depth, more detail. I want to feel like I'm in the stands, smelling the popcorn, hearing the screams. I don't feel that with this." She turned the paper over to the front, staring hard at the first page. "We also need to make it more clear what Ozai is up to. Don't use language that's too complicated, you never know who might be reading this. As the people, they need to know they have more control than they think they do. They need to know that with enough willpower we can have Ozai and his gang locked up. I don't feel that with this. Try looking at it more from the reader's point of view."
Everybody took notes on Katara's suggestions, hanging onto every word she spoke. Katara continued on directing them on what could be improved on, and what was already good. When everybody left the main room she went back to her office, collapsed in her chair, and took a deep breath. She pulled out her wallet from her purse and looked at the only picture of her mother she had. Her mother had been a beautiful women, and very wise too. She could tell that just by looking at this picture. She held the picture up to her heart, melting away with it.
"Don't worry mom, I'm going to get Ozai and his gang back for what they did to you…" she whispered, clamping it harder over her heart as the memories flooded back over her.
Aang felt a throbbing pain in the back of his head and clasped his hand onto that spot spontaneously. He grinded his teeth, unable to open his eyes, everything was just excruciating. Whatever had hit him on the head was hard, and apparently, he had been knocked out. Times like these, he wished he could just go Avatar on someone's ass.
He heard a gasp, though he could not see. He forced his eyes open and was greeted with blaring white lights in his face. He groaned loudly at the sight, today just was not his day. When his vision became more focused, he looked around the room. It looked like a hospital room. Four white walls, a TV hanging from the ceiling, IV hooked up to him, a large window at the far left side of the room, white tiling for the floor, and a small figure standing next to his bed.
He blinked a few times, his vision gradually becoming clearer.
"Hello," he said slowly.
A little boy stared at him in awe and stepped up to Aang's bed. He was wearing a red zoot suit, which looked way too big for his body, and a fedora cap. He took his hat off at the sight of Aang; he was bald beneath it, his gray eyes shimmering under the bright light. He reminded Aang much of himself as a boy.
"Hi," the boy said. His voice sounded dry and raspy, as if he hadn't spoken in years. He had to be no more than 12, Aang assumed. "My name is Tenzin."
"Hi Tenzin, I'm Aang."
"You want something to eat?" the boy in the zoot suit asked.
Aang raised both his eyebrows; going to decline but nodded his head, deciding he might as well have something. It might help the throbbing headache he was cursed with at this current moment.
The boy went over to what looked like a tray of food set up on a nearby wooden table. He brought it over to Aang and placed it before him, then went back to where he had been sitting. Aang noticed then how frail the boy actually was.
"I wasn't supposed to feed you," the boy started, "so you can't tell anybody that I did. I snuck some of that food out of the cafeteria during lunch. They said you should wake up today. You were still out at the time."
Aang broke apart a piece of bread and ate some of it. "How long was I out?" he asked, his mouth half full.
"About 2 hours."
Aang spit out some of the breath in his mouth and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.
"2 hours?!" he exclaimed.
Aang didn't say anything else; no longer having an appetite, he pushed the food off to the side of the bed.
"Why am I here?" he asked the boy. He needed answers and he didn't care where they came from at the time.
"Is it true you're the Avatar sir?" the boy asked, completely ignoring Aangs question. He didn't give Aang a chance to reply before he continued on. "Before Lord Ozai murdered my mother and father, they both told me you would save us someday; that you would redeem us, and everybody else that's suffered. I never stopped believing them sir, even though Lord Ozai is planning on killing me in a few days. I know you won't allow that to happen, sir."
Aang stared at the boy; completely baffled. He opened his mouth to say something but the boy beat him to it once again.
"I know you're probably very confused right now sir, so I would like to explain to you what happened."
Aang hesitated, but nodded nonetheless.
"Lord Ozai has some nurses taking care of you right now. Azula knocked you out so that she could bring you here. They told me you're the Avatar and that-"
He didn't have a chance to finish before the door was wildly swung open. Lord Ozai came in the room, swatting his hand for the boy to move aside. He looked just as menacing as ever as he approached Aang's bed, looking at his vital signs.
"Aang," his deep voice smoothly let out. "You're awake. That's good."
Aang gritted his teeth, his blood boiling rapidly. "What do you want and why am I here?" he demanded through gritted teeth.
"Nothing but revenge is what I desire," Ozai answered plainly. "Nobody screws me over and gets away with it. You should know that by now, but then again, you've always been on the dumb side."
"Why can't you just let me be?"
Ozai laughed and Aang's anger just blazed more. "You're the Avatar!" Ozai exclaimed. "Yes, you're an idiot, but you're the Avatar. There is so much I can do with you. With you around, nobody would mess with us. Nobody; and even though we have members of the police department, and the government, working with us, nothing is quite like having the Avatar on your team."
"I'm not on your team. I'm not on anybody's team. I'm just a human being, like everybody else, and I deserve to be treated like one. Not like some animal you can just throw around and abuse; like you love to do."
Ozai laughed and it echoed throughout the room. "You know, I knew you'd say something like that. That's why I'm going to be a good guy and give you the opportunity to decide." Aang glared at him. "If you join me willingly, I will not kill Tenzin." He gestured toward the little boy next to him. "He's an Airbender, just in case you were wondering; the only one in the world, besides you." Aang gasped in disbelief, Ozai continued. "I know you don't believe me, but you might not ever get the chance to find out. Also, that little precious girlfriend of yours, Katara is her name I believe, I will kill her. I will end her. She will be no more. I will make sure it's a painful death, and you will watch her die."
"You're a monster!" Aang said the words like they were poison on his lips.
Ozai folded his hands with a wicked smile, obviously pleased with himself. "Hey, at least I'm giving you options. I could have just killed them without your consent anyways. I am also giving you the chance to say goodbye to Katara, with her being left in peace and unharmed, if you agree to work for me."
Aang stared at him, a deep frown set upon his face.
"Now this is what you're going to do…"