Blurs of colors swarmed her vision. Figments of reds and blues came, gold and silver danced by, yellow and green flashed repeatedly. Who knew how long she had been watching the colors float by. It was all she could see, she was in a world of bright dazzling colors. She almost wished to live in this beautiful world. Soon though everything became shockingly white all of a sudden. The colors left and in return came nothing. A solid white palette. It grew with intensity, and soon it was blinding, but she couldn't close her eyes, she couldn't escape. She didn't want to be here anymore. It began to hurt, her whole body began to shake violently from the pain. She wanted to claw her skin, she wanted out, she couldn't take it. She couldn't take the incredible ray of light. It somehow just got brighter, she didn't understand how it was able to, it seemed to mock her, watch her squeal in anguish. Fire seemed to be living under skin. And when the light became too much, her world became black. And someone was screaming. It sounded like they were right next to her. Oh god she want to die.
Zuko was panicking. He had woken to Katara's heavy breathing, thinking nothing of it, just assuming that she was having a hot flash or something of that matter. He had sat up in bed and watched her, waiting until her breathing subsided, but as the minutes passed by he realized it was only getting worse. She began to shake and he could see her eyes were darting back and forth rapidly underneath her eyelids. The shaking became uncontrollable.
He had scrambled out of the bed, almost falling on his face in the attempt to get out. He rushed to her side, and stared at her for a few seconds unsure of what to do. He shook her gently, calling out her name but it didn't do anything. He put his hand over her forehead.
Shit, it's burning like crazy.
He shook her with more force and said her name again with a higher voice. Her shaking was becoming too much and he tried to hold her down but it cause her to squeal out in pain and he loosened his grip. He tried looking around the room for anything that could help.
He could splash her with water to try and wake her up but the fear of it only making things worse caused him to quickly push that idea away. He looked back down at her as she yelled out in pain. He shouted her name and shook her again. He was just about to run to the door and yell for a doctor when she started screaming. Her screams were full of pain and fear. It was pure misery to listen to.
He began to dread that this was his fault. Was it because of the sleeping powder? Was it because of her injury? An infection? He ran to the door and tried unlocking it but his hands were shaking from his panic that it was far more difficult than it should have been.
"Damn it!" he yelled.
He finally unlocked the door and yanked it open furiously. The guard who was standing outside the door looked at him with the most confused look, trying to peek in as he heard Katara's screams. Her roars of pain echoed down the hallway.
"GET A DOCTOR!" Zuko howled at him. The guard was almost taken back by it and stared at Zuko wide eyed, "NOW!"
The man jolted backwards, stumbled on his own feet and then started running down the hallway to fulfill his orders. Zuko watched him run out of sight and when he no longer could see him, he cursed and punched the wall next to him out of frustration.
Katara's scream pitched higher and he raced back to her. She was still trembling and now was whimpering to her self. He had seen a lot of bad, horrible things in his life, but this terrified him to see her like this. He scooped her up so she was in his arms and began to rock back and forth, trying his best to sooth her.
"It's okay. Everything will be okay Katara. I'm here," he kept repeating it, trying to help her. Her trembling had stopped almost completely. "I'm here."
Two hours later, Zuko was pacing outside his bedroom door. He'd been like that for quite awhile already and with every minute that went by he became more and more anxious. When he thought he had heard someone coming to tell him news of sorts about Katara, he'd stop and stare at the door expectedly. But every time, he was faced with disappointment when he realized his ears had only fooled him.
After the guard had left, Zuko stayed holding Katara, murmuring soft words to try and calm her. Three doctors had hurried into the room soon after, questioned their prince and then made him wait outside. They kept Katara in the room, for fear that if they tried to move her somewhere else as they tried to help her and find out what went wrong, that another episode of what just happened would occur. Plus, it was probably in favor to just keep her there anyways.
He kept getting angry with himself every so often because he couldn't understand why he was so worried about her. There were so many factors about her that should have made him just walk away without a care. She was his prisoner. She was a peasant. She belonged to the water tribe. And most of all, she was friends with the Avatar. It angered him that he cared.
"I don't care. I'm just worried if something happens to her, than I start from scratch again with the Avatar." He didn't believe in his own words when he told himself this though.
He heard something from behind the door and this time he was sure someone was coming out. He stood straight and waited, his face becoming neutral, his eyes narrowing,
One doctor slipped out the door and walked up to him. The two others appeared and stood a bit back. They all simultaneously bowed.
"What is wrong with the girl?" Zuko's voice was firm, strong. He tilted his head up a bit and watched the man closest to him, directing the question at him.
The man's face almost wore a strange look as Zuko asked him this. He was a man in his thirties, although he looked older from the wrinkles that wrapped around his face. His hair was slicked back, in a smooth greasy mess. He took in a small breath.
"Prince Zuko," the man began, "As of the moment, myself and the other two, do not know exactly what caused this episode to happen. She is currently fine, she did wake as we were finishing. The girls health is in perfect condition, excluding her wound of course, but that is healing quite exceptionally. I examined it and there was no look of infection, the wound has been treated with great care these past few days, has been bandaged at all times. The possibility that it caused this, is unlikely."
"And the sleeping powder?" Zuko had dreaded this, to think this was caused because he gave her something her body couldn't handle.
"Do not fret over that Prince. We had thought it a possibility, but a improbable one. The powder itself had nothing wrong with it; fresh, correctly made, correctly administrated. Most people aren't allergic or have problems with, especially water benders, as they are familiar with the ingredients. There was no sign of a allergic reaction, so we also ruled that out."
"Then what happened?!" He became mad. For the two hours he had been standing, pacing back and forth outside his own bedroom door, unable to go in, waiting for answer and they still haven't given him one. His eyes shown with anger. He quickly put himself back together.
"Well. Sir..." the corner of the doctors face twitched, "we think it may have had to do with the brain, something mentally rather than physically. Nothing with her actual health is wrong. What we believe it was, in short, was a nightmare."
Zuko stared at him like he was stupid. The man held up his hand and began talking again.
"The brain is an incredible thing. There have been instances where when a person has been wounded or has fallen very sick, that they have nightmares of the pain. If when they are asleep, and the pain becomes unbearable, they fall into a deep state and are trapped within that pain. It can cause horrible nightmares which one cannot escape, it become very hard for them to wake and the pain they are feeling in real life, is all focused in, in greater strength."
Zuko sighed. This was the farthest thing from what thought it would have been. He was relieved to hear that it was not his fault, that it was just... a nightmare.
"Trapped inside your own mind with no way out, consumed with that raw pain... it seems quite terrifying." He thought.
"What will make of her? Will she be fine?"
The doctors all gave him a uncertainty in there eyes.
"We're sure she will be fine, but there is always the chance of it happening again. If they continue to occur, it could disrupt her when she's actually awake. They could also cause more pain to her, her wound is still new and we don't want her ripping it open."
Zuko nodded, thanked them and then dismissed them. They bowed and silently left.
Zuko looked at him and said his thanks. He dismissed them. Why am I worrying so much? Why am I worrying about the enemy?
He let out a loud breath and his uncle showed out of no-where.
"Worrying about the girl?" his uncle asked. Zuko was a bit startled by the sudden appearance of his uncle. Iroh saw this and chuckled to himself.
"No. Why would I ever worry about some stupid water bender," Zuko snarled at him, but he could see his uncle didn't believe him. He didn't even believe himself. "Okay. Fine, okay, you're right. But I'm worrying not because I care for her nut because if something happens to her, I wont have anything to get the Avatar to come."
"What about Revenge?" Iroh smirked at him. He knew Zuko cared about this girl and it amused him to watch his nephew battle his emotions. But he wished that he would find it out soon.
"What about revenge?"
"If something were to happen to the girl, the Avatar would want revenge," his uncle said, "would he not?"
"I didn't think about that," mumbled Zuko, turning around and walking to his room- away from his irritating uncle.
Iroh laughed, "Sure."
Zuko opened the door slowly, knowing Katara was awake and waiting for him. He walked in, head down avoiding her eyes, locking the door up once again. When he turned around, he was surprised to find Katara sitting up, calmly staring at him. Though when he looked in her eyes, he saw the anger- he saw the hate. It disappointed him.
He stood there, unsure of what to do. She just stared at him, and it almost became to much to be under her scrutiny. He wondered is she sat up herself and if it pained her in doing so.
"Why?" one word escaped Katara's mouth. It caused shivers to run down his spine as he heard the venom in it. He still stood tall.
"Why what?," he spat the words back and realized how harsh it sounded. He wanted to slap himself for his tone but he continued to stand there, staring at her as she did the same.
"Why did you do it to me?" her face was emotionless. It made him nervous he couldn't read her blank face. As well, it hurt him that she thought he did this to her.
"I didn't do anything to you," he took a step forward and he saw the fear sweep across her eyes. He stopped moving. "You were having a nightmare. Your mind cause you to have all your pain intensified and trapped you in a state where you couldn't escape."
"A nightmare?" She looked at him as if he was stupid, like how he had looked at the doctor before. "You think a nightmare made me scream in pain, made me burn, caused me to hear this terrible screaming? That made me want to die? You think a nightmare did that!?"
She was getting up from the bed, he could see her fighting away the pain. He wanted to help but it would probably make matters worse.
"And do you think a nightmare brought me into your bedroom."
She stared at him, she was standing up ten feet away from him. Rage poured onto her face.
"I had to. There was no where else you could have gone with that injury," his voice was calm and steady, trying to see if she was going to collapse from the pain. She didn't
"Let me sleep in the hallway- the prison! Anywhere!" She threw up her arms and winced at the pain. "It's better than here- with you."
"You would have died!" he shouted, he threw up his hands as well. Fire blazed in his eyes as he became angry at her. She stood her ground.
"So you go and do this to me, even though you don't want be to die."
"I didn't do anything to you!" He took a step forward wanting to hit her.
She didn't know what happened, she has no clue.
"Zuko!" Katara screamed. She was scared that he was going to hit her- she didn't want anymore pain. She saw him stop in his tracks and look at her. He lowered his hands when he saw the fear in her eyes. He looked down, mad at himself.
"I didn't hurt you. I didn't do anything," he looked up at her and she saw the honesty in his eyes, she saw the hurt.
"It's okay. Everything will be okay Katara. I'm here,"
She remembered him saying those words. Guilt filled her.
"I know you didn't hurt me," she took a few steps toward him so they were standing right in front of the other. "I know".
Iroh was sitting outside the room. He heard Katara's scream come through the door, slightly muffled from having the sound go through walls. He also heard the silence that came after it. He shook his head.
He prayed that his nephew controlled his anger and had not inflicted anymore pain onto the poor girl. When Zuko got mad, and would hit his uncle's shoulder sometimes, it would hurt. But what Zuko was capable of, was far worse than a bruised shoulder. His anger and his strength were a deadly combination. With his uncle, Zuko had never and would never hit him full blast. But with other people...
Iroh did not like thinking about it. He prayed for the girl's safety... He prayed he would no longer have to hope that his nephew wasn't the one to inflict such pain.
Zuko was shocked by Katara's words. They had looked into the eyes of one another for a moment but Katara broke the stare when she looked away.
"Do I have to sleep here," she left off the words, with you. She turned away from him.
"Yes," Zuko said.
"Can't I sleep on the couch?" she turned her body towards the couch. She already knew the answer. No. Why? Because of her injury- the couch was not to be laid on especially someone In her condition, a bad stab wound and pain filled nightmares. Her wound has ruined everything for her. "Well what about if you sleep on it."
"Im not going to sleep on the couch," Zuko sounded annoyed, she wanted to laugh at it.
She slowly made her way over to the bed again and sat down. She stared ahead of her.
"You better not touch me during the night," she looked at him, "you with your boy hormones."
"What! Im not like other boys," here she goes accusing him of something he's hasn't done, "I'm not going to touch you."
"You better not," she smirked at him. "And yes, you are like other boys- boys and their hormones."
He looked at her, mouth agape- why was she talking about his hormones?
"I'm not like other boys. I'm on a ship 24/7 away from girls."
"Exactly and now all of a sudden you're in the same bed as a girl," she still stared at him as she pushed herself up the bed, trying to pull up the covers very slowly, "it calls for temptation."
He wished she wouldn't stare at him like that. He turned around and headed back for the door.
"I'm not going to do anything to you during the night," he started unlocking the locks.
"Sure," She watched him unlock them, "that better be the truth."
"It is the truth. Don't do anything when I'm gone." He opened the door and looked at her one more time and with that he was out the door and gone.
"What can I do?"
She laid down, wondering if she should fall asleep again or not. She thought against it. She looked at the room. It was actually pretty nice. The bed was covered in red and gold silk sheets and six big pillows. There was a bathroom in the far right corner of the room- which looked like it was going to be huge. There was a huge mahogany dresser in the left corner of the room. The door was straight ahead. The golden red couch was on the right of her. She looked at everything and while she was doing this she fell asleep. Not a nightmare but a soft normal dream.
All she remembered was hearing the words run in her head- "I'm here. I'm here."
Back in the forest, the gang still camped out in. Appa wasn't getting better. They had seen small improvements in his health when they first started to give him the medicine but it deteriorated once again. With Appa sick, they couldn't fly and that meant no hope to begin searching for Katara.
Aang wasn't even able to use staff properly because on the second day of Katara's capture, Sokka had been stupidly playing with his boomerang and it ripped the cloth on the staff. They all alternated going to the village to get medicine for Appa, to get food and necessities and more importantly, for Aang, to try and find out any new information on what Zuko was doing to Katara. No one knew there though.
Aang was becoming very frustrated. As well was Sokka, it made him beyond furious that Zuko had his little sister and god knows what he was doing to her. It made him shudder at the thought, he would kill him if he did anything to her. If he even touched her.
Appa's health stressed them strongly. Both wanting their friend to get better and wondering when he would finally be better to take to the skys again.
"Soon," Aang told himself. "Soon."
Sorry for this taking a while to put up, I've been working constantly lately. But I want to thank everybody who's been reading this and has taken the time to leave a reply! I appreciate it so much! And to the people who had read this story when I first wrote it and still remember it, It made me very happy! Thank you. Chapter will be up.