Ficathon Story for chicaintcheap
Destiny Author: Prompt:
Lullaby, Bed, "Don't Cry", "You take the breath right out of me"Genre Preferred:
Romance, maybe some drama or some comedy/parody Ships Preferred:
Zuko/Azula, Aang/Toph, Zuko/Katara, Iroh/Ursa Rating Preferred:
“Mom, sing me a lullaby,” pleads a brown-skinned little girl from her furry bed.
The mom smiles and stops before reaching the icy door. Slowly, she turns around and faces her daughter. “Which one?”
“The one about the prince and the girl,” asks the blue-eyed girl, holding her heavy blanket to her chest.
The mom is not surprised about her daughter's choice; she sits gracefully on the bed and runs a hand through the little girl's brown hair.
Immediately the small room is filled with the woman's sweet voice.
In the ice, there lived a girl with azure eyes
In the sea, there sailed a prince with a heart of fire
Under the bluest skies, the prince reached the pole
And for his amber eyes, the blue girl left her home
Fire and ice, they both collide but are attracted all the same
Yin and Yang, black and white, it's the beginning of the end
Blue eyes fight against sleep long enough to look up at her mom and whisper, “I'll find my prince someday. Like the girl in the song.”
The mother smiles again and looks down to her sleeping little girl, “Yes, you will, Katara. And you should be ready when it happens… You must trust your prince. You must trust Zuko.”
“Ah!” The waterbender wakes up with a gasp. She lifts a shaky hand to her forehead and releases a weary sigh. Her brow is damp but she doesn't have a fever. Katara sits up slowly and wonders what in the world brought her that nightmare.
Sokka, Toph and Aang are sleeping around her; not one of them is using a sleeping mat because they had been too tired to unpack. She suddenly remembers; they had been chased by Azula all day. In the end they had fought against her only to have her disappear, leaving Zuko's uncle injured.
She frowns at the thought. The ungrateful prince had refused her help and threatened her with fire. She tries not to wish something serious happened to the old man, if only for Zuko to learn a lesson.
Her blue eyes widen and the moonlight makes them sparkle in the night. Maybe that's why she had that nightmare! But why, oh why, would she dream about her mother telling her that? And why would she remember her favorite lullaby? It had been so long ago since she had heard it; she was inclined to believe it was all her mind's fabrication.
She decides to go back to sleep: she is exhausted, and hopes that she'll forget that awful dream when she wakes up in the morning.
She is about to lay her head back on the ground when warm hands place themselves on top of he mouth. She wishes this was a nightmare, too.
Zuko has one hand over the girl's mouth and the other trying to contain her thrashing around as much as he can. Quickly, he lifts her up and places her in his arms, one hand still muffling her screams. All he can hear coming from her are moans and growls. Very lady-like. He thanks Agni the Avatar and his comrades are too tired to wake up.
He notices the Avatar's beast crack open an eye and freezes, the girl in his arms still moving frantically. But the animal decides to go back to sleep and he releases a relieved sigh. Silently, he maneuvers himself and the girl from the top of the rock she had been sleeping on.
Half way down, the waterbender stops kicking him. Probably because she doesn't want to throw off his balance and make them both fall to their deaths.
Zuko places her on her feet and inspects her with a serious look. “If I take my hand from your mouth, would you promise not to yell?”
The girl's answer is to bite his fingers. The firebender bites down a yelp and warningly warms his injured hand over her mouth. She stops reluctantly.
In the back of his mind, Zuko is amused by the feel of her pouting lips against his fingers.
“Here is the thing,” he explains, without releasing Katara. “I--“ He takes a deep breath, it's more difficult than he thought it would be. “I need your help.”
The girl raises her eyebrows and gives him a smug look. He frowns in response. “Azula caused more damage than I thought. I cannot heal my uncle alone.”
Realization settles in her eyes and Zuko takes his hand away from her parted lips.
The girl takes a deep breath and answers, “No.”
His face falls and she finds the situation almost comical, 'almost' because she doesn't have her water skin with her.
“You said you'd help him!” he yells, before he can control himself. He wills his temper down; he needs to be on her good side now. (He tries to ignore the voice that tells him she can't be too thrilled about him 'kidnapping' her.)
“Yes, I said I would help him when we were out in broad daylight and my friends were with me.” Her voice rises enough to match his own.
“I won't hurt you!” he yells, pauses, takes a deep breath, counts to ten, and tries to reason with her. “You'll be back before sunrise, I promise.”
She laughs bitterly, “and why should I trust your word?”
The memory of her dream, no, nightmare, comes back to her like a slap to the face. You must trust Zuko.
“Something told me you would,” he answers, in a voice so low she wonders if the wind is playing tricks with her.
“Once I heal him,” she begins, and the firebender's eyes widen. That was easy. “I want to go back to camp alone. I don't want you near Aang.”
“If it was the Avatar I wanted, I could take him right now.” His voice is pained. This decision has cost him much.
He is right, she reasons, it'd be so easy to take him right now, but he'd have no one to heal his uncle.
The moonlight shines on her determined face as she stands straight and nods. “Lead the way.”
The place where he left his uncle is about a half an hour walk and Katara feels her strength lessen. It's been such a long day. She shakes her head and tries to wake up. She must remain alert, ready for any foul play.
The landscape is deserted. There are hardly any trees and the ones she finds are the kind that don't need much water to survive. The lack of the precious liquid makes her nervous, but she keeps walking behind him.
Zuko doesn't feel the need to turn around and check on her; he can easily hear her heavy footsteps on the dry earth. The moon is bright and low in the sky, casting her long pale shadow next to his. He watches the waterbender's shadow sway and her steps waver. She is exhausted. He wonders if she'll be strong enough to heal his uncle.
A tattered little house comes into view and Zuko finally turns to face her. “We're here.”
She nods and follows him into the house, watching her surroundings with careful eyes. Her suspiciousness stops when she sees the old man lying unconscious and sweating in the corner. He looks feverish.
Falling to her knees, the waterbender examines the wound and winces. She turns around and surveys the room; Zuko is standing by the window.
“I need water,” she says when she can't find any in the room.
The prince sends her a wary look and she lifts her hands in annoyance. “Gods, I won't attack you.”
Zuko's look changes to one of annoyance. He snorts. “As if you could defeat me in a fight.”
She faces him fully, eyes narrowing. “Hey, mister, I did it before and I could do it again.”
An indignant gasp escapes his mouth and he uses his arms to gesticulate around him. “We were surrounded by snow! It's as fair as if we fought inside a volcano!”
“Just give me the damn water if you want me to heal your uncle,” she demands in a deadpan voice.
He turns around to face the window. Shoulders squared, arms crossed over his chest, he is the living picture of indignation. “There is a well in the back.”
Zuko can practically hear her growl as she stands up and mumbles about ungrateful nephews.
She reaches the well and finds an abandoned bucket beside it. Taking some water, she scrubs the bucket clean using a little waterbending. Her arms move in flowing motions as she places more water inside the now-clean container. Katara inspects the water closely and wrinkles her nose at it. It's not good water, no wonder the people that lived at the house left.
With a flick of her wrist the water is separated from the insects, plants and other stuff swimming in it. That'll do.
She carries the bucket inside and sits before the old man again. Zuko is still facing the window but his eyes watch her warily.
As she places her glowing hand over the man's shoulder, her eyes are on the scarred boy watching her with worried eyes. “If you don't trust me to heal him, why did you come get me, of all people?”
“I couldn't think of anyone else,” he explains in a disgusted voice.
“Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence.” She shakes her head at him and her eyes go back to the wound she is healing.
Zuko surveys her work and is grateful (not to her, of course) when he notices the wound slowly shrinking. He releases a sigh and places his weight against the window. He'll be ok. He'll really be ok.
Blue eyes go back to him when she hears him sigh. The sight shocks her into consoling him, “Don't cry. I'm sure he'll be fine.”
“I'm not crying!” he snaps and turns away his not-so-dry eyes.
“Whatever you say,” she whispers. “I didn't know they had another definition of crying in the Fire Nation.”
The firebender ignores her and she goes back to work. When he is sure the girl is not looking, he lets his eyes go back to her. Brown hands work professionally over his uncle's chest. Her hands' movements are a little hypnotizing and he suddenly finds himself very thirsty.
Katara watches him take a cup and walk to the bucket he wasn't gentleman enough to get for her. She thinks of the bad water and for a second she wishes to let him drink it and get sick. But, who could take care of the old man if he dies? “I wouldn't drink that if I were you,” she warns him.
“And why not? It's my bucket, my water and my house.” That's not really true, but it feels good to throw it on her face.
She wills herself to be patient. She is tired and healing is not exactly easy on the body. The faster she finishes arguing, the faster she'll get out of here… However, deep down, she knows she should just let him drink the water and die of water poisoning. “You should boil it first, that water is bad.” Damn her good-hearted nature!
He frowns, sniffs the water and wrinkles his nose. His head turns to look for his uncle's bag, hoping Iroh has kept the teapot Zuko 'got' for him.
“'Gee, thanks for the heads up, Katara.' 'No problem, Your Pigheadedness.'” The waterbender mocks under her breath as he roams through Iroh's bag, ignoring her.
The tea smells sweet, though rather heavy, as Katara finishes treating the wound. She is too tired to heal it completely but the old man is out of danger now. The wound will close by itself in a few days. His fever is down and Katara congratulates herself (because no one else will.)
She finds bandages near Iroh and she thanks the gods. She didn't want a ten minutes verbal spar just to get clean ones. Neatly, Katara covers the nearly healed wound.
When she is finished, she runs a hand across her damp forehead and looks out the window. It's nearly dawn. She turns around to find Zuko watching her with slightly less hostile eyes.
“Tea?” he asks, and she is surprised at his nearly-polite offer.
“I'd love some,” the girl answers, with a small smile that fades when he points to the teapot with his tea-cupped hand.
She mumbles under her breath as she serves her own tea and sits down across from him, ready to drink the whole cup and go back to camp.
As she takes her first sip, her eyes widen and she spits it all out with a horrified expression on her sweaty face. “This is the worst tea I've ever tried!”
“Well, what would you know about tea?” he replies defensively.
“I know it's not supposed to taste like dirt,” she says as she stands up and throws the offensive tea out of the window.
Zuko's frown deepens. “I'll be going now,” she says.
There is a long silence before Katara begins, “Oh, Katara, I'm so thankful for all your help. You're a great healer, without you my uncle would have DIED!” As she finishes, the tea in Zuko's hand splashes everywhere.
“You are an ungrateful son of a---“ before she can conclude, he grabs her by the shoulders and forces her eyes on his.
“You want me to thank you?” he growls as he mulls over what he could do to shut her up once and for all. “Ok, then.”
LIPS! Zuko's lips! Are all she can process when she feels a warm something (that tastes like bad tea) against her lips. Absentmindedly, she wonders if he has ever kissed anyone else because he doesn't seem to know what he is doing.
He pulls away, turns his back to her, sits next to the teapot once again and waves a dismissing hand over his shoulder. “You can be going now.”
If looks could kill… well, he'd have been dead the second he had 'kidnapped' her, earlier that night.
She storms out blindly. As she walks to camp she prays to every god that'll hear her to, please, oh please, let lightning cook him alive.
“Once upon a time,” her mother begins, “there was an honorable prince.” Katara fights against sleep, wishing to hear the end of the tale. “He was banished from his land by his father,” the tale sounds very familiar, but the little girl only wants to hear the end. “And given a scar.” Katara feels her mother's cold hand grace the left side of her face. “He went through many trials, but when it was finally his turn to choose his destiny…” a pause. The little girl, Katara, opens her eyes to look up to the woman as she continues, “he chose wrong.”
Everything goes black and the little girl yearns to reach her mother, but only warm words reach her ears.
“Katara, my dear, you must forgive him.”
The waterbender master wakes up with a gasp. She feels the bed underneath her and looks around the room, searching for a woman that is not there. They are in Ba Sing Sei. Sokka will go with Aang to meet with their father today, but she is staying.
She fears her dream, not because she remembers what happened the first and last time she had one like that, but because this one has left her with a dark and consuming feeling.
What is he going to do…?
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