It's been a while since I have written a fan fic and so I am a little raw around the edges. Please bear with me :)
And just in case there is any doubt, this is going to be a Zutara ;)
Reviews and comments are always appreciated.
Katara's heart was pounding, her breaths coming in painful gasps. Any moment now she would be able to hear them chasing her down the tunnel. She had no idea how long the general will be able to hold them down but maximum she could count on maybe 5 minutes till they catch up with her. She grasped the limp body tightly in her arms and with her tears blurring her vision, she continued to run madly down the tunnel, the faint greenish glow of the crystals lighting her way.
The terror was threatening to consume her very soul and never had she felt so helpless before. Frantically she looked down at him, willing him to open his eyes, her voice choking out his name in agony. In that tiny moment of distracted horror, she tripped over her legs and landed painfully on the ground, Aang's body flying out of her grasp and skidding to a halt a foot away from her. She had no idea how badly she was bleeding and in the green glow, she was unable to see the red slowly seeping through her right leg and though she could feel the warm sticky wetness of her blood spilling out, she had no other thought in her mind but to get to Aang. Gritting her teeth to prevent herself from screaming in pain, she slowly dragged herself to where Aang lay sprawled on the floor.
It seemed like an eternity till she could get to Aang and when she finally did, she was horrified to find him not breathing. Tears spilling down her eyes, she desperately shook him, crying out his name and begging him to wake up but his head just lolled from side to side, lifelessly. She fumbled around his robes, ripping it off to reveal the giant ugly wound that had pierced his body. Her breath caught in her throat and for a moment she almost felt her heart stopping in horror. Frantically her hands reached for the only water she had with her, the small phial of healing water from the northern water tribe. She was not even aware of what she was doing, it seemed as if her head was buzzing with a strange noise, as if her body was in this world but she was floating somewhere else, as if all this was happening to someone else, not her. The bright glow of the water as it spread over Aang's gaping wound brought her back to the present and she concentrated with all her might, praying to all the spirits she knew to help her. The water stopped glowing and she looked at Aang anxiously, looking for any sign that it helped, in whatever little way possible..
Suddenly she could hear faint footsteps coming towards her. Terrified she realized Aang was still in danger and with every ounce of strength she had, she pulled Aang up onto his feet. Ignoring the stabbing pain in her leg, she slowly started to drag them both towards the opening of the tunnel, hoping against hope that the water from the spirit oasis worked.
Katara's heart almost stopped.
"Aang!" she breathed in.
He opened his eyes and she watched in disbelief as he gave her a weak smile. It was as if a giant wave of water has just splashed down on her, washing away all her fears and for a moment she felt so relieved, it almost made her dizzy. She grasped him tightly, tears of relief seeping down her eyelids as she could feel his heart starting to beat again, faint but strong.
"We need to get you out of here Aang" she whispered, dragging him forward, "hang on."
But Aang had already faded back to unconsciousness and his body slouched down on her making her tighten her grip on him. Almost there… the sudden cool breeze of the night assaulted her face painfully and she looked up to see the faint stars twinkling in the night sky. With a huge effort, she was finally able to drag them both out of the tunnel, into the open air and collapsed on the ground, her arms still around Aang.
She closed her eyes in defeat, as she could hear the footsteps much louder now. There was no way she would be able to put up a fight, not the way she was right now. There was Azula and half a dozen Dai Li.. and Zuko… her stomach clenched at his name and such a strong hatred tore through her that she almost felt like throwing up.
Her eyes snapped open. In the night sky, she could clearly see the giant outline of the flying bison. She scrambled to her feet as Appa gently landed next to her, a small puff of dust flying up in the air. Sokka ran towards her, terrified at the stricken look on his sister's face. He stopped short as he saw Aang lying on the ground, bruised, torn and bleeding.
"He's alive" Katara answered his silent question.
"Whaa.." Sokka opened his mouth but Katara silenced him by raising her hand.
"Later. Get Aang" she said urgently, "the Dai Li will be here any second."
"We can take them, we have Toph!"
"No point. Aang's safety is our main concern!" Katara replied frantically. "Hurry!"
Sokka didn't stop to argue; with one sweep he pulled Aang up in his arms and carried him over to Appa. And then it happened. With a loud crash, the opening of the tunnel blasted apart and the ground that Appa was standing on dissolved under his feet. The impact of the blast threw Katara several feet up in the air. With a scared roar, Appa lurched onto the air, Toph hanging onto the Earth King for dear life as Sokka made a frantic grasp to keep Aang's unconscious body from falling over board. A giant blast of hot stinging blue fire followed, almost singing Appa's nose. The beast gave a cry of terror and rolled over to the other side, trying to get away from the fire.
"Go!" Katara screamed. "Get Aang away! Now!"
"I am not leaving you behind!" Sokka yelled back.
Several dozen Dai Li agents came streaming out of the now demolished tunnel. Katara tried to get up but her feet gave away and she fell down hard on the ground. The pain was making it impossible to concentrate and she had no water left on her.
"Get out!" Katara bellowed, angry tears spilling down her eyes.
"Sokka!" Toph shouted.
Sokka shook his head and with one last pleading look at Katara, grasped Appa's reins and yelled "yip yip!"
"Sokka! What are you doing?" Toph scrambled across, "We have to get Katara!"
Sokka didn't reply, his hands holding on to Appa's reins so tightly they were white to the knuckles. Anger and helplessness was flooding every pore of his body. Another flash of blue fire and Appa rose into the air, dodging it to the right and with a mighty roar, flew straight up in the watched in muted relief as Appa flew farther and farther away, his shape getting smaller and smaller.
Even among all the rumblings, she could still hear Toph's voice screaming out her name.
Book 3: Fire