Disclaimer: Everything belongs to their respectful owners.

A/N: Reincarnation AU! This idea has been going on in my head for a while, and I finally got the time to post it. Also, the interaction between Sokka and Toph could either be just friendly or flirtatious, I'll leave that all to you.

Thanks to BirukiMeraki for the beta! Also, your thoughts are highly appreciated :)

It's been the same thing for the past three years.

Blue lightning clashes with wildfire.

The sound of someone screaming out to her.

These nightmares have been going on and off ever since Katara turned fifteen, where the first time it happened she wakes up to cold sweat with tears falling down her cheeks.

She doesn't see the whole picture of these horrors, rather it's usually snippets of them that's being presented to her, but it frightens her nonetheless, plagues her mind for the rest of the day that sometimes she has a hard time focusing on doing anything she's supposed to do.

It's a tiring motion, to wake up in the middle of the night almost every month after seeing a girl with madness in her eye, hair chopped lopsidedly as she shoots lightning out of her finger tips, aiming them towards her.

Sometimes, she feels herself running away from the girl, water swirling around her own hands as she tries to find the girl's weak spots. There are also times when she feels herself standing her ground, feeling the power that courses through her veins while making the water from the sewers answer to her and her alone, where she lets waves crash onto the golden eyed girl that Katara dubs as enemy.

Other times, she sees a boy with a scar.

It covers the left side of his face, his tender flesh still pink and red stretching across his cheek to his ear, his eyebrow non existent. He has golden eyes too, and like the girl, he wears red clothing, letting clouds of fire burst out of his palms as the two figures in front of Katara fight each other with vigour, exchanging blows and dodging them all at the same time.

These nightmares don't have a specific ending. One night it's her running behind pillars to prevent from getting hit and others are of the golden eyed boy who shoots fire from his body, protecting her.

It always stops at those two conflicts on regular days.

But as the end of summer becomes nearer, they get worse.

It becomes more frequent, and it's longer than it usually is, as if she's really standing there in the middle of the clearing while the sky bleeds red and the air around her rests heavily on her skin. And at this time of the year, she knows how it ends.

Katara sees the way the golden eyed boy and girl face each other, she sees the way the girl aims her lightning towards her, and she sees the way it strikes the boy square in the chest as he screams, before he falls on the ground while clutching the wound.

She wakes up by then, staring up the ceiling of her dark bedroom as she feels the way her chest heaves with breath, sweat making the sheets of her blanket stick to her skin when she pushes them away as she sits up, her hand shaking as she runs it through her hair while trying to calm herself down.

"It's just a nightmare," she whispers, reigning in more tears as she blinks rapidly in front of her. "It doesn't mean anything, it's just a nightmare."

But sometimes, she can still feel the air crackling around her as the boy screams in pain.

"Are you sure you'll be alright?"

Katara rolls her eyes, putting down the box on the pavement before she wraps her arms around her father's middle as she presses her nose onto his shoulder. "It's just college, Dad, not the end of the world."

She feels the way he tightens his embrace on her, before he leans back to face her and she sees the way he tries to hide his worry by giving her a lopsided grin. "I don't know," Hakoda says slowly. "College is kind of dangerous, you know."

She huffs, bending down to heft up her box of belongings again while Hakoda reaches out for her luggage from the boot of the car they rented for a while. "Yeah, I'll probably die of assignments and late night studying or something, but I can manage, I think," she becomes annoyed as she scans through the clearing of the campus. "Speaking of dying, where in the world is Sokka? He's supposed to help me."

Hakoda retracts the handle and rests his hands on it. "I could help you to your dorm room, if you want."

She shakes her head. "No, no, the knucklehead promised, he's late. Anyway," she glances at him. "You have an important meeting tomorrow morning and your flight is in another two hours, you have to be by the airport now or you're going to be late."

He shrugs. "I could always say that I was busy sending you off to college."

Right on cue, Sokka comes running towards them, waving his arms madly with a grin on his face. "Hey guys!"

He and Hakoda embrace each other before taking the luggage from his father. "It's good seeing you again, Dad, and you too, sis," he ruffles her head for emphasis, to which she scowls before taking a step back to avoid his hand. "Anyway, I went and checked out the dorm room for you and it's pretty much what every dorm would look like, got you the key too." He digs into his pockets and jiggles it in front of him while wiggling his eyebrows. "And now, hell is waiting for you!"

"Oh, joy," she mumbles, readjusting her grip on the box as he nods gravely, wiping away an imaginary tear.

"Well, it looks everything is in good hands, so I'll just get going then," Hakoda leans down and kisses her on the cheek before pulling Sokka into a hug again. "Come back during semester break, all right?"

Sokka winces. "I'll try, Dad, if my work's not loaded like last time."

"Me too, I guess." Katara nods.

Hakoda smiles, the wrinkles at the corner of his eyes prominent. "Call me if you do."

And then, both siblings watch him get into the car before diving off, leaving her to feel some sort of sadness that settles inside her chest as the black car disappears around the corner, feeling how someone else should have been here with them as she touches the necklace that rests on her skin.

Sokka swings an arm around her shoulders before guiding her away from the curb, where she slowly follows him as they begin trudging towards the massive building. "Well, welcome to Ember Island University, where you'll pretty much eat nothing healthy when it's finals and ten minute naps in between classes are all blessings from the universe."

She sighs, letting her brother lead her towards the doors. "Hooray for adulthood."

"You said it."

Sokka's helping her unpacking.

And she's tempted to ask him if he has nightmares like she does as she keeps her clothes inside the drawers, faintly hearing the way he explains the protocol of a college student that she would have to remember in order to survive.

She wants to ask him about those type of nightmares where she would wake up in the middle of the night, tears streaming down her face as she feels the heat of fire near her skin.

Because sometimes, she can't help but notice the way those dark shades clings under his eyes, as if he too had little sleep like she experiences that it bothers his sleeping cycle, and that he refuses to tell her or their father about it.

Like she is, she suppose.

She doesn't want them both to worry for nothing.

But as she glances at her brother again, where he's arranging her books and sea shell collection across the small shelf, she pushes the thought away, since college could be the reason those bags under his eyes exists, that he has been staying up late studying or making last minute touches. Knowing her own brother, he's diligent on improving while making everything perfect and he won't stop unless his stomach demanded to be fed.

A traitorous part of her mind whispers that she has been noticing his deprivation of sleep ever since he was in high school, around the same time she has been having nightmares.

She shakes her head discreetly to get rid of the troubled thought and focuses on the next of Sokka's words as he continues to babble on.

"-you should really meet my roommate. He's mostly quiet and gets moody or even flamboyant once in a while but he's cool once you know him properly," he gently sets aside an old photo frame of their family, and she sees the way his hand lingers on their mother's face. Then, he seems to catch himself before whirling around to grin at her, quickly hiding the somber look he had earlier. "Also, he's freaking rich."

Katara almost nods subconsciously, still searching his face when he notices her strange behaviour and lets his smile falter. "Are you okay?"

She blinks once, before giving him a half smile as she walks towards him. "Of course you'd know when someone's rich."

He eyes her for a moment at her obvious way of avoiding his question, but then he shrugs, the grin back again at full force as she digs into the box to reach out for the small snow globe she brings with her, a gift from her father long ago. "What can I say, I have an eye for these things." She puts it beside the frame. "Oh, and he wears Rolex watches."

"No way."

"Way." She snickers when he snorts. "But get this, when we first saw each other it's like we already knew each other. There wasn't any awkward ice breaking, or some awkward questions that includes us asking permission for anything because everything was bam," he snaps his fingers. "I just found a new best friend."

She laughs, taking the box from him. "It sounds as if you guys are meant to be."

"Maybe, but like, he's the kinda friend that you know you'd just click, you know? It's crazy."

She rolls her eyes as she only tosses it on her bed, making a mental note to take care of it later. "You sound as if he's your soul mate or something."

"Yeah, yeah, laugh it off. But you should really meet him though, he's cool enough that you won't probably judo flip him."

She bristles. "That jerk in high school was particularly begging to be taken down, I was only doing him a favour."

"Only because he was trying to grope you, so I don't blame you."

"Damn straight."

Katara almost panics that night as she wakes up to the unfamiliar ceiling above her.

But as her mind catches up from her sleepy state, she lets out a breath of relief on why she's here in the first place and sits up, letting the sheets fall around her waist as she runs her fingers through her hair, more out of habit now than reassurance.

She's glad that she doesn't have a roommate just yet to see her in this mess.

It's been a couple of months since she enrolled into Ember Island University and so far the classes are adequate.

Currently, Katara's in the library looking for some books as references for her literature essay she's been working on, leaning against the bookshelf as she flips through the pages eagerly, her eyes scanning through the text.

She puts back the book she has in hand before scanning through the others fleetingly, letting her fingers brush against the hard spine of the books before pulling one out of interest.

She's opening the book when she feels someone briskly walking past her, and lifts her head up in curiosity as her eyes land on the stranger, and almost drops her book when she sees someone she had come to know three years ago.

It's the boy with the scar on his face.

She realises she's breathing heavily as she stares wide eyed in some horror while he sets his laptop down on the table a few feet away from her, his ears plugged with ear buds as he sits on the chair, before diving into his work as his fingers begin to tap quickly on the keyboard.

It's him.

There's no mistaking it.

She knows that face anywhere, and she knows it's him.

He doesn't notice her bewilderment as she openly gapes at his direction, the book she's been holding sags under her fingers and it threatens to fall from her grip.

She's suddenly light headed while something physically turns cold inside her, making her immediately clutch the book to her chest and walks to the counter to borrow it, not caring that she hasn't looked through it properly. She almost taps her foot in impatience as the librarian goes through the process of giving her consent.

She quickly leaves the library as she's conscious of the way that he's just behind her, minding his own business as she hunches her shoulders when she burst through the doors, not caring if her escape is louder than it should.

It's almost too good to be true.

It's been two weeks since her last escape from the library.

Since she last sees him.

To her relief, his presence gradually leaves her mind as the nightmares don't make an appearance to her during that time and work begins to pile on her desk, making her focus on everything that's currently happening around her as she buries her head into assignments upon assignments that she feels like a sponge discarding water into a pail.

It isn't until all of that is briefly forgotten when she sees him again at the same place he sat a couple of weeks ago.

She has her mind so wrapped up in her work that she doesn't see him there even after she returns the books she has been borrowing at the counter, and only freezes in her spot when she sees him hunches over his laptop, eyes glued to the screen as he still has his ear plugs in.

She slowly walks towards the same aisle she has been since the last time she's here, and begins to thumb through the spine of the books again as she takes the time to study the boy with the scar on his face.

He still has the scar that's for sure, the same texture of healing flesh woven into his face as his golden eyes peeked through his lids from where he peers down to the book he has with him, his lips turn into a scowl as he goes through his work, his shaggy hair almost covering his eyes.

It's the same, every detail she has been seeing in those dreams and nightmares are being spit out to her face as he only sits there doing his work.

She can't shake this feeling that maybe, somehow, she knows him.

More than just from her dreams and nightmares, more from the fact that they're in the same university and this is all a coincidence, and she can't help but note drily at how ironic that is.

And that scares her.

It scares her because she's pretty sure dreams like she's going through aren't meant to come true.

She takes a deep breath, pushes him out of her mind as she turns away from him while she continues on trying to find the book she's been eyeing for a while, deliberately avoiding him.

Once she's done and has borrowed some more books, she takes a risk by glancing at him again, only to make her almost jump out of her skin as she sees him staring at her with wide eyes, frozen in his place like she did when she first sees him days ago.

She whirls around and leaves the place, feeling the way his eyes follow her out.

The dreams come again.

This time, there are new scenes.

She doesn't only sees the red skies and raging fires, but she sees fluffy clouds as she feels the wind blow onto her gently, her company being a group of three people who wear clothing of blue, green, and orange along with a chittering lemur and the flying bison she's currently riding in. She doesn't see the other two faces except Sokka's, where he has his hair into a small ponytail on top of his head instead of his usual undercut, and she sees her hands wrapped with blue wrappings as she slaps her brother on his arm.

The scene changes and she's in a cave with crystals glowing beautifully around her, and she finds herself standing in front of the boy with his scar as she touches the tender flesh while he closes his eyes, holding onto something in her other hand as she inspects his face, noticing the way how his hair isn't as long as she's used to and his clothes aren't the usual reds.

The cave fades away and now she finds herself under the red sky again, the familiar humid wind blows onto her skin. The air crackles around her while she feels the desperation that fuels her body as she runs towards the boy with a scar, where he has all but fallen on the ground face down in pain.

She skids to a halt and turns him over gently, causing him to groan while she quickly takes some water around her and heals the new scar he dons on his chest, the star-like burnt flesh glaring up to her as she touches it gently with her hand, careful not to apply too much pressure.

She hears him thanking her softly from where he lays in the ground, and before she can stop herself, she feels the tears running down her face as she smiles at him in relief.

"Actually, I should be the one thanking you."

Sometimes, when she has the time, she tries going to the library as much as she can, just to catch a glimpse of the golden eyed boy she has been having dreams of lately.

Most of the time, she doesn't see him in his usual spot, and that usually results in her squashing the disappointment that starts to bloom inside her chest, and she would shake her head at the absurdity of it and chides herself for thinking he would recognise her in any way.

But other times, when she least expects it and to her luck, she would find him there, usually with his laptop or sometimes there would be thick books stacked around him, and from where she stands a distance from him, it's mostly history books of all of Asia.

When she discreetly watches him for a while, she can feel the way her fingers twitch everytime her eyes land on his scar, the urge to brush her fingers against it is tempting as she thinks of the dream she has where she does touch it, and she can still feel the soft skin under her fingertips.

That usually ends with her clutching her fists as she looks away, muttering to herself to get a grip or she's going to lose her mind.

Little does she know, as she forces herself to go through the books she's been holding, he peeks up from the edge of his laptop to see her standing right out of his reach.

"Hey Sokka, you're up for lunch?"

"Oh, I'm so glad you asked," he snaps his laptop shut, stretching his arms above his head with a grunt from where he cramps himself on a bench at the corner of the hallway. "I'm starving."

She raises an eyebrow at him. "Why are you doing your work here?"

"Eh, a bit of fresh air is somewhat nicer than stuffy dorm rooms," he shrugs. "So, where are we eating?"

"Well, I was hoping that you'd know, since you've been here longer, and I haven't been exactly scouting through the area just yet," she huffs, blowing a lock of stray hair away from her face. "I need a healthy lunch for once, I can't live off ramen and cold sandwiches for the rest of my time here."

"Ooo, classy." He rubs his chin in thought, before snapping his fingers as his eyes lighten up. "There's a cafe a few blocks away from this place, there's where I usually get very nice coffee if I ever feel the need to spend on such luxury. Also," he pats his stomach. "They have delicious meat."

Her mouth waters at the thought, and she straightens herself up. "Alright, I'm in. Let's go."

"Can my roommate come along with us? He's been extra moody today and I thought some nice fresh air would do the trick."

"Or a warm meal," she adds under her breath, knowing how grumpy she could get if she doesn't eat properly. "Yeah, sure, since you wanted me to meet him for a while."

He grins. "I'll call him and say that we'll meet him there."

To her luck and surprise, this 'roommate' Sokka's been mentioning has been the boy with golden eyes all along.

And if she admits to herself -to which she refuses to do so in any way possible- the one she's been low-key stalking.

And from the looks of it, he's surprised to see her in the shop as she's surprised to the initial fact she found out a moment ago.

"Zuko, my sister Katara. Katara, my roommate Zuko."

She blinks, the familiarity of the name hums in her bones as she stares at him. But then, she snaps herself out of her stupor by mentally shaking her head, realising she's been standing there looking like an idiot that Zuko probably thinks she's being weird.

But, he doesn't seem to notice as he blinks at her too.

So, she takes the initiative to offer her hand towards him, letting a smile grace her face. "Nice to meet you."

He slips his hand into hers and they shake hands, and she can't help but feeling the way her palm tingles the moment his skin touches hers, sending sharp signals all the way to her toes that she has to prevent herself from tightening her hold on him in reflex as she breathes evenly.

He gives her a small smile of his own in return, almost timid she thinks. "It's nice to meet you too."

She can't help but notice the way his eyes drops to her mother's pendant that rests on her collarbone.

It's her.

It's the girl with stunning blue eyes.

He knows her the moment he sees her in his dreams and nightmares.

He knows her the moment he lands eyes on her at the library weeks ago.

But it's more than that.

He knows her lifetimes ago, where the world is filled with ash and smoke that it carves into his mind as if he's cursed with it, that he has to go through his life knowing how fire will always be with him and as it brings horrors to his world. However, it's also his pillar of reassurance, that he too can do such things that doesn't always end in destruction.

He knows her.

She's the girl who uses water as an extension of herself, to take down some of the horrors that rises up lifetimes ago. She uses water to soothe them all, a cooling band aid that hovers over the throbbing burn so that everything will heal in time.

She's the girl who trusts him in his darkest moments, where she breaks her way through the high spikes of uncertainty and confusion with a wave, crashing through his barriers fluidly without a care as she reaches out for him, her words of kindness brings him standing on the earth firmly, reminding him of his place.

She's the only other person than his uncle who first sees him as a human lifetimes ago, and he has never been so grateful to see her again at this moment.

Surprisingly, the dreams stop.

Zuko doesn't know when it does, but it's been another month, and yet he has this feeling of peace inside him that's been going on for a while and he likes it, because for once he's able to sleep through the whole night without any disturbance, a feat he has been trying to to hide from Sokka as the younger boy snores on his desk at the other side of the room.

There are no more blue lightnings or even bellowing fires, no more defeating screeches that rings in his head or the hot air that blows on his skin.

There are no more terrified blue eyes, no more shaking hands as she tries to heal him, and no more relieved tears.

It's almost as if her presence and touch erases them all.

"Hey, Sokka."


"Have you ever had any nightmares?"

Sokka catches the baseball he's been throwing against the wall from where he lays on his bed and peers at Zuko almost curiously, where his friend is sitting at his own desk, work lays abandoned in front of him as Zuko meets his gaze evenly. "How intense? Like," Sokka brings up the hand that's holding the ball and ticks off a finger. "'I haven't finished my assignment and it's due tomorrow' or 'Oh shit, it's finals' kinda intense?"

Zuko doesn't really know why he's asking in the first place, but he sighs heavily through his nose nonetheless. "Does it really matter?"

"Well, duh," Sokka scoffs as he begins to throw the ball at the wall again. "Sometimes you gotta brand this kinda things so that other people would know how to handle it. So," he glances at Zuko as he catches it again. "Which one?"

Resisting himself from rolling his eyes, Zuko almost turns back to his work. "The latter, I think."

Sokka eyes him for a moment and Zuko thinks he's not going to answer his question, but then Sokka sits on his bed before scooting to the wall and leaning against it. "What's this really about, Zuko?"

Zuko feels the way his defences rise up and he turns towards his work again. "If you don't want to say anything about it," he grumbles out. "You could've just said so."

"Well, if I'm about to tell you about what's been going in this noodle," Sokka taps the side of his head. "I could at least have some explanation of what you want."

Zuko taps his pen on the table. "Nightmares," he says with finality. "I just want to know that. And I know this probably sounds weird but I'm trying to, uh," he winces. "Compare yours with mine?"

Sokka stares at him in surprise, before an eyebrow rises archingly at him. "Okay," he says slowly, and Zuko almost fidgets in his seat. "Is this some competition I'm not aware of because honestly, how can you not tell me?"

Zuko scowls when he hears the drip of sarcasm in his roommate's voice. "You know what? Forget it. Pretend I didn't even ask you that."

"Whoa there, buddy," Sokka chuckles, lifting his hands in mock surrender. "I'm just messing with you, don't take it personally. And yes, I've had nightmares that sometimes makes me want to tear my hair out because it felt so real and I thought I was losing my mind."

That catches Zuko's attention. He swivels around in his seat to face Sokka. "Really?"

Sokka nods, bowing his head as he turns the ball in his hands with absent minded intent. "Yeah, it's weird, you know? In the dream -or nightmare- I've always been running on this," he does gestures with his hands as if to prompt the words out. "Airship, and I don't know just who I was running away from but it was pretty scary, since the sky looked like someone just tore it open and it was all red and bloody, and I was in some sort of armour, with a sword and all," he pauses then, and Zuko sees the way he clutches the ball in one hand while staring distractedly at it. "What's weirder was that there's this girl with me. I don't who she was, and why she was in my dream looking absolutely terrified as if it was the end of the world and why we were the only two people up there at the moment, but it threw me off, you know?"

Zuko listens carefully, noting the way how his heart starts to thump faster in his chest when he notices that Sokka's story begins to align with his, where it's almost distinctly alike with his nightmares he used to have before he met Katara.

"And," Sokka continues, tossing the ball between his hands. "Another scene was when I was hanging onto the airship with my leg broken while the girl was hanging onto me." He lets out a breath of humourless laughter. "I could feel the way my leg was shattered, and the way she almost slipped from my fingers, as if I was really there going through all those things."

Zuko doesn't understand it, but he feels excitement starting to bloom in himself, as if the thought of him not being alone in having absurd dreams lets him realise that they may have met for a reason, that it's always been their destiny to meet each other after lifetimes of being apart, and that there would be more people to come into his life he doesn't know of.

Zuko faces Sokka, giving him a tight smile. "A sense of purpose to protect someone you care about."

Sokka stares at him in confusion. "What?"

"In the dream," Zuko clarifies. "I've had something like that too. The red skies, humid air." He almost grins grimly when Sokka's eyes widens. "Like you said, it threw me off too."

"Do they wake you up in the middle of the night?" Sokka demands.

Zuko hesitates before nodding slowly. "They do."

Sokka stays silent then, frowning down to the ball as if it insulted him in any way. "What do you think it means?"

Zuko shakes his head. "Honestly? I don't know, but I have a hunch," Sokka meets his eyes. "That somehow, all of us are destined to meet each other."

"All of us?" Sokka asks warily.

Zuko shrugs. "Some way or another."

"Your powers of perception are frightening." Sokka deadpans.

Zuko smirks. "Trust me on this one."

Sokka only grunts out an affirmative as he tosses the ball into the air again.

Zuko sees her again in the cafe.

Katara's sitting alone while sipping coffee from her mug, a book in hand as her eyes flits through the texts easily as she reads.

He avoids her for a while and makes a beeline towards the counter, mumbling his order of tea. When he glances at her, she still hasn't seen him.

Once he gets his beverage, he takes a deep breath, and begins his journey of getting towards her table, careful not to clutch the paper cup in his hand too tightly.

He's a couple of steps away from her when she flutters her eyes up, and he sees the way she beams at him as she lowers the book slightly. It's contagious because he finds the corners of his lips twitching into a smile too.

"Do you mind?" he asks as he gestures to the only empty chair at the table.

She puts down the book and uses her finger as a temporary bookmark, chuckling under her breath. "Not at all."

He smiles and plops on his seat.

Katara finds out that he's taking history.

And since she's learning literature, it's a nice change from fiction to learn about the history of Asia as she listens to him explaining to her what he was taught.

To her delight, he reads fiction novels too, and so they dive down into a debate on what's the best classics they've ever read, and she tells him that she's been collecting Jane Austen's books for a couple of years already.

They argue sometimes, but it's all done in a good natured way, and they quickly become close friends.

It's been more than half a year since she enrolled into college, and yet she still doesn't have a roommate moving in just yet.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, she gets lonely.

But that's okay, Sokka and Zuko hangs out with her when they can, and she's grateful for that.

She still doesn't ask about Zuko's scar though.

"Do you have any siblings?"

"Two sisters, Azula and Kiyi."

"How old are they?"

"Azula's your age, Kiyi would start middle school in a while."

This interests Katara. "Does Azula go here? Maybe I could meet her, and then we'll have another girl in the group."

Katara sees the way Zuko tightens his jaw. "She doesn't go here, she's at Roku's University."

She doesn't dare pry more when she sees his obvious disdain at the topic. "Oh." Then, she perks up. "Maybe if she visits you here, I could probably meet her."

He picks at the loose thread at the hem of his shirt. "Probably."

Katara finally has a roommate and she's excited.

Her name is Suki.

And Sokka's smitten the moment Suki denies his invitation of a date.

Katara rolls her eyes when he sighs after her new roommate, who tries not to laugh in his direction when he suddenly trips on his own two feet and falls on the floor in front of them.

It's Katara's birthday, and her mind has been so wrapped up with work that she doesn't expect the three of them to throw a surprise party for her in the evening.

She pretty much gapes at them all when they burst into the dorm room with a slice of cake and a candle sticking in it, wishing her a Happy Birthday with grins on their faces.

So that's why Suki's been gone all morning.

After the candle is blown, gifts are given to her. She unwraps the brown parcel Sokka gives her with a raised eyebrow, while her brother only grins wider when her jaw slacks at the blue wool scarf folded nicely in it. Suki gives her a white beanie with cat ears on the top, and Katara tackles them both into a hug as they all laugh.

When Katara turns to Zuko, he's already timidly handing out a nicely wrapped present towards her, and to her delight, he gives her Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, the last book of her growing selection.

"Since you've been wanting that book for a while," he clears his throat, rubbing the back of his neck when she turns the new book in her hands in awe, letting her fingers brush against the crisp pages and golden fonts that stares up to her.

Chuckling, she reaches up and kisses him on the cheek, and the bright blush that spreads to his ears reflects on her as well.

Katara ignores Sokka's teasing by chucking the balled up wrappers at his head.

She decides that all of them should hang out at their favourite place that night as a treat, and all of them enthusiastically agreed.

They make themselves comfortable at their normal seats by the window, and a new waitress that Katara hasn't seen before takes their order without a pen and notebook in her hands like most waitresses do, but instead has a cane. Katara's surprised to see however, that the young waitress -probably younger than all of them- is blind.

"So, what it'll be?"

They give their orders, and when Katara looks at Sokka, he's oddly quiet as he makes no secret to stare at the waitress with his mouth slightly agape.

"Sokka?" Katara asks with a quirk of an eyebrow. "Your usual or you want something else?"

Sokka snaps his mouth with a click, tearing his gaze away from the waitress for a while to give his sister a crooked smile, but she notices that it doesn't reach his eyes like it usually does. "Caffeine in the middle of the night, sis? Are you nuts?" He faces the waitress again, and Katara notices the way he studies her, as if she's an experiment to be look at. "Hot chocolate for me, please."

To her confusion, Katara notices the way the waitress -Toph is her name, from where her name tag gleams slightly under the light of the shop- freezes for a while even if her face gives nothing away. And then, she nods slowly. "Aye aye, captain."

Sokka visibly stiffens, and Katara looks at him worriedly as Toph repeats their order before leaving the group alone.

It looks like she isn't the only one to not miss his weird behaviour. "You okay?" Suki asks in concern.

When he notices everyone around the table is looking at him, he laughs it off. "Just a bit tired. You know, work and stuff."

"Yeah, you've been sleeping late again, buddy," Zuko gives him a pointed look, and Sokka only answers him with a quick warning of a frown that makes Katara narrow her eyes at the both of them.

"I'm fine."

Katara can't help but notice that Sokka keeps glancing at the blind girl, where she's talking to the barista wearing a beanie with an arrow on his forehead.

There's a girl standing at her door when Katara opens it, and the stranger gives her a smile that seems to mock her.

"So, I guess you're Katara," she smirks. "I've heard about you before."

Katara almost takes a step back.

It's her.

She's the girl who tries to kill her in her nightmares.

The girl offers her hand. "I'm Azula."

When Zuko finds out, he's angry.

That's why Katara's watching him shout at his sister at the side of the street from her window, while Azula only stares at him with a pose that suggests that she doesn't really care that her brother is ranting in her ear.

It takes them half an hour to exchange snarls of contempt and off hand remarks, but in the end, Azula leaves the campus.

Katara thinks he's so angry at his sister is because Azula may have something to do with his scar.

Maybe that's why he doesn't mention Azula to her and their friends at all, unless of course, one of them asks, but even then he answers shortly before quickly changing to a new topic, and everything that has to do with his family is left behind for a while.

She respects his privacy, and she'll asks if he gives her permission, and for now, she stays quiet.

She doesn't know what to think when both siblings are in her dreams.

"Are you okay, Katara?"

Katara peers up from her laptop, confused at the sudden question as her focus on her project wanes slightly. "I'm fine, Suki. Why do you ask?"

Suki shrugs from where she's sprawled on the ground, going through her history notes. "It's just that you look like you've just seen a ghost, and I'm worried about you."

Maybe Katara did see a ghost, after what happened for the past year.

Katara masks her uneasiness with a chuckle, concentrating on her work. "Thank you for your concern, but after I'm done with this project, I'll be okay."

There's comfortable silence that stretches for an amount of time, and Katara's finishing her paragraph when Suki speaks again.

"Have you ever had weird dreams?"

Her fingers pauses over the keyboard, and she looks up to her roommate again. "What kind of weird dreams?" she asks slowly, because she has a feeling this will turn into something she's not going to be fond of entirely.

"Weird dreams as in 4D dreams," Suki answers easily, meeting Katara's eye. "Those type of dreams where you could feel yourself being in that dream, as if you're really there and it's happening around you that you could feel yourself breathe and the weather around you," she shakes her head. "It's, you know, weird."

Katara worries on her bottom lip, Suki's words setting warning bells up her head. "What did you dream?"

"Well," Suki begins as she starts to compare the notes in front of her. "There's this dream I had where I was fighting with a bunch of girls, all of them wore a lot of make up like I did, and we were fighting with a bunch of people using only fans, and we were pretty good at it." Katara could see the way she scrunches her brows up, whether from remembering the dream or finding an error in her notes, Katara isn't sure. "And then, I was on this airship, driving it on my own while I was saving-" she stops talking abruptly, glancing at Katara almost worriedly. "Well, I was saving Sokka and the waitress that took our order on your birthday."

Katara feels her jaw slacken, her work all but forgotten as she stares at Suki in shock as her mind whirls at the new information.

It's almost like her dream.

Suki mistakes it as something else as she winces. "It's not-"

"Have you met Sokka yet when you first had the dream?" Katara quickly asks, trying to stomp down on the hope that makes itself known in her chest.

Suki eyes her for a while before shaking her head. "No, it started when I was in high school."

"Was the sky red when you were saving them?"

"Now that you've mentioned it," Suki realises with surprise. "Yeah, the sky was kinda dark and red."

Katara wouldn't be surprised if Sokka and Toph had a similar dream Suki has.

Suki's starting to look worried when Katara bites her lower lip as she stares down on her computer, her thoughts in a frenzy. "Katara," Suki calls out. "How did you-"

"A guess," Katara says as she looks up to meet Suki's eyes. "Because for some reason," she gives a wry smile. "I had dreams of red skies too, I wouldn't be surprised if Sokka and Toph had the same thing."


"The waitress."

"Oh," Suki says quietly, fingering the edge of the paper she has in her hand. "What do you suppose that means, though?"

Katara doesn't know how to answer that, and only slumps her shoulders in disappointment. "I don't know, but it can't be a coincidence that we're dreaming about people we haven't met before and only seeing them now."

"Sounds superstitious," Suki comments with a chuckle.

Katara joins her. "Yeah, it does, doesn't it?"

It's only Zuko and Katara in the cafe this time.

And they're arguing about the books again.

Actually, they're not arguing, just passionately explaining on their thoughts about the books that it makes Toph stomp towards them and retorting, "Quite yapping so loud, you're disturbing the other customers".

Katara likes it though.

She likes the atmosphere, the way his nose crinkles slightly when he voices out on what he thinks that doesn't suit his interest, the way he blows away his shaggy hair from his forehead.

And she realises, she likes him too.

"Is Sokka your only sibling?"

"Pretty much, I don't think I could handle another one like him if we had a brother or a sister."

Zuko chuckles, and Katara joins in quietly from where they sit on the bench near the doors of Ember Island University, enjoying the beginnings of cool air as she wraps the scarf Sokka gives her a bit tighter than before.

"Who gave you that necklace?"

Her hand immediately shoots up to touch the pendant, and she feels a trickle of sadness went her fingers touch the smooth surface. "My mum."

He must have notice her mood and backtracks on his words. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean-"

"It's okay, Zuko," she let's out a small laugh, patting his thigh in reassurance. "She gave me this a long time ago, when I was just five or so," she offers him a sad smile. "Sometimes, I forgot how she looks like, but people say I'm a splitting image of her, and it's good to know I'm carrying a piece of her with me all the time. It's just," she sighs, resting her head on his shoulder. "I miss her."

She feels the way he wraps an arm around her, squeezing her towards him. "I guess that's something we have in common," he says quietly. "I miss my mum too."

"Zuko, I'm worried about Sokka."


"It's just that he's been a bit off ever since my birthday," Katara explains in a low voice, lightly tapping her pen against her notebook as she let's her eyes roam over the library, feeling slightly at edge. "I was hoping that he would tell you what's wrong."

"Well," he starts, not looking up from his laptop as he continues to type. "He had been sleeping late for the past few weeks."

She grunts. "He always sleeping late, but he could always sleep in, when he doesn't have morning classes in two days a week," she huffs. "Lucky."

He finally glances up then. "Do you want me to talk to him?"

Sighing, she begins scribbling whatever idea she has from the scraps of her brain. "That's okay; I'lI do it, he's my idiot of a brother after all." She pauses. "Any idea where he is though?"

"He said something about wanting to buy more coffee," Zuko answers, looking back at his work. "My guess is he's at the cafe right now."

She shakes her head. "He's going to die from overdose of caffeine if I don't stop him," she stands up and collects her notebook, the only thing she brings around with her if she ever feels the need to write something down. "If you need me, I'll be dragging Sokka back to your room."

When Katara does arrive at the cafe, she sees Sokka leaning against the counter. She's about to call out for him but stops herself when she sees that he's trying to talk to Toph, but it's obvious he has little success as the girl begins moving away from him, and Katara's impressed that she's able to weave her way through tables smoothly even without sight as her cane is her only guide.

"Listen, Toph, you know me. You had this dream or something and I just happened to be in it."

"I don't know you," Toph hisses, but then plasters a smile for the old couple as she begins to take their order, completely ignoring Sokka as he hovers by the empty table behind her, his mouth thins into a straight line.

Katara slowly makes her way towards the counter, where the barista -she learns to find that Aang is his name- is wiping the surface with a rag, and he smiles when she sits on one of the stools. "Hey Katara! You wanna order something?"

She smiles back and shakes her head. "No thanks, I was actually hoping that I'd have to drag Sokka back to the campus, but seeing that he's a bit preoccupied with something..."

She trails off, glancing over her shoulder towards where Sokka's still waiting impatiently for Toph to finish taking the old couple's order, and Aang winces at the sight. "Yeah." He let's out nervous chuckles, rubbing the back of his head. "Sokka's been trying to get Toph's attention for a few days now, and even if she keeps shutting him down, he still comes back," he pauses, his grey eyes meeting hers. "She even threatened to call the police."

Katara inhales a sharp breath. "That's bad, Sokka usually backs off when they say no, but this," she gestures towards her brother, who doesn't bother to conceal his agitation. "This is something new."

"And I keep hoping that Toph wouldn't actually make her death threats come to life," he shudders slightly, rinsing the rag in the sink. "Scary stuff."

She smiles. "She's got spunk even if she's, you know."

"Blind," he shrugs when she shifts slightly in her seat. "She doesn't mind being blind, sometimes she's just a bit annoyed that people would treat her as if she's some glass when she's perfectly fine on her own most of the time." He wipes his hands with his apron, a grinning forming. "Don't ever show you're uncomfortable with her blindness, she'll know the moment you do."

Katara chuckles. "I'll try to remember that." She takes a moment to let her eyes run over him briefly. "You know, you look kind of familiar. Have we met before you started working here?"

He gives her this secret smile that she isn't sure how to feel about it. "Maybe."

"I've never seen you in my life."

Turning around, she sees how Sokka begins to follow Toph towards the counter, and Katara sees how irritated she's become. "Of course you do," he says exasperatedly. "In your dream, we were hanging onto an airship and you could literally bend metal, which is the best thing I've ever seen-"

"Look here, Meathead," Toph whirls around with a scowl on her face, and Sokka almost bumps into her if he hadn't catch himself in time. "I don't know you, and you don't know me. So, could you please just leave and never come back?"

He blinks at her, and Katara sees the way he pushes the surprise out of his head. "Toph," he says in low voice. "You know me."

Toph, who looks very much wanting to pull her hair out of her head, only huffs and walks away from him, before disappearing through the curtains of the kitchen. Katara thinks if it had been a door, the girl would have probably slammed it close.

Sokka slumps against the other end of the counter and sighs heavily, rubbing his face with a hand.

"Well," Aang says quietly. "That could have ended worse."

Katara can still hear Sokka's cut off explanation in her ears, and she can't help but feel light as everything plays in her mind again, thinking that this is what the fates wanted them all to see.

Katara and Sokka walks back together after that fiasco, and she doesn't ask about it as they let the silence feel in the space between them.

The moment they step into the warm building, she lets out a breath of relief, rubbing her hands together to get some warmth.

"Can I hang out in your room for a while? I probably need to explain myself after that crazy thing I just did."

She looks at him in surprise, where he's taking off the beanie from his head. "Okay," she answers slowly, and they begin to walk towards her dorm room with silence again.

"Where's Suki?"

"She left this morning for an emergency she had to take care of."

A wince. "In the middle of semester?"

"The same thing I said."

It's when she's sitting at her desk while he makes himself comfortable on her bed, sighing through his nose. "Well, that was awkward."

She snorts. "You're telling me, you were the one making a scene."

"Yeah, I'm not exactly sorry about that." He replies wearily.

She stares at him. "What do you mean by you being in her dream?"

She tries to thread through slowly, since she's actually quite anxious to hear what he has to say and yet she'd rather plough this mess through without a second thought. But she doesn't want to sound crazy as Sokka made it seem back at the cafe just now.

"I know that sounded insane but she was really there," he sighs again. "What's weirder is that I've been having that dream since I was sixteen, and I've always wondered who that girl was, and when I finally found her here," he shrugs feebly. "Well, I kinda got a little over enthusiastic, I guess."

"Over enthusiastic? You were literally freaking out."

"That's because I was getting tired of being pushed away," he defends himself. "And what's worse is that she's denying it, I know she knows me too because I saw the way she recognised me, and I've been meaning to get her attention for three days," he snorts. "But, of course, she doesn't listen to me."

"Well, considering you were losing your wits, I couldn't exactly blame her," she replies drily, raising her hands in mock surrender when he sends her a withering look. "It's true! You were so persistent on getting her attention that I was worried that she would punch you in the face if you keep pestering her."

"I wasn't pestering her, I was just-"

"Pestering her," Katara finishes. "Sokka," she begins softly. "What did you dream of?"

He takes a deep breath, and tells her everything.

She listens as she silently compares his dream with Suki's, and they're almost parallel to each other that she has clamp her jaw down to prevent from bursting out, her heart thumping with excitement as it shows that she isn't the only one who has been dreaming about red skies and dank air.

"There's this one time I saw Suki in the dream too," he continues. "She's wearing this armour with her face full of make up but I could still recognised her, and then when you introduced her to me when she first came here," he shakes his head. "Well, let's just say I already started freaking out then."

"Is sleeping late part of you freaking out?"


She sighs, bringing her knees to her chest. "It happened to me too."

He looks up from his wringed fingers, looking at her in surprise. "What?"

She launches into her side of the story, and he laughs bitterly once she finishes. "Are the fates messing with us or everything is just a big coincidence and we're the cause of it?"

She shakes her head. "I don't know, but the nightmares and dreams are gone now. I don't know when, but probably somewhere along the days here. But," she shrugs. "I'm just glad it did."

He buries his face into his hands with a groan. "This sucks," his muffled voice says darkly. "Screw the fates. Screw coincidences. Screw everything that's been making my life a living hell for the past four years."

She nods. "You said it."

Azula has her number.

Katara doesn't know how, but she almost drops the phone when Azula calls her.

"It's me."

Katara hangs up the moment she does.

When she tells Zuko, he's furious.

So, that's why Sokka knocks on her door in the middle of the night with a scowl.

"They're fighting again."

Katara's beginning to worry.

"I saw you in my dream."

The words tumble out before Zuko can stop them, but the damage is made.

He sees the way Katara stiffens, before she forces herself to relax. "Did I use water to heal you?"

He takes a deep breath. "Yeah."

She gives him a smile then, just a twitch of her lips.

"I had a dream about you too."

"What happened to your scar?"

He resists the urge to touch it. "An accident." He lies.

He doesn't know what to feel when she leaves it at that.

She doesn't know how Azula knows, but Katara gets the text.

He disobeyed our father.

Katara feels sick to her stomach.

Katara doesn't tell him about his sister's text just yet, and she isn't sure she wants to.

She prevents herself from staring at his scar a little longer than she should, but sometimes, she has to restrain herself from doing it.

Azula's words haunts her.

In the end, he finds out.

He sees red when he reads her message, preventing himself from clutching the phone too hard.

He feels the need to have a screaming match with his sister again, no matter how one sided it usually is.

"What really happened, Zuko?" Katara then asks quietly, her clear blue eyes searching his face. "Did your father do this to you?"

He sighs, and begins the story on how he disobeys his father by resisting Ozai's orders in the past. In his anger, Ozai grabs a small pot of oil that the maid has been using to cook and throws it towards Zuko in his anger, causing him to howl in pain as the scorching oil hits his skin.

His mother isn't there to stop it then.

She runs away when Ozai tells her to leave, and couldn't let her see both Zuko and Azula.

Ozai takes the liberty to divorce her.

Ursa remarries and has a new family of her own at the moment, and it's only a couple of years ago when she's able to contact Zuko again when Ozai finally got arrested.

Azula doesn't want anything to do with her own mother.

Wordlessly, Zuko takes out a folded clip of newspaper from a compartment in his wallet, and he sees the way Katara tentatively takes it from his fingers as she reads the headlines he memorises long ago. Where a father abuses his son for years and throws oil in his face while claiming it as an accident.

He now lives with his uncle, and goes back home whenever he can during the holidays and visits Ursa and her family, and he remembers having the sense of fulfillment as he bonds with them all.

Katara gives him a smile. "Well, you got me too." Then, she worries her bottom lip. "Can I...?"

He nods without a second thought, and he feels the way her fingers brush against the tender flesh, her touch soft as he watches her the way her face is taut with concentration, as if she's trying to engrave the image into her head.

He can feel the old shame gradually fades away from his chest.

When Katara walks into the cafe again, it's already dark and customers are all but leaving at this point, and she feels like drinking something hot and chocolatey in this cold weather. The moment she steps foot into the shop however, she sees Sokka is there, where he's talking to Toph with a grin on his face.

Toph is smirking at him when he gestures his hands wildly as she listens to whatever story he's telling her, and Katara is surprised at how at ease both of them look, a stark contrast to the last time she sees them interact.

"The usual, Katara?"

Tearing her gaze away from them, she gives Aang a smile. "No, hot chocolate this time."

"Coming right up."

She makes herself comfortable on the stool as he gets her drink ready, and the silence stretches for a while before he speaks again. "Toph and I applied for Ember Island University the other day."

"That's great!" She gushes. "When will you guys start?"

"In another couple of weeks," he shrugs, letting a smile stray as he plops some small marshmallows into the mug before presenting it to her, while in exchange she pays him. "I'm actually excited, meeting new people and learning some new things."

She beams. "That's really great, congratulations. Maybe you guys could hang out with the rest of us later."

Aang blushes slightly as he chuckles. "Yeah! That'll be great!" Grinning, he gestures towards Sokka and Toph, where the two guffaws at their inside joke. "At least those two won't be separated."

Katara laughs, watching the way Toph hits Sokka's bicep that he lets out a shout of pain, causing the younger girl to snicker while he fruitlessly glares at her as he rubs his sore arm tentatively. "It'll be great."

Katara really likes the colour of Zuko's eyes.

They're golden and sharp, one glare could usually render people terrified when they happened to make the mistake of disturbing him. But it doesn't really work on his close friends, herself in particular, since she would only scoff at his pout while he would sometimes have a hissy fit after Sokka and Toph pointed out his brooding.

And she notices that his eyes become brighter when their little group has two more people joining now, where even though he doesn't talk as much, she sees the way how content he is as he listens to their friends' banter with a small smile on his lips.

She likes to see him happy.

It's a different scene from the picture of a thirteen year old boy on the newspaper, who looks so furious and terrified at the same time.

And she's happy at how he finds peace in their company.

As she laughs, she lands a kiss on his cheek when he scowls playfully at her, and she takes glee on his flush.

Zuko realises he loves her.

But he suppose he always have loved her, but he's only realising it again the moment he lands eyes on her.

Her with her blue eyes, her fiery spirit, her soft tinkle of laughter.

And as she rolls her eyes and nudges him in the arm with a grin and a blush on her face, he likes to think she feels the same way too.

He kisses her one day, when they're supposed to be studying in the library, hidden between the rows of bookshelves so that the librarian can't see them.

Their kiss is soft, and he could taste the chocolate she's been munching before they went in.

He thinks he has never seen her so beautiful then, with cheeks flushed red while she peers at him through her lashes.

He rests his forehead against hers, and takes a deep breath when he lets a smile stretch on his lips, to which she answers with one of her own as a breath of laughter escapes between them.

"I finally found you again."