Chapter eleven...WOOT WOOT!
"So...Mai's you're ex-girlfriend?" Sokka asked. "Well, I can kind of see it. I mean, you're gloomy. She's gloomy."
"All that gloominess couldn't have been healthy for your relationship." Chit Sang said wisely.
Zuko sighed and continued looking out the window. After they had safely gotten off the gondola, Zuko had discovered the zeppelin that his sister arrived on. They retied the Warden and left him in the grass, after knocking him unconscious, and quickly boarded it, relieved to find that there were no guards on board. They were now safely headed back to the Western Air Temple. It was late, and only Zuko, Sokka and Chit Sang had remained awake. They sat in what looked like the guard's lounge, eating what little of the food they found. The last they had seen of Hakoda, he was in the control room, steering the zeppelin. Zuko was impressed that the man could pick up on Fire Nation machinery so quickly.
"I'm just glad Suki's alright." Sokka said, his cheeks were stuffed with bread. "I can't imagine, I don't want to imagine, the stuff the Warden did to her. It just makes me want to go back and kill him myself."
"You're not that kind of person, Sokka." Zuko said shaking his head. He looked at Sokka confused. "And what was up with that pill you gave to Suki?"
Sokka swallowed. "Got it from the Doctor. It was just an adrenaline rush. You know how she was saying how tired she was? Turns out that was a side effect of the pain numbing stuff he gave her."
Zuko did the mental math in his head. They had been traveling for about two hours...and the pain numbing lasted for four...He looked at Sokka, who seemed to be thinking the same thing.
"Suki!" Sokka ran off down the corridor, Zuko right behind him. Sokka barged right into the room she was sleeping in. She was sprawled out on the cot, it looked more like she was unconscious than sleep.
Sokka approached her cautiously. He dropped down on his knees by the bed. "Suki," he whispered. "Suki."
She began stirring, not long afterwards her eyes flitted open. She gave a sleepy smile. "Sokka."
"Suki," Sokka said anxiously. "I'm sorry, but in a few minutes, you're going to start feeling a lot of pain."
She looked confused and tried to sit up. Sokka gently pushed her back down, his hand stayed on her shoulder. "No, listen to me. You know how the Doctor gave you the medicine and you couldn't feel anything?" Suki nodded. "I don't know when but it's going to come back."
Suki began shaking her head vigorously. "No. No, stop it Sokka. Don't make it come back." Sokka but his lip and reached up and grabbed her hand. It was cold and clammy.
"Suki, it's going to hurt." He said, he felt a lump rising in his throat.
Suki continued shaking her head. "Stop it Sokka. Make it stop. Make it stop now!" she squeezed his hand. Her eyes began to water. "Sokka it hurts."
"Where does it hurt?" Sokka asked.
"Everywhere." Her voice was so small. "It hurts everywhere."
Suki felt her heart pounding in her chest. She felt herself breaking out in a cold sweat and she could just imagine the medicine seeping out of her body, pain replacing it. She could feel the faint throbbing turning into sharp stings, and she could feel her ribs breaking all over it again. She couldn't help it, she screamed out loud. She felt as if she were being burned. That's right, she was. Azula had taken pleasure in burning her legs and stomach. She was glad she was still clothed. If Sokka had seen the scars he would have found her repulsive.
Sokka felt like dying. Here was his girlfriend laying there reliving all the pain that had been inflicted on her and all he could offer was his damn hand. And apparently that wasn't enough either since she had broken at least two of the fingers from what he could tell.
Zuko stayed near the door, watching helplessly as Suki thrashed around on the bed. How was it that his sister still managed to torture people even when she was miles away...
He heard running. "What's going on?" Chit Sang asked as he came down the hall. "We heard screaming."
"It's Suki." Zuko explained everything that happened with her. Chit Sang's eyes were soft with sympathy.
They were silent as one particular scream ripped through the air. Zuko exhaled deeply. It was hard to watch, he couldn't imagine feeling it.
"Hang on Suki," Sokka said, tears falling from his eyes. "We're almost there, and Katara can heal you. You won't feel anymore pain."
Suki could barely process his words. No more pain? She was finding that harder and harder to believe. Over and over she felt herself being kicked in the stomach, she didn't think she had a good rib left. Then she felt it in her back, just barely missing the spot that would keep her from walking ever again. She saw stars as pain entered the back of her head. Azula had particularly enjoyed slamming the girl's head into the floor of the cell.
Her breathing was shallow, her eyes rolled in her head. It was too much for Sokka to see. But he held on, she was his girlfriend, he was supposed to be by her side.
"I'm going to see how long until we reach the Air Temple." Chit Sang mumbled. Zuko nodded.
A little over ten minutes later, Zuko felt the zeppelin jerk forward. It jumped and lurched a little but then he felt it touch ground.
Chit Sang thundered down the corridor. "We're here," he called.
Sokka looked up, his eyes distant. "Suki we're here." but she wasn't listening. She just continued gasping out in pain. Sokka scooped her up and brushed past Zuko.
Sokka rushed to the exit and saw his father lowering the ramp. It wasn't even all the way down we he bounded off the thing.
Toph, Katara and Aang sat around a fire eating dinner when Sokka burst in on them. They all jumped.
"Sokka!" Katara cried. She rushed over to her brother. "Is that Suki? What happened?" she demanded, her healer instincts taking over.
Suki had stopped screaming, but she was gasping for air. This was the part where Azula had kicked her in her chest. Despite the pain, she clung to Sokka like he was the only thing in the world.
Zuko and Hakoda exited, with Chit Sang falling behind them. Before he could stop himself, Zuko felt himself rushing to Katara and pulling her in a tight embrace.
Katara buried her face in his neck. "I was so worried about you." She mumbled.
"I missed you like you wouldn't believe." Zuko mumbled so only she could hear. Toph appeared next to them and cleared her throat. "Sparky, you're back."
They broke away and Katara hurried over to hug her father. "I missed you too Katara, but you have to heal Suki. Now."
She nodded and ordered Sokka to follow her. She told him to put Suki in the fountain; she gasped when she felt the coolness of the water.
"Zuko come heat the water!" Sokka yelled.
"No." Katara said sharply. "Hot water may sting her bruises." Once Suki was submerged up to her neck, Katara stuck her hand in the water. After a few seconds, the water glowed an ethereal blue. Sokka could see the bruises fading on Suki's arms.
"What happened to her?" Katara asked softly. She hadn't seen her warrior friend in what seemed like ages. She had definitely had better days.
Sokka sighed and sat down on the edge of the fountain. "I can't talk about it." he held up his hand, showing his sister the two crooked fingers. "You think you could fix this?"
Katara nodded. "Put your hand in the water." she instructed.
Later that evening, after all the introductions, and the exchange of stories of what happened, the occupants of the Air Temple had retired to bed. Sokka had stayed by Katara's side as she healed Suki. In one session, Katara had managed to coax the broken ribs, and other internal problems to fix themselves. She was tired though, she could only do so much at one time, but for now, safely tucked under Sokka's arm asleep, Suki was ok.
When Zuko was sure everyone was sleeping, he stealthily made his way to Katara's room. Without knocking, he entered, not surprised to find her wide awake.
"Zuko," she swept across the room and he pulled her into his arms. "Oh my God what were you thinking doing something as suicidal as that?"
Zuko smiled to himself and looked down at her. He missed seeing her blue eyes fixed upon him. They was something incredibly exotic and he loved them.
"I was thinking about helping your brother." he replied. "I knew he didn't stand a chance trying something like this on his own."
"If I recall correctly, weren't you the one to get caught?" Katara teased.
Zuko playfully rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I guess I did kind of ruin that part. I'm surprised no one but Azula tried to kill me."
Katara looked at him, her gaze unwavering. "I'm glad you're safe. What would I do without you Zuko?" she asked.
Before he could even think of an answer, she had him by the hand and was pulling him towards to the bed near the window. "Come here," she said softly. "Let me show you how much I missed you."
Zuko let his imagination run wild as he let her pull him towards her and without paying much attention, he found himself locked in a deep kiss with the waterbender.
Her hands snaked around his neck and he wound his arms around her waist, pulling her impossibly closer to him. He had missed this when he was away with Sokka. Every time Sokka had saw the Water Tribe warrior with Suki, it made him ache for Katara. Even if all they had were stolen moments throughout the day and nights that weren't long enough, it was enough for him. For now.
Without much thought to what he was doing, Zuko was gently nudging Katara down onto the bed. He settled comfortably on top of her, making sure most of his weight rested on his forearms.
Katara loved kissing him. She liked how he always tasted faintly like smoke and cinnamon. She liked how his hair was perfectly shaggy, and she especially liked how he would hold her like she was the most precious thing in the world. So when she felt Zuko pressing her onto the bed, she just went with it. They had gone this far before, but even then, it felt nothing like this time. Maybe it was because she missed him crazy when he was gone. Maybe it was the thought that he could have died when he was gone. Maybe it was just because she was in love with him.
Zuko wasn't sure when Katara had gotten rid of his shirt, but he was very aware when he felt her cool hands creeping along his chest. Extremely aware when he felt it trailing lower, and lower, and lower...
He made a noise of frustration when he felt her right below his waistline. He broke off the kiss.
Katara frowned. "What's wrong?" she asked.
It took every ounce of Zuko's will power to tell her that nothing was wrong, and that he would very much like for her to continue, but a little nagging voice in his head wouldn't let him. He reached down and grabbed Katara's hand, lacing them together.
"Nothing's wrong," he told her. "But we can't...go there. Not yet at least."
She looked up at him, her blue eyes driving him insane with want. "Is it because of Aang?" she asked simply.
He sighed and nodded. "I don't like sneaking around. It's not honorable, and you deserve more than that."
Katara regarded him skeptically. "So, you're saying you'd rather have the whole temple knowing we're sleeping together?"
Zuko laughed quietly. "You know what I mean, Katara."
Katara gave a sly smile. "I know." she reached up and placed her hand on his face, right where his scar used to be. "You're so honorable, Zuko. It's good to know that chivalry isn't dead."
Zuko gave a crooked smile and kissed the tip of her noise. He pulled himself off of her and got to his feet. Katara followed him.
"I love you, Zuko." Katara said, looking up into his golden eyes. His gaze was enough to make her weak. "But if you ever run off like that again...with Sokka of all people, I promise you will never be able to father a child."
Zuko's eyes widened in fear. For Katara to be so motherly...she sure could scare a person straight. He nodded.
"I promise, 'Tara." he said, wrapping his arms comfortingly around her. She rested her head on his chest, listening to his heart beat.
"Are you going back to your room?" she asked after a while.
"Yeah." Zuko smiled, glad she couldn't see it. "I kind of feel like you'll take advantage of me if I'm in your presence much longer."
Katara rolled her eyes and pulled away smiling. "Good night, Zuko." She kissed him lightly on the cheek and turned away, sashaying back over to the bed, where she climbed in and rolled over so she could still see him. Zuko was watching her, jaw slightly open. She raised an eyebrow at him. "Care to join me?" she mocked.
Zuko growled under his breath and turned away. "Good night Katara." under his breath he mumbled "fucking honor..."
Zuko crept out of Katara's room. He held his breath passing by Sokka's room but the Water Tribe warrior still managed to appear in the doorway as he was walking by.
Zuko and Sokka locked eyes for a moment. Sokka didn't even speak. He simply jerked his head towards his room. Zuko gave a resigned sigh and followed Sokka inside.
A small red spark rock lit up the room dimly and Zuko was able to find a chair to sit on. He had never been in Sokka's room before. There were clothes strewn about, some messy drawings stuck to the walls, dishes here and there, and his space sword was leaned precariously against a small wardrobe.
Zuko waited for the explosion. He was already readying a response.
Instead of sitting down on the bed and disturbing Suki, Sokka sat crossed legged on the floor. He stared at Zuko for a long time.
Finally Sokka spoke. "So...you like my sister." he didn't ask it, he simply stated it.
Zuko nodded. "I love her."
Sokka gave him a strange look. "You don't mean that." Sokka said with a shrug, a habit he picked up from the Boiling Rock guards.
"I've known her a long time Sokka." Zuko figured he might as well come clean. "We've been through a lot. I love her."
Sokka shook his head. "Stop saying that."
Zuko cocked his head to the side. "I love her, Sokka."
Sokka kept shaking his head. "Nope. Cut it out."
"I. Love. Her." Zuko said, breaking up the syllables.
"Quit it!" Sokka said. Suki stirred and rolled over in her sleep. Sokka's eyes grew wide. "See what you did? Zuko I swear to God if you wake Suki up-"
"Sokka?" Suki sat up on her elbow, rubbing sleep out of her eyes.
Sokka growled under his breath at Zuko and turned to Suki. "Hey there honey, how are you? Why don't you just go back to sleep?"
Suki disregard. "Zuko?" She looked from the firebender to her boyfriend. "Sokka, why is Zuko in here? It's late."
Zuko chewed the inside of his cheek and looked around the room. Sokka muttered a stream of swear words. "Well Suki, I think I would much rather have Zuko in here, than in my sister's bed."
Suki was confused for a moment, but soon after her face cleared up. "What are you...Oh! Oh...Zuko, you never said a thing about you and Katara."
"That's because there's nothing to say!" Sokka exclaimed. "There is no Katara and Zuko."
Suki was puzzled. Zuko repressed the urge to laugh. Through his teeth he said, "Don't be so loud Sokka, you might wake up Katara. You my love needs her beauty rest. You've seen her in the mornings."
Suki giggled, and Sokka looked at her appalled. "Oh, so you can wake up my girlfriend, but I can't wake up your-" he choked on the last part of his sentence, not wanting to say it.
Zuko leaned forward, a sly grin on his face. "My what, Sokka? My girlfriend? My...lover maybe?"
Sokka gave a strangled cry, and before anyone could stop him, he had tackled the firebender to the floor. Suki hurriedly got to her feet. Sokka was an ok fighter, but from what she heard of the ex- Prince, Sokka had no business picking a fight with him.
The two boys rolled around on the floor each trying to gain the upper hand. Sokka landed a few punches in Zuko's stomach and the bender retaliated with his knee aimed in a very sensitive spot. Sokka doubled over, but still managed to roll over and land what would be a very black eye on Zuko. This rewarded Sokka with a very split lip.
Zuko was surprised to see that without his bending, him and Sokka were for the most part, pretty evenly matched. It caught him slightly off guard when Sokka rolled him under and placed his hands around Zuko's collar, not choking him, but keeping him pinned to the ground.
"She's my sister!" Sokka said, just barely keeping his voice under control. "I care about what happens to her!"
Quickly, Zuko reversed them, this time pinning Sokka to the ground. "Well she's my girlfriend! And I care just as much as you do!"
"You don't deserve her!" Sokka's words were becoming hard to understand, on account of his swollen lip.
Zuko gave a noise of contempt and pulled himself off of Sokka. He got to his feet and straightened his clothes out. "You're right, I don't deserve her. But for some reason, she thinks I do, and she's been better to me than anyone."
Sokka, taking this statement the wrong way got to his feet. "You perve! If you touch my baby sister-"
"That's not what I meant you creep!" Zuko countered. He pointed to the side of his face that was once scarred. "She healed me. It was Katara who healed me."
Sokka stopped in his tracks. "Katara...got rid of your weird birth defect?"
Suki gave him a look of disdain. "Sokka!" she admonished. He shrugged.
Zuko rolled his eyes. "It wasn't a birth defect! My father scarred me when I was little because I spoke out at a war meeting. He was trying to send out innocent troops on a suicide mission and I disagreed."
Sokka wasn't impressed. "That still doesn't mean anything. Katara heals loads of people. She's a good person."
"And she was able to see the good in me." Zuko said. "Maybe you can, too? I love her, Sokka. Plain and simple."
Suki walked over and placed a comforting hand on Sokka's shoulder. "Sokka, he risked his life to help you bring your dad and me home."
"Yeah, but I didn't ask him too." Sokka replied.
"That's the point." Suki said obviously. She looked at Zuko. "This might be really cheesy, and if it means anything, you've got my blessing!"
Zuko gave her a grateful smile. She was pretty cool, and anyone who could stand up to his sister and her friends unafraid deserved a medal.
Sokka locked eyes with Zuko. After an intense stare down, Sokka finally caved. He sighed and stepped forward. He extended his hand.
"She's my sister, Zuko." he said softly. "I don't know what I would do without her. And I know you're not proposing marriage or anything but, I swear on my mother and Princess Yue's head, that if you ever hurt her, or give me any reason to think she's not happy with you, You and I are going to have a nice little talk on the very tip of a glacier in the South Pole."
Zuko nodded, he clasped hands with the Water Tribe warrior. It was a bond they seemed to develop, each caring about the blue eyed waterbender as much as the next one.
Zuko started back to his room, but decided what he needed the most was fresh air. He could feel the sun beginning to creep into the sky, so he made his way to the common area, there was no way he would be getting sleep tonight...
Out in the temple, he sat with his legs dangling over the ledge. He peered down cautiously. He had never been a huge fan of heights, and seeing how far he was up now, he could only imaging someone falling over.
Zuko turned around to see Aang standing a few feet away. How he had managed to sneak up on him was beyond Zuko. Maybe he had been there the whole time.
He gave an easy smile. "Hey Aang. Have a seat." he gestured to a spot next to him.
Aang gave an nervous shrug. "I just came out here, to talk to you."
Zuko regarded the small airbender carefully. He was so young. He had to know that Katara was way out of his league. "Sure Aang. Is it about your lessons?"
Aang shook his head. "No. It's about Katara." Zuko struggled to keep his composure. Aang continued. "I noticed that you two were kind of close. And then when you and Sokka left, she was worried, but she kept wondering out loud if you were ok, or if you had gotten caught. And then tonight...I saw you go into her room." Aang looked down sadly.
Zuko chewed his lip. No matter what he said to Katara, he was dreading the day when he would have to tell Aang. That day, as it turned out, was now.
Aang looked up at him. Zuko could see his grey eyes were full of worry and even sadness. Zuko cursed inwardly. "I was just wondering, if there was something going on between you two?"
Zuko never was good at lying. Fucking honor...
Ok, so...that was a lot to take in yes?
Originally, I had this combined with the last chapter...
But then I decided to split them up into two chapters.
I can't guarantee the remaining chapters will be as long,
But I'll give it a shot (:
So, drink it all up, and leave some reviews please!
Appreciate it :)