|This dude is amazing! If you only look at one thing on here. At least look at this|
Zuko growled at Mai, “It's not funny!” Wiping a small tear from her eye, she wheezed out.
“I think it is.” Frowning, Zuko placed his head on the locker with a groan.
“Why me?” He sighed. Mai leaned against the locker with slightly bored sigh.
“If you're to have such a bitch fit about it, why don't you ask to change partners?” Zuko turned around and slid to the floor.
“I already tried that, Mai. He won't budge.” Leaning his head back with a low metallic thud, his shaggy hair laying on his shoulders and splayed on the wall. Slowly, his eyes came to a close as he let out a long sigh. “This is gonna be a long project.” The raven-haired girl rolled her eyes as they continued to watch the hustle and bustle of lunch and the students buzzing about.
“Don't be such a drama queen.” The watched the dark skinned girl, their eyes looking; cold, hateful, azure orbs glaring into his golden ones. Mai raised an eyebrow as she walked off, a fury of chestnut locks swaying side to side, her fists clenched in rage.
“Wow,” Mai wryly chuckled, “what did you do to her?” Zuko sighed once more.
Katara growled flopping on her bed looking at her project paper.
“Why am I paired up with him?!” Katara roared slamming down the paper onto the desk, her fingers spread out gripping the wood. Calmly, her teacher gazed up at her.
“Mr. Bosco, please switch partners.”
“You know, Katara,” he smiled, “you two have much more in common than you think. I think this will be quite a growing experience for both of you.”
The girl sighed. “Growing experience my ass.” There were a couple knocks at her door.
“Come in.” The door opened slowly as Gran-Gran walked in much to the pleasure of her granddaughter.
“Oh hey, Gran-Gran.” She smiled and sat on the bed.
“You seemed upset when you came home today, are you alright?” The young girl sighed. “I'd be lying if I said I was.” Much like a little girl, she leaned on her b grandmother ending up with her head on her lap. Instinctively, Gran-Gran stroked her granddaughter's hair slowly.
“Come on, spill.”
“She doesn't understand me Uncle!” Zuko gaited n out as Iron watched him pace back and forth. “I've done nothing to the girl and she treats me like some kind of criminal!” The exasperated boy ceased his pacing as he looks down. “She treats me like some sort of monster.” Iron sighed getting up from his chair. “Nephew, you never asked to be born into the family you have. You were made aware of what it means to be part of the family at a very young age.” Zuko's hand gravitated towards his eye, the smooth, scarred, wrinkled skin grazing on his fingertips as he looked down. “But your family does not define who you are. Your family name is your starting point, it is not a decider. If you don't like what your name brings, be the one to change it.”
“How can I change anything? I did nothing wrong!” Zuko snarled, his hands thrown up in frustration.
“It may not specifically be you who wronged her. But you can be a reminder of what was done.” Giving up, Zuko flopped on the bed with a sigh.
“I just don't understand”
“How he could do this to me!” Katara exclaimed her hands thrown up in the air. “I mean it's bad enough that those people are even at the v school, traumatizing the student body, but now I have to be one of b their partners!!?” Gran-Gran nodded listening to her angry granddaughter.
“Sweetheart, you can't let this boy get to you and affect you so much. If you have no choice in working with him, just try to get through this project and be done with him.” Katara sighed.
“But it’s so hard to deal with him. I mean he’s from that family. How am I supposed to deal with that?” The old woman shrugged.
“But darling, the boy himself did nothing to your mother. And I know it upsets you, but you cannot take it out on him. He himself did not take your mother away from you. Please try to release your anger in a more positive way. Not for him, but for you.”
Katara sighed and walking up to the small group, one by one falling the pairs of eyes on her as she approached the seemingly untouchable group. The air was stale and lifeless as Katara stared Zuko in the eye. His eyebrow raised in curiosity as Mai watched her closely, possession boiling inside her as she watched the azure eyed girl glare straight into her fiancée’s eyes. Ignoring the jet black haired girl, Katara handed Zuko a piece of paper.
“Let’s just get this over with.” She began, “This is the address we’re going to meet at for this project. Be there. I refuse to fail because of you.” At that, she turned on her heel fearlessly and walked off heading towards Suki’s club.
“What was that about?” Ty-Lee asked looking at Zuko who kept staring at the paper. Entertained, Azula grinned cruelly.
“This is going to be interesting.”
Azula smiled as she calmly strolled into Zuko’s room as he was engrossed into his homework, his hair covering his face as he mindlessly scribbled away, the sounds of scratching the only noise in his room as the door was swung open.
“Zu-Zu, I heard you weren’t playing with your little friend, Mai.” Zuko didn’t stop; instead he chuckled wryly as he slowly pushed his hair back with his free hand.
“You mean your friend.” The sounds of the bed springs groaned as Zuko’s little sister sat on it.
“She is your betrothed you know. Couldn’t you pay more attention to her?” Zuko’s golden eyes stayed on his paper as he sighed before resting his head on his hand.
“I’m busy and I’m sure she is too, everyone was swamped with homework this week.” Clicking his tongue as he traded his pencil for an eraser, he aggressively rid himself of the mistake on his paper.
“Goodness Zuko, you act like you don’t even like her.” He sighed.
“I do like her. Okay? I’m just…not focused on dad’s plans and all right now. Now…I just want to be alone.” He slammed the eraser down as he finally sat upright in his desk chair and looked over to his sister, her hair no longer in a bun, splayed down her back twirling it casually not bothering to hide her annoyance with her brother. With a roll of her eyes, Azula got up and started heading towards the door.
“I hope you know… father’s not pleased with this.” At that, she closed the door making him sigh.
“When is he ever pleased with me?” He asked himself, his hand on his head.
Katara watched Zuko talk to Mai at lunch, a small pale red showing on her cheeks as she made room for him. However, the two of them didn’t speak. Instead, they simply ate. Zuko moved a little closer to the girl making her chuckle and look down.
“Ever hear of personal space?” She deadpanned before taking a bite of her food.
“Nope.” He matched her deadpan and scooted closer much to the pleasure of the black haired girl. After a couple moments of sitting so close, Zuko moved back to his original spot with a small smile. At least I can have someone who somewhat understands me. He thought to himself. He focused back on Azula who spoke about her plans to run the school in a matter of a year to a very attentive Ty-Lee, never taking her eyes off her, pure admiration in her large grey eyes. Katara rolled her eyes at them and sighed as she continued to eat. Aang took the opportunity to grasp her hand, his brown eyes peering into her light blue ones.
“Katara, please don’t stress about them anymore. They aren’t worth it.” Katara continued to stare at them and sighed before looking to her friend.
“You’re right, Aang.” She smiled softly. “I shouldn’t let them have that kind of power over me.” Aang nodded pleased as he squeezed her hand softly. The dark skinned girl gave him a gratuitous smile. “Thanks for that.” Aang blushed at her smile, shyly looking away from her. Sokka chuckled at the brown haired boy with a playful roll of his eye before looking towards the door for his beloved. Suki came with a group of girls giggling as the lot of them parted before Suki accompanied herself with another girl, she was blonde, her hair was in a long ponytail that ended in the middle of her back and swung with every step she made. Her eyes were a bright green, vibrant and full of confidence. Freckles were sprinkled on her cheeks and seemed to highlight those forest green eyes of hers. Her two canine teeth were pushed outwards and seen as more noticeable much like a vampire especially when she smiles, the tips of her crooked teeth peek under her lips. Suki smiled walking to Sokka kissing his temple before motioning to her friend.
“Hey guys, this is my friend June.” She smiled at them displaying her canines slightly. “June, you know my boyfriend Sokka.” Sokka smirked at her and chuckled. “Yeah, I still never forgave you for throwing me into the wall.” June shrugged and tittered.
“Shouldn’t have looked suspicious.” Suki rolled her eyes and continued, “This is his little sister, Katara. Katara, this was the girl I mentioned a while ago when I was talking about you joining the martial arts club. And last but not least, the guy next to her is Aang. They’ve been friends for years and this is his first year here.” Katara grinned and made room for the two girls as they sat down. Suki smiled and sat on Sokka’s lap much to his approval as he wrapped his arm around her waist kissing the nape of her neck lovingly. She giggled and squeezed his thigh.
“I missed you too.” She smiled knowingly. Sokka just smiled and kissed his lover’s neck again chuckling at the way she shivered a little. Katara playfully rolled her eyes at the couple but smiled loving seeing her older brother so happy. June fake gagged getting Suki’s attention as she laughed a little.
“I know, I know. I’m sorry.” She chuckled. June then turned to Katara and smiled.
“So…Suki told me a little about you. But I like to hear about the source. So tell me about yourself.”
Zuko looked at the paper he was supposed to complete. His mother’s picture the left of his laptop, an eternal smile of her looking down at the young Zuko, her eyes so loving and full of care for her child, his head on her chest with not a care in the world. He was safe, at least for that moment. He picked it up and sighed as he stared at it. He couldn’t even remember the last time he smiled the way he did in that picture. Chuckling wryly, Zuko placed the picture down gently, his thumb lingering over Ursa’s face. It’s been far too long mom. Where are you? Suddenly it struck him. Where are you? His hands flew to the keys as he typed furiously, word after word, sentence after sentence without so much as a pause. Tragedy poured through him and spilled onto the laptop, and it felt so damn good. His throat was burning as he willed himself to keep typing, his hands creating his every pained memory that he had since his Ursa’s disappearance. Page after page he wrote, he screamed, he testified on his assignment until every last word was typed. Once he stopped he had no idea how much his chest burned, how out of breath he truly was. His head was low, he panted heavily, his eyes squeezed shut, pushing back the tears that pricked the corner of his eyes. His head shot up to feel a hand on his shoulder as he turned his head to find the source of it relieved to see it was Iroh, his face full of concern and worry.
“Is everything alright, nephew?” Zuko sighed and looked down.
“Yes, uncle. I’m fine.” Iroh gave a small knowing smile and looked over at his nephew’s work.
“Where are you, huh? Sounds interesting.” Zuko’s lips curved into a small smile. “You know, I could never get this whole technology thing. But I do know that typing doesn’t normally make you all that tired.” A small playful scoff flew off Zuko’s lips.
“Are you making fun of me?” He asked. It was Iroh’s turn to chuckle.
“Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.” His hands were on the young one’s shoulders as he squinted to read the words on the screen. Zuko looked up at his uncle straining to read with a small smile.
“Need me to make the font bigger?” Iroh let out a small laugh.
“Now you are the one making fun of me.”
“Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.” Zuko got up without a word and left his uncle to read the work he had created.
Horrible things always happen in three’s I’ve learned. It was a hard thing to learn when you were so young, and so naïve. It’s hard to learn how quickly things can change and turn for the worse. How easily everything that made you feel safe and loved can be taken away from you without hesitation, without thought, without exception. It’s amazing how pain and tragedy can corrupt and distort the most innocent of souls and show the true colors of others. Overall, these experiences shape a person; mold them into who they will become and how they’ll stay for the rest of their lives.
My change began after my cousin Lu-Ten died. My uncle was heartbroken, having to bury his only son. By joining his mother, he left my uncle alone. When I heard of his death, the first thing I remembered was when I was young; so happy and carefree, spending time with him and my uncle on the beach. How simple those times were where there were no worries, no cares, no stress. All there was, was the warmth of the sand beneath our feet, the fresh but salted air of the beach and the calming sound of the waves, harmonizing with the gulls cry as they flew over us. Our laughter, our grins seem like nothing more than a distant memory.
Zuko came back into the room with an apple in his mouth to see his uncle staring at the computer screen blankly, his shoulders slumped and his breathing slow. Zuko pulled the apple out of his mouth tiliting his head a little, curious.
“Nephew…” Iroh’s voice was solemn, “I miss him too.” Zuko gave a small sad smile and placed his hand on his shoulder.
Katara sighed and looked over her work satisfied with what she had wrote. Her hand went to her necklace, the chilling feeling of the pendant against her neck as she stared at the picture of her mother. Sokka burst open the door and smiled at her.
“Gran-Gran’s here~” He chimed before shutting the door behind him and rushing back downstairs. Katara smiled and came down stairs with vigor, eager to see the elder woman. With a bright smile, Katara wrapped her arms around the woman holding her close.
“Hi Gran-Gran!” The grandmother smiled and held her granddaughter close a small smile on her face.
“You’ve grown up so beautifully, Katara. You look just like your mother.” Katara gave a small pained smile like she always did when Kya was mentioned. Knowingly, she cupped her granddaughters face and kissed her nose.
“I know, my dear, we all miss her terribly. But just know that you and her brother are living for her. She’s not entirely gone.” Katara nodded in her grandmother’s hand and sighed.
“I know Gran-Gran,” she started, “but it’s just hard.” She nodded and smiled softly.
“I know, my dear. But…everything happens for a reason, there are no accidents. And though life isn’t fair at times, or is rough, there’s always something good that will come from it.” Sokka gave a wry chuckle.
“Then I guess we’re in for a lot of good later on huh?” Gran-Gran smiled and pat her grandson’s head before he took her bag and walked upstairs.
“But enough about sad things, I want to hear good things. How’s school? How’s that little monk friend of yours?” Katara smiled.
“He’s doing fine; he’s actually going to school with us.” Gran-Gran raised an eyebrow at her curiously. “Apparently, Monk Gyatso let him go to a public school now until he graduates. I don’t know how he was convinced but he’s going to school with us.” She smiled.
“Ah, I see. Is he still following you around like a little puppy like he’s always has?” Katara blushed a little confused. Sokka laughed coming down the stairs.
“Oh, yeah, Gran-Gran, he’s never stopped following her around.” Annoyed, Katara glared at her older brother.
“Sokka!” The older brother laughed and shook his head.
“It’s true! Everyone notices but you!” Just as she was about to say something, the door opened.
“Speak of the devil.” Both Gran-Gran and Sokka chuckled much to Katara’s dismay and the young monk’s confusion.
Once again, Zuko felt the glares of Katara from across the room, those sharp personalized daggers stabbing at the side of his head. This has been going on since the first day of school. He mentally griped. I’m sick of this. What the hell’s her problem? He looked down at his assignment waiting for the teacher to come in as he tried not to show his aggravation towards Katara’s hostile nature. After a few moments of her harsh leering, Zuko sent a cold glare back towards her. Just as she stands, their teacher arrives with a small smile on his face.
“Good morning everyone, I’m hoping everyone found something to write about.” One by one the papers were passed up at the desk as he smiled and gave them an in-class assignment to do while he read them. The two of them passed cold cruel glances at each other as time went by, both of them getting more and more frustrated with each other by the minute. One of the girls grabbed Katara by the arm with a small sigh.
“Katara, why are you glaring at him so much? I mean, you know who he is right?” She asked. Katara gripped her pencil harshly before slamming it down.
“I know exactly who that bastard is and where he comes from.” She growled catching his attention. The air around the classroom grew stale and harsh as Zuko turned to face her.
“You don’t know anything about me.” He stated firmly yet harshly. Katara snarled at the scarred boy across the room from her.
“Oh, I don’t?” She asked coldly.
“No.” He responded with no hesitation. “You don’t.” Before she could say anything the bell rang and the crowd of students began to disperse. Zuko disappeared the crowd as Katara followed after angrily.
“Don’t even worry about her, Zuko. She’s just some irate classmate, right? Why even bother with her?” Mai sighed not bothering to hide her boredom with his griping.
“But she doesn’t even know me!” He huffed as he paced back in forth. Mai watched him, her hand on her chin.
“Relax, it’s not like you’re going to be around her a lot, I mean, she’s in what? One of your classes?” Zuko sighed and looked down.
“You don’t understand.” She looked at him curiously. “She glared at me like…I was the one who hurt her, personally.” Mai rolled her eyes and leaned her head back against the couch.
“Who knows? Maybe the family did something to hers in the past. Either way, it’s not your problem, so there’s no point in worrying about it.” Zuko walked out to face the window his mind occupied with the angry blue eyed girl in his class.
Katara snarled at the sight of Zuko and Azula walking past them once more in the morning, irritated that the students had parted once more for them. The queen like aura that radiated off of her intimidating all those around her. One girl coughed as she walked by earning a disgusted and fiery glare from her golden eyes making the meek girl stare at the floor in shame. Zuko gave that same girl a small sympathetic look as he sighed. Satisfied from her immediate submission, Azula moved on into the school.
“I don’t understand why she thinks she can get away with this.” She growled. Sokka placed a hand on her shoulder.
“No! She just walks in and strikes fear into the students hearts and she just walks around like she’s ruled this place her whole life.” Suki sighed.
“I can understand your frustration, Katara, but don’t let it get to you.”
“But they come from the family that--”
“Katara.” Stopping, Sokka held his sisters hand gently and gave her a sad smile. “Don’t let her get to you. Don’t let her be the reason you can’t enjoy this year. Suki smiled.
“Yeah, if you wanna blow off some steam why don’t you join the martial arts club here?” She offered.
“Your martial arts club?” She nodded.
“Yeah, I founded it and all, but I can’t be there all that often because of all the tournaments and things I need to do when so I can go to Kyoshi University, but I know the people there are nice and really supportive. The girl who runs it now was my partner and rival for years, she’s great.” Katara nodded thinking about it.
“Maybe…I’ll think about it.” Suki smiled and squeezed her arm lovingly.
“You think about it. You might like it.” Sokka chuckled.
“She should do it; she’s nothing but an ornery old lady at home anyway.” With that, Katara punched her brother in the stomach making him suck in his breath as Suki laughed.
“That’s a nice punch.” Aang walked over to the three of them tilting his head.
“Hey guys, what’s going on?” Katara smiled at him making his heart flutter. She was wearing the sweater he gave her. He remembered how long it took him to find the color he loved the most on her; Pastel blue. He loved how it looked on her chocolate skin and how it highlighted her eyes. He was glad she loved it too he chuckled to himself remembering the joy on her face when he gave it to her.
“Happy Birthday Katara.” She smiled and kissed his cheek before opening the present a little excitedly much like a small child. Aang smiled his cheek red as he rubbed it gently. Sokka laughed a little watching his sister open her present.
“Oh wow! This is so cute!” She gasped pulling it out. It was braid detailed long pastel blue sweater with a long train in the back. “I love it. Thank you, Aang.”
“Oh, hey Aang.” He smiled and tugged on the sleeve shyly.
“You’re wearing the sweater I bought you.” She blushed a little with a small smile.
“Oh, yeah. I love this sweater.” His heart soared as she laid a hand on his shoulder sweetly.
“I’m happy you love it so much.” She smiled gently tilting her head a little. Sokka chuckled and wrapped his hand around Suki’s waist.
“Come on you two lovebirds.” Katara’s smile turned corrupted into a face of annoyance as she scowled at her bother. “We don’t want to be late.”
“Sokka.” Hiding his sadness at how quickly she dismissed her brother, Aang grabbed his crush’s wrist gently.
“He’s right. Um…I still don’t really know my way around. Everything is so different here.” Katara nodded.
“Yeah, it must be a big change from being homeschooled for so long.” Aang nodded. “How’s Monk Gyasto doing anyway?” She asked while they trailed behind Sokka and Suki.
“He was sick for a while, but looks like he’s gotten better.”
“That’s good. He’s really old so he should watch his health a little more closely.”
“Of course Dr. Katara.” He chuckled. Katara nudged him a little making him laugh. “But I know what you mean, I’ll tell him to be more careful.” She nodded.
“That’s all I ask.”
Katara glared at the boy across the room, wondering what could’ve possibly have been the reason, she and the son of the infamous mob boss’ son had the same elective class, that happened to be one of her favorites; creative writing. With a sigh, she looked up at the board seeing what her newest project was. The theme was pain. As she read it a twinge of hurt came to her as she immediately placed her hand on the pendant of her necklace, her mother’s kind face quickly in her mind. Zuko stared at the board before his hand slowly reached out to touch his face, the sounds of his screams ringing in his head once more as he shuddered. Burning from the embarrassment and shame from feeling all the eyes on him, he looked down, letting his long brown hair cover his face, his demeanor resembling a weeping willow, as if he were physically representing his own pain at this moment. The teacher smiled watching his students as they thought back to some type of pain they’ve had.
“Well it seems like most if not all of you have thought of something that has brought you pain.” The man smiled, his mustache lifting with the curvature of his lips. He was a pale, but lively man, his steel grey eyes bright and full of life and vigor within him. “This can be anything, from a short story to a haiku, the theme here is pain. This is only the beginning to the second part of your project. This segment of the project will be due in two weeks. In that time, I will be pairing you off so you two can work on a fictional story together following the theme of pain. I am eager to see what you all will write both individually and partnered up.”
Zuko whimpered softly crying to himself, his long brown hair dangling from his sides as he finally let his tears drop on the floor. He was alone; he was able to show weakness, just for the moment. A perplexing mixture of shame and tranquility washed over him as he sobbed to himself holding his knees. However, that feeling was short-lived when he heard the door open. His heart stopped as he looked towards the door, huge golden eyes, stained with tears as he shook with fear. The silhouette of the intruder forced him to quickly wipe away his tears as he attempted to straighten up his face. Instead of what he feared, he instead saw a kind worried woman her long hair lying gently on her shoulder.
“Zuko?” Instantly, he relaxed as he held his knees once more laying his head on them. He felt a dip beside him on the bed and a sweet smelling aroma filled the air around them as she pulled him close.
“Mom?” She looked down at him, “Why does he hate me?” She cooed and rubbed his shoulder pulling him in her arms.
“Zuko, your father doesn’t hate you. I promise. And I know how much you hate how hard he is on you.” Zuko nodded another tear falling down his cheek. She wiped it gently with her sleeve. “I don’t like it either.” She kissed his head gently and stroked his cheek. “But you do know, you can always come to me, Zuko.” He smiled softly and leaned into her chest the soothing sounds of her heartbeat calming him taking her scent his tears finally ceasing.
“I know, Mom.” He grinned snuggling into her. “You’ll always be there for me.”
Zuko woke with a small scoff to himself as he looked at the last picture he had of his mother on his nightstand. His fingers ran through his hair as he got up. Sitting on the edge of his bed, Zuko picked up the picture and looked down at it.
“Where the hell are you?” He asked himself as he recalled the day she went missing. The smirk on Azula’s face, the stoic, unfeeling way he drank his tea that morning as Zuko rushed into the dining room, frantically, panting asking for his mother’s whereabouts. Placing his picture down, he sighed and once again got ready for school. He went back into the room and smiled softly at the picture of his mother.
“I think I know what to write about.”
Katara typed away at her laptop as Sokka rushed down the hall to get the ringing phone downstairs. After a couple minutes, Sokka came back upstairs and knocked on her door.
“It’s Gran-Gran.” He smiled softly. She looked at him curiously. “Apparently she’s coming to live with us.” Katara smiled a little and nodded.
“I’ll set up the spare room after I finish this assignment.” With a small nod, Sokka closed the door behind him and left. He smiled and texted Suki with a small smile about his grandmother’s oncoming arrival. The doorbell rang an anxious Aang behind it, once again in new clothes, trying to show off his potential maturity. Brown skinny jeans, a white tee, and white tennis shoes donned with his classic arrow beanie. Sokka opened the door and looked the younger boy up and down a little, his eyebrow raised.
“Hey, Sokka.” He greeted.
“Hey, Aang. Come on in.” Moving aside to let the boy in, Aang walked inside and looked around for his crush. “She’s upstairs.” He answered for him with a chuckle as he closed the door. Aang gave him a small thankful smile before heading upstairs. His hands wrung as he walked up the steps to her room as if he was never let inside before, and yet…something about this was different. His heart pounded as he walked to the door, finding the courage to knock. Before his hand could make contact with the door, Katara swung it open.
“Oh! Hey, Aang.” She smiled softly. His stomach flipped a little as he returned her sweet smile.
“Hey…” She giggled softly and walked downstairs as he followed.
“What brings you here?” Play it cool. He coached himself as he followed her into the kitchen leaning nonchalantly on the archway.
“Oh, you know…” He droned a little. “Felt like hanging.” He leered over at her trying to hide the disappointment that she wasn’t meeting his gaze. Instead, she was busy making tea.
“Oh, that’s cool.” She replied getting some cups. With a smile, she turned her head to him. “Want some tea?”
Zuko sighed looking into the kitchen cabinet and seeing an abundance of tea in one area.
“Uncle’s coming I see.” He said to no one in particular. Closing the cabinet, he sighed shaking his head before grabbing snacks from the kitchen and heading back into his room once more. As he walked, he noticed the sky’s explosion of colors as the sun slowly began to sink. Absent mindedly, he walked into the garden, the sounds of a younger, more naïve him laughing mixed with his mother’s gentle chuckle as he recalled her following him into the garden.
“Mother look! The turtle ducks are back!” He exclaimed excitedly as they swam about happily in the clear tranquil pond. She smiled and watched him reach out for a duckling trying not to chuckle as it quacked in fear before fleeing the young prince.
“No…come back…” He sadly sighed. She placed her hand on his shoulder and kissed his head. “How come they always run away from me?” She chuckled and sat down with him at the pond.
“It’s because you were too hasty, Zuko.” She explained. “Just sit still.” She pulled out some bread she had grabbed while her son had pulled her along, wanting to see the small animals again and crumpled a piece of it before making a small pile of crumbs by the edge of the pond. After a few moments, a couple ducklings cautiously made their way to the crumbs and began eating. While Zuko watched him curiously, Ursa had added another small pile in Zuko’s hand and slowly outstretched his arm towards the little hungry ducks. One brave little duckling slowly moved to Zuko’s hand and began to eat as he gasped softly, his eyes so wide and bright as he looked at his mother who just grinned.
Zuko sighed, his hand on the tree just a few feet before the pond, looking at where he and his mother once sat, laughed and fed the turtle ducks. A spot where he once laughed now burned his throat and eyes with sorrow. Just like the willow tree that had watched over the generations that lived in this house, he too bent, gripping the bark as his head hung low a couple tears getting lost in the grass beneath his feet. Under the weeping willow, so many memories he carried of her were unsheathed as he too wept silently, under the cover of the massive branches and leaves. A strong hand gripped his shoulder as Zuko’s head snapped towards the owner of the hand, his shock now sated with relief upon seeing his uncle’s concerned face.
“Nephew? Is everything alright?” After a moment, Zuko wiped his eyes and nodded. Without a word, Iroh moved and sat next to the pond and chuckled softly patting beside him. With a small scoff and smile, Zuko sat by him as they watched the ripples, listened to the gentle babbling of the pond as the wind rustled up the bushes gently. “You know…this house has been through renovation after renovation. But this…” he opened his arms a little with a small grin “this place has never changed.” Zuko leaned back noticing that the sky that once was parading with oranges, pinks and reds had disappeared and cautious stars were now beginning to appear in the new night sky. “Just think of how many people had sat in this spot in the past. And who could possibly sit where we are in the future. Where the willow tree still provides shade and the pond still babbles in the same way it always has.” Iroh’s arm wrapped around his nephew as he rubbed his shoulder, the coolness of the night air dancing all around them as the pool reflected the stars twinkling in the sky.
“Yeah.” Zuko agreed. “It’s pretty cool.”
A pile of papers filled the desk as the students turned in their writing assignments talking with one another about the things they wrote about. Zuko stared into his desk, concentrating on the pattern of the wood, his head down once more.
“Hey…um…Zuko.” One girl asked tapping his shoulder gently. He turned his head a little, his golden eyes glaring to her through his dark brown locks. The classroom got completely silent as they watched him as if he were a dangerous predator. All eyes were on him, fear eminent in the room. Katara was the only one who wasn't fazed by his intimidating glare. “W-What did you write about?” Zuko looked down back at the desk, letting out a wry and cold lifeless chuckle, a stale feeling in the air as he stayed quiet for a couple minutes.
A/N: These chapters are going to be pretty long and since I am also a college student, these chapters are going to take some time to come into fruition. So please be patient with me.
“Mommy? Where are you going?” the small child asked his eyes wide, his voice groggy as he rubbed his eyes. The woman gave off a melancholy smile as she stroked his long hair gently.
“I’m going to be gone for a while, sweetheart.”
“When will you be coming back?” He whimpered clinging to his mother, instantly calming as he leaned his head on her chest, the gentle sound of her heartbeat slowly lulling him back to sleep. She chuckled and kissed his head lovingly as she tucked her son back in. Caressing his cheek lovingly, she kissed his nose.
“I love you. I love you so much, Zuko.”
With a gasp, Zuko shot up from bed, the light of the sun blaring onto his face making him groan, a moppy bedhead covering his eyes as he sighed. He pushed his dark brown hair back his hands grazing over his scar, his heart sinking once again. Why did I think it would be any different? He flopped back into his bed letting his hair splay out on his crimson sheets as he took in a deep breath. I’m going to hate this. He thought. He lugged himself out of bed tossing his sheets messily on his bed looking at his outfit he chose for the first day of his new school. Quickly changing and fixing his hair, Zuko made his way out to the kitchen his meal freshly made and steaming for him. Bored, he ate his breakfast in silence. After thanking his chef and handing him the dishes, the exhausted son walked to his father’s meeting room where he stayed in each morning. The door opened letting light beam in the darkened room as he shut it behind him. Instantly, he took a knee and lowered his head for the man ahead of him.
“Good morning, father.” A disgruntled noise came from the man.
“It is your first day of school today isn’t it?”
“Y-Yes, father.” Zuko answered.
“And it is Azula’s first day of high school as well. As the heir to our organization, you are to make sure she adjusts to the school well and make sure that you all show the student body and staff the true power of the Phoenix.” Zuko looked up at his father into his piercing judgmental gold eyes recalling the way they looked when he scarred him. “Do not fail me.” He warned in a pitiless tone making a small chill race down his son’s spine.
“Of course not, sir. I won’t let you down.”
“I would hope not, Zuko. You know I don’t like to be disappointed.”
“Yes, sir.” With that, the cold father dismissed Zuko. Quickly leaving, the boy nearly ran into his sister, Azula, whose eyes resembled her father’s though sparking with a fire of cruelty a bit different than their father’s but still horribly similar. Her lips curved into a pompous smirk as she passed her older brother walking in the door.
“Ah, Azula. Good morning, my heir.” Zuko kept walking leaning his head back a little, now numb to the blatant favoritism his father showed. Every morning, everything is the same. He sighed as he continued to get ready for school. Quietly, he waited out at the front of the estate, a beautifully built prison filled with memories and past experiences of pain. The chimney released a cloud of black smoke into the azure sky, making the lone boy flinch recalling the time he was burned. The smell of burnt skin, the sounds of his screams ringing in his head, getting louder and louder as he covered his ears sinking down the brick fence his eyes squint shut as he shook his head desperate to get the image out of his head. His hand covered his scar again, a permanent mark on his body and in his mind. Two snaps brought Zuko back to the present seeing his sister with a small smirk on her lips.
“Come now, Zu-zu. Father said you have to escort me and make sure I’m comfortable in this…so called academy.” With a small sigh, she rolled her eyes and placed on her sunglasses keeping the blaring rays out of her eyes. “I hate days like this.” She grumbled. Straightening her book bag she walked out of the estate and looked around. “So are Mai and Ty-Lee going to meet us there?” She asked. Zuko shrugged softly.
“Most likely, if they aren’t here yet.” She nodded in agreement before looking back at her brother expectantly.
“Well…lead the way, Zu-Zu. You’ve been to that blasted place before.” Reluctantly, he moved beyond the wall and led his younger sister to the school. The tranquil sounds of birds chirping and the gentle breeze rustling the trees tickling the back of people’s necks teasing them gently with slight chills warning them of oncoming cooler days. Zuko looked up at the passing trees the sun beams illuminating his eyes into a small gleam of gold mimicking the sun.
Katara smiled and hummed to herself brushing her long flowing rich brown locks. Her bright azure eyes watching herself in the mirror, dancing likes pools of the ocean glowing off her soft darkened skin. She glanced down a family portrait, the only one she had with her mother, soft kind smile accenting her lovely features that her father seemed so enamored with in the picture. It was a beautiful moment frozen in time between them. Her father, Hakoda, stared into his lovely wife Kya’s eyes, love and devotion in his smile, in his gaze. She had a small blush to her cheeks as she shyly turned away from him, her eyes still focused on him, playing with him, teasing him. The two small children at the bottom were laughing and playing together in their seats, unaware of their parents, their grins from ear to ear, their eyes wide and full of innocence. Katara chuckled sadly as she grabbed her mother’s necklace from her vanity table, one of the only things left of Kya in this world. She felt the harsh coolness of the pendant landing on her warm body as she shivered, never being able to get used to the sudden change in temperature on her neck. Quickly dressing herself, Katara made her way downstairs to her older brother, Sokka, tiredly staring at his cup of coffee that steamed in his face.
“You gonna be alright?” Katara laughed slightly, looking at his obvious tired face. Sokka made a face at his sister, only to have her retaliate.
“I will be as soon as I have breakfast.” Katara rolled her eyes.
“You know, you should really know how to cook for yourself. After all, what’s going to happen to you when you and Suki get married and she has to go away to save the world?” She questioned as she quickly gathered ingredients for breakfast for the both of them. “I highly doubt she would want to come home to a pitiful starved Sokka.” Sokka gave a dismissing grunt and waved her off.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.” Katara stopped and turned to him with her hands on her hips.
“And by that you mean you expect me to feed you until I get back.” The older brother gave a small smile and sipped his coffee. With a scoff, she got back to cooking. “Still don’t know what she sees in you.”
“A hunk.” Katara snorted and snickered.
“Oh, yeah. Surely that has to be it.” Sokka rolled his eyes and sipped his coffee again.
“Shut up.” She laughed again and began to cook. After making two omelets, the two siblings began to eat. No linger minding the lone and lifeless feeling in the house anymore. Hakoda was always gone, investigating and looking for something, anything on his wife’s killer. The two of them decided not to get in the way of his work anymore. As much as the two wanted answers themselves, they didn’t need as much closure as their father did. Talking about this lead to awkward mealtimes, so it was a silent thought between the both of them as they avoided the topic altogether. Katara looked at the time her eyes wide.
“We need to hurry; we still need to pick up Aang for his first day.” Sokka nodded quickening his pace as Katara finished and started cleaning the kitchen before going upstairs to finish readying herself. Sokka let out a small chuckle shaking his head at the thought of the younger boy who was going to begin his first days in Ba Sing Sae Academy. Knowing about the pining that he had for his sister for years, Sokka chuckled recalling Aang’s newfound confidence and determination to getting Katara. Good luck buddy. He laughed to himself as he went upstairs. You’re gonna have a hard time after Jet. The two siblings quickly made their way to the door as they walked down towards the school to meet up with a young man along the way. Aang had already made his way to the meeting point they had previously discussed, his eyes gazing up at the sky, admiring the carefree floating of the clouds above him. He smiled leaning on the wall, in new clothes hoping he looked a little more mature and more pleasing to his crush. His heart fluttered at the thought of her, admiring her kind smile, her long fluffy hair that rivaled the clouds in the sky, her beautiful eyes as blue as the sunniest of days. A small blush rose on his cheeks as his daydreams ran a little rampant, the thought of his hands in her hair, mindlessly and lazily running through them as she lay on his lap, the sweet scent of her as they would cuddle watching TV, yet not really paying attention. The way she would dress for their dates. As the thoughts continued, he began to melt against the wall, as he added more details from accessories she would wear for their dates; to the different perfumes she would wear for him even different hairstyles that he thought would look good on her. Lost in his own thoughts, he didn’t realize the girl of his dreams had arrived along with her brother.
“Hey, Aang!” She greeted with a small smile snapping him out of his fantasies. A shade of scarlet rose on his face as he beamed at her.
“Hey, Katara.” Sokka held back his snickers shaking his head a little making Aang give him a side glare.
“You ready for your first day?” She asked excitedly. He nodded her smile and excited demeanor contagious. The three of them resumed their journey to the Academy, the sounds of others getting louder and more prominent as people asked others about the classes they were taking, talking about what they’ve done over summer vacation and new school year resolution goals they planned to keep. A chorus of chopped conversations danced around the three as they tried to get through and into the main building. Sokka, a little distracted as he scanned the crowd for his beloved. Little did he know, he was spotted first. While Sokka searched, Suki had snaked her way through the crowd and targeted her boyfriend, a mischievous smile on her face as she lunged at him tackling him to the ground with a giggle.
“Hey! Watch it!” Sokka exclaimed. Suki smirked and pinned him on his back and sat on his waist with a loving and playful smile.
“Sorry, I just got distracted by my boyfriend’s cute butt.” Quickly sitting up he wrapped his arms around her his grip tightening around her and his hands in her chestnut hair embracing her with months of longing. Suki’s plush lips curved into a smile as she nuzzled the crook in his neck not realizing how much she missed his scent.
“I missed you.” She contently sighed after a minute.
“I missed you more.” He chuckled finally letting her go. She helped him up as he held her pale cheek smiling as she leaned her head into his larger hand her own hand over his, as she closed her eyes feeling every callous and the very roughness of his hand that she loved so much. Katara who had taken a minute to realize that Sokka had fallen behind due to his girlfriend, smiled watching her brother and his girlfriend with a loving smile. It has been a while hasn’t it? She thought.
“Come on, Aang, Sokka found Suki.” Not wanting to lose him as well, she grabbed his hand and lead him to the two lovebirds. Aang’s heart soared feeling her hand grab his, his fingers itching to intertwine with hers. She rushed to Suki with a grin as she abandoned Aang’s hand to hug Suki. Though a little disappointed, Aang hid it in his smile as the two girls talked catching up. Sokka saw the truth behind his smile and shrugged at him with a small smile. Aang sighed letting out his true feelings on his face, while Katara’s back was turned as she was engaged with Suki, talking about her adventures during summer break. Sokka pat his back.
“I told you it wouldn’t be easy, Aang.” Aang sighed once more.
“I know, but I never thought it would be this hard. What can I do for her to notice--” The crowd went eerily silent as they parted seeing two people walk through the parting. A woman and a man. The woman held her head up with pride as she walked through without missing a beat, her long dark brown hair swaying side to side, sunglasses against the blaring sun. Her pale skin gleaming against the light, a queen like demeanor oozed off her as he passed by the other students. The man however, contrasted her greatly, his hair shaggy and covering part of his eye, yet unable to hide the scorching and disfiguring red permanently stained on his pale skin. Wanting to get away from the crowd as fast as he could, irritated with feeling of eyes on his obvious scar, Zuko sped up ushering his sister to leave the crowd. Azula, highly amused with the students parting for them, stopped Zuko’s efforts.
“How long do you think it would take for everyone to bow to me when I walk to school every morning?” She asked him. Zuko mentally groaned at the question and shook his head.
“Azula, don’t push it.” She looked over at the students watching them as she scoffed.
“Or what? They seem to know very well who we are. They wouldn’t dare upset someone who was so close to Lord Ozai would they?” Her grin widened. “Yes, I can see this is going to be an interesting four years here.” On the other end of the parted sea of students stood two girls meeting the siblings halfway. “Ah, you were right, Zu-Zu. They were already here.” One girl was in a bright pink, half shirt and jeans with black flats as she smiled and cartwheeled and flipped her way over to them excitedly. Following, was a girl with pale skin, contrasting her jet black hair and dark clothes. Her jeans were as black as her hair and her shirt was a blood red as she trailed behind the chipper girl a small smile at Zuko as she walked to them.
“Ty-Lee, Mai.” Azula greeted.
“Good morning, Azula!” Ty-Lee cheerily chimed as she finally landed on her feet surprising her friend with a hug. Azula pat the girl’s back as she was released. Mai merely nodded at them.
“Morning. Though I can’t seem to find anything good about it.” She grumbled. Zuko chuckled a little at her making Mai smile gently as she looked down not wanting to reveal her upcoming blush to Zuko. Ty-Lee giggled softly and bounced a little.
“Come on, we have to see what classes we’re going to have this year.”
“Yes, come along Zu-Zu, you have to show me how to get to my classes. After all, father said that you had to make sure I will have an enjoyable experience here.” With a small sigh, Zuko trudged along the girls as Mai stayed by Zuko’s side much to his pleasure as he smiled gently at her.
“It’s gonna be a long high school experience.” Mai chuckled softly.
“No kidding. I’m tired already.” The boy smirked and walked with her as the crowed slowly sewed itself back together, slowly coming back to life.
“Who were those people?” Aang asked. Sokka bit his lip a little as Katara watched them with disgust.
“They belong to the people Dad suspects were responsible for killing our mother.” Suki placed a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “That’s all you need to know about them.” Aang backed away a bit, surprised to see her face darken into a hidden rage as she glared at the back of their heads. Sokka sighed.
“Yeah. Dad found some evidence that may link the Phoenix clan or someone who works for that clan responsible for what happened to Mom.” Sokka added. Suki gave Sokka a pitiful look.
“I don’t know how they can even show their faces here with no remorse.” She lightly growled. Suki pulled the girl back.
“Easy there girl.” Suki warned. “I can’t even imagine how upsetting this would be, but you can’t let them have the satisfaction of seeing you like that.” With a few deep breaths, Katara let out a long sigh calming herself.
“You’re right, Suki.” With a small smile, Suki wrapped her arm around her back and lead her into the school.
“Great, now let’s see what our schedule looks like this year.”
“Yeah.” Sokka smiled sighing in relief from the situation successfully defused. Pushing Aang by his head, Sokka chuckled.
“Come on, Aang. Let’s see what your schedule is like. We can show you around too.” Aang laughed a little walking with his friend catching up with the girls.
“Alright, alright already!” Suki looked back and laughed at the two boys fooling around and trailing behind.
“Come on, boys catch up!”
Zuko sighed as everyone watched the four of them at lunch, whispering and staring at them. Trying his best to ignore them, he continued to eat, subconsciously sinking down, his dark brown hair leaning over his crimson scar, like a weeping willow as he recalled how he got the scar. With a shudder, Zuko placed his hand on his scar gently, the pain mental as he remembered the screams, the shock of his own father burning his skin. The horrific blinding flashes of white, red and orange as he felt his skin peeling and singeing, disfiguring itself into a dark red branding of his shame.
You belong to the Phoenix clan and I’ll make sure you never forget it.
Mai tapped Zuko’s shoulder bringing him out of his own mind.
“Zuko, are you okay?” Coming back to reality, he looked at the others, Ty-Lee’s face written with worry. Looking down at his food again he nodded.
“Y-Yeah. I’m fine.” Mai continued eating watching him out of the corner of her eye. Katara smiled at Aang as they all finally found a table to sit at.
“So how are your classes so far, Aang?” Katara asked.
“They’re a little different than what I’m used to, but I like it. It’s different.” He smiled at her making her smile back at him as she continued to eat.
“That’s great, Aang. I’m glad you’re excited about this. The next four years for you are going to be great!” She grinned. Sokka smiled eating with Suki with a chuckle as she giggled staring at him, just enjoying being in his presence. The couple truly appreciated the time they got to have together knowing time together is usually scarce.
“So what clubs are you doing today?” Sokka questioned after swallowing, no longer following his sister and Aang’s conversation.
“Just the martial arts club and self-defense club here.” She started, “But I’m going to be doing a lot of volunteer work around the city too. Next week, I’m teaching the local cops a few moves to up their hand to hand combat game.” Sokka nodded listening to her chuckling with a small bit of pride for his girlfriend.
“Of course you’re going to be busy this year.” He sighed a little, his lips still curved into a small smile. Sure he was proud of her, but he longed for time with her and just her. Suki gave him an apologetic smile.
“I know you’re feeling like I have to schedule time for you, but I do love you Sokka. But this is for the college of my dreams, you know that.”
“I know. And I want you to get there. But…sometimes….” He stopped and looked down. “Never mind Suki, just go for it.” Understanding, Suki placed her hand on his. “And when you get all the medals for courage and the peace prize for kicking all sorts of ass all over the world, we can do all the couple things we’ve been missing out on now.” With a giggle, Suki nodded kissing his knuckle.
“Deal, babe.” The two of them finished leaving Aang and Katara to themselves as they waved and left the lunchroom. “But for now, let’s just focus on the time we have now.” And with that, the bell rang once again. Sokka laughed a little sadly.
“Just like last year.” Suki heard the pain behind his laughter and squeezed his hand.
“No. I made it my goal this year to spend more time with you.” Pulling her close he placed his hand on her waist with a sigh.
“Don’t worry about it Suki. I told you I’d stand by you though all your decisions, and if you want to do all this to get into your dream college, I’d willingly sacrifice my time with you.” Suki raised an eyebrow with a small smirk.
“I’m glad you said that, because I’m hardly going to see you all week due to the new clubs and I have to prepare for all the presentations for bodyguards and cops. Not to mention I have a competition coming up so I can’t go on our date so I can train.”
“Are you kidding me!? You swore we were going to go to the movies to not watch them!” Sokka whined making his girlfriend chuckle.
“I thought that would break you.” Suki smiled and placed her hand on his cheek. “You don’t worry about getting in my way for college. I know what I’m doing and I won’t burn myself out. I want to spend more time with you. Just as much as you missed me, I missed you, alright?” She kissed his cheek and started to walk to her class. Sokka watched her leave a little worried. “By the way! That movie date’s still on!” With a sadistic smirk, Sokka made his way to the second half of his school day. This just may be a promising school year.
Well hello there~ *blows kiss* I’m Mari~ You may call me that if you wish, or Cocoa is fine too. No need to add the miss. Too formal. I can’t draw, but I’ll try and make vivid pictures in your mind
with my words. I love to write. I also love singing and can do a little bit of voice acting. (Still a beginner) I love notes and messages so don’t be afraid to chat it up every once and a while~ ^^ I also am considering modeling too so don’t be surprised to see a ton of pictures of me~ (I’m quite a ham~ XD)
But I am a lot of fun, don't be afraid to ask for writing advice or do a critique either! I’m more than happy to give/receive it since I’m only writing fan fiction for myself at the moment.
You are a Chibi Seme
This content is intended for mature audiences.
or, enter your birth date.*
But I am not
going to sleep with you
in the mood to be sexualized every five minutes
I do have
a stash of the most unhealthy foods you can think of
friends that are not models (and I love them all dearly)
reasons to fight
the craziest laugh