Running and Newlyweds
Suki and I returned to the house after an unsuccessful trip into town. We sat on the steps and waited for the others to come back. Suki let out a deep sigh,
"So how are things with Zuko?" I shook my head.
"Very complicated. I know I care about him more than a friend but I don't want to hurt Aang." Suki nodded and looked up at the sky. I looked up too and saw Appa's outline coming towards us. He landed with a thud on the ground. Sokka obviously hadn't found Aang either.
"I take it you didn't find him either." We gave him a sad nod he jumped off Appa and walked over. He sat down next to Suki and looped an arm around her waist. This made me feel suddenly very alone. I wanted to have Zuko wrap his arms around me like that keep me safe and warm. I was pulled out of my day dream by a sudden crash coming from the woods. Zuko and Toph came flying out of the bushes. Zuko was pulling Toph along by the looks of it he was holding her hand guiding her. Sokka stood up.
"What's going on?" Toph looked scared and Zuko was trying to stay calm.
"Azula she's coming here. We saw her on the beach." She was here?
"We don't have long she'll be here in a few minutes. Grab what you can." Zuko yelled. We went into a frenzy. I raced to my room and threw my clothes in my bag. I ran back out to Appa and threw my bag up to Sokka he caught it and dropped it in the saddle. Toph was just behind me she used her earthbending to rocket herself into the saddle. Suki came running out I linked my hands together ready to catch her foot and help get her up. She knew what I was doing and the move worked perfect. Only Zuko was left, I knew he could get up on his own easily. So, I began to climb when I was almost in the saddle I realized I had forgotten my mother necklace. Sokka was holding his hand out to me but I dropped back onto the ground.
"Katara! What are you doing?" I began to run back into the house.
"I need to get moms necklace!" I yelled back if Azula found it she would know we were here and try to find us. As I ran back into the house Zuko was running towards me.
"What are you doing? Get back to Appa." I kept running towards him. He grabbed my arm as I was about to pass him.
"No I have to get my mother's necklace." He held me still for a moment.
"I'll get it you go and get on Appa. Don't wait for me if I don't make it back in time tell Sokka to meet me at south beach." He pressed his lips to mine in a rushed kiss. He pulled away and ran back towards my room. I stood there frozen for a moment, and then ran back to Appa. When I got back to him Sokka asked.
"Where's Zuko?" I didn't get on Appa.
"He's getting mom's necklace. Meet us at south beach." Sokka looked at me in shook.
"We aren't leaving without you."
"I'm not leaving Zuko." He opened his mouth to protest
"There's no time, go now." I knew he didn't want to leave me but he snapped the rains and they flew off into the sky. Zuko ran out of the house at that moment.
I saw Katara standing there watching them fly away. Her mother's necklace was in my hand. I ran up to her and grabbed her arm. She looked at me with those beautiful sad blue eyes.
"Why didn't you go with them?"
"I wasn't going to leave you here." I stared at her in shook but we didn't have time. I grabbed her hand and we ran through the woods away from the house. She kept up with me as I ran ahead but soon I felt her slowing down. I knew she was getting tiered but, we couldn't stop. Then I felt her stop suddenly I spun around in time to watch her fall. Her foot had caught on a root, I tried to catch her but I was too late. Her head hit a rock as she hit the ground I was next to her in a moment. I lifted her up into my arms and brushed back her hair to see a deep gaping cut in her head. Blood was running out of it very quickly I opened my bag and found a rag and pressed it to the cut. I dropped her necklace into the bag so it would be safe. The bleeding slowed but didn't stop, her eyes where closed but she was breathing. I had to get her help. I wished that she was awake and could heal herself. I lifted her into my arms and found the road we had been running along. With Katara cradled in my arms I prayed we would pass a farmers home and that it would be someone who hadn't seen my picture in a long time.
After walking for several hours my prayer was answered. A small path that led off the road and to a farmer's house by the looks of it. Katara was still out and getting very heavy to carry. I hurried along the path and to the front door of the house. I kicked the door three times and waited. A moment later a middle aged woman opened the door. Her black hair was streaked with gray, she had a gentle look about her. When she saw Katara in my arms and the blood on my shirt her amber eyes grew wide.
"Please help us. She fell and hit her head she needs help." She didn't say anything just ushered us inside. She led us to a small guest room by the looks of it.
"Put her on the bed." I laid Katara down and gently brushed back her hair from her face.
"How long ago did this happen?" the woman asked.
"Several hours." I then realized I needed to make up a story about who we were and how this had happened. The lady walked out of the room, this gave me time to think. I decided to say we were newlyweds and on our way to our honeymoon when she fell. I had to change our names as well Lu Ten was good for me but what about her I didn't want to give her a name that would offend her but it had to be a fire nation name. Ta Min sounded like a good name for her. The woman came back in and began to clean the cut.
"My name is Ming. How did you two end up out here?" she asked. I was still holding Katara's hand and gently stroking my thumb across the back of her hand.
"We are newlyweds. We were on our way to our honeymoon when she fell. My names Lu Ten and she's Ta Min." She finished her work quickly then stood up and walked to the door.
"My husband, Poon, will be home soon. You are welcome to stay here for the night."
"Thank you." I said but my eyes never left Katara. I sat there hoping Katara would wake up soon and I could tell her what was happening. As I waited I opened my bag and saw the necklace and wondered. I pushed the thought out of my mind and changed into a clean shirt. After about an hour her eyes opened.
I saw Zuko staring down at me. My head was pounding and I felt slightly dizzy. His eyes lit up when our eyes met. I pressed a hand to my head and felt the cut. Just my luck this would happen. I began to take in where we were it was a small comfortable room. I noticed Zuko was holding my hand.
"What happened? Where are we?" I asked. Zuko took a deep breath.
"After you fell I was able to find this house. It's owned by a farmer, Poon, and his wife Ming. They are going to let us stay for the night so you can rest. I told Ming we are newlyweds on our way to our honeymoon. My name is Lu Ten and your name is Ta Min." I blinked up at him. It was insanely risky for him to stay at the home of anyone in the fire nation. What if the recognized him? They would probably find guards and tell them we were here.
"Can I have some water?" Zuko shook his head no.
"If they find out you're a waterbender then our cover is blown. Wait till we leave tomorrow morning and then you can heal yourself." I had to agree with him it would be stupid of me to heal myself no one could heal that fast. Zuko was still holding my hand and stroking the back of it. He was looking down at our joined hands with a soft sad look.
"Why did you kiss me at the house?" His eyes flicked up to mine and held them there.
"I don't know. I guess I was afraid of getting caught by Azula and never seeing you again." I knew I cared for him deeply and I need to stop worrying about everyone else for a little while and think about what I needed. I reached out my hand and touched Zuko's scar the same way I had in Ba Sing Se. He began to lean in closer to me but we heard a knock on the door. He sat up straight.
"Come in." The door swung open and there stood a middle aged man with graying hair. He looked like a gentle and descent man. Next to him stood a middle aged woman who also had gray streaked hair and a soft look to her. She reminded me of Gran Gran in some ways.
"Good to see you awake Ta Min." she said in a gentle voice.
"It's a good thing your husband found our house or who knows how long you could have been unconscious." Poon said lightly. I smiled at Zuko. He was looking over at them as if to see if they would recognize him.
"Well that's my Lu Ten always looking out for me." I gave his hand a squeeze. He relaxed a fraction and smiled at me.
"You just have to be more careful of where you're walking."
"When you fell strong enough you are welcome to come out for dinner." Ming said. With that Poon and she left us alone in the room. I looked over at Zuko again.
"Do you think they recognized you?" He shook his head.
"I don't know the woman no, but the man may have." He didn't let go of my hand.
"We better go out there for dinner so we don't raise any suspicion." I let go of his hand and pushed myself up onto my elbows. My head began to spin but Zuko had his arm around my shoulders. He felt so safe and warm I never wanted him to let me go.
"Let's just take things slow." He said. A few minutes later we made it out to the main room where Ming had food set out on the table. About half way there the meal Ming stood up and went back towards the room we had been in. She returned after several minutes. Dinner passed with little talking. When it was over Zuko and I headed back to our room. My head had cleared mostly and I could walk on my own without feeling dizzy. But, what was going to happen next was what really scared me. How where we going to make them think that we were real newlyweds? I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw our room and what Ming had done. There where candles spread out around the bed. All of them where lit, casting soft shadows around the room. The sheets had been changed to obviously there best white cotton sheets. I looked over at Zuko and we both blushed.