Sweet Dreams and Reality
I couldn't help but blush Katara was blushing to I noticed. I had no clue what to do. Katara was the first one to move. She closed the door quietly then went to one side of the bed and started to undress. I just stood there like an idiot as she took off her necklace then her shirt and pants. She turned her head and laughed.
"Oh come on Zuko. It's not like you never seen me in my under wraps before." I shook my head slightly but this was totally different. She had always been training or surfing when I had seen her. Now she was standing by a bed in candle light. I walked over to my bag and pulled out something I knew would make her laugh. I threw it to her and when she realized what it was she laughed.
"Really Zuko your night robe?" I smiled and raised my eyebrow. She slipped it on and tied the waist. When I looked back down at my bag I saw the necklace. I grabbed it making sure that the laces were inside my palm. I walked around the bed to her. I prayed that she wouldn't be offended or anything.
"If you were really going to be my wife you are missing one thing." She raised her eye brows and crossed her arms.
"What's that?" I couldn't help but let a smile cross my face.
"Turn around and close your eyes." I said she did. I brushed her hair out of the way and put the necklace on her. I suddenly remembered the whole incident with the pirates. Once I pulled my hands away she turned and looked at me. I couldn't help but think about how beautiful she looked.
"That's much better." I said. Katara smiled at me. I could have just stood there looking into her eyes forever. She suddenly blushed and looked away. I didn't know what to do, I wanted to kiss her again but I wasn't sure how she would react. The last thing I wanted to do was to make her mad. I figured it was better for her to make the first move. I took a step back and turned around. I walked back over to my bag and pulled off my shirt. Katara was pulling back to sheets on the bed and climbing in. One she was safely under the covers I grabbed the pillow from my side and one of the extra blankets. This way she could sleep without feeling awkward.
"What are you doing?" Katara asked. I dropped the pillow on the ground and fluffed the blanket out.
"Getting ready to sleep." I said in a dry voice. It seemed obvious enough to me.
"You can sleep next to me." She said in a small voice but it was enough. I picked up the pillow and walked back to the bed. As I placed the pillow on the bed I pulled back the sheets and slipped in next to her. For a long time we just laid there looking at each other. She seemed like she was debating whether or not to do something. I was secretly hoping that something was to kiss me but I remained in control and didn't move.
I made my choice, I reached out my hand and touched Zuko's face. He didn't move just closed his eyes in response to my touch. I moved myself a little closer to him and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek. When I pulled away his eyes opened slowly holding my gaze. Without thinking I moved my face towards his and pressed my lips to his. For a moment I thought he wouldn't kiss me back but he did. The kiss was passionate and unlike anything I had ever felt before. Zuko laces his arms around me and twisted his fingers in my hair. I cupped his jaw with one hand and knotted my fingers in his hair. I broke the kiss for the sudden need of oxygen. Zuko pressed his forehead to time giving me a small kiss on the tip of my nose. My nose wrinkled in response to the sweet gentle gesture. I never wanted that moment to end. Zuko and I were in our own perfect world. No war no complications just us holding each other. I rolled over so my back was to Zuko. He pressed his body to mine keeping an arm around my waist. Sleep suddenly washed over me like waves on a beach. I didn't want to sleep but I was being carried away against my will.
"Sweet dreams Katara." Zuko whispered against my hair. I closed my eyes and fell asleep in peace for the first time in a long time. In the morning I woke up to the sound of a steady heart beat and even breathing. Sometime during the Zuko and I must have moved but I didn't mind. One of my arms was draped across is stomach and my head was resting in the middle of his chest. His arms where wrapped around me. I felt his hands moving up and down my back in a soothing manner. For some reason I didn't make it known that I was awake. I just laid there listening to his heart. Zuko took a deep breath and let it out as a sigh.
"Katara I think I'm in love with you." He said I made sure my body didn't move at his words. Even though my heart had just leaped into my throat and was pounding.
"I wish I had the courage to say that when you were awake." He added. I knew I had to let him know I was awake so I opened my eyes and twisted my head to look up at him. He smiled at me and gave me a small squeeze.
"Good morning." He said he acted as though nothing had happened which I was glad he did. I pushed myself up onto my forearms.
"Morning." I said back. I leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss. For some reason everything I did with Zuko seemed to flow. We may have been opposites in every way imaginable but we completed each other. Just like the moon and ocean spirit one couldn't survive without the other. There needed to be both for there to be balance.
"We better get going so we can make it to south beach today." Zuko said I nodded in agreement and pushed myself off his chest. We both got out of bed and got dressed. I reluctantly took off moms' necklace and put on my fire nation one. I handed my moms' necklace back to Zuko and he put it into his bag for safe keeping. We opened the door of our room and didn't see anyone out in the main room. We walked out the front door and down the path. If it hadn't have been urgent that we get to south beach we would have said a proper good bye but there was no time. It was a relief to see no one on the way out. I just hoped they hadn't gone to get the guards. Zuko and I were back on the road and I had no intention of telling him I had heard what he said.
Once we were far enough away from the house Katara used her bending to heal herself. I had never seen her do it before and I had to admit it was pretty amazing. I kept thinking about last night and how perfect it had been. I also thought about how everyone would react to it when they found out. Sokka would probably try to kill me, so would Aang. Toph wouldn't care and Suki would probably be in shock. My thoughts went to the necklace in my bag. I knew that in the water tribe a man would carve a necklace for his bride and present it to her as an engagement gift. I wondered what Hakoda would say if I asked for his daughters hand. I also thought how my people would react to a waterbender as their Fire Lady. Katara was of high rank in the South Pole. If I was right Hakoda was chief and that made her a princess. There would be no problem with that but how would she feel. Katara would have to stay away from the Southern Water Tribe for long periods of time. I knew she liked the Fire Nation but I wasn't sure if she could live here.
Katara and I didn't talk much during the trip. I knew she was thinking about Aang and how this would affect him. I couldn't blame her. I was also thinking about Mai and what it would be like when I had to tell her. I hoped she would understand and that she wouldn't have any knives on her when I did. Mai had been my crush from when we were kids but I had always been just comfortable with her and I think she had felt the same. If she didn't it would make things even harder but I had to be true to my heart.
By late afternoon we had finally made it to south beach. We could see Appa standing on the beach near a cave. Katara broke out into a run to get to the cave. I wasn't that excited to get there. A part of me wished that Aang wouldn't be there and another part of me did. It seemed like I was at war with myself all over again. When I did reach the cave I didn't see Aang there, he was still missing apparently. We all sat around and began to think of a way to find him. They all looked at me.
"What?" I asked.
"Well you are the one with the most experience tracking the Avatar." Sokka said. Then an idea hit me.
"There's one way we might be able to find him." With that we all got on Appa. I took the rains and headed for the earth kingdom. Katara and I didn't bring up what had happened last night. I was relived with no one asked what had happened. We didn't talk much during the flight. After several hours we landed by a tavern in the middle of the earth kingdom somewhat close to Ba Sing Se. We got off and walked inside. There was a brawl going on when we came in and in the middle of it was just the person I was looking for. Jun the bounty hunter.