Katara gains some insight.


           Katara eyed Zuko skeptically, pretending to be enjoying the cloudless sky and summer warmth from the river bank while he practiced his pseudo-water bending. He was naked to the waist, the pants he had on rolled up to the ankles, feet bared as he flowed from one movement to the next.  He was as fluid and poised as any waterbender, and that angered her. “What right did the son, and grandson, and great-grandson of the men who had started and continued a world war for nothing more than vengeance and arrogant pride?” What right did he have to bend life itself where his family had brought only death and destruction… it was maddening? 

            She shot to her feet as he ended; his movements a mixture of water bending and something else? She noticed his hips writhing, moving like a snake to a charmers flute.  He ended with a flourish; poised on the balls of his feet, his arms raised above him with the wrists crossed. His head bowed as if in the presence of a spirit, or a god?  He stood that way for a moment then glanced up, green meeting blue.

            “So did you enjoy the show?”  She felt her face burning, embarrassment that he had caught her spying quickly turning to anger. “What was that?” her voice a mix of curious and angry. “Oh that; it’s an ancient form.” he ducked his head as he said the words.   “It looks a little girly” she can’t help but tease him.   “Maybe that’s why women in the Fire Nation have always been treated as equals” he bites back; his voice echoing triumph. She glares, hating him for who he is and for the fact she can’t help but feel a little jealous.

            He’s shown to be a better healer than her and now that he cans waterbend; even if it is a fluke of his life bending, she feels insecure. Her role as the team’s only waterbender and healer is now being threatened. Her role is being threatened by the prince of the Fire Nation, whose soldiers are responsible for killing her mother. She fights back the urge to hit him, to keep hitting him until he hurts as bad as she does. He’d said once that this war had taken his mother away from him and his sister too. She doesn’t know what to do with that, the fact she pitied him makes her sick. She doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

            “The form you just did, it’s really beautiful”   she says hoping he’ll take her olive branch for what it is. She may not like him but Aang needs Zuko, and the world needed Aang. Zuko nods his head a reflective look on his face.  “It’s called Raising the Gods; according to the scrolls if enough benders performed it and they were truly spiritual the Gods would be compelled to answer.”    He looks over at her out of the corner of his eye, his face watchful like he’s afraid she’ll laugh at him. She blinks, not sure even what to say. “It’s a pretty myth” she finds herself saying.            

            He stares out at the endless forest, looking anywhere but in Katara’s direction. “The scroll also said that the first firebenders and waterbenders were one civilization” his voice sounding pained. Zuko makes a mental note to not be around water when Katara gets angry.

Next Chapter:

Spark: Chapter 11: Culture