She felt those Crystal Hues track her down the dock a brown tint to accompany them as she managed an anxious smile towards her brother. She hadn’t told him about this sporadic adventure with their long time enemy now turned teammate and she knew the anger would be rising with every inch she grew closer. ❝Sokka..I-I know ho-❞ A sudden squeeze to her body rid her lungs of air as the familiar scent filled her nose. ❝Im know why you wanted to do it Katara. But I’m glad you didn’t, what that man did to mom, to us as a result was in no way okay but I understand why you went with Zuko. Aang and I are more than proud of you.❞ The young waterbender felt a swell in her cheeks accompanied by the sheer emotion she had held in and let out as anger. Tears one after another swam down her cheeks as her brother returned the pain.
The sun was near the edge of its set as she saw the two off, remaning on the dock to sit a bit longer in the thoughts that swirled so viciously in her head. The man who caused so much pain and grief, ruining all they loved after Hokoda left and leaving him to live, she knew he wasn’t worth it, pathetic was all he grew too be. Zuko even saw the terrified man’s will too live, there was nothing to take. Yet she felt disgusting, using the power she swore off, infiltrating someone else’s body like that was wrong but she did it.
Her feet continued to hang from the wooden dock as she let out a heavy sigh, eyes locked on the worn and slim digits of her hands. ❝How could I do that again..❞
He knew she had to have space. On the way back, Katara had been quiet, and he hadn’t been able to read her mood. She let him do most of the flying from Appa’s head, a direct contrast to her stubbornness on the way out, when he’d had to convince her to sleep for even a little while.
So, he busied himself in helping move everyone’s things into his family’s old beach house. When that didn’t take as much time as he would have liked, Zuko made his way to the kitchen. He knew from listening to the others as they chattered throughout the house that Katara hadn’t come back, so he made dinner in her stead. It wasn’t that he didn’t think the others could fend for themselves (though he thought they all relied on Katara doing the busywork a little too much), but he thought it’d be nice to take her some food. They hadn’t eaten much before or after seeking out Yon Rha, and even if she didn’t have much of an appetite, he knew she should eat.
So, by the time he ventured out toward the docks again, the sun had already retreated beneath the water’s horizon, dragging down full dusk over the sky. She was easy to spot at the end, where she’d been earlier before she forgave him (something he still reeled a little at), and where she’d returned to after dropping her belongings off in a room of the beach house.
Zuko hesitated at the beginning of the dock, still standing on the sand, bowl of rice and vegetables clutched in one hand. Maybe he should let her be. She’d just been unable to get away from him for four straight days. Maybe he should have given the bowl to Sokka, or Aang, or even Suki to take to her; he suddenly felt as if he shouldn’t have come himself.
But, he had.
Now that he was here, he had to see it through. She still had to eat.
Zuko willed himself to walk along the wooden dock, making sure to his footsteps were even and audible, so as not to startle her. He could only imagine what must be going through her head after confronting her mother’s murderer. Sneaking up on her was not something he wished to do.
“I brought you some dinner,” he said, stopping a couple arms’ lengths back from where she sat looking out over the water.
Her mind raced with possibilities of what could’ve become of the situation and most of them ended in a horror show. Azure hues continued to scan the water as the sun simmered down creating the darkened atmosphere before the sudden pats of his feet echoed through enough for her to raise her gaze just a bit. Ears perked at the voice that made itself present. Zuko? Surely she thought the man was annoyed with her presence after the days spent together.
Dinner. She silently scolded herself for forgetting the others, knowing they hardly even know how to use a skillet let alone cook for themselves.
“Dinner..? That you made?” Her tone was quieter than usual, the hint of a tease weakly trailed along her words before she turned her whole body his way, the colors that adorned her figure made her feel out of place, certainly not of her people and she found it dishonoring to say the least. Letting out a soft huff of air she turned back towards the water as her feet re-entered the water, ripples of crystal clear liquid pooled around her toes. “You saw what I did to him.”
He frowned. Her thoughts were clearly nowhere near dinner, but… he couldn’t blame her. In fact, he had made the food, but Zuko somehow doubted she wanted to talk about that.
Taking a chance, he joined her the rest of the way at the edge of the pier and sat down, setting the bowl down between them. He wasn’t so close to her as to make her feel uncomfortable, he hoped. He sat there for several breaths, watching the expanding ripples shimmer across the top of the water from her feet.
“You did what you had to,” he said finally, quiet. He wasn’t quite sure she was talking about the retired Southern Raiders commander, as she hadn’t… really done anything to him, aside from scare the piss out of him (literally). But, he didn’t want to assume anything, and so didn’t try and guess at what she meant. At least, not out loud. He’d done plenty on the way back, where she’d been mostly silent, leaving him to wonder if he’d done the right thing in helping her find her mother’s killer. Zuko thought he had—he knew he desperately wanted to face his father and demand real answers about his mother. But, maybe that hadn’t been right for Katara.
Zuko frowned at the water beneath them. Right or wrong, he’d at least wanted to give her the chance and the choice. Everyone deserved that, he thought.