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Detention - Chapter 15Chapter 15
Neither Zuko nor Katara knew the teacher supervising them during detention. "I guess Ms Joo Dee and Mr Long Feng were too humiliated," Zuko whispered. The sound of his voice was met with by a glare from the supervising teacher.
"I feel gross," Katara sighed. "I want to go home and have a shower already."
"Shh!" the teacher hissed. "No talking!"
In the dragging silence, Zuko slipped his hand under the table and placed it gently on her knee. She smiled, trying not to look at him in case the teacher noticed. His hand was warm and comforting. A laugh almost escaped her lips when he started rubbing circles on her leg, but she reduced it outburst to a sudden squirming in her seat. Unfortunately, that caught the teacher's attention and Zuko quickly pulled his hand away from her before they were caught. The action was more sudden that Katara had expected, especially considering his crude outburst which had landed them in detention to begin with. She suspected something
Detention - Chapter 14Chapter 14
Ba Sing Se seemed to be humming quietly with the life that existed during school hours. Katara weaved through the sea of bodies without looking into the faces of anyone who passed her by. Somewhere behind her, Zuko followed less seamlessly, trying to catch up.
"Katara, wait," he called out when he was close enough. "Katara, that's not what I meant when I said that."
"Really?" she said doubtfully, without slowing down. "Then what did you mean, Zuko? Tell me that."
He grabbed her by the arm. "I meant that it didn't mean anything between Jin and I. Not to me, anyway."
She pulled her arm away from him. "Then why would you do it?"
"She kissed me! Not the other way around. And hey, what was I meant to do?" He finally caught up with her properly and pulled himself around in front of her, forcing her to stop. "Katara, I left her straight afterwards. I didn't mean for it to happen."
"So what about last night then?" she asked, defensively.
Zuko felt himself blushing. "La
Detention - Chapter 13Chapter 13
The sound of voices dragged Zuko back to consciousness and for a moment, he considered letting himself drift back to his dreams. Next to him, Katara continued sleeping peacefully. His sleep-heavy eyes showed him the smiling face and messy hair. But the sound of voices elsewhere in the house became clearer, and Zuko felt his stomach twist as he recognized who was there.
"Wake up," he hissed, shaking Katara.
She gasped as she came around and then glared at him. "What –?"
"Shh! You need to hide."
He didn't answer, but instead, grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her up from the bed. He threw his wardrobe door open and pulled her around to stand in front of him. "Sorry about this… please, just keep quiet."
Suddenly, that voice was right outside his bedroom door. "– so if you'll excuse me, Uncle, I'd like to see my brother." Zuko took one final look at Katara's confused and fearful face before he shut the door. He took a step back from the
Detention - Chapter 12Chapter 12
Within minutes, Katara deemed herself thoroughly lost. The streets she found herself wandering down were dark and unfamiliar, in a part of Ba Sing Se she didn't know by day. She was tired and the air was chilly. To make things worse, the smell of rain clung to the air, and the stars and moon were completely obscured by clouds; it was going to start pouring down on her any minute. All she wanted to do was go home and forget about her hazardous afternoon.
What was so hazardous about it? She thought to herself. She turned a corner and slowed down for a moment, but a prickling feeling at the back of her neck convinced her to speed up again. Someone was watching her; she could feel it. But as she peeked over her shoulder, she was met with nothing but darkness. This is weird… She turned another corner and looked around for anything that might be familiar, or a street-sign she might recognize. Instead, she realized half-way down that she'd turned not int
Detention - Chapter 11Chapter 11
The Jasmine Dragon was just as quaint and peaceful as Katara had suspected. They became a part of the steady flow of customers and sat across from each other at a small table. The afternoon was quickly disappearing into the night, and streetlamps and shop-lights were starting to compensate for the lack of sun. A tiny dinner candle flickered on the table between them, and Zuko ran the tip of his finger back and forth over the top of the flame.
"Doesn't it burn you?" He shook his head. "I've seen my brother do that trick before too, but I've never been game enough to try it."
She shrugged. "I guess I'm afraid of getting burned."
Zuko gave a low chuckle. "You don't have to be afraid. That's the only reason you will get burned. It's easy; you just have to be quick." He demonstrated again, running his finger over the small flame. He showed her his fingertip, just as unmarred as the rest of the pale skin on his hand: it showed no resemblance whatsoe
Detention - Chapter 10Chapter 10
Sokka went to the hospital after school to visit Aang and Toph and annoy Suki while she worked. With this lucky coincidence, Katara didn't bother to explain who Zuko was or why he was following her home. Gran-Gran was asleep on her recliner and Momo barked excitedly, running around in circles at the sight of Zuko. "Momo, shh!" Katara hissed, checking to make sure Gran-Gran hadn't been disturbed. She slept soundly and Katara led Zuko up to her bedroom, picking Momo up as she closed the door behind her.
"It's very blue in here," he remarked, eyes looking for a different colour on her walls.
"I like blue. What of it?" Zuko just shook his head. "I have the picture here," she said, picking it up in the plastic pocket. At the sound of the crackling plastic, Momo wriggled free of her arms and hid underneath her bed. "He hates plastic."
"I see..." Gently, he took the picture from her hands. "This is really good."
"I wish I could give it to Aang already. I don't want to
Detention - Chapter 9Chapter 9
The Intensive Care Unit was much different to the ward Aang had been in earlier. It was more impersonal and somewhat scarier with all of the machines and chords and needles and sounds. The patients seemed hopeless and lifeless in their beds, in their comas, in their crippled bodies. Aang's skin was paler than Katara had ever seen it, the dark circles beneath his eyes prominent and the ominous machine beside his bed the only thing keeping him alive. Katara ran a hand over her friend's face.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there," she whispered. A tear escaped her eyes and she swiped it away angrily; crying wasn't going to help her friend. "I'm sorry."
She felt Suki place a hand on her shoulder. "Dr Pakku said I can go home." She looked at Aang, lost in unconsciousness. "Come on, before it gets too late. It's almost six o'clock." Katara nodded and followed the young nurse through the endless corridors of the hospital.
The streets of Ba Sing Se were crowded with people who had been d
Detention - Chapter 8Chapter 8
Katara was out of bed late the next morning. She didn't feel like going to school. All she wanted to do was return to the hospital and sit by Aang's bedside. Surely he'd wake up soon, and she'd finally be able to give him the picture. Katara ran her fingers over the artwork and tucked it into a plastic pocket on her desk. Aang's puppy, Momo, had a bad habit of rummaging through her belongings and chewing on things he shouldn't, but Katara had quickly learned that the creature she was babysitting for her friend while he was sick didn't like plastic. The picture would be safe.
Ms Joo Dee gave her a dirty look as she came late into her first class. Katara made a mental note not to open her school-bag too wide or take her sketchbook out, just in case the smiling woman realizing it was no longer in her confiscation box. She sat down and started her work, feeling sluggish and unable to concentrate. Outside, the clouds from the previous day had cleared to make way for the sun
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
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