Katara opened her eyes Groggily. She was lying on the floor of the crystal cave, and zuko was sitting across from her. The green crystals stuck out all around them making the place seem alien.
"Well why haven't you killed me yet?" There was a spark of anger in her voice, but zucko in his blue spirit mask only regarded her silently tilting his head at an angle. He did not speak.
Katara growled in frustration, and kicked one of the green crystal things, hurting her foot in the process. She hopped around on her uninjured foot grumbling in frustration.
She turned on Zuko growling at him
"This is your fault". She stamped her foot. Zuko shook his head.
"Katara you are behaving like a child."
She made a face "Am Not."
He raised an eyebrow at her, and she began to laugh at herself. "How long have we been down here?"
"About two hours."
Zuko sat with his back against the cold cave wall, watching Katara fidget. She was beautiful. He had always thought so, but had kept it to himself for obvious reasons. His uncle seemed to suspect it, but he didn't think anyone else knew. He admitted to himself that being stuck in a cave with her was not the worst thing that could have happened to him. They set in silence for the next few hours each person's thoughts turned inward.
Finally Katara spoke; startling Zucko
"Why do you chase the Avatar?"
Zuko gave a short bitter laugh. "Because I have no choice."
"You always have a choice." She said softly. She didn't realize it, but she was leaning towards the fire nation prince.
Zuko to was leaning forward, and turned away as soon as he realized it.
"Katara, I am exiled from my home, my country, and my family. I have no choice."
She looked at him realizing for the first time that maybe he wasn't evil after all. She had always thought that he was selfish, but maybe she had misjudged.
"Prince Zucko, you must do what you believe to be right, no matter what you must sacrifice. This isn't just about you. The fate of the world hangs in the balance."
"You sound like uncle." He laughed realizing that she didn't know much about his uncle."
He noticed that Katara had started to shiver, as a fire bender his body was naturally warmer than average, so he wasn't as affected by the cold as she.
Chapter two building trust.
Though he wanted to, he knew she would not trust him enough to let him warm her up. Perhaps there was another way to keep her from freezing.
He sat down next to her.
"Do you want to learn to fire bend?"
"What only the Avatar.-"
"No, if I give you a flame you can hold it without burning yourself. You can control it, but only if the gift is given to you by royalty of the fire nation."
Her Eyes were as round as saucers. Zuko said softly, "it will mark you, but you will have to hide that mark. To the monks it will show you are a friend of the fire nation, but use it carefully for it would brand me a traitor."
"Zuko why would you give me such a gift."
He stomped off angrily to the other side of the cave avoiding her question."
She was blushing
"Zuko" he turned on his heel to face her.
"Katara we may be down here for awhile, if I don't give you this gift, you may get frostbite, or just out and out freeze."
She sat down. He sat just behind her, pulling her against his chest.
"What are you doing.!"
"Trust me, if I had wanted to hurt you I could have done it while you were asleep." His voice was right by her ear, and sent chills down her spine." "This is necessary, for the ritual to work."
"I can't see dignitaries, or nobleman doing this."
"This is normally meant for lovers." She went rigid.
"It will keep you from freezing" he said sternly.
If she was honest with herself she was intrigued by being this close to him, though everyone though she was destined for Ang, he was too immature, he was still only twelve, and she felt drawn to him as one might a little brother, but as a mate, never.
"Close your eyes, and trust me." So she did
"Place your hands in mine. Palm up." She was quiet, listening to his instruction.
"Feel my breath, and try to match yours to it." She felt his chest moving, even through the armor he wore.
Suddenly, her whole body was warm, and she felt calm.
"Open your eyes Katara." Zuko had removed his hands, and she was now holding a flame that floated just above her hands. It warmed her up.
"Wow." She spoke reverently.
"Let it fizzle out, it will still keep you warm. Just think of water, that should be easy." He smirked. "If you need the flame again, think of that moment intently, with the intention of drawing the flame and it will come back."
Suddenly she felt a pain searing her left shoulder, she gasped tears coming to her eyes.
"It is only the mark." It will pass. She still was resting against his chest, "and Katara, it woulden't have worked if you did not desire me."
She blushed, and looked at the rocks surrounding them as if they would yield a way out.
All of a sudden, she heard calling. It was her brother Saka, and the rocks started to tremble forming a door way out.