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|The Dragon and the Wolf ch.3|
November 09, 2013
The boat didn't move as fast as I wanted it to. I became very bored, and although I had Azula sitting right next to me I couldn't find anything to talk about. She was quietly sitting there twiddling her thumbs. She was so beautiful; she was wearing this incredible traditional dress. It was a piercing red on the bottom layer that flowed all the way down to her ankles. On top she had a piece of yellow fabric that layered itself on top of the red dress. Her hair laid flat against her face, and her eyes sparkled a radiant gold. The more I thought of Azula the more I realized how much I loved her. In the time that we had been together she became a very different person. As we made our way to the swamp I became excited to know that I would spend time with her, and not feel threatened by my sister or her brother.
Still deep in thought, our new friend Rohit began speaking to us. I wasn't paying attention until he spoke my name.
"Did you hear me?"
"Sorry, I wasn't paying attention."
"Well as I was saying, once we get to the swamp we will have to set up a camp somewhere. I will go and look for food, Sokka you can look for fire wood, and Azula can find something we can use for sleeping."
"Sounds like a plan."
"Why do I have to help, I'm a princess of the Fire Nation; I shouldn't have to do any of this work?"
"Azula, we have to work together so that we can remain free from our family's laws. I know that we're asking you to do things that you've never had to do before, but if you want to be free this is the price you'll have to pay."
"Can you at least help me until I figure out how to do this kind of stuff?"
"Of course I will."
"Thank you, I'm so glad that I got to meet someone as wonderful as you Sokka."
"And I'm happy that I got to see the real side of you." We embraced in a short kiss, and cuddled for the last part of the journey. When we arrived in the swamp we did what Rohit asked of us. Together Azula and I found wood for a fire, and supplies for making a tent. We met back at the campsite and put together a tent made of wood, clothe, and vines.
I helped Azula put up the first two tents, but she insisted on putting up her own. She did such a great job for never doing anything like this before in her life. You should've seen the look on her face when she finished her tent. Honestly I had never seen someone so happy in my entire life. I went over to her and gave her a huge hug.
"You did such a fantastic job on the tent." I then leaned in to kiss her. Honestly every time that I kissed her a spark surged through my body. I loved kissing her, everything about us being together felt so right when I kissed her.
Not too long after setting up the tents Rohit came back with plenty of fish for dinner. "Hey love birds, I'm back."
"Good, we're starving, we got everything all set up, the fire pit's over there." I pointed towards the center of the campsite. "Azula, you can set the fire now." In a flash the fire was blazing and the fish started cooking.
"So Azula how are you holding up so far?"
"So far so good, it's not as bad as I thought it would be. At least I have Sokka here to help me."
"You two better take care of each other. This life of yours will be tricky. You are both well known throughout the world. You'll be running for as long as you live. Are you both okay with this?"
"I didn't have much of a life back home. I am more than happy to be out of that hospital."
"Sokka?" I paused for a moment. I knew that I loved Azula, but I also loved my sister, I knew I would miss all my friends, family, especially my dad. I hadn't even thought about my father until now. What was he going to think of me when he heard I ran off with the psychopathic princess of the Fire Nation? My mind started to fill with doubt, but then I looked to Azula. I looked deep into those golden eyes that I loved so much. I knew that I didn't want to leave her. I then looked straight at Rohit, and I answered his question with sincerity.
"I love Azula, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to stay with her." I looked back over to her, she smiled. I hadn't realized how beautifully she smiled until now. I held my hand out to her, and she grasped it. We sat together around that fire, telling stories until night had come. We then retreated to our tents, and got some rest. Well at least I hope the others got some rest. Me on the other hand, I was up all night thinking about my father and sister. I remember apologizing over and over to them. My heart became torn. I knew I wanted to stay, but I loved my family.
Back in the Fire Nation
"Zuko, did the guards find anything?"
"They did, they found evidence that Sokka and my sister stayed at a small abandoned city near the edge of the Fire Nation. However, they have no idea where they went from there, but they'll keep looking."
"At least we found something; maybe we should go out and look for them. If we're all looking then maybe we will have a better chance of finding them."
"I don't know if I can Katara. I've been away from my throne for too long. It's time that I start taking care of my country."
"I understand Zuko. I'm going to talk to Aang we'll probably do the search on our own." She began to retreat to her room to get some sleep. "Would you be okay with Suki staying here Zuko?"
"That would be just fine."
"Thank you, I'm going to try and get some sleep, you should probably do the same."
"I will in a bit, I just need to finish up a few things." He stayed down there for a bit. He was unsure of what to do about his Azula problems, but he also had plenty of other things to deal with. After his return to the Fire Nation it seemed like so many things just got piled on top of him. He was very stressed. He was completely distracted when Suki walked in. He didn't even notice her until she spoke to him.
"It's getting late isn't it?" He looked up to see her right in front of him. He was a little shocked to see her. "Shouldn't you be getting to bed soon?"
"I have a lot of work that needs to get done. What's your excuse?"
"I couldn't sleep, every time I close my eyes I see Sokka, and I start crying."
"I'm sorry about what he did to you."
"If anything I'd feel sorry for him, since he's being used by your psychotic sister."
"He made the choice to run away with her, so he is deserving of whatever she does to him."
"Your sister could kill him though. I don't think he's deserving of death."
"I suppose not, but he should've known better than to believe that Azula could change."
"I agree, but as his friends we need to be supportive."
"You do realize that he cheated on you right?"
"I don't think that he actually loves Azula, eventually I'm sure he'll come back to me."
"I hope you're right." He then stood up, and walked over to Suki. He put his hand on her shoulder. "I'm going to get some sleep; you should try and do the same." They both went up to their bedrooms and slept through until the next day. When they woke up they found a note:
Aang and I went to find Sokka,
We'll be back once we find them.
While we're gone, Zuko, take good care of Suki.
Love Aang and Katara.
Unsure of where they were exactly, all Zuko and Suki could do was wait for their return.
Back in the Swamp
The next morning we spent the day exploring the swamp. Azula's dress kept on getting caught on branches and eventually got ripped up. We had to go, and find her something more suitable to wear. Sadly, however, we had to make do with remaining clothes. Azula wasn't happy about what she was wearing. It was funny to listen to her complaining about not having any fancy clothing to wear. Rohit got very annoyed with all the whining so he stayed far enough ahead to barely hear it. Me on the other hand, I was right next to her laughing at how ridiculous she sounded. She shoved me a little, but it wasn't a mean shove. I just kept laughing. Eventually we found this amazing waterfall in the swamp. It was honestly one of the most beautiful places that I had ever seen. Azula and I raced over to the water, it was nice and warm. We jumped right in and swam over to the waterfall.
We sat on some rock near the waterfall and cuddled. I loved being there with Azula. Every time I was with her I forgot about all the regret in my heart.
"I could get used to this." Azula's words shocked me. After all that complaining about no servants and nice clothes, it was nice to hear something positive from her mouth. "As long as I have you I could live here forever, and not care."
"I feel the same way." We embraced in a passionate kiss, that seemed to go on forever, and we continued to sit in that same spot enjoying each other's company until the swamp benders showed up. It was my two favorite people, that was sarcasm by the way. They came speeding in Due and Tho. When they saw me and Azula they immediately stopped and came over.
"Is that you, Sokka?" Due was the first to speak. In my opinion he had a big mouth.
"Hey, Due, hey, Tho, what's up?"
"Sokka! We're so glad to see you." They ran up to me and gave me very big hugs. Then Tho looked over at Azula. "Who's this?"
"This is Azula, she's my girlfriend." I looked over at Azula who was smiling. She was obviously overjoyed that I called her my girlfriend.
"Why she's such a pretty girl, congratulations man." Due seemed to have no clue who Azula was, and by the expression on Tho's face I assumed that he didn't either.
"Yeah, she's a keeper." I was happy to know that Tho also didn't know who she was.
"Well anyway, why don't you and this fine young lady come join us for dinner?"
"We would love to, oh and can my friend Rohit come join us as well?"
"Of course he can, everyone is welcome." after Due was done finishing his answer, and we'd all gotten on the boat we raced off back to their home. When we got there I wasn't surprised that everything looked exactly the same as before. Everyone there was so friendly they got Azula some more comfortable clothes, which was just a simple green skirt and top. We then joined them for a very festive dinner. While we were all eating and having a good time another one of my old friends showed up. When Huu showed up I was a little nervous to see him, but when he came over and gave me a huge hug I knew that everything was going to be fine. We caught up very quickly, and I introduced him to Azula. He also had no idea who she was, and I was very happy about that. Then once we caught up this very festive music started to be played everyone started to dance. I grabbed Azula's hand and we joined in the celebration. We were both enjoying ourselves so much. When I got tired I sat down, but Azula kept on dancing, she was so beautiful, and everyone enjoyed her dancing. While I watched Huu came over and talked with me again.
"So, you are here without your sister and other friends?"
"Yeah, I had to take a break for a while. I needed to just spend some time with the woman that I love."
"Well that's strange."
"I feel so much regret and doubt radiating off of you. Are you sure you're just taking a break?"
"I knew I couldn't fool you."
"My family doesn't accept me dating Azula, so we ran away, but I miss them so much."
"What your family needs is time to get used to your love. In time they will accept her."
"How can you be sure?"
"Faith, that's all you need, is just a little faith. For now we can be your family. We will welcome you both in with open arms!" The entire tribe cheered, and we celebrated all through the night. When the party ended we were given our own hut. They truly welcomed us in. The next day the men asked me to join them on a hunting trip. Of course I went with them. Azula, on the other hand, was asked to help with some chores around the tribe, and surprisingly she was glad to help. She was also asked to help watch some of the children, and she was also taught how to prepare for the return of the hunting party.
Before I left Rohit came up to me, and told me that he had to leave. I was sad to say goodbye, but I knew it was wrong of me to ask him to stay. We said our goodbyes, and he left shortly after.
Azula and I got used to our lives in the swamp very quickly; I was one of the best hunters that they had around. Also Azula was loved by all the tribal children, she even became their teacher. She taught them all about the outside lands, the different creatures, the Avatar, and over time the culture in the swamp. Although we were far away from our families, we felt right at home with our new one. However, unknown to us at the time Katara and Aang were searching all over the world for us.
"Hey Aang, do you think we'll ever be able to find them?"
"I don't know, we've already been searching for a month. Maybe we should take a break. We could go back to the Fire Nation, and see how Suki's doing."
"I guess we could do that."
"We'll start our search again after a little break, okay sweetie." I guess I hadn't realized it had already been a month, but life was so wonderful here in the swamp that time didn't matter. Katara and Aang took a very long break; they stopped their searching for us for a year. During this time Azula and I got completely used to our lives in the swamp. We both conformed to their way of life, we dressed like them, we talked like them, and we got spiritually attached to the land. Then one day while meditating under the great banyan-grove tree with Huu; I decided it was time that me and Azula got married. That same day I proposed to her, and a few days following, the ceremony was held.
Huu conducted the ceremony, and we became spiritually attached for life. That night we celebrated among our brothers and sisters; I had never been so happy before in my entire life.
Life seemed to be going so perfect; I had a wife and a great tribe that I loved dearly.
Months went by when suddenly my family was about to grow. Azula became pregnant with our first child. The joy that I felt when we learned of this was so immense that I still remember all the celebrating that occurred throughout the tribe. Our entire tribe was happy for us, and when my son was born, whom we named Abhaya, he was welcomed right into the tribe. Azula and the other women would take such good care of him, teaching him all he needed to know. I knew that one day, as his father, I would teach him how to hunt. For now, however he spent most of his time with his mother.
He seemed to grow up so fast, in fact we all did. I hadn't realized it until his 5th birthday that Azula and I had truly matured. I remember listening to her, one day, telling our son of how Avatar Aang put an end to the horrible Hundred Year War, and how I had saved her from a life of sadness and loneliness. To him I was a hero, and she was his beloved mother. What surprised me the most was that she had changed her point of view so much. She finally knew that what the Fire Nation did was wrong, and it was at this moment that I thought it was time for us to return to our loved ones. I spent many weeks meditating on this decision.
Then one day something very wonderful happened. We discovered that our son was a fire bender. Azula was overjoyed to learn this. While he began fire bending training with her, I continued my meditation. The decision was hard, but I knew that it was time to go home. So Azula and I told the tribe our decision, and they helped us prepare for our departure. It didn't take long for us to leave. We were all sad to leave, but we were also excited to see our families again.
We decided to go to the Fire Nation first, but first we would have to get there by a bigger ship. We traveled to a port town in the Earth Kingdom. Once we got on the boat we knew that there would be trouble ahead, but we also knew that we were making the right decision. We sat on the boat, Azula and I cuddled, and our son sat on her lap. We were ready for what was coming or so we thought.
For the collective works of the author, go here.