They were surrounding him. Tormenting him with their faces and words. One spit on him, one slapped him. But the worst was the look on her face. They circled him. "You dont belong here!" "Why dont you go back where you came from?" "You're a monster!" Around and around they circled. Slinging insults at him. Traitor, disgrace, monster, scarface. The names kept coming. The oldest boy with the blue eyes stepped forward and knocked him to the ground. The youngest girl with the jade colored eyes kicked him in the ribs. All the while calling him names and spitting on him. The abuse kept coming, but he didnt fight back. He deserved it. It didnt hurt him anyway. What hurt him the worst was the sad look in her blue eyes. The look that said he'd betrayed her. The tears rolling down her face cut straight into his heart and hurt him more than the blows and insults ever could.
The blows ended but the insults kept coming. "You betrayed us all!" "You shouldnt have come here!" "We dont want you here!" "Go hme you Fire Nation bastard!" He let the insults come. He didnt even try to retaliate. He knew he deserved all of this. His gold eyes filled with shame and pain. But the pain wasnt because of the insults. He'd heard them all before. It was her eyes that hurt him. They were haunting him. The look in them cut deep, and stabbed at his heart like an icy knife. It was worse than any pain he had ever felt. "Please. Someone stop this." Then he heard her call his name.
"Zuko." He looked at her and again felt a stab in his heart when he saw the crystal tears on her face. "Why did you betray us? Why didnt you stay with us in Ba Sing Se? Why did you betray me?" "I was wrong! I made a mistake! Forgive me! Please!" She only shook her head sadly. "Im sorry Zuko. But I cant ever trust you again." "No please! Im sorry! Im sorry!"
Now the others closed in on him. She backed away with tears rolling down her cheeks. They slung their insults once again. "No! Im sorry! Im sorry!" His apologies seemed to be falling on deaf ears. He screamed it until he felt his throat would bleed. "IM SORRY!"
"Zuko? ZUKO! Wake up!" Zuko sat bolt upright in bed. Panting heavily and his heart racing, he looked around. He realized he was in his own room at the palace. He was the new Fire Lord. The war was over and had been over for two months now. He breathed a sigh of relief and his heart rate began to slow. He looked around for the person who woke him and saw her sitting on the foot of the bed. "Are you okay?" He nodded and sat up. "Yeah. Just another nightmare." He sighed heavily and put his head in his hands. She went to him and put her arms around him. "Was it about your father again?" He shook his head and wrapped his arms around her. "No. It had to do with you. I dreamt I was back at th Western Air Temple again. You all hated me. Sokka, Toph, and Haru were kicking me and hitting me. Toph even spit on me. They hated me. You hated me." "Shhhh. Its okay. It was only a dream." "No! Thats just it! It wasnt a dream! It happened. I never should've betrayed you in Ba Sing Se! I'll never forgive myself for that!"
Zuko hung his head. Then he felt her hand under his chin as she gently lifted his head. She kissed his forhead, his right cheek, and then his scar. "Its okay sweetheart. You made up for that. We won the war. Its okay." He looked up into her blue eyes. The same haunting blue eyes from his dream. He put his arms around her again and held her tightly. "Do you know what hurt me the most about that dream? It wasnt the insults or the spitting or being knocked around. It was the look in your eyes. The sad look that I hate to see. Im sorry I ever put the look in your eyes and I'd die before I let anyone else do it!" She smiled and squeezed him tightly. "I know Zuko." She pulled back from him and moved to kiss his cheek. As she leaned forward, the light in the room glinted off the necklace she wore. It had a blue band and the stone in the center had a flame surrounding a heart that was made of three waves. Fire and water, comined together forever, as they were together forever. He took her hand and kissed it. "Im sorry I ever did anything to hurt you." "I know Zuko. I did and said things I regret too. But thats behind us now. I love you." He moved closer and, with a tenderness that brought tears to her eyes, kissed her lips. When they broke apart he said, "I love you too Katara."