Zuko had bad dreams that night. He didn’t remember what they were, but he woke up thinking about his old school and he just felt a sensation of discomfort. Something about his old friends? No, those friends were something his dream made up. They didn’t really exist. The realization depressed him a little more.
Looking out his window and seeing the Colonel go out to his car didn’t help him feel any better. Why had that girl insisted they go to his house? Maybe that’s why he had bad dreams. He just didn’t like that he was already on his neighbor’s bad side. He’d been feeling okay yesterday until that point.
Zuko was still uneasy when he came down for breakfast. Still uneasy when he walked out the door. Still uneasy the whole time he waited for his school bus. Then he got to school and saw Katara, and he became even more uneasy. She was a concrete reminder, something to anchor his thoughts on something he didn’t want to think about.
But she saw him, and she smiled, and she started talking to him, and Zuko couldn’t think of a reason to get away.
So he listened to her apologize and talk and explain, but he wasn’t really paying attention until she said, “hey, are you paying attention?”
“Sorry,” he said, shaking his head. “I, look, I’m kinda feeling weird and I kinda want to keep to myself today.” He gave her a look that was half exhaustion, half pleading.
“Yeah,” Katara said, her demeanor shifting immediately to match Zuko’s melancholy, “I guess I can see that. Look, I’m sorry about yesterday.”
“I get that you don’t want to talk about it now, but just, if you do, let me know.”
And then they parted ways.