A/N – This one's all about Zuko, and then Katara at the end….that's all I got.
Note – I turned off the anon reviews for the sheer reason that since I'm actually releasing stories on a regular basis, my theory is, that if you really want to review my stories, you'd have as much audacity to log in so I can respond. Otherwise, it's kind of disappointing that an anon randomly appears and reviews. I like to respond, but I can't if it isn't an account.
Title – Preparing for War
Rated – PG-13/T for Crude Language
Summary – Zuko is dressing himself to lead his army into the upcoming war. While reflecting on the circumstances that lead to that moment, Katara walks in and finishes it up. After he leaves, she also reflects.
I wasn't really a bad guy. I never have been.
When I was chasing the Avatar and his friends, I was doing it with the thought that I'd reclaim my father's love.
When I betrayed them to my sister, I did it with the thought that I'd be able to reclaim the success I once had.
When I joined the Avatar, I did it with the thought that it was the right thing to do.
I have never been the bad guy, in any situation that I've put myself in. I've always fought for what I thought was right.
So here I am, putting on my armor for war. And for what? The world's biggest scandal?
Me and Katara, we always knew each other closely, whether as enemies or as allies, or maybe even more. Even when Katara was with the Avatar, she always kept a wandering eye on me. We always knew that despite her relationship with Aang, she always held some form of emotion for me. And despite the circumstances, I feel my nation felt the same thing to.
As a sigh releases from my lips, and I place my leather top on my chest, I can't help but go over the events that led to this. I mean, it's not like it's any different from any other affair. I guess this is so publicized and so into light because it's the Avatar and his friends, the heroes who saved the world from the scourge of Ozai and his hell daughter.
The chain mail falls over my head and onto my shoulders as I think about the time it happened. I was never there, in the Earth Kingdom I mean, to know precisely the causes, but when I got word of the affair, I knew Katara would come to me.
The Avatar and the Earth Kingdom Queen were always close. They had a lot of similarities, they shared some traits, she might as well have been a male, and she was even his Earth bender teacher. I guess the Avatar must've seen something in her that he didn't see in Katara, though I don't know what it could be. Sure, the Earth Kingdom Queen isn't that bad looking, but she's so young that the only commodity I can find in her is she's blind and can't see you. Other than that, she's about as girly as me…which isn't at all, now that I think about it.
Another thing that I never understood about this situation is how long it had been taking place. The only thing revealed was that he lied with her and Katara had found out. I guess a servant had found them in his bed and he took it to the public. Soon, everybody had known about the "scandal worse than Kyoshi's." During the events following, all the important news stands had questioned the Avatar, but he remained silent. Katara was the one who answered. She remained stoic and serious as she answered the questions meant for her lover. Within the confines of their home, she became the man of the house, so to speak, and took over the affairs, pun unintended, of their estate. That's when she sent me the letter.
I had received the aforementioned letter a few days ago. It had told me that she was tired of her lover's bullshit, and had decided to leave entirely. Sokka, her brother, had opted to join her and they had made their way to me via carriage. It was a long trip, but when they arrived, she saw comfort in me.
She told me that the Avatar was as stoic and unresponsive as one would expect. He only ever responded to the important needs, and to Katara, when necessary. Sokka said that he would stick by Katara at all costs, even if it meant leaving his ill-fated lover, Suki, back in the Earth Kingdom.
For the next two days, it was made clear where beds, so to speak, would lie. Katara would be in a relationship with me, Sokka would serve as our personal bodyguards wherever we would need to go. He was eager to do it. He was also eager to stay by his sister through everything.
As my shoulder armor is placed on my body, I reflect on when it happened.
Everybody everywhere remembers where they were when they attacked.
I was busy at a PR event, reading some book to some young children. I was in the middle of a sentence when Sokka walked up. He whispered in my ear that the Earth Kingdom had attacked a Fire Nation fleet off the coast of the Southern Water Tribe. They then attacked the said tribe.
People are calling it a genocide. People are comparing it to the attack on the Air Kingdom that my grandfather did all those years ago. People are calling it "World War 2."
I'm calling it personal vengeance.
They attacked us because we ousted them as the enemy.
They attacked us because they know they were wrong.
They attacked us because we have the advantage.
We all knew we were going to respond. Even my people knew we were. It was just a matter of how.
Me and Sokka talked over what to do. We had mentioned a surprise attack, hitting them how they hit us. We mentioned both of us walking into war as the leaders. We even mentioned releasing my sister to help us.
We opted for the second option.
So here I am, putting on my armor, preparing for a war that shouldn't even be in existence.
My door opens, and I turn around to see its Katara.
She walks up to me and looks into my eyes, a smile on her face. She places her hand on my scar and grabs my helmet to my left.
"Have you seen Sokka?" I ask.
"He had to deal with some personal issues, but he'll be back soon," she says.
We stare into each others eyes a bit more before I place a kiss on her lips. She takes it easily, but I soon break it off.
"You know I love you Katara," I say.
She nods at me before placing my helmet on my head, making sure it slides right over.
I kiss her again before heading out the door.
As I watch him leave, I can't help but begin to cry. I would be lying if I said I never loved him.
Sure, Aang and I were close, and I did have some feelings for him, but that shit-hole betrayed me when he slept with that skank.
I haven't had any contact with either of them since it happened. In fact, the only contact I have had since the incident is with my brother and Zuko. I haven't talked to anybody besides the servants since then and have no desire to. I prefer to be alone, obviously.
However, with Zuko leaving on war, that leaves the queen to be the leader, and since there is none, authority has unfortunately fallen on me. I wouldn't be so disappointed if I had a clue how to lead a country. The only "leading" I've done in my life is leading the children back to the encampment of the village after they wandered too far away.
None of this would've come into play, and wouldn't matter in the long run if that little prick didn't keep his dick in his pants long enough to wait for me. It makes me so mad. Sure, we weren't married, but the fact remains that he betrayed me.
We could've left it at that, but then he decided to make it personal and attack my people. The Fire Nation fleet wasn't my issue; it was the fact that he sent his people to murder tens of thousands of my people. People I grew up with, people I held close. Even my grandmother.
My tears fall down my cheeks as I remember Gram Gram.
I stare out the window at Zuko as he gives a speech to the ensuing soldiers that he will lead out into the world.
I stare out the window at the soldiers who will fight for what they believe is right, what they were taught was right. The same soldiers who fought with Ozai against us and against the same thing they're now fighting for.
I stare out the window at…a man rushing through the crowd, finding himself coming to the entrance to the palace. The man has a wound above his eye, bleeding profusely but not looking in any danger.
Nobody in the crowd, Zuko included, notices the man enter the palace. I don't know how long it takes, or how long I listen to Zuko blabber on about the war and how this is right, shit like that…
…but when the man makes his way into my room, wound still open and blood pouring out like a fountain, I know exactly who he is.
"Miss Katara," he says.
"You're…the warden to the prison," I say.
He nods at me, the blood from his wound falling to the carpet floor below him.
"We have a problem," he says.
I don't even know how long it takes me to just stand there, looking at the man, contemplating what went wrong. But it doesn't take me long to realize what's going on.
"Oh no," I say.
"Miss Katara, Azula's escaped…and…Sokka is with her," he says.
A/N – In other news, I'm getting more and more amped to be working on these universes. I found the series' ending to be a good one all in all, but I feel like their story isn't quite finished. Sure, The Legend of Korra will be a pretty awesome series, but I feel like the original characters could give us a bit more to use.
And while Mike and Brian won't give you this story, I feel like I can provide a decent replacement for what they could give you. Zutara, Sokkla, Taang or otherwise.