A collection of ZukoxKatara short stories. zutara

I'm revising all my stories. All my zutaras will be moved to this collection and this is also where any new zutara stories I might write in the future will go.

Melted Steam

Story 01: Lines in a Play

Aang, Sokka and Katara had stopped at a small town to find jobs and buy supplies. They had no money left and they had a long way to go. Luckily, the town's local theater was looking for actors and they got the jobs. They were going to rehearse and they were surprised to find that prince Zuko was also there. Apparently, the director had promised to give him valuable information about where the avatar was if he agreed to act in the play. As the director walked by, he looked at Zuko while pointing to Aang. "There he is," the director stated the obvious and needless to say Zuko was not amused.

"There he is, but you won't be here for very long," Zuko made a ball of fire in his hand.

"No Prince Zuko, don't do it!" Iroh stopped him. "Acting in a play might do you some good. A prince must know how to behave in front of many people."

Zuko glared at the director. "Fine. but just for one show."

Sokka was happy because an old lady who loved watching plays was giving them some free snacks. Sokka and Aang ate, while Zuko and Katara rehearsed. Zuko was playing the main villain and Katara was the heroin. Zuko's character was the classic villain that turns good after falling in love with the heroin. They had looked at the script and knew there was a kiss at the end, but Sokka and Aang were overconfident in their acting skills and they haven't read the script yet. Sokka was the one who had convinced Aang to slack off too.

"I will destroy your village!" Zuko acted, pointing a cardboard sword at Katara.

Katara drew her fake sword and pointed it at Zuko. "No you won't, because I will strip you!" Sokka choked when he heard his sister. He coughed and spat the chewed fruit all over Aang. The avatar stood there frozen in shook like a statue, with Sokka's chewed fruit all over his face. "I was just reading the script!" Katara clarified, as her face became as red as Zuko's.

Iroh received a deadly glare from his nephew. "I had nothing to do with writing the script, I'm just holding the signs." Iroh was in charge of holding the signs with the script where the actors could see them, but out of the view of the public, just in case they forgot their lines. He then looked at the word strip on the sign and noticed something about it. He cleaned it up and it turned into the word stop. "That was from when I spilled some tea on it. Isn't it funny how it changed the word like that?" The glares of the four young actors didn't look like they were amused.

The director was watching. "Why don't you take a break?" He hopelessly shook his head.

Katara decided to be friendly to Zuko, because he really didn't look like such a bad guy when he wasn't throwing fireballs at them. "Hey, Zuko would you like a kiss?" Katara asked with a smile. That same old lady had given her some chocolate candies called kisses, but Zuko didn't know.

His face turned red as he stared at her in surprise. She was kind of straight forward, but what's the use of playing word games and going in circles? He liked that she was direct and he would be too, "yes."

"Here you go," she gave him a few chocolate candies and wondered why he looked disappointed. "Have some more." She took a handful of candy and placed them in his hands. Apparently she wasn't aware of what he thought. He forced himself not to look disappointed and managed to actually say thanks. "You're welcome," Katara sounded more cheerful than usual.

That night, the play was a success. There were a few funny moments where Sokka forgot his lines and Aang had to help him, but most people thought it was all part of the show.

It was time for the final scene. Sokka and Aang didn't bother to read the script that far since their characters were not in that scene. They were both watching from backstage.

Zuko and Katara said their lines and kissed, just as their characters were supposed to do. Except the kiss lasted a lot longer then it was necessary for the play. As people clapped and cheered, Sokka fainted and Aang stood frozen like a statue with an expression as if he saw a ghost.

Story 02: Inspiration

Iroh didn't know what possessed his nephew to do, or rather attempt to do, such a thing. The banished prince had never particularly liked music night; that much was for certain. He always hid in his quarters when music night came around, no matter how hard Iroh tried to make him join in. Seeing the young man's frustration with his work, Iroh felt the need to say something, but didn't have the heart to do so.

Perhaps dancing, singing and playing instruments should have been what Zuko did first, before finally gaining the inspiration to write a song. Of course, one did not have to be particularly talented in any of those to be capable of writing a song if there happened to be a good amount of inspiration floating about, but such was not the case.

Music night had been left in the past along with the ship, but the tea shop brought new beginnings. Iroh had earlier considered playing some music to help inspire Zuko, since he was so dead set in song writing all of a sudden, but it did not have the expected effect. With a frustrated growl and clenched teeth, the young man had informed his uncle, as politely as his mood allowed him to, that his concentration was being shattered by the noise.

Iroh remained quiet and continued to observe Zuko. With that same silence he dodged the paper ball that had bounced off the wall then at him, with unexpected force after Zuko threw it in frustration. He continued to dodge whenever a paper ball bounced in his direction and began to pick them up when about a dozen had accumulated all over the floor. The activities continued like this, until one brave yet foolish paper ball dared to bounce off the wall and hit Zuko right in the nose.

A deadly golden glare was directed towards that foolish paper ball, which was soon to meet its demise. The fire bender picked it up and in a split second the paper ball was nothing more than ashes in his hand. He then reached for a new sheet of paper and attempted to write once again.

Some time in the past, Zuko was taught how to read music. He wasn't sure the remembered anymore, but that didn't matter to him at the moment, the first step in the road he had chosen were lyrics, he thought that coming up with the actual words first, would be easier than coming up with sounds if he didn t know what those sounds were supposed to accompany, but either way it wasn't easy.

"May I ask you a question?" Iroh inquired.

Zuko looked up from his work and with a slightly annoyed expression replied, "you just did."

"May I ask you another two questions then?" Iroh counted his current question as the first one.

Zuko knew that his uncle was curious. He knew that sooner or later he would ask and continue to ask, until his curiosity was satisfied, "alright."

"In that case, the second question is: why did you decide to write music?" Iroh had gone over the possibilities in his head countless times, but he saw no connection what so ever between writing lyrics and fire bending, which was what usually motivated his nephew, or at least no obvious connection. Sure one could artistically bend fire to match the rhythm of a song, but he doubted that was what all of this was about. It was also true that music could help him relax and make fire bending, or any type of bending, easier, but he doubted that was the case either, since Zuko appeared to be anything but relaxed.

Zuko paused, as if he didn't want to reply, even if he knew the question was coming. "Because..." he paused again. Surely he could word his answer better than that. What was he supposed to say?

Because he had read it in a fairy tale book that a customer had forgotten at the tea shop while waiting that morning for said customer as well as the other regulars to show up for their usual breakfast tea? Because the prince in the book could compose songs with ease in addition to a number of many other talents that turned him into a blatant Marty Stu, as well as reminded Zuko that he was no longer a prince and made him wonder if he ever truly was?

Zuko didn t expect to be a copy of mister perfect fairy tale prince, who was so perfect that his very perfection turned into his biggest flaw, because it made him so annoying; but he wanted to feel like a prince. He didn't really feel royal anymore and his pride was heavily carried, but carried none the less. He wanted to feel talented at something, anything, and that was the first idea that came that morning other than fire bending? "Because I feel like it," Zuko gave a classic all purpose answer.

"No you don't," Iroh's reply took Zuko by surprise.

"What do you mean?" Zuko asked.

"If you truly felt like writing a song, then you wouldn't be struggling with it. Music, much like bending, cannot be forced, it must flow naturally." Zuko should have known that his uncle would find something like that to say.

"Never mind..." The prince got up and walked away from his desk and the mountain of paper balls that his uncle had piled up in the trash can next to it.

"You know, if that prince wasn't off thinking about slaying dragons and serenading princesses before he even met them, then maybe he would have seen the things that life had to offer along the way." Iroh knew! Well of course he knew; hiding something from Iroh was a lost battle.

"I'm going out for walk," Zuko announced.

Iroh nodded, "the fresh air will be good."

Without another word, Zuko left. He walked endlessly throughout the city, with no particular destination in mind, until he came to a fountain. The fountain was very big, with crystalline water, surrounded by burning touches that reflected in the water. There, at the edge of the fountain, stood a water bender girl taking the peace and quiet of the early night as the perfect time to practice.

Zuko quietly observed Katara without making his presence known. He didn't want to ruin her peace. She took the water and guided it through the air, shaping it as it floated with skill and harmony.

Zuko remained hidden for some time, until the song he wished for before appeared in his thoughts. He couldn't explain it, he just knew. Perhaps that was inspiration.

Story 03: Prince Zuko's Letter

Prince Zuko glared at the piece of paper sitting on the desk in front of him. He dared it to move. He challenged it with his stare. But of course the inanimate object didn't move. For a reason known only to him, prince Zuko felt anger and hate towards that blank sheet of paper. He shook his head, realizing how ridiculous he was being. This was not the paper's fault, this was his uncle's fault.


"I don't understand why I must participate in such a ridiculous action," Zuko was clearly annoyed.

"It will do you good Prince Zuko," Iroh repeated for what felt like the millionth time, but he would be patient with his nephew. "Sometimes it's good to do something like this to let all the stress out. You've been holding a lot of pressure in your heart and that's not good. You'll grow old faster, believe me, you won't regret it."

That's when Zuko realized he had no choice. If his uncle was to drop the subject and get on with his life, Zuko had to write that letter. It was enough that he had to take part in this ridiculous and unnecessary practice, but also in a way that was so... he couldn't find the words to describe it. Although his uncle had a point, the hunt for the Avatar and a few other things he rather not think about, were giving Zuko a lot of stress.

End Flashback

As Zuko thought about his last encounter with Aang and his little group, an image came to his mind. That girl, Katara, he smiled. "I'll do this!" Once again he set his mind on the task of writing a letter and not just any letter. "Dear Katara..." No more words were written after that. Prince Zuko had stopped at a complete blank.

"Prince Zuko," a voice called from the door, followed by two soft knocks.

"Come in uncle," Zuko did not take his eyes away from the letter.

"We are approaching land. I heard the Avatar and his friends are camping on the island we're about to reach." He looked at the paper on the desk. "How is the letter going?" Iroh asked, even if he could see that Zuko had barely started writing it.

Zuko never liked those questions with obvious answers. In fact, this is just what he needed for his temper to reach the edge and fall off the cliff. He took the paper from the desk, held it in his hand and it burst into flames.

Iroh shook his head, "maybe I can help."

xoxox xox xoxox

It was a beautiful sunny day on the small island where Aang, Sokka and Katara were camping. It was a pity to leave such a beautiful and peaceful place, but soon it would be time to fly away and continue helping Aang in his quest to master all four elements on time. Sokka and Aang were playing with Momo, enjoying what they knew could be their last moments of peace in a long time.

Soon they would leave this little island paradise and Katara wanted to take one last look around. She was looking at some flowers when she heard footsteps. The steps were coming in her direction from the other side of the island. The footsteps became more obvious as the one stepping on the dry leaves on the ground came closer. Katara wasn't worried, it was probably just Aang or Sokka coming to tell her it was time to leave. She picked up a flower to put in her hair and turned around the flower still in her hand. How ever, she didn't see Aang or Sokka, she saw Prince Zuko.

The fire bender prince stood there quietly, just a few feet away from the water bender girl. He considered kidnapping her in order to capture the Avatar, but he felt like his uncle's voice echoed in his mind, telling him to do what he originally came to do. "Take this," he extended his hand, holding a folded paper.

Katara stood silent and unmoving for a moment, before she automatically nodded and took the paper, not realizing she left the flower in his hand as she did. She knew the only river on the small island was not close enough for water bending. Once Katara had the paper in her hand, she took a step back and Zuko made no effort to stop her. She blinked, a bit surprised, wondering why he simply stood there.

Visibly annoyed, Prince Zuko turned around and began to walk away. He stopped after walking a few steps and looked back to Katara who was still standing there, "read it."

Katara unfolded the paper and began to read, wondering what Zuko's strange behavior was all about. "Dear Katara," her curiosity kicked in. "For a long time now I wanted to tell you this, but never found the right moment," she read. "What I must tell you is true, I'm certain of it, and I feel that it is very important that you know." Katara looked up from the paper and saw Zuko standing in the same place, waiting for her to finish reading. She felt her face become bright red as she caught herself staring at him. Quickly, she hid her face behind the paper and continued reading. "What I must tell you is: you're a fool. Happy April's fool day!" Katara tore the paper apart as Zuko almost laughed his head off. His uncle was right, this was amusing. The water bender girl directed a glare so deadly at the prince, that it rivaled his own, but he was too busy laughing to notice. She turned away and walked back to camp, repeating to her self over and over 'that did not happen'.

xoxox xox xoxox

Later, Prince Zuko returned to his ship where his uncle was waiting. "How did it go? Did you give her the letter?"

"Yeah," Zuko replied.

"I used to get a kick out of those letters when I was your age and not just a kick, but sometimes a punch or slap too. I didn't only send them on April fool's day, but all year long! I told you letting all your stress out in an innocent joke was good for you. I bet you're feeling refreshed and ready to continue the hunt for the Avatar. Letting go of a small treasure, can sometimes make you find a bigger one." It was another of his wise quotes, which Iroh explained. "Sometimes ,letting one chance go, gives you the strength to succeed on your next try. You see? It's good to listen to my advice every now and then."

"Yes," Zuko looked at the flower Katara had. "Sometimes it is worth it." He saw the Avatar's group flying away from the island, so easy to spot in the skies above his ship. "Follow them!" After the small, yet very amusing distraction, prince Zuko was back to his old self, for the most part anyway. One thing that was different, was the image of the blushing Katara that kept floating in his mind and wouldn't disappear.

More to come...

Disclaimer, I do not own Avatar: The Last Air Bender and I do not own Kisses chocolates. Story 02 is for Xinda.

xoxox xox xoxox

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