A Fire Lord was in mourning. The woman he considered a mother . . . was dead. She had refused to be healed. She had refused to live. Hellfire was dead and there was nothing he could do except follow the instructions she had left with Katara before she sided with the Fire Nation in an effort to try and please her own father. She was just like him. He had tried to please his own father. He had done whatever it took to please Ozai . . . but in the end, all he could do was watch as Ozai killed his surrogate mother.
A nation was in mourning. Fire Lord Zuko had declared the war over as soon as Hellfire died. They had lost the war. They had lost a princess who was a prodigy. The girl had learned everything she could and still she was no where near her limit when she was killed. The Fire Nation was mourning the loss of Fire Lord Ozai, father of the current Lord. He was perhaps the most vicious of the Fire Lords, but he had been their Lord.
Wrapped in the finest red and black silk he could find, she burned. Zuko sat on his throne and watched as she burned. No screams came from her throat as they should. No sound. She was dead. She was being sent off to her father. He could not cry. Not in front of his people. Besides, he had nothing left to cry. It had been three days since her death, since she killed his sister and he, his father. Three days of preparing as instructed by Katara. Three days of locking himself up in his new room and only letting in Katara. Three days of crying in Katara's lap as he lost his real mother. It broke his heart to watch her burn. But he could not cry. He had to be strong. Zuko had just ended a century old war. There would be repercussions . . . there would be mistrust . . . there would be battles still needing to be fought, only this time with words and treaties.
Katara watched Zuko as Hellfire burned. Only their small group was here. Everyone else was at Ozai and Azula's funeral. The comet soared over their heads, its bright fire lighting the night. The very comet that would take Hellfire back to her father. The very thing she had thought to be evil. 'Hellfire . . . he's a mess . . .' Katara thought as she watched him. 'What am I to do? How can I help him?' Biting her lip, Katara turned her gaze back to the corpse that was turning to ash. The woman had . . . brought Zuko and Katara together . . . she had raised Zuko like her own . . . she had killed for him. Closing her eyes, Katara prayed to the Ocean spirit and Yue that Hellfire would be welcomed back by her father, after all the woman had gone through.
For a brief moment, Zuko could have sworn he felt a hand on his scar and lips on his temple. But it was gone faster than the wind. He almost dismissed it completely. However, in the wind a small voice reached out to him. Comforted him on some small level. No, that wasn't right. It comforted him greatly. It soothed his soul. It put his mind at easy.
"I love you, my dear lord."
Yes, it was her. He knew it to be her. But she was going. The presence that had always been with him for as long as he could remember, the presence that was Hellfire . . . was gone. As the comet left the sky, so did his mother. Zuko closed his eyes and whispered his goodbyes.
Aang watched as Hellfire stood next to Zuko. She placed a hand over his scar and kissed him on his temple. With that she began to float up to the sky. Up to the comet. Up away from Zuko, forever and ever.
"I love you, my dear lord," she called out. Aang felt his heart wrench. That woman . . . he had barely known her. But she had . . . loved Zuko. Aang watched as she turned her eyes to him and waved. He lifted a hand and watched her smile before disappearing. Disappearing along with the comet. Aang turned away from everyone and began to walk away from the small group.
He had thought long and hard about what Hellfire had said that night when he caught her dancing with fire. She was right. It didn't hurt any more to see Katara with Zuko. In fact, he was happy for Katara. But he was even happier for Zuko. Zuko needed someone to take care of him, to mend his heart. And Katara knew what the loss of a mother was like. She would help him greater than anyone else.
"You're the Avatar." Aang looked up and couldn't help but stare. Before him was a beautiful girl with jet black hair and brown eyes. She stood there, in red robes, with her head cocked to one side. "Is there something on my face?" She asked after a moment. Shaking his head, Aang smiled.
"Sorry, I was just surprised. I didn't realize anyone else would come to pay their respect to Hellfire. After all, Ozai's and Azula's funerals are going on right now, aren't they?" She nodded. "Then why did you come?" The girl smiled. She couldn't be more than a month older than him. Well, not including the 100 years in the iceberg.
"I came to pay respect to Hellfire. My mother will be here soon. Along with several other people. They just had to see with their own eyes that Ozai is dead," she explained.
"But . . . I thought everyone hated Hellfire." The girl shook her head at his mistake.
"No, quite the contrary." She laughed when she saw his confused face. "Avatar Aang, Lord Zuko has ended the war that has cost so many people their families. We want to respect the woman who raised him. The woman who gave him the power to end the war."
"What did you need, Zuko?" Katara asked as she closed the door to Zuko's room. It had been a month since the comet. A month since Hellfire died. A month of Zuko working nonstop to convince the other nations that he meant peace. The tired Fire Lord turned and looked at Katara with a rare smile on his face. The waterbender had to hold back a gasp. This was the first smile he had shown since Hellfire died. "Lord Zuko?" Zuko sat at his desk, having been writing something before she came in.
"Please, don't call me that." Zuko stood up and walked towards her. "Katara, I have wonderful news." Katara tilted her head to the side in confusion.
"What news is there?" He stopped in front of her and cupped the side of her face.
"Your father's been found." Katara let out a gasp as she flung herself into Zuko's arms, tears of joy running down her face. After a moment, Zuko pulled her back, confusing her. She looked up at him with her big blue eyes with questions floating in them. "I . . . I'm having him come here. So I can ask for your hand in marriage." Katara's mouth fell open. The shock was evident and it slowly turned to joy.
"YES!" She nodded and buried herself in his arms again.
"I've learned something from the loss of my mother." Zuko whispered into her hair. "I've learned to never let anything get in the way of being with those that I love."
Hellfire looked up at a golden dragon as it rested before her. She got on one knee and bowed her head.
"Forgive me for fighting the Fire Nation, but I could not let anything happen to him." She whispered quietly.
"Hellfire," The dragon breathed softly. "Do not bow your head to me. You have always looked up at everyone as though they were your equal. And there is no one above anyone else, not even a god." She looked up at the dragon. She had to face her punishment. She had to or else she would be a coward. And Hellfire would not allow her name to ever be soiled like that.
"What is my punishment for fighting the Fire Nation, Father?" The dragon smiled at her, at least, it looked like a smile. The corner of its lips twitched upward as the dragon rose to its feet.
"Daughter, you have no punishment." The shock was evident on her face, making the great fire dragon laugh. "Hellfire, had you not assisted in helping Zuko against his father and sister . . . all would have been lost. Then you would have been punished." Tentatively, Hellfire rose to her feet.
"Father . . . you sent me Zuko . . . why?" The fierce eyes of the dragon softened as it looked at its daughter, the very being it breathed life into after sculpting her from flame.
"My dear child . . . you were almost like the previous Fire Lords . . . you cared nothing for the Nation of Fire. You only wanted to amuse yourself and test your limits. I knew that Fumiko's time was drawing near. So I sent her a son that would interest you. A son to be born on the anniversary of the day you arrived. A day that no other child could be born on unless they would receive your power."
"I see." Hellfire nodded to herself before looking up at Agni. "Father . . . will Zuko get his happily ever after?"
"You should know that there is no such thing." He muttered as he lowered his head.
"But he will be happy." A new voice interrupted the two. Both father and daughter turned to look at the new comer.
"Ah, Yue!" Agni's smile reached his eyes. "What brings the new moon goddess here?" Yue smiled at Agni before directing her attention to Hellfire.
"I have seen to it that Katara's father will agree to the marriage. I have visited him in a dream and told him that he must agree. That the gods themselves bless that couple."
"Ah, so there answers your question, my child." Agni nodded. He looked back at Hellfire. "And . . . I heard you when you were talking to Yue. I am very proud of you, Hellfire." Hellfire smiled up at her father.
"Thank you, father." She looked at Yue. "And thank you, Yue. I only wish I could be there for my son's wedding." Agni sighed and shook his head.
"I'm sorry, but you can not physically be there. Your body had to be burned in order to return to me. But spiritually, you may go." She bowed to her father before turning to leave.
"Once again, I thank you." She disappeared in a swirl of fire, leaving the moon goddess and the fire god alone.
"When she's not meddling, she's a good child." Agni muttered as he laid back down. Yue smiled up at the fire dragon.
"I'm sure you consider her a good child no matter what."
"That is true," Agni nodded. "But I still wonder . . . what will I do when she falls in love." Yue couldn't help but laugh, causing the great fire god to join in her laughter.
Okay, that's the end of Crimson Regret! Please tell me what you think. Well, I hope you guys like my next story better. I'll have a more . . . lighter character in it. It won't be as dark as this one got at some points, though it wasn't that dark. It just wasn't all fun. And it was a pain to write but I wanted to write it because it was bugging me in my head. But for my next story! It will be called Agni's Flames. In it, Zuko's aunt shows up and makes a deal with him. What will the deal be? And what will happen?