Here is the last chapter of this story! I'm glad you guys enjoyed the whole thing, or most of if not all of it. Thanks for all your support and all your kind reviews, and now, your last chapter!
Disclaimer: For the last time (in this story, literally) I don't own anything!
"Out of the darkness and into the sun,
But I won't forget the place I've come from,
You've gotta make a wish,
Take a chance,
Make a change,
And break away,"
Break Away, Kelly Clarkson
The sun had barely risen when Katara awoke the next day. The ceremony that had taken place the day before had really depressed her and now, here she lay with only two things running through her head—how depressed she was, and how the hell she was going to convince her father to let her stay in the Fire Nation with Zuko.
Katara sighed again and smoothed back her hair for no particular reason as she thought about her predicament. Her chances of convincing her father to let her stay were slim to none. It would take a miracle for her to pull it off. Maybe she could just do this the old fashioned way and just ask her father if she could…
She began to laugh at herself when she realised the possibility of that idea working. There was no possible way that her dad would let her stay just by her asking nicely, no way. The men in her family were way too overprotective of her to let her stay with Zuko that quickly.
"Alright, enough, I GET IT!"
Katara jumped as the silence of the early morning was shattered by the sound of Zuko's annoyed and outraged voice. She struggled out of her sleeping bag stuck her head through the tent flap to see what on earth had made Zuko so angry at the same time as several other sleepy heads.
There Zuko stood, not too far from the campfire, flames erupting from his tightly clenched fists and glaring at a man not much older than himself. Obviously the new Fire Lord had already had enough stress for the morning.
Must have been a lot of stress, thought Katara noting that the sun still wasn't up completely.
Blearily, she stumbled to her feet and rushed forward to Zuko to stop him from burning the man to a crisp. She placed a hand on his (Zuko's) shoulder and mouthed at the man that he should leave in case Zuko got any angrier. The man nodded, bowed to the fuming Fire Lord, and scuttled off without another word.
Zuko turned to her and glared. "What?" he spat.
"What do you mean 'what'?" she asked. "What's with you?"
Zuko said nothing. Instead, he looked away from her and stared at the roaring flames that was the campfire.
"Zuko, come with me," she said, taking his hand and leading him away from the camp.
Zuko sighed huffily but followed her anyway. She led him through the empty streets of the Fire Capital and back to the lakeside where they had held the ceremony the previous night. Some of the candles, though now burnt out, were still floating around the middle of the large lake.
Katara sighed at the scene and sat down on the lake shore, pulling her knees up to her chest. She tugged on Zuko's hand, and he sat down next to her and stared sulkily out at the lake's still surface.
"You're really stressed out, aren't you, Zuko?" said Katara, destroying the small silence, broken only by the few birds twittering about in the trees.
"What does it look like?" grumbled the teen irately.
"Zuko, it's been a less than a day since you found out you're the Fire Lord, what could have possibly made you this stressed already?"
"The number of bloody irritating messages from world leaders that are either telling me they'd be glad to help rebuild and sort out the Fire Nation or telling me that I'm dead if I start another war," snapped Zuko.
"Why? How many have you got?"
"Not sure, but the first one came and rudely woke me up before daybreak,"
Katara smiled at him grimly. "Look, I know how stressed you are, you've just been dumped a huge responsibility, but please, Zuko, don't freak out like that again," she said, "You almost burnt that guy to a crisp when you lost it earlier, you really scared him,"
"Katara, I can't stand this! It hasn't even been one day and I'm already being driven insane! Why the hell am I stuck with this damn job anyway?"
Katara leaned in towards him and kissed him lightly on the cheek. "You're stuck with it because you are," she answered. "You're stuck with it because your father was the previous Fire Lord. I know you hate it at the moment, and I know you think that there's no possible way you'll be able to be a good Fire Lord when your father was an insane megalomaniac, but you'll live through it, you know you will. So what if you're father was never a good role-model for you, your uncle was. How would he rule the Fire Nation?"
Zuko didn't answer.
"Besides, I'm staying with you for another two months before I go back home to my family, I'm here to make sure you survive the worst part of this,"
Again, Zuko didn't answer. He put his arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him instead. He felt better when she was with him, he felt…comforted, safe, even though it was he who wanted to protect her.
The two teenagers sat together in silence for several moments watching the ripples the wind made on the water. Katara leant against him, laying her head on his shoulder, and Zuko, out of habit, began to absently stroke her hair.
"Feeling better?" she asked.
"Not much, but better," said Zuko after a moment. "Have you told your father you want to stay?"
Katara sighed. "No, I haven't told anyone yet,"
"How are you planning to convince him to let you stay?"
Katara shrugged. "Dunno, but I will anyway, I refuse to leave you ruling such a screwed up country by yourself,"
"Speaking of ruling the country alone," said Zuko after a second, "when everything's back to normal, they'll be expecting me to marry. A number of people have already asked me if…
"If…you're my first choice,"
Katara looked up at him and blinked. "Didn't see that coming,"
"Is that sarcasm?"
"No, really, I didn't see that coming,"
"Katara, come on, you know that they'll be expecting me to—"
"Not like that," interrupted Katara with a slight air of irritation, "No, I didn't think you would end up mentioning something like that in a situation like this, are you feeling okay?" She leant forward and tried to place a hand on his forehead to check his temperature.
"Katara, stop it, I'm serious,"
Katara smirked. "Right, just checking," She looked back out onto the lake and sighed. "Am I your first choice then?" she asked after a slight pause.
"I don't know," said Zuko, "Are you?"
Katara looked up at him and mock-pouted. Zuko couldn't help but smile as he leant in and pressed his lips lightly against hers.
"Does that answer your question?" he asked when he broke away.
Katara smirked. "Can I have it in a sentence please?"
Zuko kissed her again and said, "You are my first and only choice,"
Katara smiled up at him and leant in for another kiss when—
"If you two are gonna make out, do it where I can see you. I don't want anything happening between you two happening behind my back,"
There it went, the almost perfect moment, up in smoke. Katara sighed heavily and turned to face her brother. "What do you want Sokka?"
Sokka shrugged. "Just to find out where you were," he answered. "Anyway, I'm here now, you can continue,"
Katara glared at her brother incredulously. "There's no point now, you idiot, the moment's already been ruined thanks to you,"
Sokka smirked. "My pleasure,"
Katara harrumphed angrily and stood up. She dusted her robe from invisible soot and stormed off towards the camp.
Zuko stared after her and then turned to Sokka. "Why do you annoy her so much?" he asked.
Sokka shrugged. "I'm her brother, it's my job," he said. "And besides, have you never annoyed your sister to the brink of insanity,"
Zuko thought on this for a moment. All those times he had tortured Azula just for the fun of it seemed so far away, but nevertheless the boy had a point.
"I see," he said before getting up himself and heading off to follow Katara.
"What?" he asked, turning around.
Sokka glared at him. "Our father may have allowed you to be with Katara, but I swear Zuko, hurt a hair on her head and you'll have me, dad, Bato and the Avatar after yours, got it?"
Zuko sighed irritably. "Bloody hell, I get the point! You've threatened me several times already, you think I still don't have the fact that you're overprotective of her through my head? For the love of Agni, I won't ever bloody hurt her! Is this even getting through to your brain?"
The two boys glared at each other, as if trying to stare the other down, before Zuko turned and left. Sokka glowered at his retreating back before muttering to no one in particular, "I'm watching you, Zuko,"
His conscience kicked in again. Let it go, Sokka, just leave the both of them alone. Let it go.
"I need to ask you something,"
"Promise not to get mad?"
"Depends on what you ask me, really,"
Katara took a deep breath braced herself for the explosion that might follow. "First of all, when are we leaving for the South Pole,"
Hakoda thought on this for a moment. "In a couple of days, I think, why?"
"Ugh, you know what, screw it," said Katara, massaging the bridge of her nose. "There's no possible way that you'd let me, so I'm just gonna save myself the time and go," She turned around and lifted the flap of the tent to leave, but Hakoda caught her shoulders and steered her back inside. Katara sat down on the mattress and buried her face in her hands.
"Does this have anything to do with Zuko?" asked Hakoda, crouching down so that he was eye-level with his daughter.
Katara sighed and mumbled a "yes," into her palms.
"What about him?"
Katara looked up into her father's face and took in a gulp of air. "I was going to ask if I could stay here in the Fire Nation with him…just until it isn't so mucked up here. I don't want him ruling this country alone, with no one he knows enough to trust,"
Hakoda frowned. "What about his uncle?"
Katara looked away from her father and to the floor. "Uncle Iroh's kinda…gone,"
"What? Since when?"
Katara turned back to her father and stared at him incredulously. "Does news travel that slowly around here?"
Hakoda shook his head. "No Katara, it doesn't go around slowly, it's just that so many people died in the war it's hard to keep track of the deaths,"
There was an awkward pause.
"So…can I stay?" asked Katara after a moment.
"If it makes you feel better sir, she won't be staying here alone,"
The two turned to Aang, who had just entered the tent.
"Avatar," greeted Hakoda with a bow.
"Hey Aang," said Katara. "What are you doing here?"
"I was looking for you," answered Aang. "You guys are leaving in a couple of days, aren't you? I came to find you so I could tell you that I'm staying here for a few weeks,"
"How come you're staying?" asked Katara.
"I'm the Avatar, and the Fire Nation's really screwed up; I have to stay and help sort it out,"
Hakoda turned back to his daughter. "Katara, why would you want to stay here? Don't you want to go and see your grandmother?"
Katara sighed again and looked back at the floor. "Dad, as much as I miss Gran-gran, I can't leave, not until I know that Zuko will be able to rule this country without being killed by a successful assassination attempt. He can't trust anyone around here, and without his uncle, he's here alone,"
"Are you really sure you want to stay?"
Hakoda thought for a moment or two. "Katara, you've travelled the entire world and you've helped the Avatar master waterbending. You've been through much more than anyone I know, I trust you…will you be okay here?"
Katara looked back at her father hopefully and nodded.
Sighing, Hakoda turned to Aang. "Avatar, if you don't mind me asking, keep an eye on her while she's here, alright? I want her back at the South Pole in two months at the most, bring her back in one piece, okay?"
Aang grinned. "No problem,"
Katara stared at her dad incredulously. "You're actually letting me stay?"
"Of course," said Hakoda, smiling at his daughter. "You've proven yourself to be a strong, confident young woman. You can hold your own here in the Fire Nation, and with the Avatar and the Fire Lord both looking out for you, I'm sure you'll be fine,"
"Oh dear gods," she whispered, and with that, she flung herself into her father's arms. Hakoda smiled and patted her back comfortingly.
"Thank you so much, dad," she mumbled into his shoulder.
"Katara, you have made me a very proud father. Now be careful while here, alright?"
Katara nodded. "I will, I promise, thank you, dad, thanks so much,"
Hakoda smiled again and pried Katara off him. "Go, tell Zuko,"
Katara nodded eagerly and scurried out of the tent to find Zuko. Once he was sure she was out of earshot, Hakoda turned to Aang. "Keep an eye on her and Zuko,"
Aang grinned and nodded.
I'm sure you must have heard by now but the war is finally over. Fire Lord Ozai has been defeated, the Avatar has won, it's all over.
You'll be glad to know that Katara and Sokka are both alright and in one piece. Katara is now an accomplished waterbender. I was told that it took only a few lessons for her to become the waterbending master she always wanted to be. She trained Aang over their travels and eventually helped him to master waterbending.
Sokka is no longer the inexperienced warrior, but a well trained one—trained in fighting styles from all over the world. He did as he was told and took care of his sister and the Avatar very well.
You should be proud of the both of them, as I am.
You will be shocked to hear, however, that Katara has found love in the young man that was chasing them all over the world. I was told that he stopped and joined the Avatar and helped him to master firebending, but one can never be too sure that he is the one for her.
He is now the current Fire Lord, and as he is under very the close watch of the Avatar, I'm sure he will rule the Fire Nation wisely—wiser than his father at least.
Katara has decided that she will be staying in the Fire Nation with the new Fire Lord and the Avatar until the Fire Nation is back to normal. Reluctant as I am to let her do so, I believe that she will be fine. Sokka, being the overprotective big brother he was raised to be, threw a fit when she told him, but he settled down eventually.
She will be at the South Pole two months from now.
Best wishes to the rest of the village. We (Sokka and I) will be back in the South Pole in a couple of weeks.
The next two days passed by quickly, and in no time at all, Katara, Aang and Zuko were standing on the Fire Capital's docks wishing farewell to the last few soldiers departing the Fire Nation.
Sokka and Hakoda were among the last to leave along with Bato and several other water tribe soldiers.
"Are you sure you want to stay?" asked Sokka for the hundredth time.
"For the last time, Sokka, yes, and don't worry, I'll be fine," answered Katara giving her brother one last hug. Behind her back, Sokka glared at Zuko and mouthed another death threat. Zuko rolled his eyes and mouthed a retort.
"Be careful around here, alright?" said Hakoda giving his daughter a kiss on her forehead. "Be safe, and look after yourself—Aang, be sure that she does,"
Aang grinned. "I will, you two had better get going, you're holding up the ship,"
"Right, well, we'll see you two in a couple of months, maybe sooner, okay?"
"Take care of yourself, Katara," said Sokka as he and his dad boarded the iron ship.
"For the last time, Sokka, I'll be fine,"
"You'd better!" yelled Sokka over the noise of the anchor being hoisted.
Katara waved to them as the ship began to sail. "Bye! We'll miss you!"
"See you in two months or less!" called Aang waving at them as well.
And there the three of them stood, Aang and Katara waving at Sokka and Hakoda, and Zuko standing behind the Avatar and the waterbender, all three of them watching the ship sail off and disappear into the horizon.
There you go guys! It's done! Procerus Minuet is done! Thanks again for all your reviews and support, especially to Vicki So who gave me the idea of lengthening 'Music' and to all my constant reviewers! Just in case anyone out there wants to sue me: I do not own any of the quotes or the characters that I used. All I own is the plot, which is now finished.
The votes have been counted, and the sequel has won! For those who are eager to read it, look out for Procerus Fermata, coming sometime in May! Thanks again loads, guys!