Title: No One Else

Author: Jakia

Pairing: None, just a little Katara piece.

A/N: Katara needs more love. And less shippy-love. Srsly. I vote for a "Let's not ship Katara with anyone and just write fics to appreciate her character!" week or something.

(this mood will probably last 3 seconds. Then I will find a shiny zutara/jetara/Kataraxsomeone fanfic that will make me squee and go, "Omg yay must ship/fic!")

She stands with her head held tall and her expression kept blank. The spirit before her peers meticulously at her, it's face (if it can be called that) curls in disapproval.

And why, it glares, Do you believe that you deserve to remain among the living? Are you special? Answer me, mortal girl—

Because they will die without me. Her face remains emotionless, but her words are powerful and solid. It's a hard truth to speak aloud, but what it says speaks in volumes.

You are arrogant. The spirit-god accuses, and turns it's attention elsewhere.

I am honest. She retaliates, refusing to back down.

The spirit whirls. It has been a long time since someone since someone has dared to defy it—maybe this mortal has something worthwhile in her after all.

You dare defy my order? You are foolish, girl. It snarls after her scathingly. Do you know what happens to those who challenge the gods?

She shakes her head. I'll find a way back whether you give me leave or not.

The spirit narrows its eyes. What is so great about the world of man that you feel you must return to it?

She pauses to contemplate its question. Because I have to.

All men die, and then are reborn. Are you above the cycle? The spirit debates with her.

No. She confesses. But I still have to go back.

What stubbornness! How long has it been since a mortal fought back? You ought to be free, child. Be done with the cares of your former life.

She frowns. I can't.

Why not?

Because no one else will wash Sokka's socks. She says in complete and utter seriousness. No one else will stop Aang when he does something wrong. No one else will see Toph Beifong, the girl, the young woman, because she won't show it if I'm not around. And no one else will try to get Zuko to stop sulking.

No one else loves them quite as much as I do.

The spirit's lips curve into the lightest of smiles. And no one ever will, I suspect.

Her eyes widen. You mean…can I…you'll let me go?

The spirit nods. You are free, Katara of Water.

She never looks back.