my eternal thanks to my beta, Steamboat Ghost. Though you were unable to check these last few chapters, if not for you, this story wouldve turned to crap a long time ago.

Chapter 45: The End is only the Beginning

"I did it! I'm Fire Lord!" Azula laughed happily. She had never imagined Ozai would make it so easy for her!

"I have to get to the throne." she whispered to herself. "Then everyone will bow down to me!"

The Avatar watched as Azula flew off in the direction of the Fire Palace. He did not follow. His battle was finished. Azula was Zuko's battle to face.

It was easy to imagine Azula's rage when she entered the Throne Room to find the chair - her throne - was already occupied.

"I didn't think even you'd go so far as to kill him." Zuko said, sprawled comfortably across the chair.

"Get out of my throne." Azula hissed, blue flames escaping from her clenched fists.

"Make me."

"I'll make you!" she shrieked, unleashing a lightning bolt directly at her brother.

Zuko dodged, barely escaping as the lightning blew up the chair.

"You IDIOT!" Azula shrieked."Look what you made me do!"

"You destroyed my chair." Zuko said calmly, standing on the other side of the room.

Azula stared at him for a long moment, then broke out into cackling laughter.

"Y-you're chair! You're a failure, a traitor! You will never be Fire Lord! And I will kill you, just like I killed him!"

Azula punched out, sending a wide burst of blue flames towards Zuko. He dodged, and fled out the nearest door.

"Come back, you coward!" she screamed, chasing after her brother.

She heedlessly followed after him until she skidded to a halt. She glared at the sight before her.

Zuko stood calmly in the centre of a familiar courtyard, his body held in a defensive position. The disgusting waterbender was attempting to hide in the background behind a pillar.

"Azula!" Zuko said in a clear voice. "I challenge you to Agni Kai!"

A strange smile grew on Azula's face.

"You dragged me all the way to this place, where you had half your head burnt off, just to challenge me?" she surprised them both by stepping forward, holding out her hands. "Fine. This time you'll lose your whole head!"

They moved at the same moment, unleashing a torrent of fire at each other.

Katara watched from the safety of her hiding place. She bit her lip nervously, watches as the siblings fought each other so viciously. She had agreed that she would not interfere with the fight unless Zuko's life was in danger, but it was hard. She wanted to be out there, fighting at his side, against their enemy.

However, as the fight progressed and the two closed in on each other fists and flames coming dangerously close to skin, she noticed that Azula was fighting...strangely. There was a desperation and recklessness to her moves that had never been there before. Something had changed. Katara couldn't begin to imagine why, but the point was, Azula's strange behaviour was causing her to lose.

Azula seemed to realise this as well. Relying on the dirty tactics she knew Zuko would never stoop to, she somehow managed to get her foot under Zuko's and trip her older brother up. He slammed hard to the ground, winded. Azula lined up her fingers with her brothers head, but before she got a chance to shoot, she was slammed backwards with a large bubble of water. Azula managed to keep her feet, but was soaked from head to toe. Enraged, Azula summoned her lightning without thinking.

"NO!" Zuko cried, sitting up.

But it was far too late. The water covering her body caused the lightning to strike her instead, and the metal armour she wore only increased the electric shock she inflicted upon herself. She finally dropped to the ground, steaming and twitching slightly. She never moved again.

Katara fell to her knees, hands over her mouth.

"What have I done?" she whispered.

Zuko moved over to her and held her tightly.

"It's not your fault." He whispered. "You only thought to protect me. It's not your fault."

But it was a while before Katara stopped blaming herself.

Zuko stared out at the mess his city had become. Several days had passed since the death of his father and sister. Iroh had been instated as Fire Lord, and was withdrawing most of the Fire Nation troops stationed around the world. There would be a huge economic downfall with the ending of the war, but it was for the greater good. It would be a long time before the Fire Nation was trusted again. But for the moment, there was something far more pressing on his mind.

His friends were leaving. The Water Tribe siblings and Toph wanted to see their parents, while Aang would travel the world to try and put an end to any remaining conflicts. Katara was walking towards him, a sad smile on her face.

"We'll come back and visit in a few months." she said quietly. "We just need to sort out things at home first."

"I understand." he said quietly.

Katara hugged him tightly, then pulled away to kiss him gently. Zuko was so stunned he forgot to kiss her back.

"See you soon."

Zuko smiled to himself and waved his friends goodbye as the enormous bison flew off into the distance.


Authors note: so here it is, the end of this fic. im sorry about the crappy ending, but i lost interest in the story a while ago, and really just wanted to finish it. im not writing any more fanfiction for a while, im concentrating on my own original comic, SHACKLES. thanks all for the R&Rs