Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar or any of the characters.
This is just a sweet little one shot between Zuko and the daughter of Katara. It could be more if people were interested in either the Zuko Katara back story or more about Kiela and Zuko's sons.
A little girl with browned skin, dark hair, and crystalline blue eyes casually crawled onto the lap of one of the most foreboding looking men alive. The skin about his left eye was severely burned; the skin unnaturally crinkled and angry red in color. His hair was pulled back in a regal topknot, a crown adorning his hair. His mouth was turned down in a pointed frown and his arms were crossed tightly against his chest. This didn't deter the eagerness of the little girl at all; she truly was her mother's daughter.
She wiggled around a bit trying to get comfortable in the rigid lap, which caused him to grimace slightly. She wasn't that little of a girl, already going on eight years old. She dug her knees sharply into his thighs in order to face him and wrap her arms around his neck. "Uncle Zuko, will you tell me about my mother again?" she asked in a fluid voice. Zuko finally gave up on his 'ignore the girl until she goes away' plan, her nobly knees were quite painful. He wrapped his arms around the girl and repositioned her, so she sat sideways on his lap.
"Kiela, you have to stop coming into the throne room whenever you please. I could be in a very important meeting. Even my sons know not to come into this room," he scolded the bright eyed girl.
However, his tone was not harsh and had the sound of a lecture she had heard many times. He could never be very firm with Kiela. "But this is the only time for you and me," she said working her face into a pout. "Rukon and Zoren always see you for fire bending, but I only see you at meals. I get lonely and miss you, Uncle Zuko. My nurse maid isn't very nice, and I don't think Aunt Mai likes me very much".
Zuko cringed away from the awkward question. It's true; his wife wasn't the most affectionate person in the world. However, she had managed to form some sort of relationship with their own sons. "She just needs to get used to you," he told her.
Kiela rolled her eyes at Zuko's words. If five years wasn't enough time for Aunt Mai to get used to her, she doubted any more time would make the least bit of difference.
"So what story do you want to hear about your mother?" he asked quickly changing the subject.
"The one Grandpa Iroh used to tell; where you captured her and protected her from the pirates," she told him.
He would have frowned, but he was used to these requests from Kiela. "In those days I was chasing after the avatar," he began.
"Aang," Kiela interrupted. "His name is Aang".
Zuko gave her a crooked smile. She was so much like Katara. "Okay, I was trying to capture Aang. Well you're mother had had a run in with pirates and there was some confusion of ownership concerning a water bending scroll". He smiled slightly at the memory. "I temporarily joined those pirates in order to track down the A…Aang. We found your mother practicing water bending and we captured her," he said.
Kiela gasped dramatically though she had heard this story many times from Iroh and Zuko.
"I tied her to a tree, and tried to make her tell me where Aang was".
"But she wouldn't tell, would she?" Kiela asked.
"Nope. Not even when I offered her mother's necklace in exchange for the information". Kiela's small fist curled around the blue pendant hanging from her neck. "She was always very loyal. She would never betray a friend… or even an enemy," he muttered the last part.
"Then the pirates came," Kiela prompted.
"Well yes. They wanted to be more direct in negotiation." Zuko replied vaguely.
"They were going to hurt her," Kiela scowled.
"Yes," Zuko admitted.
"But you wouldn't let them," she said smiling up at him.
"It wouldn't be right to hurt a girl tied to a tree. Though I'm sure your mother would have been able to take care of herself," Zuko told her shaking his head ruefully. "She always seemed to get out of the tightest spots. I'm still not sure how she got loose from the tree," he confided.
Kiela smiled into his chest. "Did you know my father?" she asked. The smile slipped off his face. No. Not well. He was water tribe and met your mother after we went our separate ways," regret weighed heavily on his last words.
"Did she love me?"
"More than anything in the world," he replied with a warm smile directed at the top of her head.
"Was she beautiful?" Kiela asked softly.
Zuko cleared his throat. "Yes, very beautiful," he admitted.
"I wish I could remember her," she said her voice barely above a whisper.
"I wish you could remember her too," he said planting a soft kiss to her unkempt hair.
"Did you love her?"
Zuko paused a moment before answering the question. They were alone in his throne room and no one would hear his answer except for Katara's daughter. "Yes. More than anything in the world," he whispered and his words reverberated off the walls. Kiela sighed contentedly into the fire lord's tunic, while he tried to blink back the hot stinging sensation in his eyes.
In the shadowed corner of the throne room the lone figure of a boy stood. His mother's scowl burned across his face as he watched his father comfort the interloping water tribe child.
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