The Hard Way

Chapter Fourteen- Happy

Zuko sat at his window, watching servants load things onto The Avatar's flying bison, just as he did when he watched the flying creature land a few days ago. He forced his face to stone and refused to let the tears that were building in his heart flood through his eyes.

The necklace was still on the ground where it had landed when he threw it against the wall. He had no intentions of picking it up ever again. He wanted nothing to do with it anymore.

As he saw Katara walk up to the bison holding her husband's hand, Zuko turned away from the window and walked out of his room.

Katara held onto Aang's hand a little harder than she intended to. Her heart wouldn't stop beating painfully against her chest and her throat burned from holding back her tears. She kept her head high, in hopes that it would fool everyone.

"You ready?" Aang asked, startling her slightly. She turned her head to face him. He was smiling softly and it took all her power not to think about her betrayal to him.

"Of course." She nodded. "I just want to get out of here, fast." She bit her lip as she let go of his hand and climbed on top of Appa.

"Katara," She didn't like how his voice sounded. He sounded nervous, like he was about to admit some deep secret. She immediately panicked and she had to try extra hard to push the tears back from her eyes. "We need to talk." He told her as he climbed up and sat next to her on Appa.

"Aang," Her voice started to shake and her hands trembled even as she tried to calm herself. "I think we should just go."

"I know about you and Zuko." He sighed, looking down at his knees. His face turned to that little boy face he always had when they first met. Katara felt like she couldn't breathe. There was no use in trying to hide the tears, they flowed freely down her face now.

"Aang, I'm so sorry!" She sobbed, throwing her face into her hands. "I never thought it would go so far. I never thought it would happen at all!" She removed her hands to look him in the eye. "I love you. I really do." She started breathing erratically as Aang wrapped his arms around her.

"It's okay." He whispered to her. He gently started rubbing her arms. "I love you too." He took a deep breath before letting her go. "That's why I want you to stay here."

"What?" Katara looked at him wide eyed. "Stay? But why?" She questioned, tears still crawling down her cheeks.

"Because you love him more." He looked down, knowing how true the statement was. "You want to be with him." It obviously hurt him to say it, but he also looked a little relieved saying it.

"Aang, this will ruin your reputation. We've already made our marriage official." She grabbed his hands, trying to comfort herself someway.

"Who cares about my reputation?" He laughed slightly. "You're not going to be truly happy with me. I don't want that."

"Oh Aang," She cried, throwing her arms around his neck in a tight hug. "I don't think I can." She admitted.

"Katara," He pulled back and took her hands again. "You love him. You'll be happy here." Katara nodded briefly. "I'll keep in touch." He promised as he moved back, letting her go.

"Are you sure about this?" She questioned one more time. "We can just pretend it never happened." He smiled and laughed a little.

"Katara, go."

She carefully climbed off of Appa and turned around to wave at Aang as he took off. Then she slowly turned to face the palace, realizing how nervous she really was. Her heart was pounding, possibly harder than it was before, and her palms were becoming sweaty.

A smile fell upon her lips as she realized she had been set free, and she was going to be happy.

Yes I know, late AND short. I'm not even going to make excuses cuz I know you guys are probably sick of them. But this is the last real chptr. The epilogue will (hopefully) be posted VERY soon. But you never know with me. Until then everyone!