Katara placed the scroll on the bed side table and looked at her sleeping husband.
She repeated the words in her head repeatedly. She didn't want to leave but it was for the best for that moment in time. She looked through the window sadly. It was still dark and he wouldn't wake up until sunrise if she left now it would be alright. She nimbly walked across the room to a red craddle. Katara had always detested the craddle but being married to a stubborn fire lord most things around her was red, at least were she was heading she could see the soft colours of blue. The craddle although she didn't like but the child inside it was her treasure. She gently lifted the baby boy out of the craddle and wrapped him in a satin blue cloth. He was a good baby and he did not stir or wake, in fact he was the baby that least cried out of all her three children. Katara suddenly thought of the others. She needed to get them quickly, she wasn't going to leave her children behind she couldn't part with them. Katara slipped the baby into a sling and put him on her back. She exited without making many sounds. She walked through the large corridor looking at the paintings staring down at her. Most of them were previous fire lords or great benders of the past. Katara dearly long to be back in the south pole, no blood red ceilings or carpets and no paintings of dead people looking at you criticizing your every move. She had mentioned that to her husband before.
"It doesn't seem to you like they're judging you?" she had asked. He had replied quite bluntly.
"They were great leaders Katara show them respect" he answered.
That was the only reply he had given to her about the eerie paintings, but Katara knew there was only a certain collections of paintings she would give respect to and that was the ones of the past Avatars they were the only on in her eyes that had been great leaders. Katara reached a room with quite a large door and she opened it slowly so it would not creak in anyway. She smiled at the sight of the room but most mothers wouldn't. Toys covered the floor whether they were broken, old or brand new. Zuko had always spoiled their children even though she had objected that they would get to comfortable the easy life. He had laughed at that comment and she never knew why and she probably would never be able to find out why he reacted so after she had done this. There were two beds in the room, both at the other sides of the bedroom. She heard faint snores come from the right side and she walked over to it quickly but carefully incase she stepped on a toy and then wake one of them up and hear them scream 'bloody murder'. Katara crept over to the side of the bed and looked at her son who was snoring not loudly but enough to keep someone awake. Her first born looked like an imitation of his father. He had the same eyes, coloured hair and shape of body. She had wondered if Zuko had looked like him when he was younger - before he got his scar. Katara had seen paintings of the younger Zuko but she always thought paintings didn't look exactly the same as the real thing. She shook the boy gently until he woke up a little bit.
"Is that you mum?" he asked half asleep and then closed his eyes again. What would his mother be doing at this time of morning?
"Aang wake up and get dressed but do it quietly okay?" she ordered softly. She had named her son after the reigning Avatar. She was amazed that Zuko even let her call him that after all those days he was trying to kill the Avatar but she guessed that he learned to respect him in the years that had past since Katara helped Aang on his Avatar journey. Aang nodded and rubbed his eyes wearily before making any sign of getting up. Once Katara was proved that he was going to get up she walk over to the bed on the other side of the large room. She smiled when she got to the bed. Out of all her children there was one who really looked like her not to mention got the gift of water bending, but that had been kept a secret a water bending fire nation princess was inappropriate and even with her blue eyes her daughter was disliked. Katara was glad it didn't matter to most people, no one can stop her daughter getting the blue eyes she has anyway. She shook the four year old a little more gently that she did with her six year old. He daughter still couldn't get to sleep with out somebody with her and would be scared to get waken up in the middle of the night.
"Kyoshi wake up. It's alright it's just me" she whispered into the young girl's ear. Katara's husband had named their daughter after another Avatar since they had already had a child named after one Avatar already. She liked the name immensely and so did their aunt Suki who had come from the Avatar Kyoshi's home island. She watched as blue eyes shone in the darkness. The little hugged her mother tightly and she hugged back.
"You need to get dress but don't wear one of those fancy ones" she instructed. The little girl slowly hopped out of bed without showing any sign of tiredness in her face. How does she get that endergy she wondered. Katara wished she could have that amount of energy at her times of need.
"Mum where are we going? And why is it so early?" asked Aang from the other side of the room. Katara told him to quieten down his voice.
"We're going to your Uncle Sokka's place" she answered loudly enough for him to hear.
"We visit Uncle Sokka every two months though and it's so far away" complained Aang.
"That's why we need to leave early" she answered. Katara walked over to Kyoshi who was choosing a dress to wear. Katara pointed out a few that her daughter might like to wear and she picked the blue one. She smiled at Kyoshi's choice and then started to help her put it on.
"Is Dad waiting for us?" asked Kyoshi. The question startled and puzzled Katara. Her mind raced to think of answer she didn't want to tell them what she was doing until they reached her brothers home.
"Dad can't come with us he's got some important business to do" she replied. Kyoshi nodded sadly as her answer. Once Kyoshi was fully dressed Katara packed in her night gown and a few under clothes in her bag and went across the room to do the same with Aang clothes only to be stopped because he was getting changed.
"I'm your mother you know" she said quite annoyed.
"Still" muttered Aang. Katara could tell he was still tired. He didn't blame him it was very early in the morning and he didn't usually have to wake up at this time but they had to leave today and Katara knew it. Once Aang had finished changing and let her in into his 'personal bubble's she packed his bed clothes in the bag and then gave it to Aang for him to carry.
She called Kyoshi and Aang to the door and they did what they were told. She held their hands and they held onto her Kyoshi a bit tighter than Aang but she did not say a word. They went through the door without a sound and started to make there way through the corridor. The paintings looked down on them. Katara suddenly wondered why none of the people in the paintings smiled. If they did they would be that scary unless they did an evil sort of smile like Zuko sometimes did when he was keeping a surprise from her. Katara removed Zuko from her mind. She wouldn't be able to forgive herself for what she was going to do. Instead she looked at the paintings no matter how unattractive they were, at least they kept the thought from her mind. They kept walking at the same pace. No sound was made at all. Katara felt Kyoshi cling onto her arm a bit more.
"They scare me Mum" she whispered quietly. Katara knew at once she was refering to the paintings and she leant down and kissed the top of her head.
"It's alright Kyoshi it's alright" she comforted. Kyoshi hugged her mother's arm and rested her head on it. Kyoshi was still very young and alot of things scared her as they did when Katara was a child. She continued walking and looking at the painting until her eyes rested on one. Her whole body froze as she looked at the painting. It was almost hidden really. It was tiny compared to the others. It was just a small piece of canvas framed in gold hidden in a corner. Katara hadn't looked at the painting for a long time. It showed to people on it. Both very young in age on a beach. It was a very simple painting but a lovely one. The sun was setting on the horrizen with the water reflecting it in a more curvy and distorted kind of way but however how beautiful the background was all the time the eyes were drawn to the two people. It was a happy sight. They had each others hand in the other and were spinning in the shallow water of the beach. Katara didn't know how the artist made them seem they were spinning but he or she did it very well.
"That's you isn't it Mum" said Aang who had noticed the painting she was looking at. Katara nodded.
"That's me and your father" she said. She continued to study the painting in a subconcious thought.
"You're very pretty in the painting. Do you think I'll be as pretty as you?" asked Kyoshi. Katara smiled at the comment.
"Of course you will but only you will be ten times prettier" she answered and heard her daughter giggle. Katara then looked at the title of the painting.
'Beauty and the Beast'
It was inscribed beautifully on the frame in fancy letters. Katara continually repeated the title in her head and then started to remember all those years back...