Hey i couldn't help but hurry up and put out the epilogue for you guys. I just wanted to take the time to tell you all how much i have enjoyed writing this story, because it was something new for me and also all the encouraging reviews from all of you... you guys have been the driving force behind this story and i hope you all will love the sequeal to "Atonement" which should be up in about four weeks or so, when all the craziness of finals winds down.

so be on the look out for "Firefly"

1. i own nothing, except the zutaraness

2.reviews are always loved and appreciated

3. you guys are the best and i hope you all come back to read more of my stuff...i have a feeling you'll love it.


Atonement: Epilogue

"What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly" Lao-Tzu

Her name is Firefly, this little girl, my little girl. And at the moment she is trying to catch her namesake. Her long black hair swings about as she runs and jumps all over the garden, but her eyes watching, waiting for one to fly close enough for her to catch.

She has been Firefly ever since the day she was born, some three years, seven months and twelve days previous. I remember holding her up for the first time and her tiny hand reached out and touched my cheek. It was like a firefly landing there, delicate and warm. From that moment on, she has been mine and I've been hers.

She has her mother's eyes, my beautiful Firefly, but not Katara's coloring or patience or serenity. The only things she has inherited from her mother are her bright blue eyes and adventurous spirit. Firefly doesn't sit or wait, she is always chasing after her two older brothers. She can't stand to be left behind.

But right now, her brothers are calm. Our oldest, Iroh is sitting with Katara, pointing out constellations. Every so often he will turn to her and ask her something. And she will smile and kiss his forehead. They are two peas in a pod: my wife and eldest son. At eight, Iroh is well on his way to becoming a master fire bender, he is a good listener and has Katara's patience. He watches and learns, my little shadow. He is well aware of his responsibilities and watches out for his younger sister in a way that I never did for mine. They may fight and squabble, but I can see the potential for a true friendship.

Roku, the little middle child at five, sleeps with his head on his mother's lap. She strokes his dark hair with one hand and points with the other. Roku is as smart as they come and when he isn't asleep, he is all questions, all the time. He burns through scrolls like wildfire and while his constant questioning may wax a trifle vexing at times, the wisdom he gleans from his questioning is truly astounding.

But my daughter will have none of this sitting still or sleeping. She totters off toward the pond chasing the fireflies all the while. Iroh gets up to make sure his little sister doesn't fall in and I take his place next to Katara. She smiles up at me and I realize it's probably the ten thousandth time I've lost my heart to her since that day in Ba Sing Se.

I know I told her that I fell in love with her when she came to try to save my uncle, but in truth, my heart belonged to her ever since she offered to heal my scar. I think I will always remember the look on her face; her huge blue eyes that could see right through me, the small half smile, the tilt of her head, the long dark hair shining in the glow of the crystals. No matter how old we become that is how I will always see her.

Katara leans her head against my shoulder and I wrap one arm around her. Roku doesn't move at all, he sleeps on unaware of the rest of the world.

"Get it!" Iroh shouts to his sister. "Get it, Kana!" Kana, who is named for the great-grandmother she will never know, smiles broadly and lets out a laugh as she and Iroh dance around caught up in their game.

"You know," Katara says softly to me. "I could get used to this."

"I think we ought to keep it like this for a while…" I agree just as quietly as not to disturb our sleeping son.

She gazes up at me and I can see the full moon reflected in her eyes. She is my world. She has been forever and I could not imagine a life without her. "What are you thinking right now?" She asks, as she always does.

I would say if I could…but "There aren't any words," I say with a smile.

"I know the feeling." She replies as Iroh and Kana come running back.

"Look!" my Firefly cries as she opens her palms and there in her hands is a tiny flickering firefly. A wide smile lights up Kana's small elegant face. She will be so beautiful one day.

Kana's hands remain open for just a split second too long and the firefly rises up and out. She stares up at the slowly darkening skies, her lower lip trembling. "It got away…" she murmurs gloomily.

"It's okay, Kana…" Iroh tells her with a smile, but Firefly will not be persuaded. She crosses her arms over her chest and scowls.

Katara laughs out loud. "By all the spirits, she looks just like you!" She tells me and even I have to admit, with her pale skin, dark hair and similar facial traits, it's like looking in a tiny mirror

I reach out and pull her into my arms. "There will be other fireflies," I tell her and kiss her temple. And for a moment, Firefly leans back against me. I can feel her take slow but deep little breaths; she's falling to sleep now that she's sitting still.

Iroh lets out a yawn as well. Katara looks to all three children who are slowly falling asleep before our eyes. She scoops Roku up and takes Iroh by the hand. "I think it's time for bed," She says quietly. I look down to see Kana fast asleep, her long dark eyelashes resting against her pale pillow cheeks. I stand, cradling my daughter against me and taking Iroh's waiting hand; we walk through the slowly darkening night toward home and bed.


So guys...this is it...the end...I would give you all hugs if i knew where you lived, and your own personal bar of toblerone chocolate...put me on the story alert and you'll know when "Firefly" is up...

so much love and respect...

T.R.P.D