After the betrayal of Jet, a polished rogue in the King's Guard, Katara of the Watertribe refuses the affection and offer of any man. Due to rising rebellion in the Earth Kingdom's Island Colonies, and its capital of Ba Sing Se, Chief Hakoda strives to protect his daughter and his people's way of life. Firelord Iroh pushes his nephew to marry Katara, whilst they struggle to have nothing to do with the other.
In the main time of this story Katara will be 20, Sokka 21, Jet 21, and Zuko 23, Azula is also 20. It is rated T for violence, cursing, and later mature situations.
Disclaimer: I do not own avatar, nor do I make any profit from this story.
Jet and Katara
The first thing Katara remembered from her childhood was always her mother's warm arms, and her father's grip. The next was her mother's death. There was confusion, chaos, tears, and then…
There was Jet.
A solid presence in a reality that was failing to hold, a protector, and for her, the first boy she ever considered a man.
Katara's family had traveled to the Earth Kingdom to meet with newly instated Firelord Iroh to discuss possible trade routes and tariffs. It was well known that Iroh had none of the Fire Nation biases that his brother had been famous for, but as a child, Katara had no thought concerning politics, merely a new place with new faces.
The two delegations greeted each other in Omashu, and Katara was, of course, kept where a proper young maiden should be, right under her mother's nose. She was devastated to find there were no other children there besides her brother Sokka, and frankly, Katara had been tired of his 'warrior training'. Herself and mother and Sokka had been sent on a tour of a forest nearby while Chief Hakoda met to establish any necessary restrictions and access laws.
Katara's pony was led by a quiet stable boy, as her brother strut proudly on his small mare. Her mother went ahead of them, taking in that odd serene beauty only the oldest forests harvest.
The worst memories of our lives often manifest in the strangest ways. The first thing Katara remembered was sound.
A faint humming, and really the eight your old couldn't place it, but it was almost like when father and Sokka…
A quick thud, and a horrifying whinny broke free from her mother's horse. An arrow's shaft stuck from the side of the beast as the horse bucked and thrashed in pain. Her mother, experienced horsewomen as she was, was thrown. Katara was lifted from her horse and placed with her brother inside a circle of guards. She tried to call out for her mother, but over the thunder of horse hooves and the twang and hiss of arrows, her voice was lost. The men blocking from Katara her mother fell, and she broke free of Sokka, desperately calling out for her mother.
Below a willow, pinned by several arrows, sat the only woman she had known for the earliest years of her life. Katara ran to her and red, red Why is there so much red? I don't like red, Mother! Her mother's eyes were shut and her body broken and the guards were failing, and where was Sokka, and why wouldn't mother look at her?
A hand grasped her from behind. Katara screamed in terror and tried to pull away, but the hand wouldn't let her.
"Shh, you're alright, I ain't gonna let them hurt you," a voice whispered into her ear, not the voice of a guard, or even a man, but a child, a boy. She turned and sure enough, a boy who looked a few years older than her stood. He watched her with dark eyes and tugged her forward away from her mother. "No!" She had to stay with mother! How could they find mother if Katara didn't watch her?
The thunder of hooves sounded again, the boy pulled her against a tree and blocked her from view. The hunting party stopped at the sight of the slain bodies. "You, boy, What happened?" The leader dismounted and approached the boy, Katara trembled. "They were attacked, from what I saw, I stopped the girl 'fore she went to the body, aint right to be touchin' the dead," the boy's odd way of speaking immediately told of his poor upbringing, but Katara's mind latched onto one word. Dead. "NO!" She burst free from the boy and ran again to her mother. "She's not dead, help please, Mother wake up, Mother! Look at me please, Mother!" The boy reached for her, but one of the men stayed his hand.
She sobbed unto the blue that should never be red, grasping at her mother's robes. She shook and called for her mother over and over. The boy came up to her, and heedless of the red life slipping from her mother, took Katara in his arms and held her while she cried.
Katara remembered very little for the rest of the day, except a child's refusal to let go of her, to let her break, and her father hollowed and sunken, falling on his knees at seeing his beloved wife. Her brother crying openly as his ten year old mind broke any tough façade. It was the only time she'd ever seen her father cry.
It wouldn't be the last.
The boy, called Jet, as they later learned, was taken to the palace in Omashu. King Bumi, old and heir less as he was, immediately took the lad under his wing, thrilled by his antics and speech. When he learned of the boy's comfort and unhesitant protection of Katara, he welcomed the lad with every comfort available.
The boy had no family, a vague past, and no education, but the King looked on and saw a strong child, unafraid and caring. "Boys can be taught anything." He nurtured the child for years, educating him, training him, and teaching him anything he'd need to know as a leader.
Bumi thought it a splendid idea to have a real person who had lived among the poorest of people raised up as a leader. As Jet's training continued, it was made clear he had a strong aptitude for the militaristic arts. King Bumi, thrilled with his wards natural talent, promptly enrolled him in the King's Guard, to be used as an apprentice to an aging general.
After the tragedy of his wife's demise, Chief Hakoda vowed to never set place on the Earth Kingdom's mainland. However in light of Jet's comforting presence to his daughter, he often sent his children with an envoy of soldiers to visit the lad. Jet rarely came to the Southern Water Tribe due to his extensive training.
As For Jet and Katara, Jet was her protector, her playmate, and in the fantasies of her girlhood, every hero that saved her from dragons and bandits. Her adoration for him was plain before the eyes of the world, and they were surprised when Bumi's offer of marriage was turned away. Chief Hakoda never stated his reasons but watched the boy with dark eyes sharply, as did his son.
On Katara's nineteenth birthday, a ball was thrown to celebrate her ascension as a woman. Jet arrived with jewels and silk flowers for her hair, their petals soft as he brushed them upon her cheek. Katara's radiant happiness refused to dim, and she was swept into his arms repeatedly for one more dance. It seemed Jet's eyes truly opened and saw her as a female, instead of the devoted follower he had known for years. She gazed at him, refused to hear a word against him, to her Father's increased agitation.
On the third day of his stay he swept her into a shadowed balcony. He never said a word, but reached for her, and drawing her against his chest, pressed his lips to hers gently. Katara melted beneath his gaze with flushing cheeks and racing breath.
"I have to go to battle, Katara."
Her peaceful visions shattered. Daydreams of further kisses, of homes and teething babes disappeared as her horror broke onto her face.
"The Earth Kingdom's Island off the Southeast are rebelling, it is my duty..."
Seeing the ravished look upon her, He took her hands softly in his own. "I vow to you, Katara of the Watertribe, daughter of Hakoda, sister to Sokka, I will return to you, and when I do, you won't have to ever fear me leaving again."
"Promise me," his frantic gaze longing, needy, possessive, "You will wait for me, promise.
She nodded shakily, and he slammed her to him, engulfing her lips once more before, turning and striding briskly away. Leaving her to gather the pieces of her shattered hopes.
A year passed, and word of Jet had passed to her many times through the mouths of men and women. His prowess in battle, his fierce determination, and his enjoyment of the soldier's life. Every port it seemed filled with women seeking men of arms, and Jet faithful citizen that he was, refused to disappoint. Her ears closed against such tales, naïve to thoughts outside the optimistic future she had constructed. The months until her 20th birthday her will wavered and finally cracked upon news from her brother, who was training diligently with the Kyoshi warriors.
My urge to say I told you so is warring with my older brother instincts. Men of my wit should never be placed in such a position.
As much as you do not want to hear, Koala-otter, Jet is scum. Whatever he promised you before his departure, falls into question at the roguish nature of his actions. It is told he drank himself to stupors and pursued to brawl with those in company. It is told he stole and cheated many a man from his wealth. I tell you now the worst of these tales is the least of what he's done. Trust me. You are better off unknowing.
His sudden interest in you upon your arrival to womanhood, left me and father unsurprised and concerned for your well being, but your internal optimism strikes again. I tell you now, his regiment docked in Kyoshi not even hours past before he stole away to the taverns and left them with his arms full of the least respectable women.
The world sighs at your pure heart, and weeps at his betrayal to your innocence. You are strong, my sister, and have a maturity beyond the tittering fools of your age. I despise the whoreson. Hopefully I'll be back soon, and we'll spit on his name together. A special friend of ours begs me…Oh very well 'will come if necessary' to visit you. Do not suffer yourself for this guy, Katara.
P.S Yes Suki beat me again, she finds your predictions of my success quite amusing. I do not.
Katara refused to be consoled, locked away in her room she refused food and company for 3 days, before someone who knocked upon her door, wouldn't hear of her pleas for solitude.