So I saw the NYCC trailer on youtube. And I was like oh dear. The fandom is gonna explode. And explode it did. Mike and Bryan are such giant ship baiters, it's not even funny. It's like the CROSSROADS OF DESTINY trailer all over again. They're getting Zutaran hopes up and pissing Kataangers off just for the hell of it. I ship Kataang, obviously, but I'm not a rabid fangirl so I'm looking at this from a sane perspective and I'm not seeing much that I didn't expect. Trailers take things way out of context for the drama, that's just the way they're made.
So here's this. Second oneshot in like ten minutes, I know. I wrote both of them last night, whatever.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar. If I did, I wouldn't be nearly as mean as the people who do own it.
Katara had been so focused on the ground, so lost in her thoughts, that she wasn't prepared at all when she abruptly ran into someone. She looked up in surprise, only to find herself face to face with Zuko.
"Oh… sorry," she muttered.
"That's alright," he replied, shrugging. He looked at her curiously. "Something's wrong."
"How can you tell?"
"You didn't shout at me for getting in your way."
Katara sighed. "I suppose not," she admitted. "I just… need someone to talk to."
Zuko sat down, kicking his legs over one of the Western Air Temple's many ledges and patting the ground beside him. "Talk to me," he suggested quietly.
Katara sat beside him silently, unsure of where to start.
"What happened?" Zuko prompted at length. Katara sighed and looked down.
"Aang just… told me he loved me," she said quietly, smiling in spite of herself. "He… he loves me…"
"You didn't know that already?" Zuko asked, a little surprised. "I was under the impression that you two were already a couple."
Katara glanced at him, shaking her head. "We're just friends," she murmured. "We've always been just… friends."
"But you didn't want to be."
"No, I didn't. I wanted to be with him…"
"So he told you he loves you," Zuko said, nodding. "Isn't that a good thing?"
"It would have been, had he stopped there," she sighed again. "But then he told me that in order to master the Avatar State, he has to let me go." She looked down. "And he tried in the caves below Ba Sing Sei, but he couldn't. That's why your sister almost killed him."
"Wow," Zuko uttered quietly. "That's the real stuff then, isn't it?"
"Yeah…" she murmured. "He told me he wanted to find another way, and he kissed me." She sighed again, distressed. "I wanted to enjoy it. I really did. But…"
"You couldn't let him give up the world for you," Zuko finished for her. She nodded miserably. "And now you're here, talking to me."
"I don't want him to let me go," she admitted abruptly. "I want him to love me… I want him to need me and want me and smile at me and hug me and kiss me. But he can't… I can't let him…" She closed her eyes. "This is the hardest thing I've ever done."
"I gave up a lot to come here and join Aang," Zuko said shortly. "But all of it pales in comparison to what Aang must be going through." She glanced at him. "He must be a wreck right now, forced to choose between you and the Avatar State. I mean… if he loves you as much as it seems like he does, this is the hardest thing he's ever done, too."
Katara gazed at him thoughtfully. He shrugged.
"I feel like I should give you some advice or something," he sighed. "That's what Uncle would do. But… I don't know what to tell you. I'm really… nothing like him."
"But you're trying to be," Katara added. "That's a noble cause. He's a good man."
"Yes, he is," he sighed again. "And thanks."
"You know… I still haven't forgiven you for all the things you've done to Aang," Katara began slowly after a long silence. "And I don't know if I ever will."
"Understandable," Zuko replied, nodding.
"But I'm willing to admit I was wrong about some things," she continued quietly. "I believe you, that you're just here to help Aang and play your part in ending the war."
"I appreciate it."
"But I still won't hesitate if you hurt him," she said, not in a threatening way, but as though she was just informing him. "Nothing will hold me back."
"I know," Zuko confirmed for her, nodding again. "Because you love him."
"Yeah, I do," she said simply. "But nothing can happen now."
"We're friends, aren't we?" Zuko asked calmly. Katara nodded. "You and Aang are friends." She nodded again. "So I suppose now that nothing can happen between you and Aang, something could happen between us."
Katara thought about it for a moment. "Yeah, something could," she pensively agreed.
"But nothing will," Zuko continued.
Katara shook her head. "No, nothing will."
"Because Aang will always be first for you," he stated.
"And you still don't know where you stand with Mai," Katara finished for him.
"I'm glad we understand each other."
Zuko looked at her. She smiled, a little sadly. "You know, when you're not in that temper of yours, you're pretty easy to talk to," he pointed out.
She laughed a little. "Same to you."
"I wish I could help you with your problem with Aang," he said suddenly. "But I think you did the right thing. We all have to make sacrifices for the war, I guess. I'm just sorry yours has to be so… big."
"Thank you," she said quietly. "You think maybe… when all this is over…"
"Definitely," Zuko cut her off. "He loves you. I don't think that just goes away."
Katara smiled. "You're more like your uncle than you think."