I was kind of depressed and felt the urge to take it out on my writing. By no means do I actually hope this will happen, it just sort of poured out. I got teary just writing this, but that always happens to me when I write depressing stuff.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar, I'm just deeply obsessed.
"You will not escape this time. For a hundred years, you have eluded me like the coward you are. Now, you will pay."
Ozai faced Aang, his piercing glare was almost as hot as the burning inferno behind him. Blocking all exits. Katara crouched behind Ozai and tried to calm her breath. Now was not the time to fear: the fate of the world rested on those small shoulders and Ozai was standing between them and her.
Zuko watched Katara with dread coiled in his stomach. What was she planning? She had to know that, as experienced as she was, she was no match for the Fire Lord. He wanted to tell her to run and save herself, but he couldn't.
One of Ozai's hands was pointed at his chest and the other at Aang's. One move – one breath, and Aang would die. And as much as he hated it, he knew that the Avatar's safety came first: before Katara's. It burnt Zuko up inside.
Zuko glared at Aang and willed him to just strike Ozai, but he wouldn't. He was putting Zuko's life before the world and it was wrong. If killing himself would make Aang's decision easier, consider it done. But he couldn't move.
"Fine. The Avatar first."
In a flash, Ozai's arms drew to his chest and then out. Lightening reflected in Aang's gray eyes, before it was blocked out by Zuko's shadow. Zuko received the attack and deflected it. Ozai caught it, and it streaked back. Zuko sent it back. The cycle continued and rose in velocity. Zuko was pushed back every time he absorbed the lightening.
Aang was forced to bend the fire behind them away and both of them backed up through it . . . toward the edge of the cliff.
Zuko kept up the defense, as his fingertips grew numb and his breathing heavier. If his father wanted the Avatar, he was going to have to kill him first. And Ozai didn't seem to have a problem with that.
Katara winced as the lightening slammed into and through Zuko's body again and again. There was no way he could keep it up. She aimed at Ozai's back and concentrated on it with all of her strength.
Finally, he realized that he wouldn't be able to absorb the next attack. His head was light and he gasped for breath. His father sensed this and grinned evilly. Zuko summoned his strength and a burst of fire hit Ozai's shoulder unexpectedly. His lightening was thrown to the ground, and as it exploded. Aang and Zuko were thrown back. A final blow, and Zuko skidded off the edge of the cliff.
In a matter of seconds, Aang leapt after him and airbended his fall. Ozai stood on the edge of the cliff and took aim at the two as they tumbled into the abyss.
Please Yue! Lend me strength! Katara gasped. She felt a rush in her veins and Ozai froze. Katara's arms trembled from the effort of bloodbending without the full moon.
There was a sudden pressure beneath him. His fall slowed and a small hand grasped his. He looked up to see Aang - and his eyes were filled with a bright light.. In the blink of an eye, the cliff side came out to meet them. Zuko landed on it with a thud and held a hand before his face to shield it from the stinging air as they rushed upwards.
Ozai trembled and twitched. His outstretched hand smoked as he tried to force fire out. Suddenly, he was knocked backwards by a gust of wind. Aang floated above him, eyes flashing. Katara fell to her knees panting and was knocked over. The weight was crushing her, but she could barely think as the air crackled with electricity.
Then, it all stopped. The light, the wind, the heat, and the sound. There was only silence as she became acutely aware of the rock pressing into her hip painfully. She slowly sat up and pushed off - Zuko? Zuko slumped to the ground. She frantically shook him by the shoulders. Nothing happened.
"Aang!!" She looked to see Aang on the ground, rubbing his head groggily. What was left of the Fire Lord lay a few feet away, and Katara quickly averted her eyes.
"Zuko, wake up! Please, please! I need you! Please! Oh La! Please, Zuko! Talk to me! " She screamed. Tears pricked her eyes and blurred her vision.
His hand slowly moved up toward her face and she snatched it to hold it against her cheek. She could actually feel its warmth fading. Her heart hitched in her chest as she held his cold and crumpled form.
"What- what- why did you-?" She asked frantically.
Zuko drew in a deep breath through his nose and winced in pain. Katara didn't speak, but her lips trembled. Zuko's eyes began to close again.
"Come on, we have to get you back to Appa. We have to find help-"
Zuko's eyes opened again. "This is – this is it."
"No! No, its not!" She cried. The water she held to his chest glowed blue, but he wasn't getting any better. She stopped and tried again. And again. Her sobs grew louder as she tried to heal him, but nothing worked. She choked and gasped for air.
"Katara, stop. "
She did as she was told.
"I want you to know that I will always, always, love you."
"And I love you. But you have to hold on. You ca-can't just – "
"Shhhh . . "
"No, damn it. You can't leave me! Everyone has left me!"
Zuko realized she was talking about her dead mother, her absent father, her friend Yue, her pupil Aang, whose journey would take him farther and farther away. . .
"I'm not leaving. I'll be with you."
"But – but.. "
She watched the light in his amber eyes flicker like a dying fire. Grief raced in shivers up her spine, seared her lungs, and forced her breath out. She hunched over him and her braid slid over her shoulder to tickle his cheek, although at this point it was falling apart.
Zuko looked up into her eyes and saw such extraordinary love in the cerulean depths. No one looked at him like that. And suddenly, he felt very cold . . .
"Katara? I'm-I'm scared."
She had to bite her lip to keep back more tears. He was only a boy. "Don't be. Don't be scared. Shhh. It will be okay – I swear. Just remember that I love you. I love you more than anything . . ." She held his hand so hard that her knuckles turned white. It was almost a pathetic attempt to keep him there, with her. And she knew she was failing.
He shuddered and Katara heard his breath catch.
Her face was hanging so close to his. Slowly, he leaned up to meet her lips. The passion he couldn't put into words manifest itself. He saw it all pass by. Their whole future. His throne, his wife, his children . . . gone. Never to be. How cruel could fate be to snatch it all away? But Zuko knew that if he had the chance, he would have done it again. He would have thrown himself on top of her and protected her whatever the cost. This was the cost.
Their lips parted and let their cool and hot breath mix. Katara cradled his head once more and silence descended. As Katara wept, a light rain began to fall and Zuko quietly passed from one world to the next with nothing more than a quiet exhale and the closing of those deep golden eyes.
Katara had vowed to never turn her back on those who needed her. And who needed her more than Zuko? Zuko, who had given up his family (if you could call it that), his birthright, a relationship with Mai, the honor of the fire nation, and ultimately – his life? And as the battle field erupted in with the news of victory – Katara had the sour and sickening knowledge that she had failed in the deepest sense.
Tears streamed down her cheeks and all she could taste was their salt, ash and blood.
The world would hear of his sacrifice. He had not died in vain: he had died saving his country and the world. And a hundred years later, children would see his name in their history books - the Avatar's friend, who helped defeat the tyrannical Fire Lord Ozai and end a century of war. Perhaps in the fine print they would say: "Also, the was a master Waterbender. Records have since lost her name, but she was believed to have been a personal friend of the Avatar and Prince Zuko. " But had they ever been friends? The line between hate and love was too fine, and Katara knew that their crossing had been a sort of miracle. As was the tiny ounce of life fighting within her for a place in the world, reminding her that Zuko was still with her.
What do you think? Did you catch that last sentence? Please Review!! This is my first time posting something this angsty, so i'm curious as to how you think it turned out!!
May 23rd: Okay, I read back over it and changed a couple minuscule details that I didn't like. Hope you all don't mind.