Epilogue- The Beginning
Lying in the dark, Katara felt herself rising with the sun, and she rubbed her belly gently, knowing the cause.
The small bump was hardly obvious, but the thickness of her thighs and rear had not gone unnoticed. Zuko had jokingly pinched her the day before and to her detriment, told her he liked the way she was filling out. Katara cringed at that. She felt like a cowpig as much as she ate.
It had been nearly three months since the tragic Agni Kai and not many things had changed. She was still not wed to Zuko. Two months her husband held the Firenation in mourning. He explained to Katara that it would not hurt to wait a bit longer and technically in her tribe they were married, so they were not necessarily living in sin.
And Katara did not argue, certain he would marry her properly before their nine month deadline arrived. Zuko took mourning very seriously, and Katara understood perfectly, having lost her own mother in a most violent way.
The distressing day flashed before her eyes and she held a cold hand to her stomach, as to not disturb her baby with her sadness. It had taken them hours to remove Ursa from Zuko's grasp and afterwards he refused to leave his rooms. Katara found him in the bathroom the next morning, shaving his head completely bare, an ancient symbol of bereavement. He had been making a mess of the job, so Katara asked to help him. It earned her a broken smile. It was all he could offer her at the time and she cherished it.
She decided to wait to tell him about the pregnancy, not wanting to bring the focus on herself, it just felt wrong. Katara knew he might be annoyed later on, when she finally did tell him, but for the time, she kept her lips sealed.
After the first month of mourning Iroh returned to Ba Sing Se, at least that was what he told Zuko. Personally Katara thought he went in search of Azula. She did not blame him, besides Zuko, his daughter was the only family he had left.
She had heard no word from Azula or Sarzin for that matter. A week after his departure, the old healer had sent a short letter that stated he was close on her trail. Whether or not he found the princess, and if she had accepted his help, was unknown to Katara.
She had also received word from Aang and Toph; they had just arrived in Kyoshi for the induction of the newest leader of the elite warriors, Ty Lee. Zuko had been amused by that news, stating that he had called it months before. Katara had smiled at that, because so little made him happy lately.
A month before Zuko had declared her as his consort, which made Katara very happy. He had been truthful in saying that the formal proceedings took a long time. He and Katara had to make daily sacrifices to Agni for a month, dine at the home of every family in his royal court and obtain the blessings of the Fire Sages. It was the meals that took the longest. Zuko insisted that they do two a day, and it ended up totaling about fifty-seven different houses. Each one serving the same ceremonial meal of firesteak and soy. Katara never wanted to eat that meal again; it was partly why she had gained all her weight. The previous night had been the last meal they had to eat out, and Zuko told her she could outlaw firesteak once she became Fire Lady. However, the young couple had been extremely pleasant to visit with. The man had known Zuko since they were children.
"So you were friends?" Katara had asked him the night before as they lay in bed, she was gently massaging his scalp.
"Not really," he said solemnly. "He's the nephew of Lo and Li, I was always afraid they would find some insane way to punish me if I ever played too rough with him."
"What ever happened to those creepy old ladies?"
"They both passed away from a cold, about two years ago, about the same time as each other. If they hadn't been so scary with their weird twin behaviors, I'd say it was rather sad."
Katara had nodded at that. Another question popped into her mind. She decided enough time had passed for her to at least mention it.
"Zuko," she whispered. "Who is Ulah?"
It caused him to sigh deeply and immediately Katara regretted her words. But he did not tense.
"Ulah is what I called Azula when we were very little, a nickname of sorts. Ozai hated it, and Azula never answered to it, so it became me and mother's code name for her."
"Oh," Katara murmured, still running her fingers through his dark hair. It was growing back quickly, and she didn't mind it short, she thought it made his face look more handsome, more grown up. She traced his scar with her hand then and bent down to kiss his cheek. He had nuzzled against her then and fell into a deep slumber. Katara had frowned. She had finally worked up the nerve to tell him her news and he fell asleep on her.
Back in the present Katara felt him awake, he scooped her to his side and hugged her tightly, breathing into her neck in the most appealing way.
"Good morning, my love," he said sleepily. "I can't believe you're awake before me," he said, trailing kisses at the back of her neck.
"Yea Zuko, about that," she started, trying to turn to face him, but she couldn't move her limbs. His kisses confused her and made her complacent.
"Why do you taste so good in morning?" he purred, moving his hand to her short night gown. Katara melted. To hell with it, she could tell him later.
An hour later they were in the dining hall eating breakfast when a herald approached with news of Sokka and Suki's arrival. The young couple would be present for their nuptials in two days time. Sokka had insisted since he missed their wedding in the Southern Watertribe.
Katara beamed, knowing her newborn niece was with them as well.
Not long after the Prince of the Southern Watertribe ran into the room.
"Zuko," he said, jumping into his brother's arms. Zuko laughed, really laughed and it brought tears to Katara's eyes. He had been sad for so long, void of any emotion. "I always wanted a brother," he cried aloud and Katara pouted playfully. "Sorry Katara, you know it's true."
She pulled her brother by his collar and jerked him into a hug. "Congratulations," she said in his ear and then looked around for Suki. The annoyed warrior approached from the doors, a small bundle in her arms.
"What the hell, Sokka?" she said, her anger was slight, and laced with love. "I told you to wait for me."
"Sorry," he mumbled, throwing his arm around Zuko he grinned09. "Suki, have you met my brother?"
"Firelord," the redheaded woman nodded her head in respect. "You'll forgive me for not bowing," she motioned to the dozing baby. Katara cooed lightly and reached out.
"Suki, can I hold her?" she asked hopefully. Her sister-in-law smiled and nodded, passing the child to Katara's waiting arms. "She's so beautiful. What's her name?"
"Kaia Kyoshi," she replied. "We've been calling her Kaky for short."
"Sokka, she looks just like you, except for the eyes, oh Suki, she has your beautiful eyes." She rocked the baby back and forth, Katara's mind reeled at the fact she would be doing this very same action with her own child in a matter of months.
Her husband moved behind her and tucked a large finger under the baby's chin, tickling her lightly. Kaky giggled and it caused Zuko to smile as well.
"These aren't nearly as bad as I thought," he said calmly. After a moment he pried the child from Katara's arms and rocked her in his own.
"That's a good look for you," Suki told him, wrapping an arm around her tall husband. Sokka bent down and kissed her forehead.
"Yea Zuko, maybe you should get one of your own," Sokka added as well, with a wink in Katara's direction. Katara was about to clear her throat when the Firelord said something that surprised her.
"Maybe I will," he said, half to the adults in the room and the other half in a loving voice to the bundle in his arms.
Katara raised an eyebrow and smiled nervously. "It's funny you should say that, Firelord…"
/so I just wanted to thank everyone for reading and reviewng my story the past few months... it is now COMPLETE!!
I owe a huge thanks to Mike and Bryan, of course, for comng up with such brilliant universe and such amazing characters that can inspire hundreds of pages of faniction, and I do mean hundreds. I also should mention that a lot of my information came from Avatar Wiki, I would have been lost without it.
Thanks again to all my readers and reviewers, you helped me the most when writing the story... I love you all!