This is loosely based on the Greek Myth The Odyssey. It starts in the postwar Avatar universe and Katara chose Zuko in the end, just so you know. This story is not a continuation of "My Heart Burns for You", it's a separate story all on its own. Oh, and please excuse the many horrible grammar mistakes you might find.
Well, hope you like! :)
*NOTE* For the lemon version of this chapter please follow the link on my profile.
Disclaimer- Avatar: The Last Airbender belongs to Bryke. I also do not own The Odyssey.
The young Fire Lord opened his golden eyes, feeling the energy of the early sun course through his body, indicating dawn had approached. The large opened doors of the balcony allowed him to see the approaching golden light spilling into the grand bedchamber through the thin, red curtains that billowed as a breeze swept through.
Turning his gaze to the sleeping, nude figure of his wife next to him, Zuko smiled. Drawing her closer to him, he inhaled her sweet scent, gently caressing her chocolate-brown tresses with his hand. Katara sighed contently in her sleep and snuggled closer into his warm embrace.
As he continued to stroke her hair, Zuko again wondered why Agni had been so kind to him by blessing him with such a wonderful wife and a great life.
Soon after he was crowned Fire Lord after Ozai was defeated, he had summoned up his courage and confessed his love for the waterbender. He was not sure what to expect and was willing to accept her refusal, even if it caused him pain, but he needed her to know.
He had been ecstatic, however, when Katara had jumped into his arms, joyful tears in her eyes, and confessed that she had fallen in love with him as well. Right at that moment he asked her to marry him and become his Fire Lady. Katara was afraid at first, comprehensively so, and he did not blame her for they were still young and the nations still mistrusted each other. But he promised to protect her, love her, and cherish her all his life. After that, she had no more doubts or fears and accepted to be his wife and promised to love him forever.
Zuko had to break his relationship with Mai again. He had felt guilty, but he could not lie about his feelings for her any longer. At first she was furious, but she accepted it in the end and left the capital city to live with her parents in Omashu. He had to admit he had been surprised that she had accepted his decision so easily after what she had told him at the Boiling Rock, but perhaps she understood since their relationship had been deteriorating quickly and she must have noticed that he pined after Katara every day.
If only it had gone as smoothly when Katara confronted the lovesick airbender. When Katara told Aang that she loved Zuko and was going to marry him, she was saddened and infuriated at the same time with his reaction. He yelled at her, telling her she was making a mistake, that she could not possibly love Zuko. He loved her and she was supposed to love him and marry him not the new Fire Lord. In his anguish and anger, Aang had tried to take her away by force, but Zuko had intervened and threatened him if he tried to take his love from him again. After that, Aang left and they never spoke since.
Katara had been saddened at this. Aang was her friend and she did love him, but not the way he wanted or the way she loved Zuko. She had hoped that one day he could forgive her and come back so they could be friends again. But all those thoughts were forgotten as her wedding with Zuko took place. Everyone important attended the grand wedding, all their family and friends who were happy for them both. Aang was the only one who did not attend and no one blamed him. The wedding was wonderful and Zuko and Katara could never have been happier.
Six years have passed now and the love they had for each other continued to burn stronger than ever. There were some difficulties at first since Katara had to adjust to the Fire Nation Court and Zuko had to work hard to rebuild his country as well as built trust with the other nations. And like every other married couple they argued. But soon everything had settled and it seemed that nothing terrible could ever happen.
Zuko's hand moved away from his wife's soft hair to caress her shoulder before his fingers trailed down her arm. Then he leaned down to kiss her temple, inhaling her scent once again. Katara stirred and murmured as sleep began to leave her eyes.
"Good morning, love," the Fire Lord greeted lovingly as he continued to stroke her caramel-colored skin.
Opening her sea-blue eyes, Katara looked up to see her husband's face and smiled sweetly.
"Zuko. Good morning, handsome," she replied with a grin, lifting her hand to caress his face. "Did you sleep well, my love?" she asked.
Grabbing her small hand towards his face, Zuko kissed her fingers before replying, "Wonderfully."
He then leaned his head down to place a soft kiss on her lips.
"Mmm. I love the mornings," Katara whispered against his lips.
Zuko smirked. "As well as the nights, right, Katara?"
He chuckled when her cheeks turned red before he continued making love to her mouth. Katara moaned as he deepened the kiss, pushing his tongue into her sensitive mouth, their tongues dancing around each other passionately.
"Don't you have a meeting to attend to, my lord?" she asked breathlessly when they finally pulled apart to catch their breaths.
The Fire Lord grinned mischievously. Katara saw the devious glint in his molten golden eyes and shivered at the welcomed anticipation that coursed through her body.
"It can wait," he replied huskily as he gently pushed her onto her back, settling himself on top of her lithe form.
He moved his skillful hands all over her nude body, her moans of pleasure and delight arousing him even more. He placed hot kisses down her throat, to her collarbone, her breasts, stomach until he reached her sweet spot where he kissed her teasingly.
Gripping Zuko's hair tightly, Katara moaned even louder, "Oh, how I love the mornings!"
Standing outside his royal bedchamber door, Zuko sighed tiredly while running his hand over his raven-black hair. The meeting he had attended took longer and was even more important than he had expected, and all he wanted was to spend some time with his wife. But considering what happened in the meeting, he knew his time with her would be short.
Opening one of the great golden doors, Zuko entered his grand bedchamber and his eyes darted around the room until he spotted his Fire Lady reading a book on the couch near the balcony. The night breeze blew in, ruffling the curtains and lifting some strands of her long chocolate tresses.
Katara looked up from her book, and upon seeing her husband, she set it aside and stood up to greet him.
"Zuko, you're finally back. I was waiting for you to eat lunch," she half pouted, but the light in her eyes made him know she was not truly mad at him.
Zuko chuckled and closed the door behind him. Taking her into his arms, he gave her a gentle kiss, although what he really wanted to do was ravish her at the moment.
"I'm sorry. I really did want to have lunch with my lovely wife, but the meeting took longer than I expected," he told her, hugging her closer to him.
"It's okay, I understand. I married the Fire Lord, so I have to deal with it," she replied as she lifted her head to smile at him before she frowned as she took in the weary look in his eyes. "You look tired. Come, lie down."
Taking his hand, she led him to their huge bed covered in silky, red blankets that rested against the northern wall. She quickly took off his long formal robe and his fire crown and set them aside before running her fingers through his dark hair. Zuko gave out a sigh of relief as his tired body rested on the soft bed. Katara sat next to him and removed his boots, then removing her own slippers, she settled herself beside him. Zuko opened his arms for her and she rested her head on his chest. She listened to the soothing rhythm of his heartbeat. His heart that thumped loudly for her just as hers did for him.
"I should probably get some sleep," Zuko sighed, rubbing her arm in slow circles.
"Sleep? The sun barely went down," Katara said as she raised her head to look at him. "Something happened at the meeting, didn't it?"
Zuko wanted to kiss her senseless. That is why he loved her so much, she knew him so well. But the gravity of the situation controlled his urges.
"Yes. We received news that a group of Fire Nation rebels have been terrorizing the colonies and have taken over one of our forts. They have been destroying the area and are killing anyone that stands in their way."
"That's horrible!" Katara exclaimed. When will so many problems stop tormenting her husband?
"I have to stop them before more people are hurt. I'm taking a small army of soldiers to stop the chaos. We leave in a couple of hours." Zuko sighed again and hugged her closer.
A foreboding feeling began to swell in Katara's chest. A feeling that something bad and painful was about to occur. Panic began to rise within her, but she quickly pushed it down.
"Alright. Let me get my things ready," she said, trying to keep her voice from trembling. "Where did I put my water skin?"
Katara rose from the bed, but Zuko grabbed her waist and pulled her back down before she could set her feet on the dark marble floor.
"I'm going. You're staying," he told her firmly.
"What?!" Katara practically yelled. "Don't you tell me it's because it's dangerous and all that stupid nonsense! I'm a Waterbending Master! How many times do I have to keep making myself clear?! I'm coming with you whether you like it or not," she told him defiantly, trying to stand up. "Now let me go!"
Zuko smirked inwardly. Her stubbornness and defiance always seemed to turn him on, but he held his grip on her for this was a serious matter.
"Katara, please try to understand," he told her softly, "I know you can defend yourself, but I will be too busy fighting and leading an army to keep an eye on you." He lifted her chin so she could meet his eyes, "I will never forgive myself if something happened to you."
Katara touched his cheek.
"But, Zuko, what if you got injured or something?" she said softly, "Then I won't be able to heal you."
Zuko gave her a small smile.
"Don't worry. Did you forget I'm a Firebending Master? Nothing can touch me. Well, except for you of course," he added with a grin.
Katara blushed lightly.
"Zuko, stop it," she said and lightly slapped his chest, "This is serious." Her lovely brown face then turned solemn and worried. "What if…what if you don't come back? What if you get…killed? Then what will I do?" she asked him, her voice so low Zuko had to strain to hear her.
"Katara, I promise I won't get myself killed. Haven't I shown you that I never give up? Besides they're a small group of rebels. It would probably only take a few weeks, perhaps a bit more than a month to defeat them. I'll be back before you know it," he reassured his concerned wife, stroking her back caringly. "As Fire Lady you have the responsibility to look after the nation while the Fire Lord is absent. Don't worry. Uncle will help you with everything. He's already on his way from Ba Sing Se."
But Katara was not satisfied. That strange, painful feeling still clung to her heart, making it slightly difficult for her to breathe normally.
"Promise you'll come back to me alive and well. Promise you'll return. Zuko, promise me," she pleaded urgently as she gripped his shirt with her small, tanned hands.
Zuko frowned. He hated to see her so worried. He did not understand why she looked so distressed. He did not need to tell her he would come back because it was obvious he would always be by her side and he always wanted her by his. But he knew all she wanted at the moment was reassurance.
Cupping each side of her face tenderly with his strong, pale hands, Zuko looked deep into the blue eyes of his beloved so she would see the truth in what he would say.
"Katara, I promise you with everything that I am that I will come back to you. Even if I have to swim an entire ocean, even if I have to kill the entire rebel army by myself, and even if I do die and go to the Spirit World, I promise you, my wife, that I would do the impossible to return to your arms in order to keep loving and cherishing you always."
Katara flung herself into his arms, hugging his middle tightly.
"Oh, Zuko," she murmured softly. A few tears fell from her eyes at his heartfelt words since it was rare for him to do so. "And I promise you, my dear husband, with all my heart that I will be waiting for you to return to me."
The young Fire Lord caressed his wife's back lovingly, patiently waiting for her to calm down. Then lifting her head he kissed her face gently, wiping her tears with his lips. Katara shivered delightfully under his touch. Zuko then placed a soft kiss on her lips.
"Katara, I love you," he told her fervently against her lips.
"And I love you, Zuko," she whispered back as she held onto him as if afraid she would lose him the instant she let go.
Gently easing her onto her back, Zuko slowly untied the sash that held her blue robe closed. He pulled away from their kiss and opened her robe to reveal her exposed breasts.
Zuko cocked his eyebrow at his wife.
"You were waiting for me weren't you, love?" he purred.
Katara grinned. She laced one of her hands behind his neck while the other snaked its way to his hard length that was poking at her thigh.
She then seductively replied, "Just like I will be when you return from the colonies."
She squeezed his manhood, causing him to groan heatedly.
Zuko growled lowly as he attacked her neck with searing kisses. Making love to his wife before he sailed away was way better than sleeping.
"Uncle Iroh!" Katara called happily, quickly walking into his room. She sat down across from him near the tea table.
"Ah, Lady Katara, good morning," the old general greeted as he poured her a cup of tea, "I assume by your cheerful appearance you have received another letter from my nephew?" He smiled.
Katara smiled widely and waved the letter she had in her hand.
"Yes! Zuko wrote that they have defeated the rebels a couple of days ago. He just needs to settle some things, but he said that he will be here in a few weeks!" Katara squirmed excitedly in her seat.
Iroh smiled at the joyful face of his nephew's wife.
Katara suddenly stood from her seat.
"I need to get things prepared for my husband's arrival!" she exclaimed. And as fast as she came in, she went out.
Iroh chuckled, sipping from his steaming teacup. It had been almost two months since Zuko had left to end the rebellion. At first Katara had some difficulty looking after the nation's problems, but thanks to his guidance she managed to do well.
But it was obvious she missed the young Fire Lord. The young waterbender always acted so overjoyed every time she received a letter from Zuko, which was almost every few days. Who would have thought that two former enemies now loved each other more than their own lives?
"Maybe she will need some help from Uncle to make a big welcoming celebration," Iroh mused as he, too, rose from his seat.
Zuko stood at the head of his flagship. The sky was gray and gloomy and a sharp, cold wind bit the backs of the grand ship's crewmembers. Zuko breathed in the salty air, the ocean breeze caressing his excited features. He did not care to hide his excitement from his face since he was alone. The gloomy weather did not affect his happiness at all.
In two days they would be arriving at the Fire Nation capital, three weeks earlier than he had sent word of. He was able to get things settled faster than he expected thanks to Admiral Jee and General Jeong-Jeong. He had set out before them with two ships from his fleet.
In just two more days he would be back from being in the battlefield where not a single rebel was able to get close enough to harm him because of his superior fighting skills, though there had been a few close calls. He will be back to his palace and will be able to relax. But most importantly he will see Katara again.
Zuko sighed, closing his eyes as he remembered his beautiful wife, with her silky brown hair and her blue eyes, bluer than the bluest ocean. He also recalled her soft, cool skin, warm lips, and luscious curves.
Zuko suppressed a groan as he felt the familiar heat within his loins.
Oh, sweet Katara. You have no idea what I'm going to do to show you how much I missed you. He grinned.
"Fire Lord Zuko?" the captain of the ship called out, bringing Zuko out of his fantasy.
Zuko nearly jumped out of his skin at the voice of his captain. Fortunately, his armor concealed his desire and saved him from embarrassment.
Clearing his throat, he resumed his stoic expression.
"Yes, Captain. What is it?"
"It seems we are approaching a storm, sir, and it is coming toward us rather quickly. We may not have enough time to avoid it. What does my lord suggest?" the tall, older man asked.
The young Fire Lord finally took notice of the darkening sky, the gray ominous clouds hiding the morning sun from them. They were already too far at sea to go back and they were not near any other land.
Zuko's face grew grim.
"Secure everything," he ordered, "Then tell the men to go below decks. Hopefully the storm goes by quickly."
Zuko watched as the captain gave the crew his orders and they scrambled upon the deck just as it began to rain.
No storm is going to keep me from Katara, he vowed silently.
Just as he finished the thought, a streak of lightning fell and lit the sky in front of them with a resounding crash.
As the hours passed the storm grew stronger. The rain was so heavy that it seemed like a waterfall was falling from the clouds. It was so dark they could barely see either end of the ship. The wind grew so fierce it shoved the three ships as if they were paper boats.
Zuko waited restlessly in the navigation tower as the flagship was flung from side to side. He prayed to Agni for the storm to pass, but his prayer was interrupted as a flash of light lit the darkness. Zuko watched in horror as a white lightning bolt struck one of his ships. So powerful it was that the metal ship was split in half.
Coming out of his shock, Zuko shouted orders for his crew to retrieve the soldiers onboard the first ship. The men raced across the deck, but they froze in their tracks when a huge wave rose on their right side, submerging the second ship into the deep, dark water.
"The Spirits are angry! We're all going to die!" the navigator began to shout hysterically until Zuko slapped him across the face and shook his shoulders roughly.
"Get a grip of yourself and keep steering!" Zuko shouted at the man who bobbed his head and kept his hands on the steering wheel.
"Captain! We need to see if any men are swimming near!" Zuko address the older man above the howling wind.
"Yes, my lord!" the man answered immediately as he opened the door for his lord to pass through.
Both Fire Lord and captain struggled across the deck, the cold wind blowing so hard they had to hold onto the slick railing. Zuko leaned over the side of the ship, but all he could see was dark water. He looked to the left side of his flagship to the ship that was struck with lighting. It was on fire and only half was still floating. Turning to his right, he cursed for the second ship had not resurfaced. The massive wave took both ship and crew underwater.
Then things turned for the worst. The wind and rain grew fiercer, churning the ocean into wild waves in every direction. The flagship began to be tossed wildly about that the captain almost lost his balance and would have tumbled overboard if Zuko had not caught him. Another lightning streak lightened the scene, and then the thunder preceded it with a loud crash that shook their bones.
"My lord!" the captain shouted, his voice barely audible in the wind, "The waves are too strong! I'm afraid the ship is going to capsize! You need to abandon ship!"
Zuko shook his head fiercely, the rain plastering his wet, dark hair on his face. "No! I will not leave my crew behind like some coward!" Another thunderclap resounded.
"But your Majesty!" the man pleaded, "It is our duty to keep you safe and the most possible place is not on this ship!" Seeing that Zuko was about to object again the older man placed his hand on his shoulder. "The Fire Nation needs you! And what about Fire Lady Katara? Will you let her be a widow so young?"
Zuko's body stiffened.
Katara…He closed his eyes. I promised I was going to return to her. I promised! But still…I can't…leave my men…
The captain gave him a small smile. Everybody knew how much the Fire Lord cared for his people and they also knew how much he loved his beautiful Water Tribe wife. Patting Zuko's arm, the captain then bowed, the rain dripping from his uniform. Another lightning bolt fell from the sky, lighting his resolute features.
"It was an honor serving you, Fire Lord Zuko," the captain told him.
Before Zuko could react, the captain pushed him over the side of the ship.
Zuko gasped as his body painfully met the cold sea water, quickly numbing his limbs. His lungs begged for air, but his armor made it difficult to swim up. When he finally broke the surface the thunderstorm almost made him lose his hearing. Something bumped onto the back of his head and he froze. Turning around, he found a large wooden box floating on the water, which he was sure the captain had thrown overboard after him so it could help him stay afloat. He quickly held onto it.
He scanned his surroundings and found his flagship being tossed further away. He tried to swim towards it, but the waves were too strong and they kept pushing him back. But he was determined to reach it and help his men. How, he did not know, but he had to try. He looked up to see how far his flagship had gone only to pause in shock at what he saw. A massive wave rose from the sea, crashed viciously onto the side of the ship and tipped it over until only the underside was shown.
"No!" Zuko shouted in horror. "No!"
Now his crew was trapped inside with no form of escape! Again he tried to make his way to his flagship, but it was of no use. The angry waves and the fierce wind were too strong. He cursed. He had no choice but to hold onto the box and fight to stay above the water.
It seemed to have taken hours until the wind, the rain, and the waves calmed down. The dark clouds passed and the sun broke through, lighting the ocean's surface below. It became so peaceful it seemed as if there never was a storm, there never were any deaths.
For days the sea carried Zuko further away. The salty water stung his reddened eyes and the hot sun beat down mercilessly upon his back. As the time passed by Zuko began to think it was best if he let go and allowed the sea to engulf him so he could end such torment, but the image of Katara and the promise he made gave him the strength to go on.
On the fifth day he was beginning to lose hope. All he saw was the vast expanse of water and he was growing so weak from lack of food and clean water.
As night approached yet again he felt like he was slipping out of reality. His head throbbed painfully and his vision was blurry and unfocused. The young Fire Lord wondered if it was best if he died. In some small part of his mind he wondered if there was a possible way he could escape the Spirit World to visit Katara.
The night was silent and still. The only sounds were the breeze, the lapping sound of the water hitting the box, and the crashing of waves.
Zuko opened his blurry eyes.
Crashing of waves? That could only mean…
Zuko weakly lifted his head and almost cried with relief. Straight ahead was an island!
Summoning the last of his strength, Zuko swam toward the patch of earth sitting serenely in the middle of the vast ocean. He hoped fervently it was real and not an illusion for he was sure that if he did not get to land soon he will die.
The waves picked up speed and began to push him forward until the young man felt the sand underneath him. Tired and weak, Zuko crawled away from the water onto dry sand where he flopped down and instantly slipped into unconsciousness.
The last thing he saw was Katara's gently smiling face.
Katara sat anxiously in the veranda near the palace garden. She was not listening to what Iroh was telling her as he poured himself more tea. All she could think of was Zuko.
A week had passed and he had not arrived like he promised he would in his last letter. Katara touched the left side of her chest. About three weeks ago she woke up with a scream in the middle of the night with a horrible feeling gripping her heart. She did not understand what it was and she prayed to the spirits that Zuko was alright.
Katara sighed softly as Iroh kept on talking enthusiastically. She missed Zuko. She missed waking up next to his warm body, missed his kisses and hugs, she even missed his temper and taciturn personality. She missed his perfect, nude body pressed firmly on hers as he made love to her…
"Lady Katara?" Iroh called out loudly, tapping her arm.
Katara jumped and blushed when the old firebender raised his bushy eyebrow at her.
"Uh? Sorry, what did you say, Uncle Iroh?" she asked sheepishly.
Iroh smiled as he said, "I was just saying that—"
"Fire Lady Katara! General Iroh!" Admiral Jee exclaimed as he and General Jeong-Jeong entered and urgently strode towards them, panting heavily with pain and anguish etched on their faces.
"What is it?" Katara asked, startled.
Admiral Jee looked down and swallowed as he said, "It's…about…Fire Lord Zuko."
Katara stood up from her seat immediately.
"Did Zuko arrive already? He's here?" Katara asked and smiled happily as she tried to exit the room only to narrow her eyes in irritation when the men stopped her.
"No, my lady…He's not here," Jeong-Jeong said gravely.
Iroh rose from his seat with a deep frown as he went to stand next to the young Fire Lady.
Katara frowned as the deep pain returned to her heart.
"Then what is it?" she asked, "Why is it that you're here and Zuko isn't?
Both men exchanged worried looks before they returned their solemn gaze to the inquiring lady.
"Fire Lord Zuko sailed out before us for he was very anxious to return," Jeong-Jeong began slowly.
Katara frowned even deeper. If Zuko had set out first, then why has he not arrived?
"After settling a few things, we sailed after him with the rest of the fleet. As we approached the Fire Nation we…came upon a disturbing scene," Jeong-Jeong stated, his face hard and grim.
"What do you mean?" Iroh asked as he looked between both men, dread curling in his stomach.
"There was evidence of a storm and by the looks of it...it was very big," Jee continued, "There was a shipwreck. We found half of a ship almost sinking into the sea. A few miles away we found another ship that was capsized…It was the Fire Lord's flagship."
Katara gasped, gripping her shirt above her frantically beating heart tighter.
"They were Fire Nation navy ships," Jeong-Jeong informed, "We searched to see if there were any survivors," he sighed, "We only found corpses. We search around the wreckage and the islands nearby, but…we found no one."
Jee swallowed loudly as he continued, "It is possible that Fire Lord Zuko…may have been trapped inside the overturned flagship. And it is probable that he may…have died." He exhaled deeply as if trying to stop himself from crying.
Katara's body froze and her heart stopped almost painfully in her chest.
Iroh inhaled sharply and turned toward his niece-in-law. He took in her horrified and despairing expression and his heart clenched in concern.
"Katara?" he called out worriedly.
Finally the world came crashing painfully down on her. The tears began to spill from her blue eyes and a choking sound came from deep within her throat. She could barely breathe as anguish and despair seized her very soul.
"You're lying!" she screamed, pointing an accusing finger at the two men. "Zuko is not dead! He can't be dead! You're lying!" she shrieked.
She began to pull on her hair as the hot tears stained her cheeks and her clothes.
"He's not dead, he's not dead!"
Iroh quickly grabbed her wrists and pulled her hands away from her hair.
"Lady Katara! Please calm down!" he shouted, afraid she was going to hurt herself.
"Zuko is not dead! Zuko is not dead!" Katara repeatedly shouted.
Her mournful wailing carried itself all over the palace. Jee and Jeong-Jeong looked at each other and then at the grieving woman anxiously and sadly. Katara tried to wrench herself from Iroh and continued to scream and trash around.
"Katara, calm down!" Iroh pleaded. He wrapped his arm around her, trying to sooth her like a father would a child after a nightmare.
Katara buried her face on the kind, old man's chest, the endless tears now drenching his clothes.
"Uncle Iroh, tell them it's not true! Zuko is alive! He has to be! He can't be dead! He promised he was going to return to me!" she sobbed loudly.
Iroh patted her back and looked at the two men sorrowfully.
"He promised me he was going to come back! He promised," Katara cried. The pain in her heart was so unbearable and excruciating that the room started to spin before she felt her body go limp.
"Lady Katara!" all three men shouted in alarm.
Katara felt herself slipping and then everything went dark.
A/N: Uh oh.
So I would like to know what you guys think! Pretty please?