Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or story.

Author's Note: PaintedScarlet challenged me to write this oneshot… so here it is.


Katara sat outside on the porch, looking out at the ocean, watching the Fire Nation ships pass through the harbour. The night was chilly and she gave an involuntary shiver. The Fire Nation clothes she wore did nothing for keeping warm and she missed her Water Tribe outfit.


A masculine voice behind her startled Katara out of her ruminations and she whirled around, body automatically moving into a battle stance.

Zuko stood there, a blanket in his hands. He did not even bat an eyelid as she raised her hands to him.

"I'm sorry if I startled you. Toph said you'd be out here and tonight is unusually cold. I thought you might need this." He held it out to her as a peace offering.

Katara sat back down, accepting it gratefully and throwing it around her shoulders. "Thank you."

Much to her surprise, he did not immediately leave but remained where he was. "May I… join you?" From her angle, it was impossible to see the expression on his face.

"Go ahead."

Zuko sat down, the wooden planks creaking slightly under his weight. Placing his hands behind him, he leaned backward casually, propping himself up on his elbows.

"It's a nice night."

Katara eyed him suspiciously. "Are you trying to make conversation with me?"

"Is that a crime?" An impossibly smug grin appeared on his face.

She returned it. "Since you're Zuko, I'm guessing you have an ulterior motive."

The exiled prince laughed. "Yeah, you're right," he deadpanned. "I was going to ask you where the Avatar was. No, seriously, I wanted to talk to you."


"Yeah." Zuko sat up, resting his hands on his knees. "I was going to give you something." Reaching into his pocket, he withdrew a small box.

Katara blinked at him, unable to believe her ears. "You're giving me a gift? Now that's a surprise."

"Don't read too much into it," he muttered. "It used to belong to my mother. I found it when I was going through the rooms yesterday and since I took your mother's necklace once… I figured you should have it."

Overcome by curiosity, she opened the clasp and lifted the lid. Inside was a silver chain, finely wrought. Katara twined it around her fingers, holding it up to examine it. It was exquisitely made, each fine link handcrafted by a master artisan. It felt like she was holding water as the chain seemed to flow from one hand to another.

"It's beautiful," she breathed.

"I knew you'd like it. It reminded me of you." Zuko blushed abruptly, his face going almost as dark red as his scar.

Katara looped it around her neck. As her fingers fumbled with the clasp, she felt warm hands on hers.

"I'll do it." When he was done, she touched the chain around her throat, running a finger along the links.

"My mother used to do that," he confessed, watching her through veiled eyes. "It was her favourite necklace, she never really liked the fancy royal jewelry my father made her wear."

"Oh," was all Katara could think to say. Her hand fell to her side and an awkward silence descended over the two teenagers.

"She loved it so much, she had one made for me too."

Her head snapped up at that revelation. "What?"

In answer, Zuko pulled down the collar of his tunic to show an identical silver chain slung low around his neck.

Katara stared in amazement for a heartbeat and made a small snorting sound.

"What's so funny?" growled Zuko, blushing furiously crimson.

"It's nothing! I'm not laughing at you, honestly!" said Katara quickly. "It's just… I never expected you, Prince Zuko of all people, to wear jewelry!" She stifled another giggle hastily .

He scowled, folding his arms across his chest defiantly.

"That's why I wear my mother's necklace too," she broke in quietly, trying to make amends for her earlier outburst. "To carry her memory with me always."

Zuko's arms dropped to his sides and he stared off into the middle distance. "I knew you of all people would understand that," he said softly.

Abruptly, he rose to go.

Katara looked up at him in slight bewilderment. "You're going in already?"

"Yeah. I'm tired, and I've got to get up early to train with Aang." He began to walk away.


Zuko stopped in his tracks.

Getting to her feet as well, Katara faced his back. "Why did you give me your mother's necklace?"

He turned his head slightly; there was a small and bashful smile on his face. Much to her surprise, Zuko merely shook his head slightly and continued walking.

"Just when you think you know a person…" muttered Katara under her breath.