Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar or any of the characters. =(
A/N: Please keep in mind everyone reading this. This is an old story that was written before the season finales. So obviously this will not coincide with what we all know to have happened. This is also the first story of a trilogy! So do keep reading and review please! I love to hear from you all and I am always trying to improve my writing! Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy?
5 years later...
"Katara?" She turned to look back and saw her brother Sokka staring at her expectantly. His voice was serious and grim as it often was when something involved war.
"Ya, Sokka?" She asked calmly.
"Dad wants to speak to you in the war room." Katara's breath caught but she turned obeying silently. She followed Sokka to the war room, a room used now for defense and occasionally offense. Her thoughts drifted back to her day dreams.
It had been five years now since Fire Lord Ozai had been killed. It was a hard and difficult battle and Aang as the avatar had been fatally injured. It took all her will power and the will power of a few other healers to restore Aang back to existence, but he wasn't the same. The smiling kind face and easy going nature had retired into a darker depth of Aang, one Katara had never wished to view.
After he had recovered enough he and the rest of the gang sat down to discuss what course of actions they would take. Each had their own course to follow now, the bond they had shared in helping the Avatar defeat the Fire Lord was gone. Even though they wished to stay together they could not. Zuko's path was obvious; he would remain behind in the Fire Nation and restore it with his uncle Iroh. Sokka at that point was a seasoned warrior and sword master, he was anxious to begin his career as warrior for their village and to return home with their father who had miraculously survived the war. For Toph and Katara it was harder. They both wanted to stay with Aang and help him but his mood was too dark. He had a mission to try and seek out more airbenders that might have survived and if that failed seek to rebuild the airbender legacy. He was adamant that this was his mission alone and that Toph and Katara were not necessary. He was purposefully trying to break his bonds with his friends and Katara realized this search was necessary for him. She wished one day he would return to her or any of them in hopes that everything could be as it once was, but that was not to be.
So Katara left with Sokka to return home to their small Southern Water Tribe. The Northern Water Kingdom extended its gratitude to them in a way not seen in a hundred years between the two poles. They sent military and construction workers to help rebuild a city. Once the waterbenders came, it seemed the whole world seemed to brighten for Katara. What was more is that there were a few water tribe villages that had survived in the sparse regions of the Antarctic yet unknown and when word reached them the war was over and the Antarctic city was being rebuilt they migrated to it. Katara watched as their numbers doubled, then tripled. Even a few northern water kingdom families came to make a permanent move to the south. It was the most amazing thing she had ever seen.
From the letters she had gotten from Toph she had become a chief advisor to the King of Bah Sing Se. With her special abilities as a blind earthbender she was as valuable as they come.
Aang sent her the occasional letter, but they were all too few and he sent even fewer out to the rest of the gang.
She had heard nothing from Zuko, but at this point she didn't care. He had done his part in the end. He had guarded the Avatar and had taken his revenge on his sister, Azula, while Aang had battled Ozai. It was enough to give Aang the time he needed although Zuko had received a scar from her lighting blast that hit him in his right side. It had been a terrible sight to see and he had refused Katara's healing. His pride had shot through her but eventually when she saw he had survived and was better she let his decision rest and did not pester him. That is until she saw him walk. Although he tried to hide it, it was obvious he leaned more to the left in avoidance of his terrible wound and she suspected it would haunt him for the rest of his life.
All her thoughts were interrupted rudely as Sokka nudged her with his shoulder. She looked up and saw her father staring at her and she moved to show she was going to pay attention. He motioned for them both to come forward.
"Katara, Sokka, I have just heard form the Avatar." They gasped.
"As you know that although the war has ended, the nations are still at unrest with each other. Some Fire nation rogues have been wrecking havoc in the Earth Kingdom and Earth soldiers have also been in numerous renegade bands despite their rulers' decrees. People have been at war so long, they don't know anything else. The Avatar wishes for the three of us to be present at a meeting he has scheduled between the nations. I believe from his message the Fire Lord will be present with his nephew, Zuko, and your friend Toph and her king and the other kings of the Earth Kingdom as well will be present. Even a few delegates from our brothers in the North will come. We are to all meet at the Southern Air Temple. The meeting will be in a week's time. I have already made arrangements for transportation so we are going to need to leave in a few days so you should get your things ready."
Katara skipped out of the war room giddily with Sokka right behind her. He seemed more relaxed, obviously he had been expecting much worse news.
"Sokka can you believe it? we are going to see everybody again! I can't believe how long it's been! Aang and Toph must be a lot taller now and…"
"Katara, this isn't some kind of reunion for you to gossip with your friends. This is an important meeting of the kingdoms to help solve the problems the war has caused. You must try to be serious about this." Katara stopped and faced her brother. He had grown into his full height now bordering their father's own and in recognition of his manhood he had begun to grow a goatee to show he was no longer a boy. It took a second for Katara to realize she was no longer a girl either. She was a waterbender master and had become the prime teacher for those waterbenders that had begun to be born in the Arctic city. She wondered how the others had changed as well. Sokka' seriousness dampened her mood for the rest of the day, but she still had hopes everything would be good again.
They set sail for the Southern Air Temple the next morning and eventually came ashore and walked the rest of the way. This took most of the week but when they found the Temple Apa the old flying bison was waiting for them. He seemed older than Katara remembered but he still had a friendly sense and recognized them instantly. It seemed almost like Apa was their escort the rest of the way to the Temple. They arrived with ease and were met with a friendly smile.
"Sokka, Katara, is that you?" A young woman stepped in full view of them wearing Earth Kingdom clothes. The clouded look over her eyes made Katara squeal with excitement.
"Toph!" she ran into the other woman's arms and hugged her tightly. Sokka was right behind her although he considered it improper for him to leap into a hug.
"I recognized your vibrations in the earth immediately!" Katara let go of her embrace and looked Toph over. She was petite to begin with but she had grown and was only slightly shorter than Katara who was almost average in height. She still had the same bob cut around her face but she was leaner than most and looked strong and healthy as always. Katara was so ecstatic to see her friend she forgot all about finding Aang. Meanwhile her father and Sokka had found their rooms and Katara's as well, but she stayed behind to gossip about life with her friend.
Toph had been well the past few years eager to help the Earth Kingdoms reunite and in doing so met up with Haru again as he had been promoted to General in the army. They had taken a liking to each other and were thinking about getting married now.
"Oh Toph, you have to tell me when the wedding is. I want to be there. So better not forget." Katara made Toph promise even though Toph promised her the position of maid of honor. It was interesting talking to Toph but soon she became worked up as more delegates began to arrive. Other Earth Kingdom royals and advisors arrived later that day and Toph was anxious to speak wit most of them leaving Katara to her own means. She still had not seen Aang and yet she wasn't as worried.
In one of the delegations from the Earth Kingdoms were the Kyoshi warriors with them, Suki as their leader. She saw her brother try not to stare at the girl he loved, but eventually they managed to break off and speak with each other privately. Katara was glad for her brother and anxiously awaited the next day when the rest of the delegates would arrive.
At dawn the next day the Northern Water Tribe delegates, with the king in the lead appeared. Her father and brother were anxious to speak with them and made her sit in on the boring stuff. It wasn't almost until dusk the Fire Nation delegates arrived, Fire Lord Iroh and Prince Zuko at their lead.
Katara's breath caught as she gazed at Zuko, memories, hurtful and good flashed back to her. She noticed he had changed. He carried himself with more dignity and pride and yet there was that same ruggedness about him that he had had when he was younger. If more than anything he had grown handsomer, his hair was longer and straight tied half up in a top knot bearing the insignia of the crown prince. He was still clean shaven as he had been in his youth but his face did not have the same pain and endurance it once registered. It was now more serene and calm, but more cautious than anything.
Iroh looked older and not as easy going as he once was but he still retained a sweet smile and disposition that he had always had, but apparently the years of reparation of the Fire Nation had aged him exponentially.
They were the last to arrive and it was with the setting sun everyone departed to their rooms for the night, the Fire Nation staying elusive of conversation as usual. The next morning the meeting would begin at dawn and hopefully Katara would get to see Aang once more.