A/N: Hi! Welcome to my Zutara fanfic! Set during the finale's...uh...finale.

First story in a RIDICULOUS amount of time. Excuse the rust, if you will…read, review, enjoy?

Disclaimer: I don't own A:TLA or Poor Bailey's "Gutter Procession"


"The evening saves it's misery,

for the end,

to set the sun,"

Dusk hovered silently over the streets of Ba Sing Se, patiently waiting for all remnants of daylight to succumb into an inevitable darkness.

It spilled quietly on the balcony of a newly opened teashop, holding what any passersby would quickly assume as a young couple, caught in a loving embrace.

Alas, there are no passersby, and while the two teens are in an admittedly compromising position, they are definitely not a couple.

The girl only stiffened at the younger boy's all too eager kiss, caught slightly off gaurd. It was forced, and it was awkward, and it was wrong. She quickly pulled back, bringing a tan, slender hand to her mouth, looking away.

"I'm sorry, Aang."

Had her eyes not been determinedly downcast, Katara would have surely seen the myriad of emotions flash across the young Avatar's face.

Confusion, anger, sadness…hurt.

Had she looked up for even the slightest moment, perhaps she could have reared herself for what came next.

"No. No. You love me, Katara. You said..."

Then he began his advance forward, presumptuously, dangerously, and much too close for comfort.

"Not in the way you want me too. I'm sorry, but I just-"

A rough kiss smothered the words, and his strong hands on Katara's arms held her in place.

She immediately wrenched her head to the side, and as far from the boy as possible while still in his grasp, any hope of her remaining patience lost.

"Let go of me. Now."

The younger boy growled in frustration, opened his mouth to retaliate, and-

"That's enough. You heard her, Aang. Back off."

Both heads automatically swung to the sound of Zuko's dangerously low voice.

A silent shame danced across the younger boy's face before he quickly pulled away from Katara, fumbled around for his glider, and without another glance, took off into the setting sky.

Then came the silence. An uncomfortable, tense, unbearable silence.

The newly crowned Firelord took measured steps to the stock-still Waterbender, and inhaled quietly before calmly breathing out,

"Katara?"

After a few more stiff seconds, the girl slowly, carefully lifted her cerulean eyes to Zuko's golden stare.

A single embarrassed tear rolled down her smooth cheek, but her gaze did not waver. In the corner of his eye, the young man saw her hands slightly twitch.

The Firebender timidly shifted his weight from foot to foot, knowing full-well what she wanted (needed).

With a quiet sigh, the boy cautiously opened his arms to her. Katara didn't need to be signaled twice, and gratefully buried herself in his warm chest.

Zuko softly, hesitantly patted her back, unsure of what else he could really do, but knew of all things not to speak (his words tended to betray him).

A soft murmur lost itself in his shirt, and driven by curiosity, he questioned, "What was that?"

Katara brought her gaze up to him again and whispered, "Sorry."

The older teen's brows furrowed in confusion. "You don't have anything to be sorry for."

She broke eye contact, opting for the floor instead and again muttered a soft apology.

"Stop apologizing. What he did...was dishonorable, to say the least. You did nothing wrong."

Zuko noted another tear drifting lazily down her face, and lifted a single, calloused finger to dispose of the nuisance.

This meaning he gently, albeit awkwardly, scratched at it until it went away, as if it were a speck of dirt.

The gesture brought her stare back to him, and she slowly nodded in response.

Laughter from inside brought the two back to reality, and the boy looked at her in a silent question. Once again, she nodded, then turned to walk back to their awaiting friends.

He followed without hesitation, and bumped unceremoniously into her back when she abruptly stopped. Before he could ask why, Katara about-faced and ever so quietly…

"Thank you, Zuko."

It was his turn to nod softly, and offered a small smile.

She returned it wholeheartedly, and stepped into the warm atmosphere that was the Jasmine Dragon.

Then, with one final look over the balcony and towards the now set sky, the Firelord followed suit.


What do you think? Shall I continue?