Zuko tried to get Katara to love him. Aang was better at it.
Zuko tried to get his nerve up to court Katara. Aang beat him.
Zuko tried not to yell and flame when Katara told him she was in a relationship with Aang. It had been the thing he'd feared most.
Zuko tried not to burn when Aang kissed Katara. His arms were wrapped around her, her hands were on the back of his neck, on his lower back. They were affectionate, loving.
And it was all he could do to not tell them to get a room.
Zuko tried not to care when Aang's hand rested on Katara's thigh and she smiled at him while he talked.
Zuko tried to say "I'm happy for you" to Katara as genuinely as he could while he stared at the sparkling rock on her slim, brown finger. It was hard because his world, his hopes,
were crashing all around him. You try and say the word "happy" then.
Zuko tried to smile when Katara said "I do" to Aang at the altar. He really did. He was sure it came out as more of a grimace though.
Zuko tried to keep his temperature down during the newly married couple's first dance. But a few guests moved away from him inconspicuously anyway.
Zuko tried to stay away from Toph all day, knowing she would sense his agitation and rapid beating of his heart. She gave him a long hug when Katara and Aang shoved cake in each other's faces.
Zuko tried to not want to burn Aang's arrow off when the Avatar came up to him grinning from ear to ear, asking how he liked the food.
Zuko tried to ignore the sad, sad look on his uncle's face. It was there every time he looked at his nephew.
Zuko tried to stay as long as he could at the reception. He walked out into the garden after 45 minutes.
Zuko tried not to burn too many bushes. Twelve of them didn't make it.
Zuko tried not to cry.
Zuko tried not to think about the dreams he'd had about Katara becoming his wife. They would have had a son. Zuko would have loved him and spoiled him like no fire prince had ever been. Katara would have scolded Zuko for indulging their child.
Zuko tried to keep his eyes from searching Katara out when he walked back into the reception. Her dark skin contrasted against the stark whiteness of her dress. She was breathtaking and laughing at something Suki was telling her.
Zuko tried not to flinch when Sokka's gaze burned into his. For a normally oblivious fellow, Katara's brother was surprisingly perceptive about the Fire Prince's feelings toward his sister. Today though, Sokka's eyes looked somewhat sympathetic as they locked with Zuko's. He gave a nod of his head and turned back to his very full plate of food.
Zuko tried not to say no to most of the invitations the Avatar and his wife sent to him to visit. He was just too busy. Being a Fire Lord was hard enough without going to the home of the man and woman who broke his heart.
Zuko tried not to write back to the letters Katara sometimes wrote him. She said she missed him, she said it was hard being an Avatar's life partner, and she said that she loved her life. He said he missed her too, he said it was hard being the Fire Lord, and he said that his life was hard but bearable.
Zuko tried to stop loving her. He always tried. There never was a moment where he didn't try to stop caring. This made being a Fire Lord, made living, even harder.
Zuko tried not to be worried as he awaited the arrival of the Avatar and his wife. He and Aang had affairs to discuss. Katara went everywhere Aang did. He had to keep them oblivious to the nature of his heart.
Zuko tried to keep his gaze unwavering and friendly when he looked into deep, blue eyes.
Zuko tried to still his hand as he held the slim brown one in his.
Zuko tried to keep the kiss he placed on the hand brief and with the right amount of warmth.
Zuko tried not to think of Aang as Katara's husband, but as the Avatar, as an ally. All he could see were the hands that had touched and claimed the Waterbender, the lips that ravished her mouth, and the eyes that woke up to chocolate skin and ocean eyes every morning.
Zuko tried to see Katara as Aang's wife, forbidden, untouchable. All he saw were the ways she belonged to him. The passion and frustration of her voice when she argued with Aang and he tried to calm her down, the speed of her fist when a guard kicked Momo, the stubbornnes set in her shoulders when a guard was refusing to let her into the room with Aang and himself, and spark in her eyes when she beat him in a match.
Zuko tried to ignore the roundness of her belly. Aang touched and talked to it often. He tried to get Zuko to feel the baby kick. Katara didn't say much about it either.
Zuko tried to ignore the dropping of his stomach, the stopping up of his throat, as Aang and Katara flew away on Appa. When she looked back at him and waved sadly one last time a tear slipped from his good eye. The guard was wise to pretend he hadn't seen it.
Zuko tried to avoid holding the boy, but everyone insisted, thinking he was just nervous about holding such a tiny being. He was warm and soft in his arms. Zuko raised the heat in his hands and the child sighed in response.
Zuko tried not to imagine the boy as his son. The illusion was shattered when he looked up to find Katara's gaze on him, her hand pressed to her mouth, tears swimming in her eyes.
Zuko tried not to read what she was practically shoving in his face. All this time? How had he not known?
Zuko tried not to let the revelation shatter his almost healed heart all over again. The pain was great and he only held Aang's son for a minute more before handing him to Sokka and walking off to "use the bathroom".
Zuko tried to get a hold of himself. A knock sounded at the door.
Zuko tried not to react when Katara's blue eyes pierced his when he opened the door.
Are you all right?
I'll let you take care of stuff.
Zuko tried to say something, anything about what had passed between them.
Did I what?
The look in her eyes. Oh she knew what he meant. Might as well...
Katara, I've loved you for a long time now.
She was silent. He stared into her, waiting for her to say something.
Me too, Zuko. I'm so sorry.
He walked to his room.
Zuko tried to hold himself together. His cries were loud and heart-wrenching. The tears were hot and the pain was unbearable.
Zuko tried to find the pain again the next day. It had to still be there. It couldn't be gone just like that. He found it. It wasn't so bad anymore.
Zuko felt hope for the first time since Katara said "I do".
This really is sad in the end. I might have been feeling angsty when I wrote this.
I would really, really like to know what you thought! Please review!