A Zutara is Worth a Thousand Words
A complete short story told in 100-word drabbles,
by Kimberly T.
After Ozai's defeat, Zuko's coronation and the end of the war, everyone was happy. The Hero got the Girl, when Katara kissed Aang on the balcony. All's well that ends well. Right?
But that wasn't the end. After they came in from the balcony, Sokka greeted Aang with a too-wide grin and an unsheathed boomerang. "Aang, old buddy! Let's discuss your intentions towards my sister."
Katara sighed, and let Sokka be her traditional and overprotective brother for a moment. It was just a formality, really; after they'd all saved the world together, Sokka knew Aang as well as she did…
Later, a grim-faced Sokka told Katara, "I didn't lay a finger on him, sis. Because now you're going to ask Aang about how Air Nomads marry and raise families."
When asked, Aang protested, "But I already told Sokka, Air Nomads don't 'marry' or make 'families'! At festivals, the adult monks and nuns choose breeding partners. The nuns have babies nine months later, and after they're weaned, they're sent to the other Air Temples to be raised by the elders. It's a great system; I was raised that way, and I turned out okay!"
He never understood why Katara water-whipped him.
Aang was dismayed when Katara flat-out refused to join him in the Air Nomad way of creating the next generation. "But Katara, you want to restore balance to the world, right? And that means making more airbenders, right? If you won't breed them with me, then who will?"
Just then Zuko walked in, clearly stressed. "Can anyone help me figure out what to do with my father's forty teenaged concubines? Mai will kill me if I keep them, but they're claiming they'll all commit suicide if the new Fire Lord dishonors them by just turning them out into the street…"
The forty nubile teenagers all agreed that serving the Avatar would be just as high an honor as serving the Fire Lord, and Aang flew into the seraglio with a grin. Zuko and Katara searched the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom for good caretakers who would work with Guru Pathik to raise Aang's eventual children the Air Nomad way.
Directing the restoration of the Eastern and Southern Air Temples, and setting up child-care systems there, showcased Katara's talent for administration. So Zuko asked her, "Would you help with some of my administrative programs? The schools and orphanages need better oversight…"
Even with Katara's help, Zuko was frequently overwhelmed with administrative work. Most days he came out of his office only to flop into bed at night. Mai waited to spend time with her boyfriend, asked him to go on dates with her, was regretfully turned down, and waited some more…
And finally left a note on Zuko's bed, which read,
I refuse to spend the rest of my life being bored, waiting for you. I'm going to have adventures with Ty Lee again, and teach those Kyoshi Warriors how to throw knives.
P.S. Now you know how it feels, jerk.
Being a healer, Katara knew the value of good exercise in maintaining one's health. So she periodically dragged Zuko out of his office for bending practice and sparring sessions. Most of their sessions were in the midday sun, but after one horribly long day for both of them, they ended up sparring by the light of the full moon.
Neither of them were quite sure how sparring in the moonlight evolved into kissing and groping each other, and making out in the bushes by the turtle-duck pond. But afterwards, neither of them really objected either. Being together… it felt right.
Knowing the confrontation was inevitable, Zuko sent for Sokka and told his best friend himself that yes, he was in love with Katara; yes, his intentions were honorable; and yes, he understood what Sokka would do to him with Boomerang if he ever broke his sister's heart.
Then he went to the Jasmine Dragon for tea and advice. "Uncle, how can I get my council to approve of my marrying a waterbender? It's never been done before, and I'm having a hard enough time keeping the nobles from rebelling against me already!"
Iroh stroked his beard in thought… then smiled.
"Uncle, I read over every line of this peace treaty before I signed it, and I know this wasn't in there originally. So how did a clause stating that the Fire Lord must either marry a foreign noblewoman, or forfeit one of our home islands to the Earth Kingdom, make its way into not only my personal copy of the treaty but the copy in the Fire Sages' archives?"
"I have my ways, nephew… Surely you aren't complaining? I dare say that when this clause is pointed out to your council, they'll begin begging you to propose to Katara immediately!"
Hakoda's copy of the treaty did not include that clause about the Fire Lord marrying a foreign noblewoman. And he was not happy to find out that his Katara, the world's greatest waterbender and the Hope of the South, wanted to marry a firebender! The resulting three-way argument between father, daughter and suitor nearly wrecked his ice home.
Then Kanna pulled him aside and set him straight. "She's my grandchild, Hakoda; she knows what I did to escape a marriage I didn't want. If you don't make peace with her, she'll do it anyway… and you'll never see your grandchildren."
Zuko and Katara's wedding was the event of the year. The Avatar himself presided over the ceremony, and dignitaries came from around the world to celebrate their union.
Eleven months later, Katara gave birth to a healthy baby boy with golden eyes. Aang examined the baby with energybending, and was sure that little Roku would be a firebender like his namesake.
Zuko assured Katara that he personally hoped their next child would bend water. "But a firebending heir to the throne will appease the nobles; they'll think all's well that ends well."
"Ends well?" Katara sniffed. "Our story's just beginning!"
A/N: But really, that's the end. One Zutara story, in exactly one thousand words by my MS Word program's word count function (the scene breaks don't count.) If you liked it, please leave a review!