Summary: The story starts after Aang has left the Fire Lord´s beach house, but the comet is still two months away. Join our heroes to prepare for the last fight, while they find lost friends, old enemys and maybe even love. Zutara.
Disclaimer: I don´t own Avatar: The Last Airbender or any of the characters... That´s just a dream...
"He´s gone." Toph´s voice was emotionless. Every face of the Gaang looked shocked. "What? He can´t be gone! The comet comes in two month and he still hasn´t mastered fire.", Sokka´s voice was higher than normal. Everyone else was quiet. Nobody knew what to say, or what to do.
"Let´s get back to the house. It doesn´t get us anywhere to stand in the cold.", Katara´s voice was quiet, but her friends could hear it trembling. Nobody moved and Katara didn´t ask again. They just looked at the water as if it would tell them what happened to their friend. But the water stayed silent, exept the quiet murmur of the waves.
The Gaang stood on the beach. In front of them was the ocean and the lonely footsteps whichwent right into the water. Aang´s footstep. Footsteps that didn´t come back. Footsteps of the last hope for peace. Footsteps of the world´s only saviour.
Footsteps of their best friend.
1 hour later:
No words were spoken. Sokka, Suki, Katara, Toph and Zuko were currently sitting on Appa and on their way to a tavern in the heart of the Earth Kingdom. It was Zuko´s idea and the rest of the friends didn´t know where they were going, but the trusted Zuko in findingAang. It was Zuko who tracked them all around the world for the last year. It was Zuko who could find Aang.
Sokka sighed. "You know, I´m worried about Aang and everything, but, do we have something to eat?" Suki smacked him across the head and he met a death stare from Katara. "What? I´m a growing man. It´s just natural that I need more to eat than you." Sokka smiled his goofy smile.
"So you say that Sparky isn´t a growing man?" Zuko focused his attention to the conversation when he heard his not so loved nickname, but realized soon that theprevious conversation ended in a banter between Sokka and Toph.
"Shut up! Both of you! We have got bigger problems than Sokka beeing hungry and your constant arguing isn´t helping." Zuko was suprised that it wasn´t Katara who had this outburst, but Sokka´s girlfriend Suki. The usually calm Warrior sat with a red face and heavy breathing on Appa and met the suprised stares she got from the group.
Suddenly embarrassed she turned her head and looked down. Loud cheering from Toph let her snap her head back up. "Wow Fangirl, I didn´t know you had it in you!" Toph smirked, all the while her unfocused eyes gazed in Suki´s direction.
Sokka threw an arm around her and said: "That´s my girl, that´s my girl!"The vanishing of Aang was for now forgotten, as the Gaang welcomed their newest member with cheering into their group.
Soon their laughter died down and it was quiet again.
While the giant bison flew through the night, everyone began to doze off. Everyone, except Zuko and Katara.
Zuko looked worriedly at the girl next to him. Dark shadows were present under her eyes, but her face was grim and her eyes never left the horizon ahead of them.
Zuko layed a hand gently on her shoulder. "You should sleep. We won´t be there before morning." Katara didn´t react and Zuko let his hand fall from her shoulder.
He never knew how to talk to her. Whenever he did, he got that funny feeling in his stomach and felt suddenly rather nervous.
He wasn´t ignorant. He knew that he cared for Katara, has cared for her for a long time, but he didn´t know what she would do, if he told her. Would she be happy or would she waterbend his behind to the Southpol? He didn´t want to take that chance.
His father hated him, his mother vanished years ago and his little sister wanted him dead.
The only person who really cared for him was his uncle, his uncle who now surely hated him, after he betrayed him under Ba Sing Se. How often did Zuko wish that this day has never happened, but his wish wasn´t granted.
And he had to deal with the consequences. He still remembered how Katara hated and mistrusted him.
At first all he wanted was her forgivness. Wanted her to see that he had changed, but as soon as he earned that, he wanted more. He wanted her to talk to him, to accept him, to laugh with him, to like him, to...love him.
Zuko groaned inwardly. How could it happen that he, the Fire Nation Prince felt in love with a lowly water peasant? But Katara wasn´t a lowly water peasant. She was the most stubborn, infuriating, powerful, ignorant, beautiful waterbender he knew. And yes, he got it bad.
He didn´t even know what she thought of him.
Not expecting a response from the girl anymore, he turned around and looked at the stars.
His mother always loved the stars and told him uncountable stories about them. Sometimes
he wished he could be one of them. High above the world, somewhere in the sky, far away
from the war and the violence.
"What?", the words pulled him from his musings and he stared at Katara in shock. "I´m scared. Of not finding Aang, of the uncertainty, of the future in general.", Katara´s eyes were unaltered directed at the horizon.
Zuko lowered his gaze to her without replying. He was too shocked from her sudden response to form any words and eventually Katara turned around to look at him.
He could see the fear and unshed tears in her beautiful blue eyes and he felt a stab right through his heart. He couldn´t help but feel the sorrow of this normally strong girl that took care of everyone else.
And Zuko realized that nobody took care of Katara. She was usually the one who took the others in her arms and told them that everything was going to be alright. She was the one to calm the others, when they were scared and to soothe them, when they needed to be soothed.
Without thinking Zuko took hold of her arms and drew her close. She was stiff at first, but soon melted into his arms, when her first tears flowed and hugged him back.
He continued to hold her and rub her back, while she now openly sobbed. "It´s going to be alright. We´re going to find him, everything will turn out fine.", he murmerd the words over and over again and Katara´s sobs slowly subsided.
"Zuko?", murmured Katara drowsily. "Yes Katara?", Zuko looked at the sleepy girl that could barely hold her eyes open. "Will you...will you hold me tonight? I don´t want to be alone". Katara blushed and Zuko couldn´t believe her words.
She wanted him to hold her? Him, the banished prince that chased them around the world and that she barely accepted or even liked? Katara noticed him stiffen and blushed even more. "You don´t have to, if you don´t want. It´s alright, I will just leave.", she started to get up, but Zuko´s grip tightened. How could he let her go? "Pssht, it´s fine. Just go to sleep.", murmured he soothingly while he stroked her hair.
Katara buried her face in his chest and he could soon hear her even breaths, but he didn´t found rest.
The girl of his dreams was sleeping in his arms and he couldn´t stop the blush that appeared on his cheeks and the smile that creeped on his face.
Somehow he would find a way to win Katara over. Somehow he would make her love him.
Zuko slowly drifted off to sleep, but that smile never left his lips.
Ok. That´s the first chapter of my first story. Thanks for reading. I hope you liked it and please tell me, what was bad and what I should do better. ;D
I know that Suki is part of the group, but she was always at the side and not really in the middle of the group. Just if some of you wonder... :D