::~ Hi guys! I know you're probably annoyed with me for cranking out a new story when I have a whole bunch already going, BUT I COULDN'T RESIST. I'm so tempted by this one salsjfndlgkdlfas * key board smash*

I'm also planning on fixing and continuing The Little Merman, so keep a look out for that!

I'M SO EXCITED!

Okay. I'll write now. And remember~ Review!

::~

"Sokka!" Hakoda yelled, from the chieftain's room. The scroll in his hand was sealed with a Fire Nation insignia—The Royal Fire Nation Insignia. At first he was hesitant to open it, but finding it useless to simply ignore the letter, he read.

"Dad? I mean, Chief Hakoda, what is it?" Sokka said, as he pushed the ice doors aside. His father was seated at the head of the large table. Large tapestries made by Katara adorned the dark blue walls, making him feel at home. Sokka took a seat, in the fur-lined chair before his father's desk.

If one took a look at Chief Hakoda, they would think that he look tired, and worn out because of the creases in his face. They would feel sympathetic, for he had two children to take care of—both were masters of weaponry. He also had to worry about the many suitors after the hand of his daughter, a renowned waterbender in all the land. His son gave him constant worry, for he was always coming up with battle plans.

"Sokka, we received a letter from the Fire Nation. It was addressed to the both of us." Hakoda said, taking a deep breath. Sokka visibly stirred, never having a letter from another nation addressed to him before.

"What does it say?" Sokka said, curiosity shining in his cerulean eyes. He had the looks of his father—a strong jaw, dark complexion, with smile lines to match.

"It appears that you're wanted in the war. Fire Lord Ozai has heard of your ability to fight; not surprising, of course. He wants you to join his legion. You'll have a high rank, and lead a squadron of men yourself. The other details are in the letter." Hakoda said resignedly, handing the scroll to his heir, who took it without faltering.

"Think this through, Sokka. The Earth Kingdom has always been our enemy, and they have many numbers. This may strengthen ties with the Fire Nation, and it will ensure our safety. It will also ensure your sister's safety." Hakoda said, rubbing his temple. He remembered the other scroll that he had promptly kept locked in his drawer.

"How?" Sokka asked, utterly confused. The Fire Nation had nothing to do with Katara. She wasn't too fond of them, that he knew.

"Fire Lord Ozai sent a scroll a few weeks ago, asking for your sister's hand." Hakoda said. He was barely able to finish the sentence before Sokka arose, all joviality gone from his expression.

"Absolutely not. No, no way. She won't ever marry the Fire Lord." Sokka said, his stance defensive as if he was ready to fight. Hakoda stood, giving him a penetrating look. Reluctantly, Sokka returned to his seat.

"I wouldn't allow it. It is not the Fire Lord that is seeking her hand. He wishes for Katara to marry his heir. That way, he will have our support. I haven't replied. I wanted to hear from her first." Hakoda said, staring at the wall.

"She won't agree."

"I know."

::~

"You're too weak!" She said, twisting nimbly so she missed the swipe of Bato's sword. He grunted, nearly losing his footing. Katara jumped onto the ice railing, just outside of the Southern Water Tribe palace. Freezing the ice around her feet, she was able to deflect Bato's sword without falling off.

"Katara, what have I said about using my space sword?" Sokka yelled at her, catching her by surprise. She turned to scowl at her brother, who had his hands on his hips. She noticed the scroll sticking out of his sash.

"An opening!" Bato yelled, jabbing towards her hip. She didn't have to look away as she promptly had his sword stuck in the ice wall she had conjured in front of her.

"It's too tempting. You really shouldn't leave your weapons lying around, Sokka. Someone might steal them." She answered, jumping off of the ledge and gracefully landing on her feet. Sokka scowled as he descended the steps.

"I didn't leave it lying around… did I?" he asked. Katara held out the sword to him, and he roughly grabbed the hilt.

"Anyway, I leave my things lying around so I know where to find them." Sokka snapped, walking past her. She smirked as she stared at his retreating back, a hand on her hip.

"You couldn't even find your underwear this morning." She said, amusement making her eyes sparkle. Sokka stopped, straightening. The back of his neck was tinged red, and she knew he was embarrassed. Bato burst out laughing, always finding the siblings' banter amusing.

"That's not true!" Sokka said feebly, his voice slightly cracking. Katara chuckled.

"Yeah it is. You had to ask me to—"Sokka quickly ran towards her and put his hand over her mouth, stopping her from embarrassing him further. She giggled. Her azure eyes shifted to the scroll that was protruding from his side.

"What's that?" She said, her voice muffled because he hadn't let go.

"What?" Sokka asked, not being able to decipher what she said. She rolled her eyes, and pointed at the scroll.

"It's nothing." He said, stepping away from her. He made sure the scroll wasn't in her line of sight as he turned away.

However, the scroll had already captured her interest. There was no way he was going to get away from something like that. Their father didn't call them into his headquarters very often, and if they were called, it was for important, official matter. She wondered what would make Sokka the object of importance. This past week alone, she had been called for a suitor calling, which she hand promptly turned down.

She shrugged, figuring that when the time came, he would tell her. Despite their constant bickering, they never kept secrets from each other. Ever since their mother had passed away, they had grown closer. Sokka was the one who taught her how to use a sword in the first place.

"Hey, Sokka!" One of his friends called from his igloo. Sokka gave her one last look before he ran towards him. Huffing, she turned away and headed towards the palace's ponds.

::~

"Sir, your helmet has been fixed. Shall I set it down?" Asked the servant that Zuko had allowed entrance. He nodded, still facing the window. The sun was slowly rising, and the small sparks of fire were already lining the sky. Today he would meet his father, to find out if he was truly able to fight in the war with the Earth Kingdom. He thought that because he was heir he would be able to fight automatically, but it appeared it wouldn't be so. He fought the urge to punch the wall as he remembered the smile on Azula's face when she told him she was able to fight.

First. Azula's always first when it comes to anything. Things come to her naturally. Meanwhile, I have to fight just to keep my name.

"Prince Zuko, the Fire Lord will see you now." Said the royal messenger. Zuko's spine visibly straightened, and he clenched his hands.

His father had scarred him for life. He would forever bear the mark of the shamed. He regretted ever speaking out in that war meeting. He hadn't seen his father ever since then, and that was three years ago. He wished, prayed upon Agni that his father didn't detest him. Sighing, he left his room.

::~

"Do that again, Princess Katara. Again!" said the toothless little child that was sitting with the rest of them. She gave him a smile. Normally she would correct anyone who called her a princess, but she decided to let the child be.

Originally, she had gone to the pond to bend for her own amusement. However, as usual, the small crowd of children and stragglers nearby came to see her. The small Water Tribe children adored watching her bend. It was almost better than story time for them. Parents who were wondering where their children had gone knew to look near Katara's pond. She didn't mind having them watch her waterbend. It always warmed her heart to see their faces light up when the water was suspended in the air.

"Alright, but just this once." She said, relenting. The children fidgeted and murmured their excitement. The corners of her lips tilting upward, she pulled the small strip of water from the pond before her. She guided it towards her side, where she then twirled, letting the water form a circle around her. She twirled faster, the water rotating around her. She held both of her hands out, making the circle of water around her larger. It expanded, eliciting a shout of awe from the children.

Dancing to her own beat, she swung her hands in an arch simultaneously, so the circle around her became bent in some places, forming a beautiful Mobius strip. The children voiced their surprise as they saw the water take on the shape. Smiling, she broke the circle around her and made it go over the children, who huddle together, their eyes shining. With a flourish, she returned the water to the pond.

She bowed she heard them clap. The stood, realizing it was time for dinner. Hastily telling her goodbye, they left. She smiled, her heart feeling lighter. She had always loved children. It had been one of her dreams to open up a school, where she wouldn't be the only bender in her tribe. She heard someone clap behind her, and she whirled around to see who it was. Her father walked towards her, obviously proud.

"You've improved. Maybe your sessions with Hama have helped." He said, his arm going around her shoulders.

"Of course I have. She's the best teacher anyone could ask for." Katara responded, hugging him back.

"What about Master Pakku?" Hakoda asked, thinking of Gran-Gran as he said it. Katara shrugged.

"He was an even better teacher. But he has to take care of the annexes we have in the North Pole." Katara said, missing her grandfather. Not soon after the war with the Earth Kingdom was declared, Pakku had proposed to her grandmother. Kanna had heartily agreed, and went with him to the North Pole. She knew her father missed them, which was why she refrained from mentioning them as often as she'd like.

"I agree. Katara, I have something to tell you. Come with me." Hakoda said, leading her towards the castle. Katara's stomach fell.

::~

Please review! The next chapter should be up in a few days, or this weekend.

Edit: Chapter will probably be up a little later. Edits done as of 9/21/11.