An Instant in Forever

Music: Safe Return (commonly heard at the end of some Avatar episodes)

The seven-year-old prince stumbles into his mother's room. There's something off, he can tell. Every once in a while, he finds her like this, a sad, vacant look in her eye. She's sitting on the side of the bed opposite to where she sleeps. The prince learned a long time ago not to disturb her when's she's like this, but back then, he didn't know what happened. Now, he has an idea that something bad happened a long time ago. He stops in his track and backs out of the room, unheard.

The queen lets out a sigh as she remembers. She remembers how she fell in love with her king, memories of pure happiness flooding her brain. She remembers when they first met, back when he was just a prince and an enemy. Then, she remembers that fateful day. The day when those golden eyes never looked back at her. She can't forget that day, no matter how hard she tries.

That day, she was jolted from her sleep, knowing something was wrong, clutching her mother's necklace. The cool blue cloth always brought comfort to her. She turned to find comfort in her husband as well. She murmured his name, asking him to wake up. But he didn't. And that's when she smelled the blood.

With disbelieving eyes, she found the stab wound. It was made so cleanly, that it looked painted on his chest. It couldn't be real. She wouldn't believe it.

She took his hand to cover the wound. A hot tear rolled down her cheek when it finally sank in. His hand, like the rest of his body, was always warm, giving her a feeling of home. But that night, for the first time in her memory, he was cold.

More tears fell, streaming like rivers. She sat up and covered his face with kisses, saying his name over and over again.

"Wake up," she ordered him. "Please, wake up."

Guards burst in, hearing her pained wails. They found her holding his cold, stiff body and pulled her away. She screamed for hours, stopping only to hear the guards confirm that it was an assassination.

Her heart was shattered almost beyond repair. Almost. The one and only thing that kept her going was the feeling of the tiny body moving inside of her. The new prince or princess that would be born in three months. That child was the only piece of him left.

A week after the dark-skinned, golden-eyed prince was born, the queen was visited by a spirit. He came to her on a night she couldn't sleep, laying a hand on her cheek. It was warm. She opened her eyes feeling peaceful. When she saw his wonderful face, she cried with tears of joy. He didn't speak, but there was no need to. Everything they had to say to each other was written in their eyes.

He took her hand, helping her stand, and twirled her around. That night, they danced together, their eyes staying locked the entire time, until the sun rose. The time came for the king's spirit to leave. He gently kissed her hand and faded into the light of the rising sun. Though the queen thought she needed to feel empty for losing her husband again, she did not. They would be together again eventually.

She went to her son's room and hugged him tightly, whispering sweet things in his ear.

That day, the deceased king gathered all the spirits of the world to watch over the queen and her child. His child. Because no one on the planet ever loved someone like he loved them.

A/N: There are a couple thisngs i would like to say about this story.

First, I want to know what you guys think of it. I'll take any and all constructive criticism, so be honest. :)

Also, to answer any questions that you may have: Yes, the queen is Katara, and the king is Zuko. Katara will tell their son the whole story eventually, but since little kids can't grasp the concept of death, it's too early. And, I didn't say who the assassinator was, or what Katara did to him/ her for a reason. I want you to come up with it on your own! Do you think Katara should have revenge? It's up to you. :)

I picked the song Safe Return because I think it fits Katara and Zuko's relationship and the story pretty well. It's so sad, and I want to cry when I hear it. But it's also a happy song. Very peaceful.