This is a revised version, thanks to my wonderful new beta Mistress 0f Dragons. Without her I'm pretty sure I would've left this chapter looking like crap. Anyway, read on and enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Loud banging invaded Katara's mind as she slowly aroused from her sleep. "What?" she yelled as she sat up.
"Get up Kit Kat or you're going to miss Aang's arrival" came Sokka's loud voice from the other side of the door. Katara's heart skipped in excitement at the mention of Aang's name. Her best friend was coming in today.
Kicking the blankets off of her, she quickly opened the door. "How long until he gets here?" she asked Sokka as she made her way to the bathroom.
"Twenty minutes." Sokka replied.
"Twenty minutes?" Katara asked with a toothbrush in her mouth "why didn't anyone wake me up earlier?"
"Everyone tried to wake you up. You ignored them and even froze a maid to the wall." "Oops" Katara said with a shrug.
"Anyway," Sokka said as she looked at Katara "hurry up and get ready for your boyfriend; I'm going to go make sure they have his room ready."
Katara blushed "Aang's not my boyfriend."
"Uh huh, tell me that next time I catch you two in a linen closet groping each other and making out."
"That was once, brother, once!"
"Once is all it takes" Sokka said before turning around and walking down the stairs.
Katara smiled at the memory; it was her seventeenth birthday party. All she really remembers was one minute they were dancing and drinking sake and the next they were in a linen closet at her father's house making out. Katara smiled even more as she remember Aang's hand slowly going up her shirt until Sokka threw open the door.
Katara shook her head and finished getting ready, trying to ignore the lustful thoughts that tried to emerge. They were older now, they had responsibilities, and they couldn't go around and just grope each other randomly anymore. But Katara would be lying if she said she didn't want to just randomly grope Aang's as he jumped off of Appa, a wide smile on his face as he brought Sokka into a hug. Just because they were broken up didn't mean they couldn't have benefits.
Aang had grown into himself over the last couple of years. He was no longer lanky and scrawny. He was muscular and fit with a curtain of hair outlining his jaw. His face only held a tint of adolescent youth that Katara new would disappear by his next birthday.
"Katara!" he said as he brought her into a hug a huge smile on his face.
"How was the search? Did you find any airbenders?" Sokka asked as Katara pulled away from the hug.
"Excellent, actually" Aang said.
"You can tell us all about it over breakfast, I'm starving" Sokka said as he steered them towards Hakoda's house.
"So you found a whole island of flying bison?" Katara asked as she served the breakfast.
"And a new type of winged lemur" Aang said as he passed the meat plate to Sokka "I'm still hoping to find some airbenders, but at this point I've almost been all over the world. I'm running out of places to look."
"At least your heritage isn't all lost." Hakoda said from the head of the table.
"Yeah, even if you don't find any airbenders, you and Katara can just have tons of airbender children." Sokka said before shoving food in his mouth.
"Sokka!" Hakoda scolded out as Aang choked on his water and Katara's face turned every shade of red.
"I… um…" Aang stuttered as looked everyway but Katara.
"Sokka how rude," Katara gritted out as she kicked him under the table.
"Maybe Aang has found someone else, right Aang?"
"I, no… I haven't found anyone else."
"Well this is awkward" Katara said as she just stared at her food.
"It's even more awkward now that you've pointed it out" Aang said as he pushed his food around.
"Chief, an urgent message from the Fire Nation awaits you in your office" a guard said as he bowed.
"Well then I must take my leave," Hakoda said as he stood. "Thank the spirits" Katara heard him say under his breath and laughed. "Make yourself at home Aang; it is wonderful to see you."
"It is wonderful to see you too Chief Hakoda." Aang said as he stood and bowed to the chief.
"Way to make things awkward Sokka," Katara said after their father left the room "Poor dad almost died in shock."
"What? It's true though! You two will eventually get married and have tons of airbender children. Didn't that old fortuneteller woman say you were going to marry a powerful bender?"
"How much more powerful can you get other than the avatar? It's written in the stars Katara."
Katara and Aang looked at each other before quickly looking away, both of their faces tomato red. "You know, I think Gran Gran said she need my help in the healing hut, see you later." Katara said as she quickly stood and exited the dining room.
Katara sat on one of the many snow cliffs watching the penguins, the humiliation from this morning still evident in her mind. 'Sokka, you boob. Can't believe you would say something like that' Katara thought as she hugged her knees closer to her.
The loud crunching of footsteps brought Katara out of her thoughts. "I can't believe it's only been five years since we went penguin sledding, it seems so long ago" Aang said as he sat next to her.
Katara smiled "I know. It's hard to believe that you're going to be eighteen and I'm going to be twenty; we're getting so old."
Aang smiled as they sat in companionable silence.
"Katara." They said at the same time before laughing.
"You go first" Katara said as she laid her head on her knees and looked at him.
Aang looked ahead "I missed you Katara" he said as he played with some snow "It was pretty lonely not having you there."
Katara lifted her head and smiled "I missed you too Aang," she said as she grabbed his hand.
Aang turned to her "I was wondering if you—"
"Lady Katara!" A guard said running up the small cliff.
Katara growled before turning behind her "Yes? What is it?"
The guard bowed "I'm sorry to interrupt you mistress, but Chief Hakoda has requested an audience with you in his office."
Katara rolled her eyes "Alright, I'll be there momentarily."
The guard bowed before turning away and jogging back to the small village. "I should go see what he wants." Katara said as she turned back to Aang "Meet me here tonight after dinner?" Aang nodded as he and Katara stood.
Giving Aang one more smile, Katara turned around and made her way back to the village.
Katara knocked on the large wooden door and fiddled with her fingers. "Come in." came her father's strong voice.
"You wanted to see me dad?" Hakoda nodded and motioned for her to sit down. "There's something we need to discuss." He said as a guard walked in with a red silk bag in his hands.
"What is it? Is everything okay?" Katara asked with concern.
"Everything is fine, it's just we got an interesting letter from Master Iroh today."
"What did it say?"
"It seems that the Fire Nation is having a tough time climbing out of the stereotype of tyrant that Ozai and his forefathers had put it in and he requested the Southern Water Tribes help."
"Why should we help them? The Southern Water Tribe is still struggling to get back on its feet and the Fire Nation has done nothing to help, regardless of the fact that Zuko and Sokka are best friends."
"That's because the Fire Nation is struggling just as much as the tribe is."
Katara huffed as she leaned back in her chair. Hakoda motioned the guard over and took the silk bag from his hands.
"Iroh is under the impression that if Fire Lord Zuko gets married to a foreign bride it may change the world's view of the Fire Nation."
"Who's going to want to marry that jerk?" Katara asked as she watched her father pull out a smooth wooden box from the silk bag making Katara's eyes go wide.
"Please tell me, that…"
"Katara…" her father stated handing her the box.
"Please tell me that it isn't for me."
"Iroh has asked that you be the one to marry Fire Lord Zuko."
Katara opened and closed her mouth a few times as she opened the box and took out the golden band. "Please tell me this is a joke." She said as she stared at the red dragon etched around the ring.
"This isn't a joke." Hakoda said.
"This has to be a joke." Sokka said as he stormed in.
"Sokka, how nice of you to be listening at the door." Hakoda said in a dull voice.
"Katara can't marry that… that… jerk" Sokka said with a shake of his head.
"I thought that jerk was your best friend?" Hakoda asked with raised eyebrows.
"He is! But that doesn't make him any less of a jerk. Dad you can't let Katara get married to him."
"I'm not making Katara do anything, this is her choice, and she's the one that has to accept it."
"I… I don't accept this." Katara said as she placed the gold band back in the box "I can't accept this."
"Thank the spirits," Sokka said as he flopped down in the chair next to her.
"Kit Kat, please reconsider." Hakoda said as leaned forward and grabbed her hand.
"Why should I?" Katara asked in anger. "He's a jerk just as Sokka said. He's inconsiderate, big headed..."
"He can help the tribe just like you can help the Fire Nation" Hakoda broke in ending Katara's rant.
"I know this is hard, Katara, believe me I would never want this life for you. But the tribe needs this; with the Northern Tribe refusing to help and the Earth Kingdoms are trying to settle their own disputes, trade is low. No one trusts the Fire Nation, so no one wants to trade with them. We're the only nation that is willing to trade with them and we can't afford to. You are highly respected among the world Katara, if you married into the Fire Nation, people's attitudes towards it would start to change, leading to trade picking up again both here and in the Fire Nation."
"He does have a point Katara." Sokka said as he looked at her.
Katara looked at her brother. "Two seconds ago you were about the throw the chair out the window in protest and now you're saying I should consider it?"
Sokka held up his hands. "I was just saying he has a point."
Katara sat there and stared at the ring in the box before looking at her father.
"Can I at least think about it?" Hakoda nodded and squeezed her hand
"Iroh requested that you give him your answer by Friday."
Katara nodded and stood "I need time to think." She said and walked out of the office, slamming the door behind her.
Katara ran up the grand stairs to her room and after locking the door she dove into her bed and cried.
Katara's seat was empty for lunch and remained empty at dinner. She refused everyone that went to her door offering her food, turning away even her own brother and father. It wasn't until later that night when Aang knocked on her door did it unlock.
Stepping in, Aang closed the door and was immediately brought into a hug. "They're forcing me to get married." Katara cried into his chest making him hold her tighter.
"I know," he said "I heard."
"What am I going to do?"
"What you always do," Aang said as he pulled away and wiped a tear that was falling down her cheek. "You're going to agonize over it until you've weighed out the pros and cons, and then decided which one is best."
"You're acting very cavalier about this." Katara said as she moved out of his arms.
"Because I know you, you're going to pick what's best for your people." Aang said as he sat on her bed.
"This is so unfair." Katara said as she crossed her arms. "Why me? What about my freedom?" "What about me and my freedom?" Aang countered "Or Sokka and his freedom?"
Katara looked at him with raised eyebrows "Think about it Katara, I'm the Avatar. I have to listen to peoples complaints and settle their disputes for the rest of my life. Keep peace and hope the world doesn't collapse without me when I occasionally go to Guru Pathik and meditate, I have zero freedom. Think about Sokka, when your dad decides to retire Sokka is going to be the Chief; all of his freedom is going to go out the door. You're not the only person who is going to be in a position of power that has no time for freedom."
Katara stared at him for a moment before covering her eyes "Oh spirits Aang, you're right. I'm being so selfish." Katara said as tears came to her eyes again.
Aang stood and brought her into another hug "Hey, no you're not. This is a big decision."
Katara clung to Aang. "What would you do?" she asked.
Aang placed his chin on top of her head "I would consider it. I know it's a lot to consider but think of your tribe, think of the millions of people in the Fire Nation you would help."
"What about us?" she asked.
Aang held her tighter. "We weren't written in the stars like Sokka thought. Even though I'm a powerful bender, so are you, Zuko, Toph and thousands of other people." Tears spilt out of Katara's eyes as Aang spoke. "Just because she predicted that you'd get married to a powerful bender doesn't automatically mean it was going to be me. I mean, not that I'm complaining because let's face it; my ultimate fantasy is getting married to you, but I can accept being you're best friend. It's going to be hard, but I can accept it."
Katara released her clutched on the back of Aang's robes as she laughed "I love you" she whispered.
"I love you too" he said as he pulled away. "I need to go make sure Appa is warm enough, get some sleep" he said, kissing Katara on her forehead.
"Good night, Aang." Katara whispered out.
"Good night, Katara" Aang said before closing the door.
Katara leaned against it for a few moments before going over and sitting at her desk near the large window. Closing the wooden box that held the gold band, Katara took out a piece of parchment and began writing.
"Gentler, Lord Zuko." His uncle yelled from the sideline of the training area. "Firebending should not be produced by anger, but by passion."
"I am producing it with passion," Zuko said as he shot another fire ball at the guard he was practicing with. "a passion to kill someone" he mumbled to himself.
Iroh clapped his hands and the guard stood and bowed. "I sense there is something wrong, Fire Lord." Iroh said as he waved away the guards and servants.
"Nothing is wrong, Uncle. It was a tough day as always." Zuko said as he wiped away the sweat with a towel.
"You should get used to it; being Fire Lord will be one of the toughest things in your life" Iroh said as he and Zuko made their way to Iroh's veranda.
"What's the other?" Zuko questioned as he sat on a cushioned chair.
Iroh smiled "Marriage."
Zuko closed his eyes and groaned, knowing exactly where the conversation was heading. "Please, let's not talk about marriage. It's not happening."
"Why not?" Iroh asked as he poured the tea.
"Mai rejected me…again." Zuko spit out, anger suddenly consuming him.
Before Zuko could set something a flame, Iroh waved his hand and a servant made her way towards the two. "Don't worry Fire Lord; I have ended your search."
Zuko's eyes shot open and he flew forward. "What?"
Iroh smiled as the servant placed a smooth wooden box in front of him. Opening the box, Iroh pulled out a golden ring with a black dragon etched around it. "I had hoped you would bring home someone." He said as he placed the ring in Zuko's palm. "But because she does not want to serve her people, we will call upon someone who will."
Zuko closed his fingers over the ring "I'm twenty one; I don't want to get married" Zuko said as he looked at his uncle. "Why are you pushing for a marriage?"
"Because the citizens are getting restless, getting married means a future for heirs. A future for heirs means a future for the country. We abide by the citizens wants, not our own." Zuko closed his fingers over the ring. "Besides," Iroh continued "this will open new trading routes as the other countries will start to see the Fire Nation as something other than a tyrant."
Zuko sighed as he sat back the ring still firmly clutched in his hand. His uncle was right, they needed new trading routes. The Southern Water Tribe were doing all that they could to trade with the Fire Nation but being the poorest nation, it wasn't much. Another thing his uncle was right about was the citizens itching for a wedding. Every time there was a gala or celebration some noble was throwing his daughter, and occasionally though rarely, a son at him. An engagement would put an end to that.
But then again what about Mai? Sure she had denied his marriage proposal, but she was still his girlfriend. Maybe if he announced that he was going to be engaged to someone else that would change her mind.
"How about we make a deal?" Iroh said as he leaned back in his chair.
Zuko looked at his Uncle with raised eyebrows "I'm listening."
"I have received word from your potential intended that she has agreed to this arrangement and that she is on her way to the Fire Nation as we speak."
"If you can get Mai to agree to marry you by the end of the week, which is when she will arrive, we will call off this engagement and pretend that this engagement ever existed."
"What about the girl? Won't she be upset?"
Iroh chuckled "I highly doubt she would be upset, maybe more relieved than upset."
Zuko scrunched his eyebrow "Uncle, who exactly is my intended?"
Iroh smiled "I believe you already know her."
"Oh? Who?" Zuko asked as he sipped his tea.
Iroh looked at him with a twinkle in his eye "It's Katara of the Southern Water Tribe."
Zuko's esophagus burned as he choked on his tea "What!"
Iroh sipped his tea innocently as he watched Zuko struggle for air "I told you, you already knew her."
"I can't marry that peasant."
"Zuko," Iroh scolded "she is not a peasant. She's a princess in her own right"
"Oh yeah, from what? Being the ex-girlfriend of the avatar?"
"No, from her father being the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe"
"Oh," Zuko had forgotten that she was Chief Hakoda's daughter. He couldn't marry Katara. From what he remembered of their time traveling with Aang she was stubborn, bossy, and loud.
Maybe if Mai knew who it was she'd be more inclined to accept it his proposal.
"So Uncle, do we have a deal?" Zuko asked as he held out his hand. Iroh smiled "We have a deal. You need to come to me in three days telling me if Mai has accepted or rejected your offer" he said as he shook Zuko's hand.
"I can't believe you accepted the offer." Sokka said as he sharpened his sword. Sokka, Katara, and Aang were on their way to the Fire Nation on Appa with all of Katara's things packed and ready to be moved to the Fire Nation. It had been an emotional good bye to say the least, but she was assured by her father that she could back out at any moment and come home.
But as she looked around at her village with its small, crumbling buildings and hungry people, she knew she was doing the right thing.
"Our people need it Sokka," Katara said tiredly "As the future leader of the tribe I would've thought you were glad."
"Oh I'm glad," Sokka said not taking his eyes off his sword "Glad that my tribe is being helped. What I'm not glad about is that it's being helped because my baby sister is marrying a jerk." Katara rolled her eyes as she looked down at the water below them.
She didn't understand why he was making such a big deal about it; she had come to accept it for the most part, even though every time she looked at or thought of Aang her heart cried. Aang had accepted it, just like she expected him to. He had told her that it was something that life had in store for them and that if they were meant to be, it would happen. She cried hysterically that night. But soon got passed it and was now grateful that Aang, and Sokka much to Katara's silent relief, had agreed to stay in the Fire Nation until the wedding in case she needed them for support.
"Did I mention that I wrote Toph?" Katara said.
Aang shook his head from his spot on Appa's head, "What did you say?"
"I just told her of the situation, she said she was going to meet us in the Fire Nation."
"I don't know why we write to Toph, it's not like she can read it." Sokka said.
"That's why she has aids, Sokka, they read them to her. Maybe you should try writing to her every once in a while, I'm sure she would like to hear from you." Katara said.
Sokka put his sword back in its sheath and looked at her. "I do write to her, all the time actually she just never bothers to write me back and if she does its short and to the point." Katara and Aang shared a look, everyone but Sokka and Toph knew that they had a long standing crush on each other, even her dad knew.
After Suki decided that she was going to stay with the Kyoshi Warriors after the war, Sokka became incredibly close to Toph, almost to an obsession. Katara knew from the tone of his voice that it hurt him that Toph only wrote to him if he wrote her first and that the letters were short. But that was Toph, when she liked someone she did all she could to avoid them.
"Maybe you should write her confessing your love for her, I bet you'd get long letters after that." Katara said teasingly and laughing at Sokka's horrified face.
"I do not like Toph that way."
"Sokka, the whole world knows" Aang said as he climbed in the back with them "It's one of the most gossiped topics around."
Sokka's face had hint of a blush as he tilted his face upward "I don't like her except as a friend."
"Yeah, sure, okay" Katara said as she resumed looking at the ocean below. What would happen if she just decided to jump?
"We should be in the Fire Nation in an hour." Aang said as fed some nuts to Momo.
"That's nice." Katara said as she rested her chin on her hand.
"Do you want to play a game of Pai Sho? It might help pass the time." Aang asked as he took out his small Pai Sho board. Katara nodded and for the next hour they sat in complete silence with the only noise being Sokka's words of encouragement and tease.
An hour later they landed in front of the Fire Nation Palace with citizens outside the gold iron gates shouting their excitement. The gang waved and smiled at them before turning their attention to Iroh.
Iroh bowed "It's wonderful to see you Avatar Aang" he said as Aang bowed back
"It's great to see you Master Iroh."
"And it's wonderful to see you Master Sokka, I'm sure Master Piandao would like to see you during your stay."
Sokka bowed "It's wonderful to see you Master Iroh, I would be honored to see Master Piandao again."
Iroh smiled and trailed his eyes over to Katara "Mistress Katara, what a sight you are." Katara blushed and smiled "Thank you Master Iroh, it is a pleasure to see you again."
"What is with this Master title? We are going to be family, call me Uncle, all of you." Iroh said as he indicated for them to step inside the palace "Come, Lee will get your belongings" he said as they walked inside.
"I know you have just arrived but there is a meeting that calls to my attention. Wei will show you to your rooms, please make yourselves at home."
"Thank you, Uncle" they said unison as they bowed. "Oh and Mistress Katara, I would like to have tea with you this afternoon, is that alright?"
"Absolutely" Katara said as she bowed making Iroh smile "then I'll leave you three to get settled, have a wonderful morning."
They bowed again and turned their attention to the servant in front of them. "If you'll follow me I'll show you to your rooms" Wei said as she bowed.
"Right, thank you" Katara said as the three of them followed Wei.
"Your rooms are in the family wing, if you ever get lost, just go to the main stairwell and turn right" Wei instructed as they walked into a grand hallway.
"Master Sokka your room is here" she said as she opened a large door and Sokka stepped in.
"I'm going to take a nap, wake me in time for lunch" he said as he stretched and closed his door.
Wei walked to the next door and opened it "This will be your room Avatar Aang"
"Thank you" he said as he stepped in.
"Mistress Katara, your room is just across the hall here" Wei said as she walked a little way down the hall and opened a grand set of doors.
Katara looked around; it was a large red room with beautiful decorations and lush couches. Desks and bookshelves were scattered around the walls as large glass doors that led out into a balcony took up the back part of the wall. "This is your sitting room. Your bedroom and bathroom are through the door on the right. The Fire Lord's room is through the door on the left."
Katara looked at Wei in shock "I'm sharing the Fire Lord's common room?"
Wei nodded "Yes my lady."
'It's only logical' Katara thought as she looked around.
"Is there anything else you need ma'am?" Katara shook her head
"No, thank you, but if you could, will you please inform me when Lady Beifong arrives"
Wei bowed "Will do mistress, if there is anything you need do not hesitate to call."
"Thank you" Katara said as she bowed and watched as Wei closed the door behind her.
Walking over to the right door Katara took a deep breath and pushed it open. Stepping in, Katara took a look around the large. Glass doors much like the ones in the sitting room covered the left side of the wall, as the right side had two doors. One Katara knew had to be a bathroom, the other she assumed was a closet. Her large canopy bed was to her left with dark red sheets and a red and gold duvet. A fire took up the wall in front of her bed and next to that sat a gold vanity table. Walking over to one door, she turned on the light and looked inside. She was right; it was a closet and a huge one at that. "I don't think I have enough clothes to fill this up" she said as she turned off the light and closed the door.
Opening the next door, Katara turned on the light and nodded. It was a bathroom like she expected. Everything was red and black. It had a nice sunk it tube, a shower, a sink, and a separate small room which she assumed was the toilet. Turning off the light and closing the door Katara took another look around. It was nice room, but she missed home.
'Get used to it Katara,' she thought 'this is your home.'
A knock on her door brought her out of her depressed thoughts. "Come in" she said and smiled when Aang walked in.
"Do you want to explore the palace?" he asked as he held out his hand.
Katara nodded placed her hand in his "I hear they have an excellent library."
"One of the best" Aang said as he led her out of the room "it's almost as good as Wan Shi Tong's library."
Many twists and turns later Aang was opening the doors to one of the biggest libraries she had ever seen. "Holy cow-hippo, you're right, this place is almost as good as Wan Shi Tong's."
They walked the many rows of books talking quietly to each other, picking out books that they have read and recommend and books that they didn't like and wish had never been published.
"Iroh had requested for me to be present in one of his meetings, will you be able to find your way back to your room?" Aang asked as he placed a book back on the shelf.
Katara nodded "Go do your avatar duties."
Aang smiled before taking his leave "See you at dinner."
Katara waved and continued skimming through the rows of books.
Katara skimmed along the rows of books on the second level as she hummed a small tune to herself.
"Are you sure you don't want to get married?" she heard coming from a large window alcove and stopped. With curiosity getting the best of her, Katara hid herself behind a bookshelf and peeked around. There was a tall, skinny girl who Katara recognized as Mai, Zuko's girlfriend. If her pale skin and bored expression didn't give it away, the knives peeking out from under her sleeve did.
The person leaning on the window across from Mai was a no brainer. From his sour expression and the fire pendant in his hair Katara knew it was Zuko.
"What?" Mai asked as she stared at the Fire Lord, her face stock straight despite what was just asked.
"If you didn't hear me, I'm asking again, for you to marry me."
Katara looked at them in shock 'I thought we were getting married?'
"My Uncle has made a deal with me that if I can get you to say yes by today we can cancel the arranged engagement."
Katara perked up 'This is promising.'
"Why me?" Mai asked her face still impassive.
Zuko shrugged "Why should I get married to a stranger when I have a good friend like you?"
Katara contained a squeal 'Oh please say yes! Make my life easier and just say yes.'
Mai scoffed as she pushed off the window "You've got to be kidding me, right?" That was not the answer Katara was expecting from the Fire Lords girlfriend. "Being the Fire Lady means I will be confined to the palace life and all the responsibilities that come with it."
'That's understandable' Katara thought 'who'd want to be confined to that life? Oh…wait.'
"Besides, can you see me serving the people? Going to town every day and helping the needy or opening orphanages and libraries, having children. Do meaningless tasks to appease the people?"
Katara looked her appalled 'Good thing she declined the proposal, what a snob.'
"Besides," Mai continued "you know I don't want to have children, being Fire Lady means I have to have children."
Katara blushed 'There's no way that's happening' she thought as she continued to eavesdrop.
"Children aren't that bad" Zuko said with a roll of his eyes as he stood straighter.
There was a few moments of silence before Zuko spoke, "Mai," Katara noted that his voice sounded almost sad "this is that last time I'm going to ask you, do you want to get married?"
"No" came Mai's bored response.
Katara gasped in surprise as someone tapped her on the shoulder, alerting the two lovers of her presence.
"I'm sorry mistress, but Lady Beifong has arrived" Wei said.
"I…" Katara looked at the two of them and saw that they were staring at her in shock. "Toph's here, right, thanks Wei" Katara said before she ran.
"Hey!" she heard Zuko call after her before she ran down the small set of stairs and out the door. "Hey stop!"
Katara kept running and as she turned a corner she felt herself colliding with a body, knocking the wind out of her. "Mistress Katara, are you okay?" she heard different voices ask her. As she opened her eyes she saw papers floating everywhere and fire sages crowding around her.
Katara stood up "I'm fine, are you alright?" she said helping the fallen fire sage. "I'm fine Mistress Katara, thank you."
Katara looked up to see Zuko turning the corner. "Fire Lord Zuko." the sages said in unison and bowed.
"Leave us" he said coldly as he looked at Katara in contempt.
"Yes, Fire Lord" they said again in unison and bowed before quickly walking away.
Katara stood straighter as Zuko strode over to her, just looking at him made her stomach sick. How was she going to survive a lifetime with him?
Zuko grabbed her arm roughly and dragged her towards the wall. "Get off me." she said as she tried to yank her arm free. Zuko brought them behind a large red pillar and trapped Katara between himself and the wall.
"Listen," he said as he placed his arm next to Katara's head, blocking her in "I know what you heard was nothing but gossip to you, but for me it's not."
"I would not stoop so low as to gossip about someone."
"So you did hear something."
Katara snapped her mouth shut and looked down "I don't care if you gossip or not, but if I so much as hear a sliver of it going around the palace. I'm going to come straight to you."
Katara rolled her eyes "Oh, I'm so scared." she said and saw the fire in the wall scones flare up. "Is your pride hurt because some actually rejected you?" Katara mocked watching as the fire flared even higher "Who are you to boss me around anyway? Just because you're the ruler of this land does not mean that you get to rule over me."
"You forget that I am going to be your husband. I get a say over you whether you like it or not."
Katara gave an undignified snort "Oh now you're going to be my husband," she said as she pushed away from the wall and out of Zuko's trap. "When just five minutes ago you wanted to be Mai's."
Katara turned around and looked at him "Let's get one thing straight Fire Lord this marriage is of straight convenience. We'll just be husband and wife by title, so you'll be able go on with your business and I'll be able to go on with mine" she said as she turned around and started walking. "And be assured that I don't care enough for you or your snobby girlfriend to prance around telling everyone that she rejected you…again" she said before turning the corner.
Not even two seconds later she heard Zuko scream out "FUCK!" and a blast of fire barely miss her back .
Again, thank you to the wonderful Mistress 0f Dragons for being my Beta!