Note: This is my first Avatar/Zutara fanfic so do bear with me. Plus I haven't seen the series in like…AGES so I could be a little blurry. Nonetheless, hopefully ya'll will enjoy reading one of my most obsessed stories. No flamers please, I don't look to be burned like Zuko.

P.S: I DO NOT OWN AVATAR OR ITS CHARACTERS. (SO DON'T SUE ME). Although if I did own them, ATLA would've ended in a completely different way. *smirk*

This takes place during and after Azula and Zuko's final Agni Kai in S3 of ATLA. This is more of a what-if kind of thing. Like… What if Zuko wasn't the one who got injured by Azula's lightning? (Still wondering if I should make this a one shot or something…) Hopefully ya'll like it. In my little world, Zutara lives! Zuko can really be an affectionate person{especially towards a certain water bender}~

Anyway enough of the ramblings... Let's just get on with the story k?


"No lightning today? What's the matter? Afraid I'll redirect it?"

"Oh-I'll show you lightning!"

Zuko watched as his insane sister started to execute lightning through the patterns with her arms. The electric blue of it danced wildly and dangerously at her fingertips as he stood his ground, readying himself to redirect it. He kept his breath steady, holding his arms out, keeping his eyes constantly fixated on Azula. Lightning arcs buzzed around her violently and dangerously with both its intensity and amount, but still obeyed each and every one of her movements. Sometimes he would be in awe at the way she could control it so easily... But then her mental state...lightning generation probably would be a dire idea.

'I can do this…' he thought to himself, pushing away all signs of fear and doubt. 'Everything will be over…She won't win… She can't.' He'd redirect that bolt at lightning successfully. Either at the sky and finish Azula off through fire... Or use her power against her, and just end it on the spot.

But as Azula placed her hands close to herself with her lightning fully generated, flickering around her;ready to execute the lightning, her maniacal gaze caught sight of Katara. The waterbender. The peasant. She was standing way behind Zuko, slightly to the left-watching the Agni Kai. Her oceanic blue eyes wide with what appeared to be concern.

Why Zuzu had even bothered befriending a bender of their opposing element...why he had brought her along... Azula simply didn't understand. After all, the waterbender could merely act as collateral damage instead of support. Acid churned in her stomach when she thought about the peasant and her brother together... Why had he picked her...

Stupid boy...

An evil grin spread across Azula's face, knowing that destroying the little water peasant would damage her brother greatly. It would emotionally crush him and throw him completely off guard, giving her the upper hand. It was the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone...

Kill... Yes... That was the word...

Satisfied with her decision, Azula pointed her middle and index fingers at Katara; stretching out her right arm swiftly, allowing the lightning to run through, securing its target. The defiant fire bender could feel the intense rush of electrical energy surge out of her body as she let raw power take its course. Even though she'd generated lightning quite a number of times, it felt different this time. More thrilling. More powerful. The comet... The potency of it all...



Katara realized that Azula was directing the lightning at her, as the electric blue started to fly towards her. Even in her silent, almost frozen state of panic and shock, she knew she had to run. Or defend herself. Something. Anything.

But before she could respond or blink, she heard Zuko yell and saw as he started to jump in front of her, his left arm outstretched, placing him as Azula's new lightning's target. What was he doing!

Everything passed so quickly for Katara at that moment. Faster than light. It was as if she wasn't in control of her mind or actions anymore. Zuko's life was of more worth than hers. He had a responsibility as a prince and future Fire Lord to the Fire Nation. Unlike her, he had crucial duties to his people. She knew she couldn't let him take the fall for her...

With all of her courage and strength mustered inside of her, Katara quickly felt for the liquid blood that flowed through Zuko's veins as she held her hands out, concentrating as much as she could within the extremely short time. Relief washed her over as she felt the hot blood pumping and rushing within his body, but she also felt her energy slip away quickly since it wasn't exactly the most suitable time to bend blood. As she had done once with Hama, Katara quickly fisted her hands as if she was gripping Zuko like a doll and blood-bended the fire bender prince, taking total control of his body, feeling the water and fluids that coursed through his body. Instantly, she threw him aside to the right, away from the lightning's deathly blow.

Despite her sudden wave of exhaustion from the sudden blood bending, Katara looked up and saw the lightning coming at her at neck-breaking speed; she immediately made a run for it, while throwing up a thick ice barrier in front of her from her waterskin.

But it was all too late.

Zuko realized that Azula hadn't targeted her lightning towards him at all. Instead, she had redirected it towards Katara as he saw Azula shift her execution slightly to his right. The lightning travelled from her fingers at a deathly straight line...

"No! Not you!" he thought frantically. He knew that he couldn't just let Katara die because of him or his sister. He couldn't lose her. Especially to Azula. She had friends and family to go back to. Loved ones. She had everything to go back to... Katara had to live on. She just had to.

"NO!" he screamed, the word ripping from his throat as he threw himself in front of Katara, stretching out his left arm, preparing to attempt to redirect Azula's lightning-it was either try that or take the deadly hit… Either way... He wasn't going to lose Katara.

But then suddenly, Zuko felt something odd within his body. It was as if someone had halted the blood that flowed through his veins. It felt cold... Ice cold. The feeling was instantly followed by a kind of numbness, as if he couldn't control his limbs anymore despite his desperation. Every single muscle within him constricted, as if there were a pair of frozen iron hands gripping his body tightly with no means of escaping it. He couldn't even speak. His outstretched hand shook rigidly and his body froze in mid-air.


Within a millisecond, Zuko felt himself being roughly thrown aside. His body crashed painfully against the ground as he grunted at the sudden impact. He tried to push himself up with his hands, ignoring the throbbing pain of his scratched up knees and arms, and saw Katara run while sweeping a large ice boulder in front of her with the water from her waterskin.

The scene in front of his eyes then unfolded too quickly. It was almost overwhelming... At that time Zuko could only register a few things in his mind clearly.

Azula's deadly lightning destroyed Katara's ice boulder effortlessly, shattering the crystal-like water. The tiny shards of ice rained all over the place, melting and evaporating with a harsh hiss when it hit the smouldering heat of the ground. He saw the lightning pierce through the air and slam into Katara, throwing her back in mid run. Horror and shock filled his body when he saw the water bender get flung back, her body hitting one of the pillars. Katara's then limp body crumpled onto the ground without response as if she was a mere rag doll. At that moment he instantly felt something shatter inside of him. His heart ached painfully at her unmoving form and all he felt was just pure agony. Both emotionally and physically.

"KATARA!" Zuko screamed, his voice filled with anguish as he immediately pushed himself up onto his feet. The stinging pain of his wounds no longer stopping him. He then ran towards the water bender, fear and worry churning inside of him. He even forgot that Azula was still there, laughing maniacally.

Please don't... Please don't... No, no, no, no, NO!

Azula felt satisfaction wash over her as she watched Zuko run towards the fallen waterbender. It worked... she thought as her body swayed slightly. The firebender quickly gathered her footing, her laugh echoing throughout the area. I did it... I did it... I did it... The three words rung in Azula's mind non-stop. It's over...Zuzu...

But before Zuko could reach Katara, a large wall of blue flames blocked his path, causing him to stumble back and fall. The vicious flames licked at his skin, burning him slightly.

"Oh no you don't!" Azula cackled gleefully, quickly moving into her next stance. "You can't possibly care for a water peasant now, Zuzu?"

"Shut up!" Zuko yelled at her, and quickly threw his fists forward, and a gust of bright, orange-red flames burst from his knuckles towards his sister. But Azula zipped away from it quickly, propelling herself with a jet of blue fire.

Ignoring Azula, Zuko attempted to run towards Katara again. He had to save her somehow. He just had to. He had to know if she was still alive. But Azula was like a flash of electric blue, zipping around, throwing streams of electric blue flames at him, and stopping his chances. Zuko answered her hits full-forced, immediately throwing her walls and slices of fire at Azula with quick sidekicks and leg sweeps.

Azula's crazed laughter continued to echo throughout the courtyard. Flashes of orange and blue flared around, clashing into each other violently...and the sounds of flames engulfing each other were deafening. The crackling and smoke from all the fire stained the air thickly like a fog. The flames nearly brought down the nearby buildings of the Palace.

"ENOUGH!" Zuko shouted, when Azula had stopped to catch her breath. Smoke and heat surrounded them. Zuko panted heavily, growing more and more tired by the second. But he couldn't keep his mind off Katara, who still remained unconscious and unmoving on the ground. He feared the very worst of the water bender.

"No. She's not dead. She's not dead." He told himself sharply, trying to be hopeful.

"What's wrong Zuzu?" Azula taunted at him, shifting into another fighting stance, her knees bent and her hands at the ready in front of her, her eyes flaring with anger and taunting. Her wide-lipped smile was evil and crazed. "Worried that the little water peasant's dead? Ha! You've grown soft for the little thing! That's hilarious! Whatever happened to your precious honor brother? Oh Mai would be so heartbroken! Father would be so disappointed! Not like he wasn't already to begin with... He was right to banish you, you worthless prick! You're nothing! Only extremely lucky to be born!"

Zuko felt his blood boil. His knuckles turned white and felt scorched while every fiber of his being felt as if it had been set aflame. The scar that marred the left side of his face felt as if it was burning hot. It felt as if it was the day he got it. Pain stabbed at his heart heatedly. A deep frown and an icy glare marked his face, all aimed at Azula...

How could Azula be so callous? So void of compassion? He then realized that he used to be just as bad… No. He had changed. He wanted peace. Azula… Ozai… They meant nothing to him by that time. Katara and her friends, even the Avatar had helped him. His Uncle Iroh had helped him. He had gotten more than closure. Katara had understood him. She'd been there for him... Trusted him... Believed in him... Showed him kindness and compassion he didn't deserve and that Mai never truly offered... Katara had forgiven him...

And she'd stupidly taken the lightning bolt for him.

At that moment, Zuko knew that Azula would always be Azula. Crazy. Power hungry. Callous. Deceiving. Murderous…

"Azula always lies..."

His hands then felt extremely hot. Hotter than he had ever felt before. Flames started to dance around his arms as he saw a grinning Azula perfectly poised, her stance ready to defend herself. And to strike.

"You know what Azula?" he snapped, walking slowly towards his so-called sister, glaring coldly at her. "I pity you. You never felt friendship. Or care. Or love. You don't know the meaning of any of them. Loyalty. Trust. They're all just words to you. Honor. You know nothing about it. Nothing. No wonder you got abandoned by your friends... If you were in his way, Ozai would've disposed of you as well as he did me. There are always dead weight..."

Azula frowned as her smile dropped into an ugly grimace. "Watch your tongue, brother," she spat. "You know what I am capable of."

But Zuko didn't stop. Instead he advanced on faster.

Azula then let out a raging scream, and started performing the patterns that would execute her deadly lightning again. But before she could strike, a tall and large wall of orange, vibrant fire surrounded her. Enclosing her.

Shocked, Azula quickly struck the walls with the prepared lightning. She tried to burn it off with her own blue flames. But nothing happened. The fire wall barely made a hole. Her fingers then grazed the fortification out of curiosity before quickly withdrawing her hand, screeching through her teeth. Blood dripped off her burnt fingers.

Slowly, she saw her brother emerge through the wall of flames easily unburned, as if the wall parted for him. His arms and hands were on fire. But they weren't burnt as well. The flames simply danced around his arms and collected at his hands. The expression on his face was cold and hard. The molten amber of his eyes were dark yet fiery at the same time with the light from the fire wall illuminating the gold there. Azula had never seen her brother like this before. A tiny part of her felt...scared.

"What're you doing?" she shouted harshly, throwing a ball of blue flame at him. But Zuko easily dodged it just by moving to the side. The blue flames then disintegrated into his wall of fire. As if it had been engulfed.

Azula growled and flung her right fist forward for a fiery punch to Zuko's face. But his flaming left hand quickly caught it by the wrist almost effortlessly. It was as if her punch held no impact whatsoever. She then punched with her other hand, and he caught that as well. The expression on his face frozen with rage.

Suddenly, Azula felt herself burn. Her wrists felt scalding hot as the flames on Zuko's hand bit into the skin there. She let out a painful scream as the wall of fire flared viciously. Whips of fire growing from the wall then grabbed her by the waist and ankles, pulling her down. Zuko let go of her wrists and stepped away, the fire wall vanishing instantly.

Azula's wrists were then bound by fire whips, as they 'chained' her to the ground. She struggled, trying to break herself free. Escape was the only thing on her mind, not the fact that her fiery chains were slowly eating her clothes, trying to burn into her skin. Tears of pain started forming in her eyes as her wrists continued to burn...slowly...

Zuko eyed his sister, and held out a flaming fist. The orange-red fire glowed against his scar, casting a dark shadow over the right side of his face.

"Good bye, Azula," he hissed at her sharply. Zuko then prepared to strike...

"Zuko! No!" he heard a familiar voice cry from behind him. Extinguishing his fire immediately, Zuko quickly turned around, and saw Katara by the pillar. She was still on the ground, with only her left arm supporting her as her right arm held her side. Her eyes were barely open...

Forgetting Azula instantly, who was still struggling at his fire whips, Zuko quickly ran over to Katara, immense relief washing over him the fact that Katara was still alive. He immediately fell to his knees at the water bender, not minding the scrapes.

"Katara! You have to heal yourself now!" he said to her quickly. Zuko held Katara gingerly by the shoulders, worried at her condition. Horror replaced his relief when he saw Katara's abdomen had been burnt and was bleeding badly. The singed tunic there stained with bright crimson. Her arms were scalded and scratched with her cloth arm braces falling off.

"I-I'm… Exhausted… Water… You... c-can' k-kill..." Katara whispered, her eyelids dropping heavily and her words trailing off. Zuko shook her slightly.

"Katara? Katara! Wake up! You can't!" he pleaded, worry and panic stabbing at him. He couldn't even say the word… Die… You can't die…

Katara then reopened her eyes and painfully reached for her waterskin, but then suddenly, a blue flame struck her hands and the waterskin. The skin was destroyed instantly, and the water was burnt away. Evaporated instantly. Katara let out a brief scream as her burned hands shook mercilessly, tears of pain streamed down her cheeks as she curled up into a ball, shivering. Her arms hugging her abdomen weakly.

Zuko whipped his head around and saw that Azula had broken free from his fire whips. Her clothes slightly burned off and her wrists exposed of burned flesh. She ran towards them, blue fire illuminating her speed and her hands. Her eyes set ablaze with fury and insanity.

With a scream of rage, Zuko slammed his fists as hard as he ever could against the ground. All of his pain, rage, sadness and strength poured out and nearly shook the ground as a large fire wave of tsunami proportions blazed off the ground, heading towards Azula.

Time passed faster than Azula's lightning at that as Zuko's fire wave immediately engulfed Azula. It wrapped around her like a fiery ribbon, swallowing her up instantly. The sounds of a roaring fire was then followed by Azula's glass-shattering scream as the blazing inferno closed in around her. The chaos of it lasted for a while, until the flames disappeared and Azula fell limply to the ground. Unmoving and unresponsive. Smoke wafted off of her body thickly.

When Zuko had confirmed to himself that Azula wouldn't be waking up anytime soon, he turned back to Katara, who had fallen unconscious again.

"Katara?" he called. Softly, at first. But when she didn't respond, Zuko quickly scooped her up into his arms. He could feel her weakened heartbeat and assured himself that she was still alive. As quickly as he could, he ran to the pond near the Fire Nation palace away from the 'battlefield'. But on the way he tripped over a crack, making him fall forward. Zuko then quickly turned around so that he would fall on his back instead of Katara. But by doing so, he had sprained his right ankle. Ignoring it with a loud groan, Zuko continued to run limply and painfully towards the pond, constantly stumbling over his feet. He then knelt down and settled Katara gently next to the water and tried to rouse her awake, keeping her on his lap.

"Katara! Wake up! There's water here! You can heal yourself here!" he said, all the while panicking. Zuko gingerly grabbed one of Katara's singed hands and held it close to his chest as he felt his eyes water. His chest felt constricted and his heart throbbed painfully with each passing second. Before he knew it, his tears spilled over and ran down his cheeks.

Why was he crying? For her? Of all people... They had hated each other so much in the beginning… But then they grew closer… Became friends. The hate slowly dissipated into the past... He even personally asked her to be at his side to face Azula instead of any of the others. But why was he getting so emotional about it? Sure, he had cared for her… Probably a little more than that ever since the Crystal Catacombs in Ba Sing Se...and when he'd helped her look for Yon Rha in hopes of gaining her forgiveness...

Zuko bit his quivering lower lip till he drew blood. Yes. He did care a lot for her. More than he actually should have.

Enough to throw himself in front of a lightning bolt to save her. To keep her heart beating…

He would've died saving her life. In fact, he should've. She had so much more to go back to...

"Katara…" Zuko whispered huskily, gazing at the water bender, his tears falling quicker as he stroked her hand gently with his thumbs. "Please… Wake up… You have to heal yourself… You-You can't leave me now…"

Zuko then looked around, trying to search for somebody. Anybody. He didn't want to leave her. He couldn't…

"SOMEBODY HELP ME!" he yelled out into the air desperately. "PLEASE! I NEED HELP! SOMEBODY! ANYBODY!"

Zuko's voice had gotten more and more hoarse the more he yelled. His throat felt scratchy and raw. He then turned to face Katara again, relieved that she was still breathing. But only light, shallow breaths… He assumed that since she was a water bender and had healing abilities, she wouldn't give up so easily… Heck, she shouldn't.

"Katara please…" he choked, swallowing a lump in his throat. He then bowed his head slightly as he pulled Katara close to his chest, mentally berating himself for being so helpless.

"It should've been me, Katara… Not you… Not you…"

So whaddya think? No flamers please. It's not very pleasant. Burning ain't so peachy either. I promise I'll try to write better if I can come up of a way to improve whatever's coming.

Zutara ftw peoples~