A/N: Day two of Zutara week: Momentous.
Jang Hui was the name of the town in "The Painted Lady". Thank you, Avatar Wiki. I'm also going to place Zuko at about twenty years of age, which would put Katara at about eighteen.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender.
To Be a Queen
Today was probably the most important day of Katara's life, more important than the day of Sozin's Comet all those years ago. Well, maybe not that important overall, but to her personally it was. Today was the day she would be coroneted as the new Fire Lady, in front of almost the entire population of the capital city of the Fire Nation.
She was terrified. Would the Fire Nation accept the daughter of a Water Tribe chief as the wife of their Fire Lord? Would they accept a waterbender in that role? She hadn't even been this frightened before her wedding, which had consisted of her and Zuko's friends, family, and some of the more important people in the Fire Nation, generals and nobility.
She sat on her bed, well, her and Zuko's bed, in the grand chamber of the palace that was theirs, wringing her hands. She still was getting used to the idea of having a husband, even a month after they had been married.
The doubtful thoughts she held were plaguing her mind. What had she ever done that would make anyone in the Fire Nation come close to accepting her? She had helped invade their homeland, helped overthrow their ruler, defeated their princess, hadn't helped in the turmoil that had come after the war, and was probably a peasant in their eyes, a peasant who was not worthy to marry their beloved Fire Lord.
Oh, why hadn't Zuko married Mai, or some beautiful and noble daughter of a general? It would've made things so much easier for everyone. Yes, she loved Zuko, but she was beginning to wonder what kind of troubles their union was going to bring upon the man who she viewed as a hero and one of the greatest men in the world.
She had just stood up to pace around the room, her hands going to the long strand of hair that had been pinned to the side of her head and beginning to play with it, when the doors to the room opened, and none other than her husband walked in, freezing her in her tracks.
He stood silently for a moment after he had closed the doors, smiling at her and surveying her. "You look beautiful."
Katara suddenly became very self conscious of her silk dress, her smoky make up, and the intricate style of her hair, all from the Fire Nation, all accept the blue engagement pendent that Zuko had made for her, which stood out clearly against the red of her clothing. "Thank you."
"What makes you say that?"
"The way you're playing with your hair. You always do that when you're nervous."
Katara frowned, immediately dropping her hands. "Why do you have to know everything about me?"
Zuko laughed. "It's my job." He strode over to her, taking her shoulders. "Now, come on, what's bothering you? The coronation?"
Katara nodded. "What if they don't accept me Zuko? I mean, I'm from the water tribe and a waterbender. What have I ever done to earn the love of these people?"
"What about those people you helped in Jang Hui?"
"I highly doubt any of them will be here today, or that any of them will have much sway over the rest of the of the population." Katara lamented.
Zuko sighed. "Do you remember when I became Fire Lord?"
"Of course I do."
"Do you remember that there were death threats against me? That an assassin almost killed me? That I needed bodyguards?"
"Of course I remember that Zuko. I fought of a couple mobs off myself." Katara grumpily answered, not seeing where he was going with this.
"The people hated me, my people hated me. I was the crown prince, the highest of Fire Nation nobility, but my people hated me. My bloodline meant nothing to them. And do you remember what ended up happening?"
"After the treaty between the Fire Nation, Earth Kingdom, and Water Tribes was signed, people began to see what a great ruler you really are." Katara said, sounding half praising, half irritated.
"It did take time Katara, but they accepted me, and they'll accept you. Even if it's not right away, it'll happen. The generals were opposed to our marriage at first, but you charmed them out of any misconceptions they had of you almost right away." There was a smirk forming on Zuko's face at that last statement.
"I don't know…"
"Katara, if a Fire Nation prince and Water Tribe chief's daughter can go from being mortal enemies, to being husband and wife, anything can happen."
At this, Katara had to let herself smile. It was the most unlikely thing in the world, and yet it had happened. If, three years ago, someone had told her that someday she would willingly marry the heir to the throne of the nation responsible for the war, she likely would have regarded the person out of their mind. But here she was, married to, and in love with, the Fire Lord.
"I guess you're right." She relented.
"Just remember that I love you."
"And I love you."
"Come on, they'll be waiting." Zuko took her hand and led her out of the chamber, along the halls towards the main gate of the palace, where the ceremony was going to take place.
They found Toph leaning against a pillar not too far away, arms folded, tapping one of her feet impatiently. "Jeez Sugar Queen, what was taking so long?"
"Just getting used to the idea of being a queen." Katara answered.