A/N: So uh… first fic! Review, favorite, you know, all of that good stuff. Tell me how I did!
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Air Bender
Katara was so confused. She was supposed to love Aang, right? It was supposed to be 'Katara and Aang, the dynamic duo' or 'Katara and Aang, the Avatar and his girlfriend'. She wanted to be happy. She wanted to be sure that she loved him, but… She wasn't. Everyone was celebrating the end of the war and the crowning of Fire Lord Zuko, but instead of celebrating with them, she was busy tearing herself apart. Aang had kissed her only moments before, and she soon found herself escaping into one of the Fire Nation's many gardens, later finding that it belonged and was built for Zuko's mother.
She stopped pacing around the courtyard to sit down on the edge of the pond, home to many rabbit-toads and turtle-ducks. I need time to think, she told herself. How can I be sure that I'm in love with Aang? She desperately needed advice, and she knew it. What would Gran Gran say? She asked herself.
Her parents had it. Sokka and Suki have it. Appa and Momo even had it! She sighed harshly while holding her head in her hands.
Gran Gran had once told her that love was like solving a puzzle. Everyone was their own piece, and everyone had a match, a perfect fit. She would say that when people were in love, they knew. Love was a strong feeling. It was not to be confused with a silly crush, or friendship. Romantic love was filled with passion and fire.
She mentioned that some people were lucky; they found their matching piece quickly and easily, much like the corner and edge pieces of a puzzle. She also mentioned that there were unlucky puzzle pieces, such as the pieces towards the middle and how it took a long time to find their match. She explained the dilemma of when a piece would be close to fitting another, but weren't meant to be put together.
As a young girl, Katara thought that the theory was silly. She finally understood what Gran Gran meant, and she loathed the feeling of being uncertain. If she was truly honest with herself, she would soon realize that Aang wasn't her perfect fit. Whenever they kissed, something would be missing. Katara couldn't quite put her finger on it, but something just wasn't right.
Lost in her thoughts, the sound of footsteps approaching her brought her back to Earth.
"Hello Katara," greeted none other but the Fire Lord himself.
"Zuko." She said back with an acknowledging nod.
"Did you come here to escape as well?" He asked.
"I didn't escape!" She said with a slight scowl, "I just needed some time to think!" She crossed her arms across her chest, clearly annoyed.
"Is something wrong?" Zuko asked cautiously.
"I just can't believe you would accuse me of ditching my friends like that." She replied.
"Don't be offended, I just thought that you would be glued to Aang the whole time."
"Aang? Oh, right… I don't really know anymore." Katara whispered.
"I know it might not seem like I'm the most sensitive guy, but Uncle gave me a lot of relationship advice over the years. I might surprise you."
"Well, I just don't know if I'm really in love with him. And now that the war is over, I want to settle down. If I'm Aang's girlfriend, I'll be all over the place." Katara said slowly. She was shocked with how fast she was opening up to him.
"That's right. He is an Air Nomad." He agreed. "My uncle used to say that when you're truly in love, it doesn't matter where you are or what time it is. As long as you're by their side, you would be happy." Was he trying to convince Katara to leave Aang?
"My Gran Gran said something like that before. It was kind of hard to understand, but now I think I get it. If I'm truly honest with myself, I guess I don't… love Aang." She felt a pang of guilt in her chest.
"Trust me, I know what you mean. You can care about someone a lot, but without the passion and fire, you won't view them romantically," he explained. "I know you feel guilty now, but it gets better. You'll be glad you didn't lead him on and hurt him even more."
Breaking it off with Aang would definitely be the hardest thing she would ever do. She didn't want to hurt Aang! He was too innocent and young for this heartbreak, but she knew she had to do it. She sighed when Zuko patted her back with comfort. She couldn't help but notice the way she felt when he touched her. Heat had risen to her cheeks, and she suddenly felt nervous. Spirits, was she really this awkward?
"You're right about feeling guilty," She said sheepishly. "How did you know? I never knew you were so into relationships."
"Well, Mai and I… We broke up." He mumbled.
"Weren't you two together a couple of hours ago?" She asked, shocked.
"Yeah, but we got into a fight right after I was crowned Fire Lord. I realized that we weren't on the same level politically."
"What do you mean?"
"She didn't care about the people. She cared about returning the land to the government officials and nobles like her father," he began. "She's a great fighter, and everything. I do care about her, but she's just so… Materialistic…"
Katara was beyond words. She had no idea Zuko cared this much about his people. She could only feel the blush on her cheeks grow redder and redder.
"I'm sorry, Zuko, but to be honest, she didn't deserve you. She was a nice girl, but she was nowhere near Fire Lady material." She said confidently while a playful smirk danced across her lips.
"Oh?" Zuko felt a slight blush himself. He never knew Katara was so jealous of Mai. "Do you think you'd be a better fit?" He asked playfully. He could've sworn Katara's face was as read as a tomato when he took a step closer to the Water Tribe beauty.
"It's not like I was jealous or anything…" She lied. "I just think that you were right to dump her. The Fire Lady is almost as important as the Fire Lord. She should care about all of her people, not just the wealthy." Katara said with passion. She would give anything to be Fire Lady, not because of Zuko, but because she was a born leader. She felt that her destiny was to help people, to reconstruct after the war. Zuko would just be part of the catch.
"Impressive speech Katara," she felt herself shiver when he said her name; "you actually care about my people? If I didn't know better, I would think you were only trying to woo the newly single Fire Lord." He said with a crooked smile. Katara melted.
Why was he doing this to her? And more importantly, how was he doing this to her? She was literally blushing at every single thing he did! Why did she suddenly become so awkward and nervous? She prayed to the spirits that Zuko that he didn't notice, only to be betrayed by them as he took yet another step towards her and said,
"Why are you blushing so much, Katara? Is it because of me?" Zuko asked. She could see that he was having way too much fun with this. Every time he spoke, he kept getting closer and closer…
"Oh Zuko, don't flatter yourself," was the best Katara could do.
"But it's true, isn't it?" They were centimeters apart. Katara felt dizzy. She felt angry. How could someone control her like this? No one had ever made her feel this way. She wanted to be in control, she would not be taken advantage of. She also didn't want to admit that Zuko was in in fact, correct. The stupid blush on her face was his entire fault, and she wanted payback.
"Katara? Are you okay?"
No. She wasn't. He was getting the best of her, and she couldn't bear it. She was going to turn the tides; change the game; reverse the score. And oh Spirits, she did.
She grabbed Zuko by the robes and kissed him on the lips. Hard. The feeling she had when he kissed her back was incredible. She could feel the butterflies fluttering in her stomach, the heat in her cheeks, the passion in her soul, and the warmth in her heart.
There she was, in the middle of Ursa's garden, making out with the Fire Lord. Her fingers tangled in his hair, his arms around her waist. She knew she was supposed to feel terribly guilty, but everything felt perfect. It wasn't like kissing Aang. She wasn't kissing a boy this time, she was kissing a man. And throughout all of the feelings and emotions, she couldn't help to realize that even though the kiss was unplanned, she felt… Complete. Just like the way Gran Gran described love.
She was the first to pull away, eager to see the look on his face. Much to her joy, it was Zuko's turn to be as redder than a tomato. She felt rather fulfilled. Resting her arms on his shoulders, she pulled him in to a tight embrace, melting into him.
While hugging him, she could picture her puzzle piece colliding with his. She wasn't surprised when it fit perfectly.