AN:I wanted to do something that would fit into the canon universe, and this is what was created. I hope you all like my Zutara week day three fanfic! :)
Disclaimer:I do not own Avatar: the Last Airbender. Nick does.
"I love you," Zuko muttered into her hair, his arms wrapped around her waist to hold her as close as he could. "I've always loved you."
"I've loved you too Zuko," Katara responded softly, her face pressed into his chest as she tried to stop the tremors that were traveling down her back. "I love you too."
For a long while, the two just stood there, wrapped around each other as they waited for the end to come. Their thoughts were of nothing more than the one they held, and their regrets for their future were almost overwhelming. Their heads bowed, their tongues silent, both of them were struggling with the tears that threatened to overflow as the voice interrupted their last moment of peace.
"You know you don't have to do this Katara," Sokka said from the doorway, his eyes averted from the scene he was being forced to interrupt. "You know he would understand if you just explained everything to him and let him know how you really felt. I bet he-"
"Sokka, enough," Katara said gruffly, gently extracting herself from Zuko's embrace. "This is my decision and my duty. I will do this." However, a minute later her actions counteracted her words, for once again she was holding and being held by Zuko, her face uplifted for one last kiss. Begging every feeling and emotion that she had ever felt for the man to be apparent in her touch, it was with a sigh that almost sounded like a sob that Katara tore herself away and took Sokka's outstretched arm, her eyes blinking rapidly to keep the tears from falling.
Half turning to face him once more, it was with a silent nod that she promised, one day, that they could find a way. With his own half smile that was almost obscured by the tears within his eyes, he accepted that one day was not to be today.
Gritting her teeth, forcing herself to remain calm and in control, Katara put on a smile as her brother led her out of the room and down to hall to where all the guests for her wedding and her future husband were waiting.
Even years later, the two of them still loved each other. It was a simple fact that could be seen in their every move and glance, that could be heard in both their words and the silence that often surrounded them. Both of them knew, more then anything, that they could of, and should have, been together, but so as to not increase the pain they already felt, both of them buried their feelings deeper then any could have imagined possible.
Katara, in a way, did love Aang, just as Zuko did love the woman who was to become his. They were both good matches, compatible couples that, for the most part, had led to long and happy marriages. For this, the two were grateful, for it gave them a reason to continue to resist the feelings that had grown so long ago between them and that still refused to die.
When Katara got married, after he had composed himself, Zuko had been the first to congratulate the two, wishing them all the luck and happiness in the world. When Zuko himself had announced his upcoming nuptials, Katara had stood there and smiled, her silent support for the couple speaking more then her words ever could.
When Tanzin was born, a happy, healthy baby boy, Zuko had been the second man to hold him, his arms gently cradling the infant as his mother rested and his father bounced from person to person, exclaiming his joy at having a son for the world to hear. After the death of his wife, Katara had become his daughter's guardian, helping him to raise her into the wonderful Fire Lord she one day become.
Together with their friends and allies, they helped to fix the world that had been destroyed by a hundred years of war and heal the wounds that so much fighting had left behind.
But it wasn't until they once again found each other in the spirit world that they realized their hidden dream.
"Have you found her yet," Katara asked quietly as she watched the spirit flies dance before her, their calming glow casting shadows over her once again young face.
"We talked," Zuko answered with a shrug, his own eyes fixed upon her. It had been far too long since he had last seen her, old age and illness keeping them apart until it was far too late. Now was his moment to begin to make up for lost time. "She's found the spirit of her childhood love, and for the moment is content to be with him. Funny how these things work," he continued with a twitch of his lips, remembering the long talk he had had with his former wife after he had first found her, both relieved and disappointed to be free of her. He had loved her, in a way, but this was where he would much rather be.
"I'm glad," Katara said with a sigh as she allowed herself to relax against him, her head coming to rest upon his shoulder. "She was a good woman."
"That she was," Zuko agreed with a nod, his arm rising to wrap itself around her waist. Turning his head so that his face was partially buried into her hair, the first smile to have graced his face in a long time slowly appeared as he pulled her closer. "I've missed you," he whispered softly, punctuating his words with a kiss against her forehead. "I've missed you a lot."
"I've missed you too," Katara replied, raising her head so that their faces were level and so that they could look each other in the eyes. Leaning forwards, with was with a grin of her own that she gently pressed a kiss against his lips, a soft pressure that promised of a thousand more to come. With that single action, the silent promise that they had made so long ago was finally fulfilled.
They had done their duty to the world, and now it was finally to time to perform the duty to their heart that had transcended even the bonds of the lives and time that had tried to keep them apart.