A/N: See, I've always wanted to try to write a really amazing Zutara story but I've just never got around to doing it. I mean, really, what's not to like? Zuko's character development in the show was the most amazing I've ever seen and Katara, well, she's pretty much just a shippable bitch so yea :p It should be easy to get down to writing and stuff huh. Oh well, here goes.
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar, my brain doesn't have the capacity to come up with such awesome shit.
"Wow I'm bushed!"
"You did not just try to pull that joke on me again, Zuko."
"What, I thought it was pretty funny!"
A wry grin was shot in his direction and Zuko couldn't help put return a cheeky smile. Dimming the candles in the room with his bending, he settled down next to his wife. Turning to face her, he reached up and brushed stray locks of hair away from her face to reveal beautiful sapphire orbs shining up at him. His gaze softened as he wondered how he ever became so lucky.
Her eyes shifted to the left side of his face, and she brought her hand up to his jaw, tracing it before moving up to trace the line where his scar met his skin. Zuko stiffened, then relaxed. It was strange; how easily he could let her touch him like this. Not even Mai could make him feel this way, then when they were together.
"Zuko." She'd let her hand fall to his chest.
"Hmm?" He replied, hand still stroking her face.
Sitting up, she stared down at him, eyes inquisitive. He followed suit, propping an arm under his head to look at her more clearly.
Her hand came up again to his face, brushing his hair away from his forehead before resting her knuckles on his scar.
Zuko froze. Katara could feel it under her fingertips. She knew he wouldn't wamt to talk about it, but it had already been six months since they were married. She'd never brought it up before since his scar seemed to be so much a part of him, and she'd never really cared much about it. But now, staring at his face under the dim candlelight, shadows playing on the contours of his face, she realised it was something that had to be asked sooner or later. She wanted to know everything about him, including his past.
Suddenly, he shifted away from Katara's touch, breathing out a sigh. Disappointment filled her as she anticipated a "It doesn't matter now" or simply a cold shoulder asking her to go to bed. To her surprise, Zuko laid down back on his pillow, an arm propped behind his head, and stared up at the ceiling. His eyes were shifting from side to side; he was going to tell her.
Laying back down, she waited for him to collect his thoughts. Eyes falling from his face, she traced her fingertips along the contours of his chest. Then, a pale hand wrapped around her fingers. She looked up and was greeted with gentle eyes and a small smile. He brought her hand up to his lips, kissing them lightly before settling them along the line where scar met skin. With one last glance at his wife's face, he began.
"I was thirteen," he started, eyes hardened and directed at the canopy of their bed. "It had been a period when decisions regarding the war were being made, and there were countless meetings held between the Fire Lord and the generals. Being the inquisitive boy I was, I had begged Uncle to bring me into one of them. I was after all, next in line for the throne, so it was only natural I should sit in during war meetings. After much deliberation, Uncle gave into my request, under the promise that I was not to speak a word during the meeting. Elated, I had agreed and followed him into the war room."
"A debate was going on about where they should station newly enlisted soldiers. After much discussion, the generals came to a consensus to station them at the warfront. I was educated enough to know that these soldiers were the ones who had the least experience and would be the least likely to survive during combat. So I stood up and argued my case, stupidly forgetting my promise to Uncle. Upon hearing my protest, my father decided that since I was so ready to fight for my opinion, why don't I actually fight for it? Agni Kai."
Katara bristled as he said it. Those two words. She could still hear them being hissed out by Azula in her crazed state.
"Just you and me, brother. The battle that was always meant to be. Agni Kai!"
Zuko continued. "Under the impression that my bending had been good enough then, what with Uncle's training, I took up the challenge. Then, the day came. Generals, leaders, they all came to watch the Fire Lord's son's first Agni Kai. Taking my starting position, I had all the confidence in the world that I could take on the frail old general whom I had spoken out against during the meeting. The gong sounded and I stood and turned around, ready in my first bending position. To my horror, I faced my father."
At this juncture, Zuko could feel his throat tighten. His hand that was resting on his stomach was clenched in a tight fist. His eyes closed as he recalled what had happened then.
"Father! I will not fight you!"
"You will learn respect and suffering will be your teacher!"
"My father... He was a Master firebender, and also someone I loved. I couldn't fight him. I didn't want to. So I got down on my knees and begged. Begged him, in front of a large audience of generals and courtesians, for mercy."
Zuko scoffed, the sound coming out more strangled than he intended. "Clearly, refusing to fight my own father was an embarrassment to him. He didn't listen to my pleas. Instead, he told me I had to learn respect; and suffering was to be my teacher. Then, he..."
Pain. White hot fire, searing his flesh. Tearing against his skin. He could feel it consume the left side of his face. He could see it eating away at his eyelids. Pain. He could hear his own voice, choking out a gurgled cry that rang throughout the room, in his ears. Pain, his mind screamed. Pain, his body shrieked. Pain. Pain. Pa-
A stifled sob reached his ears. Opening his eyes, he looked down at Katara. Her tanned hand still cupped his face, but now her thumb was stroking the wrinkled skin under his eye. She gazed up at him with watery eyes, tears leaking out from them. Her face was scrunched up, as if she was in agony.
"Z-zuko." His name escaped her lips. She blinked, letting more tears fall down her cheeks. Her hand on his face was trembling, but still steadfast in her gentle hold. His vision began to blur.
"... Zuko..." A lone tear trickled down his face. She wiped it away.
He crushed her body to his, arms winding around her small frame. Burying his face in her hair, he leaned his forehead against the crook of her shoulder. Instinctively, Katara's arms shot up and went around his shoulders. Slowly, she reached up to stroke his hair, her fingers running across his scalp. Zuko's arms around her tightened, a violent sob escaping his lips.
It had been too long. Too long. Katara thought, as she held Zuko's trembling body to hers. He had needed this release. Why did she wait so long for this? She held him, listening in silence as he choked out his pent-up feelings about how could a father do that to his own son? Agni, Katara; not caring as his words became broken and unintelligible. She held him, and waited till his body and breathing calmed, her own tears still streaming down her face.
Soon, Zuko loosened his grip on her, but kept his arms around her waist. He leaned back, lifting his gaze to his wife's face. His heart clenched as he was greeted with swollen eyes and dark tear stains along his wife's cheeks. With a small, broken smile playing on his lips, his hands went up to cup her face, thumbs stroking away the last traces of sadness away. Placing a soft chaste kiss on her lips, he tried to let her know and understand how thankful he was for her presence here with him. Katara's responding smile was watery yet bright all the same, and with a heart overwhelmed with love for his wife, he tucked her head under his chin, whispering a soft thank you in her ear.
Before long, Katara began to doze off, spent from crying, for him. Her breath ghosting across the skin of his neck, and her arms unconsciously tightening around his torso, Zuko was yet again reminded of her just being there with him, for him. And somehow, he thought, closing his eyes as sleep overtook him, he was going to be okay.
A/N: Well, that took awhile. Try operating on four hours of sleep. Yup so that was Scar, hope you liked it! Do leave a review! Now to catch up on some Zzz...