A/N: Hello to all my dear, dear followers! I realize that this chapter took me longer than usual to update and I'm very sorry for that. Research paper + being sick = no time/energy to write. But I'm back in the game now. :) This chapter is a bit of a filler to set up for what is to come, but I hope you'll enjoy it anyway. Plus after such a long break I was eager to get something up. Thankyou a million times over to those who have favorited, followed, and left reviews on this story. I can't explain how happy it makes me to know that you guys support it. Love you all!
"I'd tell you I miss you,
But I don't know how.
I've never heard silence
Quite this loud."
- Taylor Swift
My new robes are making me itchy. I'd much prefer to be wearing my signature tunic or leggings, anything but these stuffy blue robes. But when it comes to politics, apparently you have to look the part as well. Everyone at the meeting today is wearing some kind of formal apparel. I don't understand why, because all any of us really do is just sit here and listen. For whatever reason, I thought that being involved in the politics concerning our Ozai-free world would be interesting. So far, they aren't. Mostly all the main speakers talk about is what money should go where.
It's been two months today since the war ended. When I first returned home, it was almost surreal to see all the soldiers back and all the happy faces. Men and women and children from the Northern Water Tribe arrived by boat to help our tribe rebuild. They brought a whole ship's worth of supplies and some of their healers and teachers are now living permanently in the Southern Water Tribe. I worked as a waterbending instructor for the first few weeks. I taught the kids from the North, who had come to live in the Southern tribe with their parents. I even taught a few adults. And I realized that I was good at teaching, really good. I liked it a lot.
But I decided that I wanted to have a bigger part in the rebuilding of our world. I begged Sokka to let me travel with him. As chief of the Southern Water Tribe, he has a lot of peace meetings to attend and a lot of important people all over the world to meet. Dante stayed back in our tribe as the leader. Sokka appointed me ambassador to our tribe so that I could travel with him. The title sounds like a big deal, but I don't have any special jobs. I just go to the meetings and listen to what's going on in the world. Occasionally we get to vote on different rebuilding projects, but that's about it. It's just nice to travel and it's nice to be updated. And it's nice to always be with Sokka.
The Kyoshi warrior who helped Sokka and Toph take down Ozai's air fleet, Suki, she travels with us too. We've been in the Earth Kingdom for meetings the past two weeks and she's always with us. She told me that she's the ambassador to Kyoshi Island. And that's true. But mostly I think she just comes to these meetings and stays with us so that she can be with Sokka. They are obviously into eachother. And it's great to see Sokka so happy again. I haven't seen him smile this way since Yue passed. He and Suki are shy together and I think they pretend not to like eachother, but it's bound to come out sooner or later. Since we've been in the Earth Kingdom, my favorite entertainment is watching the two of them try to flirt discreetly. It's amusingly awkward.
I haven't seen Aang for a while, which is greatly upsetting. He's all over the world; meeting people, rebuilding towns, and working on the plans for building a new city – Republic City. He's a hot commodity these days, very much in demand. Even when I do get to see him, it's never for more than an hour or so before he's off again. I know he's just fulfilling his duties as the Avatar, but I really want my best friend back. I'll be glad when more time has passed and all the hype has died down when we can just go back to hanging out.
Toph and her metalbending is a huge hit, too. She and King Bumi have been all over the Earth Kingdom, teaching earthbenders how to metalbend. I see her occasionally, when there's a meeting in the same town that she's teaching. She's busy. And she's happy. Which is good enough for me. But I know that she misses Aang, too, as much as I do. And I've come to realize that she misses him for a different reason, a more affectionate reason. I don't know why I didn't consider that sooner. They were always whispering late at night and always beside eachother. I guess it just hadn't occurred to me. Or I had been too selfishly involved with my own problems to consider anyone else's feelings. That's probably part of it.
Sometimes during our meetings, I hear word of Zuko. The Fire Nation, under his rule, is paying reparations to all of the other nations. He has a lot of favorable support. Not that I care.
Right now, a man at the front of the room dressed in green robes is standing up to address us. He clears his throat loudly, which I don't care for. I zone out during a lot of these meetings, because mostly they're about uniting the four nations. Things are still a little shaky from the war and we're trying to work out peace agreements.
I can feel someone staring at me. I glance up to my left and my eyes meet the green eyes of a boy sitting a few chairs away from me. He has dark brown hair and he's wearing green Earth Kingdom robes. I think he's an ambassador to some Earth Kingdom town, but I can't say for sure. Maybe I should have paid better attention because he's cute.
He smiles at me, a nice, toothy smile. He turns back to the front of the room before I have the chance to smile back. Hmm. Yes, he is very cute.
"My fellow council members, I would like to invite each of you to the meeting at the White Temple, which will be held one month from today. It will be our biggest peace conference to date and leaders from all over the world are to attend. Rooms will be available for all attendees. We will be discussing future plans for building and peace projects." The man at the front of the room explains.
Interesting. The White Temple was only recently built and it's located between the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation. Sounds like a paid vacation to me. And Aang will probably be there!
I turn to Sokka and whisper, "We're going, right?"
"It's kind of mandatory." He says. "Would look bad if I didn't show."
I wonder who else will be there…
"I heard the Temple is beautiful." Suki tells me with a smile.
"Can I invite Toph?" I ask.
Sokka shrugs, which I'll just go ahead and take as a yes.
The meeting lets out sooner thereafter. I follow the crowd of people out onto the steps of the building. Sokka, Suki, and I have been traveling from Inn to Inn in different towns so that we can always participate in council. The place we're staying at is just down the road.
"Hey!" Someone calls from behind me.
I turn around to see the nameless boy from the meeting leaning against a railing of the council building. "Oh, I don't do autographs or photos, sorry." I quip, holding up my hand in an exaggerated motion.
He breaks into a wide grin. "Well that's good. Because I was actually just gonna ask if you wanted to have dinner sometime."
"Wow…" I breathe, raising my eyebrows. "Straight to the point, I see."
He smiles again. "I'm Shiv." He extends his hand.
"Katara." I say, shaking his hand.
"I know." He nods. He hasn't let go of my hand.
"Well, I don't know anything about you."
Shiv smirks. "I'm from the Earth Kingdom, I'm an ambassador to the King, my favorite color is orange, and I would really like to get to know you better, Katara."
I have to fight the urge to blush. Yes, Shiv is cute. And he's a council member. He's the type of guy I should be dating. Not like Zuko. Not that I think about Zuko, because I don't.
"Hey Katara, let's go! I'm hungry!" Sokka shouts from the bottom of the stairs.
Shiv finally releases my hand, still smiling.
"We'll see." I tease. And then I hurry down the steps to catch up with Sokka and Suki.