At birth they knew. Katara was the last waterbender of the southern water tribe... but that wasn't the only special thing about her. She learned quickly mastering the art of waterbending and healing by the time she was ten. No one had learned so quickly. In a world where the avatar couldn't be found some believed she was the avatar, other's believed the avatar couldn't be reborn and she was something new, some sort of equivalent. When she was thirteen her brother Sokka had discovered something, they found a boy frozen in ice. They had found the avatar. For years Sokka Katara Aang and their friends Toph and Zuko traveled the world. Learning the four elements Aang was able to defeat the fire lord and restore balance to the world. Katara was seventeen when peace was brought to the world. Sokka was nineteen, Aang was fifteen, Zuko was eighteen and Toph was fourteen. Everything happened as it should, Katara and Aang got married two years later, Zuko took the throne and married Mai immediately, Sokka remained with Suki and Toph alone. But was that how it really should have been?
When they found the avatar, Katara was no longer special. She simply was the last Waterbender of the southern water tribe. Her speedy bending skills slithered into nothing as people danced and celebrated the victory of the avatar, and his friends.
That's what she hated the most. She was part of the gang, the group, the avatar's friend. She was no longer Katara. Now she was the avatar's wife. She felt as though she didn't have her own name, like she didn't really belong. Aang and Katara lived in the western air temple. Eventually they knew they'd have children, and Aang wanted the Airbenders to grow up among their own environment. Katara felt so out of place. She felt like ever decision she made was for everyone else. Did she even love Aang or did she do what she know everyone was expecting her too.
"I want to go back to the south pole." Katara announced to Aang one morning at breakfast. He spit out his water.
"What?" He asked. She closed her eyes and nodded. She needed this.
"Aang I want to go back to the south pole." She got up and put her plate in the kitchen he followed her, taking her hand. There was no spark no electricity nothing.
"We can take a trip there." He smiled at her. She pulled away.
"I need to go alone." He was taken aback.
"Katara we just got married, why would you want to be away from me?" He asked slightly hurt.
"Aang, I just need this. I hope you understand. It won't be forever, just for a little while." He shook his head.
"No Katara we should stay together I love you, I don't want us to be apart." She stopped washing her plate.
"Aang, we don't need to spend every single minute together. I just need to be with my people, and my customs, and my family. We are isolated here we rarely ever see anyone else unless you have an avatar thing to attend to. Even then we are together. This is so hard for me, I haven't been to the ocean in over a month. I'm going, if you follow me it will make me angry, and I don't want to fight with you." Aang sighed and rubbed his neck.
"Will you at least let me take you there?" He asked. She shook her head.
"I don't want my people making a big deal of you being there, I'll take a boat or I'll swim. You don't have to worry about me, I'll send a letter to let you know I've arrived. Perhaps while I'm gone you should visit Zuko and Mai the firenation hasn't seen you since Zuko's coronation." Aang sighed.
"Alright Katara, be safe. I love you." She smiled and kissed Aang on the cheek and began her journey to the south pole. Two weeks later she finally reached it.
"Katara!" Sokka approached his sister and gave her a bear hug.
"Hey Sokka, I've missed you." She buried her head in his shoulder. She truly had missed her brother.
"Where's Aang?" He pulled back. She looked down.
"He went to the Firenation for a visit and I came here. Where's dad?" She smiled eagerly. She hadn't seen her father in three months. Sokka put an arm on Katara's and stopped her from running off.
"You didn't get the letter did you?" Sokka sighed. Alarmed Katara grabbed Sokka's shoulders.
"What letter Sokka?" Her eyes went wide with fear.
"He's sick Katara, really really sick."
"No... No! How could this be? Has Gran Gran tried healing him?" Sokka fought back tears.
"Katara there's nothing they can do, Dad's going to die." Katara felt a pang in her heart.
"Where is he?" Sokka put an arm around his sister and led her to their father's igloo. Of course he would be in the warrior igloo. He'd be looking after the tribe until the moment he died. Katara gasped when she saw her father. The color had gone from his skin and he was ghostly thin. Katara fought the urge to run away. She couldn't bear to see her Dad in that shape. Her father was the one person Katara didn't feel the urge to take care of, because he was supposed to take care of her.
"Katara. My daughter I didn't expect you to come. I told Sokka not to let you." He glared at his son.
"It's not his fault, I never got the letter I only found out just now." She sat down near her father and took his hand.
"Sokka leave us, I need to speak with you're sister." Sokka nodded, walked to his father kissed his cheek and left the igloo.
"Katara, my child. I want you to listen to me." Her father coughed. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes trying to even his breathing. Katara was a wreck inside. She expected to come home and be rejoiced with her family and friends, she had no idea death would be what she would encounter.
"Yes Dad?" She tried not to cry. The chill of the igloo was, for the first time in her life, getting to her. She shivered as she gripped her father's hand tighter.
"I need you to look after the Southern Water Tribe when I'm gone." Her eyes widened. He wanted her to be the Southern Water Tribe Leader. What about Sokka? As if reading her mind her father said,
"Sokka already knows and agrees. We need a bender, and you have had more experience as a Waterbender than anyone I know. You're mother would be so proud of you Katara, as am I. I love you so much." With the little strength he had left he grabbed her head and planted a kiss on the top of it. She fell to pieces on his chest, gripping him for dear life. She was hysterical at this point. She couldn't say his name enough. Her father cried as well, he wanted to be there for her, but he knew he wouldn't be able to. Not anymore at least. Sokka walked in to see his family in tears he couldn't help but cry with them, gripping them both.
"I love you two more than all the water in the ocean or the stars in the sky." Their father died that night. In the span of one day Katara's life was changed forever. You being the reader you may feel this conclusion was rushed, but if I went into detail on the feelings going on in Katara and Sokka's heart by the loss of their last parent, I may never get to finish this story. Let's skip ahead to when Aang and the rest of the gang arrive after hearing the news shall we?
"Katara." Aang ran to his wife and encircled her. She leaned into his embrace, being grateful for once to have him there. He kissed her head and looked into her eyes. "He isn't gone, not really, a wise guru once told me that love is a form of energy. Although you're father may be gone his love will reanimate in someone or something else." Katara nodded and hugged her husband. He was wise beyond his years. They had both endured so much and they hadn't even reached twenty yet.
"Aang there's something we need to talk about." Sokka pulled Aang to the side.
"What is it Sokka?" Aang asked in concern.
"Our father left the tribe in Katara's hands." Aang looked taken aback.
"What?" He asked. Katara had only been gone a month and the separation was killing him.
"She wants to stay here." Aang knew that he had to let Katara do what she wanted, but what would happen to them? Aang couldn't live in the south pole. He had duties he had to fulfill. There was still so much he had to take care of. What would happen to them. "And you need to let her." They heard a propeller above them and the wind picking up. They saw a familiar fire nation balloon. It was the Firenation King. Zuko. Katara's features animated for the first time in months. Zuko would be able to help her through the pain. He knew exactly what she was going through. He stepped off the balloon, he wasn't in royal garb and his hair was down, just like the old days. He first approached Sokka.
"I'm so sorry for you're loss." Zuko bowed. Mai followed behind him and hugged Sokka.
"I'm sorry." She squeezed him tighter. Zuko moved down to Katara. She looked up at him.
"I'm so sorry Katara." She nodded and stood up circling her arms around him. He held her close and his warmth radiated into her. She felt slightly better. For once no tears fell.
"How long will you stay?" She asked him.
"How long do you need me to stay?" He asked. She smiled. He knew just how to make her feel better.
"Zuko." Aang bowed and Zuko did the same in turn. Aang put an arm around Katara, she felt cold again. "If you'll excuse me I need to discuss something with Mai."
Aang pulled Katara into an igloo. She looked up at him.
"Is there something you wanted to discuss?" She asked. Emotion fell from her contour as the chill reentered her body.
"Katara, are you really going to stay here and lead the water tribe?" Aang asked.
"Yes." She stated.
"What about us? What's going to happen to us." She sighed and sat down.
"I don't know Aang." He kneeled down and put a hand on her chin forcing her to stare into his eyes.
"Do you love me?" He asked her. She pressed her lips to his and kissed him, not because she wanted to but because it's what she should do. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her with everything he had because he wanted to. She pulled away first naturally.
"You need to go to the Firenation and take care of the rebellions. I need to stay here and lead the tribe." Katara told her husband. He nodded and stood up offering his hand.
"We may not see each other for a long time." She nodded solemnly. She would miss him, he was still her best friend. He gently kissed her goodbye and left the igloo. She was both relieved and scared. She didn't know how to lead a nation, at least she had Gran Gran, and Zuko for the time being. They'd help her. Sokka walked into the igloo shortly after Aang left. He took his sister's hands and they sat down.
"I'm going with Aang and Mai to the Firenation, Zuko is staying behind with you. I don't want to leave but I can't stay here. I need to go somewhere where I'm needed." This brought tears to Katara's eyes and scared her even more.
"What am I going to do without you? I'm so scared Sokka, I don't know if I can do this." He put a hand on her shoulder.
"Dad had every confidence in you and so do I. Plus you have Gran Gran and Zuko and Pakku. You are never alone Katara. Do you remember how quickly you learned Waterbending? It's no different. You were not born to be a follower, you were born to be a leader." He kissed his sister's head. She knew he was right. As much pain as she was in, she somehow felt at peace. She couldn't bring herself to watch Aang and her brother leave so she stayed locked inside the igloo until she heard the balloon fly off. She stared outside at the endless snow, a mile to the north the ocean lye. She could feel it pulling her. Just as she was going to give into the pull Zuko walked in.
"How are you?" He asked sitting beside her. Of course he needed no jacket, he was a Firebender, he never got cold.
"Scared mostly. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how to run a nation." Katara stood up frustrated. Aang's speech about love and energy did wonder's to help her accept her father's sudden death, and she knew a spirit world existed in which she would see him again. The loss was awful, but she could function despite it.
"Well you're only running half a nation." Zuko pointed out. Katara smiled at this and rolled her eyes.
"A weaker half at that. There was no denying it. The Northern Water Tribe had architecture and jobs. In the Southern Water Tribe you were a warrior a bender or a healer, many of the Northern Water Tribe had followed Pakku to the South Pole, it was overpopulated and cramped.
"Well it's your job as a ruler to make it strong, and to make you're people happy Katara." Zuko put a hand on her shoulder. She felt the heat emanating off of his body. It warmed her, and she felt stronger. This was one of the many clues Katara missed, most Water Benders were at optimal strength surrounded by ice and water. She was at optimal strength when she was warmer.
"I need to talk to Pakku I think it would be a good idea if we could mirror the buildings in the North Pole instead of living in igloo's. If we ever face harsh weather which we often do, or some sort of attack, then we need some sort of defense." Zuko smiled.
"You're already thinking like a ruler Katara."