Preparing for Good Bye
I walked into Uncles tent to be greeted by the familiar sound of his rumbling snore. It was somewhat comforting to here. I sat down on the mat and waited for him to wake up. Hours slipped past and I thought about everything that had happened and what I was going to say to him. I remembered my failed attempt at trying to explain things to the group and shuddered at the thought of a repeat of that.
I felt the sun starting to rise and Uncle stirred. He yawned and stretched with his back to me. I knew he knew I was there. My heart clenched and I felt a fist in my throat.
"Uncle, I know you must have mixed feeling about seeing me." I felt the tears brimming my eyes and running down my face. "But, I just wanted to tell you I'm so sorry and ashamed of what I did. I don't know how I could ever make it up to you." He turned around and pulled me into a tight hug. I hugged him back just as tight.
"How can you forgive me so easy? I thought you would be furious."
"I was never angry at you. I was afraid you had lost your way." He pulled back but I didn't meet his eyes. "But, you found your way back and all on your own." He was smiling, I looked up into his eyes and smiled to. There were tears running down his face as well. I leaned in and hugged him again.
"It wasn't that hard. You have a pretty strong sent." After several more moments we separated and began to talk about everything that had happened since the eclipse. Uncle told me about his plans with the white lotus and I told him about training Aang and when thing turned toward Katara I stopped. Uncle raised an eyebrow at my sudden pause.
" Don't hide it Zuko I know you have feeling for the water tribe girl." He said with a soft all knowing smile.
"How did you know?" I asked. He just smiled and stood up and picked up a tea pot. Of course for him everything was better over tea. He began to brew as I told him everything about Katara.
By the time I was finished we had gone through a second pot of tea and the noise outside the tent suggested it was well into the morning. Uncle sat there for a moment stocking his beard. He wore the expression that told me he was in deep thought.
"I can't say I'm surprised by this. Opposites have been known to attract each other. But, what about the avatar from what you've told me he has very strong feelings for her." I let out a deep shy and ran my fingers through my hair. This was a problem I had wanted to avoid. Aang had feelings for Katara we all knew it, how would he react to us.
"I don't know Uncle. I think we would like to just make it out of this war before we deal with our relationship problems." Uncle let out a deep laugh at this that made me smile and feel confused. I knew he could tell that I was.
"Oh yes then we might have a new one on our hands. Between Mae, Aang, Sokka, and Hakoda finding out there might be a new brawl to fight." I winced internally at the thought of how many people would possibly be angry, hurt, and or shocked by us being together.
It was late in the morning when Zuko and General Iroh came out of the tent and from what could be seen everything was well between them. We still had a few days until the comet came so most people were training or finishing up battle plans. Sokka was working on strategies with some members of the white lotus. Toph was showing her metal bending skills to Bumi, who seemed to be very impressed by her abilities. Zuko was training with Jong Jong and I had a lesson with Pakku in a few minutes.
Pakku pushed me hard in our training which I was grateful for having another master to fight against was a great test for me. He could tell I had learned new skills and was pleased with my performance. In my head I thanked myself for watching Aang's training with Zuko and Toph seeing different kinds of bending had given me ideas of how to use it in my own. We walked back to the camp to see what everyone else was doing.
The next few days passed in a blur of training and planning and before I knew it, it was the night before the comet would arrive. We had just finished dinner which was quiet and you could feel the anticipation of what was going to happen. I opened the flap to my tent and went inside. It was nice to have a tent to myself, the inside was decorated in water tribe fashion. This made me feel at home and home sick at the same time. I sat down on the floor and looked at my sleeping roll. Sleep was something I knew I needed but doubted I would find. After a few minutes of debating on whether or not to take out my roll there was a soft tap on the tent entrance.
"Come in." I said, there was no way of me knowing who was coming in. The flap moved away and Zuko walked in. My heart leaped into my chest, we hadn't had any time together since coming into the camp. Part of it was we were never alone and two we didn't want to get caught. The last thing we needed right now was to add our relationship complications into the mix with everything else. I leap to my feet and jumped into his arms. I was terrified of what tomorrow was going to bring, there was no way of knowing if Aang would come back or if either of us would make it out.
I buried my face in his chest taking in his sweet familiar smell. I felt him lean his head against my hair and hold me close. Zuko wasn't one to show emotion but he knew as well as I did that tonight might be our last. I pulled away from him and stretched up on my toes to kiss him. Our lips touched he kissed me back but I could tell he was holding back. I pulled away and locked eyes with him. His eyes moved quickly across my face as if trying to take in every detail. I reached out and gently passed my hand on his cheek my fingers lightly touching the edge of his scar. Zuko didn't move away at my touch but merely locked his gaze with mine.
"Katara," he spoke softly "I don't know what tomorrow is going to bring but I just wanted…" I placed my fingers on his lips hushing him.
"No good byes. I know we can do this. We will win." I smiled at him and he gave me a have cracked smile and placed a hand on my cheek.
"How can you always be so optimistic?" I giggled slightly and took a half step closer.
"Would you have me be any other way?" I retorted back. He gave me a real smile this time and wrapped his other arm around my waist.
"No, I wouldn't."