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August 19, 2012
Forgiveness is a one-shot byand part of . It takes place during Zuko and Katara's imprisonment in the Crystal Catacombs under Ba Sing Se.
Katara couldn't believe she was there, trapped with her enemy, with the person who had attacked her and her friends so many times. She had felt sorry for him though, after the prince told her about his mother, but it wasn't a reason to justify his bad actions, there isn't any reason to justify such evil acts. He couldn't do the horrible things he had done just to then say it's for a stupid purpose, honor. What did it matter if he doesn't know what honor really means? How can he look for something he calls 'honor' when he doesn't even know what's good and what's wrong? Katara thought all this, wanting to ignore any feeling of empathy to Zuko's past. But the waterbender kept thinking. . . his mother. . . he had lost her at a young age, just like her. That's not something easy to pass through and will mark you for your entire life. Katara somehow was looking for something to forgive him, she felt that very deep in her cellmate's heart, there was kindness, there was something good in him that just needed to grow. If she could help him doing so. . . she wouldn't only be making her life and her friends' easier by losing an enemy, but would be also saving him from his family's destiny.
"I'm sorry I yelled at you before." – she tried to apologize for her discourtesy, standing up and giving some steps toward where he was sitting. She stopped, however, when she heard his reply.
"It doesn't matter." – the firebender disregarded her comment.
She didn't know what to say. It hadn't been good to treat him that way if she didn't know the fate of her mother, if she ignored his past; but it was true that he kept being her enemy, who had made them their life impossible. "It's just that for so long now, whenever I would imagine the face of the enemy, it was your face." she murmured, looking down and expecting a nicer reaction.
"My face?" he repeated, his fingertips touching the borders of his scar. "I see." the prince said affected as he stood up, turning to face the girl.
She regretted her statement. "No, no, that's. . . that's not what I mean." Katara tried to explain, but the exact words didn't come to her mind.
"It's okay." he accepted, approaching the waterbending master. "I used to think this scar marked me. The mark of the banished prince, cursed to chase the Avatar forever. But lately, I've realized I'm free to determine my own destiny, even if I'll never be free of my mark."
This surprised Katara. He was willing to change his destiny? To choose it by himself? This sounded like he was trying to stop chasing Aang, renounce to his purpose in life. "The mark of the banished prince". . . she remembered the water Master Pakku had given to her. "Maybe you could be free of it."
"What?" he answered confused.
"I have healing abilities."
"It's a scar, it can't be healed." Zuko said, hopeless.
Taking out from his pocket a vial, Katara continued. "This is water from the Spirit Oasis of the North Pole. It has special properties, so I've been saving it for something important." the girl moved the vial in front of him. "I don't know if it would work, but. . ." she placed one hand on the firebender's scar. "I could try. . ."
"No. . ." he refused categorically, his hand slowly putting Katara's arm down. "Don't waste it in me. Give it a more valuable use, you don't know when you can really need it."
"Please. . ." she insisted. "I decide to use it now. And I won't use it all anyway, half of the water will suffice." but her voice denoted her doubt on the effectiveness of the treatment. "Would you let me. . .?"
"Go ahead." he closed both eyes.
The Southern Water Tribe girl waterbent the vial content putting it on Zuko's scar, her hand moving carefully around the affected zone, focusing on the water's dynamics, the technique, the duration of the procedure. Three minutes were usually enough to heal any wound. . . but apparently it takes more time to heal a scar, so she continued. It had to heal, the water from the Spirit Oasis has special properties, it is more powerful than normal water, it must work to heal more severe injuries. . . She sighed; not even ten minutes seemed to be enough, and the skin didn't seem to be turning back to his normal color, the scar was still noticeable, still as red as it always was. She put her arm down, disappointed, letting the water fall to the ground with a look of defeat on her face. "I'm sorry, Zuko. . . I thought it was going. . ."
"Katara." the prince interrupted her, staring into her eyes. "It's okay. Don't worry." his hand moved to rest on her shoulder. "I wasn't expecting it to work. As I said, don't waste more of it in me. This scar will never heal, I told you it will mark me forever. I know, it's unfortunate if I want to forget my past and start again, but if there's nothing to do about it, I can just go on, don't give up because of an appearance matter. If I also needed to be healed inside, it has already been done, and that will be the only thing I will care about. I really appreciate, Katara, your help. Thanks for trying to heal it, but it's fine, really; I'll get used to live with it eventually."
Still doubting about the veracity of the man's words and astonished at his speech, Katara's eyes didn't avoid his, trying to find out the truth. "Have you. . . have you really changed?" she finally asked, trying to lean to a decision.
He nodded solemnly. "During my stay in Ba Sing Se, with the help of my Uncle, I have realized that my destiny shouldn't be with my father anymore, but against him. My fear avoided me to see things right. . . but after noticing the conviction and the power of the Avatar, I believe that it's possible to stop the Fire Lord. Uncle Iroh has always been right, it was about time until I understood my real purpose in this war." Zuko smiled.
The smile he depicted convinced Katara about his truthfulness. The evil man she was used to fight before, emitted now a more trustable presence. He had really changed. . . somehow. Thanks to his Uncle, and thanks to himself too. However, would she forgive him for all what he had done in the past against Aang, against her brother and herself? "I. . ." she started, but was once again interrupted.
"There's a thing I would like to ask you, Katara." and he continued after receiving an approval response from her. "Do you think the Avatar would forgive me for everything I did against him?" a paused followed. "Would you forgive me?"
The waterbender hesitated for a second. "I. . . yes, I would forgive you," she said, nervous. "I can't talk for Aang, but I think he would too."
He was surprised, he expected totally the opposite. But he couldn't complain, of course, but be happy about it.
In that moment, a hole was made in one of the prison's walls. Aang and Iroh appeared to save the new allies.
- Dedicated to , thanks for requesting a one-shot!
For the collective works of the author, go here.
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