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01 February 2008 @ 09:14 pm
Week #5: Entry #6  
It was his old friend Dilemma calling. 

Zuko wondered in the back of his mind if he could ever simply be happy without having to choose something and mess up everyone’s lives in the process. He glanced at the young Avatar: lip bloodied, nose broken, left arm twisted into an odd angle. 

His eyes, Zuko couldn’t bare to look at them, they were still so strong and sure, confident in Zuko’s good side. They were reassuring; he knew Zuko would make the right decision, and yet Zuko wasn’t even sure what the right decision was. 

On the other side of hall, Katara stood silently, Mai’s knife at her throat, a terrible gash across her forehead, braid chopped off.
Of course it came down to this, Zuko thought bitterly, the Avatar; who the world needed now more than ever, or Katara; the girl who he loved, who had given him everything. 

“Tick-tock Zuzu, time to decide…” Azula smiled fondly down at him over her fingertips, meeting his gaze. “Oh I know,” she pouted, “The heart is such a heavy burden, I can hear it getting heavier from here. Which to choose, which to choose? The girl you love or the ‘happiness’ of this sick, old world?” 

She pushed herself from the wooden throne and walked to the edge of the raised platform. She knelt, petting his hair, and then tilted his chin up to look at her. 

“If I were you, I would choose the girl, she is quite pretty, and yes, the world will burn, people will die, and innocent babes will be plucked from their mother’s breasts… yadidadida, you know the how the story goes, but at least you’ll be happy, hmm?” Azula whispered conspiratorially, and then laughed when he jerked his head away. 

“Oh and do take your time, brother mine, I don’t mind killing them both if you can’t choose soon enough,” She laughed again, high and cruel as Zuko stared up at him. 

“Azula,” he growled. “I will kill you, I swear I will.” 

His sister merely cocked an eyebrow, “Big words Zuko. One day I might just take you up on that promise, maybe when my soul has gotten as black as it can, but until that day, I’m going to enjoy painting it.” she shrugged. “Until you are in a position to bargain, I recommend you do as you’re told.” 

“Kill me, then.” Zuko pleaded. “Kill me, spare them.” 

“Oh dear me, no. I have too much fun messing with your brain to stop so soon. Besides, you’re my big brother,” her eyes lowered and she pulled a hurt puppy expression up. “I could never hurt you, Zuzu.” A smirk. 

Zuko looked down at his hands, he couldn’t do this; he couldn’t make this decision. Above him, he heard Azula sigh. 

“I grow bored with your stalling Zuko. Would you like me to choose?” 

A soft sound made Zuko turn his head towards Katara, who was weeping softly. Weeping for him. He wanted to go to her, hold her, tell her it was all going to be okay; he would figure it out. “Ah, young love. Sweet, is it not Mai? Doesn’t your heart just ache with hope that maybe one day you could have such a thing?” 

The knife at Katara’s throat pressed down minutely, and she let out a small gasp. 

“Mai,” Zuko whispered, “Please, don’t do this,” 

“Oh no, no, no, Zuko. I think you’ve lost the right of influence over Mai. You were the one who left her remember?” Azula examined her nails. “I’ll count to ten, Zuko, and if by then you have not made your decision, I kill both.” 

Zuko let out a small bark of despair, hands clenching over his head. 


Zuko looked over to where Katara stood and offered her a small smile. 


“I love you.” He mouthed. 


Her blue eyes softened despite the knife at her neck. “I know.” 


“We are meant to be together, even if we’ll have to wait a little longer,” 


“I’ll wait forever,” Katara reassured. 


“Zuko, no!” Aang broke in, “The next Avatar will be born again; I’m disposable.” 


“Aang,” Katara whispered. “The world can’t wait for another Avatar to mature. It needs you now.” 


“She’s right,” Zuko choked on his words, but hardened his resolve. “This needs to be done,” 


Zuko took a shaky breath and steadied his stance, focusing his breath into a rhythmic flow. He needed to be exact in this, death instantaneous so no pain would be felt. 

“Zuko, the next number is ten. Have you made your decision?” 

“I have.” 

“Delight me then,” 

Zuko extended his right arm towards Katara, feeling heat coiling through the veins in his arm as he prepared himself. Felt the heat rising from his toes, filling his body, and then a short burst of flame. 

Even as the flames left his body; he felt his heart break and wished, not for the first time in his life, that he had not been cursed with one in the first place.