Winning isnít everything.
Iíd won the war.
I remember it so clearly, the deafening thud of Fire Lord Ozaiís body hitting the cold slabs of the Fire Nation throne room.
The last screams of the Fire Nation soldiers being slaughtered by revenge seeking Earth Kingdom troops. I recall stumbling down large stone steps which led to a vast courtyard. Before the attack on Fire Nation land I was sure it would have been a beautiful place with large trees casting shadows on a hot summer day, but now it stank of rotting flesh and smoke filled the air. In the southwest corner was a medical tent where I hoped for people to clean my wounds. As a walked towards it soldiers started to notice me and in a matter of seconds cheers erupted as they realized the Fire lord had been defeated.
I was swarmed by people praising and congratulating me even though I was very thankful for their praise I was more interested to know if my friends were alright.
Before my face-off with Ozai I had come across Azula in the hall of the Fire lordís palace. As I was preparing myself to fight her Zuko stepped in front of my explaining that this was his duel. He said he needed revenge on the person that had lied and hurt him so many times. I gladly stepped out of the way, without knowing that would start a chain reaction of events which would change my future for the worse.
In the following moment Zuko unleashed an amazing show of firebending with swords. Azula had been completely thrown back by this unexpected technique and was soon utterly defeated. As Zuko turned his back for he did not wish to see his sisterís slow demise, Azula with her last ounce of strength shot a pure blue blot right into Zukoís ribs on his back. Her final act of spite was to give her brother another scar.
After that all I know was Zuko was found by Katara. She healed his wound and helped him to the medical center.
I had been too naÔve when I saw Katara helping Zuko in that medical tent. My brain had told me that sheís just doing what she does best, but my heart already knew something was forming between the two.
Once my scars on my body were healed, I had been advised to make a speech to our army thanking and congratulating them on our victory. When I stood on the podium and began to speak about their heroics my eyes searched for Katara. I soon found her standing next to Zuko. No not with her brother Sokka or with her father Hadoka. No she was standing just millimeters apart from Zuko, she wasnít paying attention to my speech she was just giggling about some remark Zuko had just made. Once again my brain said nothing to worry about but my heart was already starting to break.
I remember that night after eating a massive feast in my honor that I decided to clear my head by going on a run. As I jumped from rooftop to rooftop I heard whispers coming from a small pond. I silently made my way to the adjacent roof and there I saw a sight which made my brain and heart think the same thoughts.
Katara and Zuko where sitting by the pond. Katara head resting on Zuko shoulder while they quietly talked about the past. My breath caught in my throat and my eyes grew hot as I saw Katara sit up and look into Zukoís eyes. Their faces drew closer and closer. I looked away not bearing to see the girl I loved kiss the boy who had tried to capture me just so his dad would like him. As I slowly backed off the roof and made my way towards my sleeping accommodations I realized something.
Iíd won the war.
But I had lost the person that mattered the most.