"So come on tell me! Tell me what you've been doing on all of those secret trips you've been taking." Katara says.
"Hello wife of mines. Its good to see you too after so many days away from home. I know that you've missed me as much as I missed you."
For the past few months now Zuko had been away conducting confidential business that he couldn't tell her about. Katara was never once worried that he was really up to something nefarious like having an affair. She knows and trust her husband well enough to know that he would never do that to her. He was the Fire Lord and sometimes that meant there were things that even she wasn't privy to. That didn't trouble her. The only thing troubling her was her curiosity which often got the better of her. Now that Zuko was back her curiosity was piqued to it's peak.
Katara sighs dramatically. "You know I've missed you Zuko." She says and looks pointedly over to the unmade bed and the clothes tossed haphazardly in front of it. "I think I've showed you how much I've missed you. Now no more stalling. Tell me what you've been up to."
"I could really go for a cup of jasmine tea right about now."
"OK, but close your eyes first."
"You're really enjoying this aren't you?" She asks. "Making me wait."
"Patience was never one of your virtues."
Katara puts her hand on her hip. "Watch the Spirits don't strike you where you stand for making such a double edged statement."
"Flattery will get you nowhere."
Katara rolls her eyes before closing them.
"All right you can open them now."
Opening her eyes Katara still doesn't see anything. She looks at her husband and realizes that whatever it is that he has he's holding behind his back. She studies the tell tale smirk on her husband's face hoping it will betray him and help her to figure out what it is that he has hidden behind his back but his smirk doesn't reveal anything he doesn't want it too. Katara stomps her foot. Sometimes Zuko could be next to impossible which of course was one of the reasons why she married him. She stands on her tiptoes and tries looking over his shoulders but she's too short or he's too tall. Either way she still can't see what he's holding behind his back.
"This is what I've been doing." He says and slowly reveals to her what it was that he was hiding behind his back. A dragon. A small red dragon the size of a full grown house cat.
"Zuko you brought home a dragon? Where did you even find a dragon? Where is the dragon's mother?"
"There was no mother. Just this little guy all by himself. Actually he was an egg when I first found him. I had to wait for him to hatch first."
"Oh, that's so sad. I'll help you take care of him if you want."
"I wouldn't mind the help. He's a handful and he's only getting to be more so the bigger he gets."
"Can I hold him?"
"Of course, but just for a little while I need to keep him warm. Dragon hatchlings need a lot of heat. Especially during the night." Zuko hands over the dragon to Katara and she holds the hatchling just like she would a new born baby and even rocks it.
"He's so warm. Have you thought of a name yet? May I suggest Zuko jr." Katara says as the baby dragon nuzzles her under the chin.
"No you may not. Besides I've already given him a name."
"Well, what is it?"
"Druk? How did you come up with that?"
"It's the Sun Warriors word for thunder. Whenever he's happy he makes this noise, kind of like a purring cat, only his pur sounds more like thunder rolling than purring."
Katara laughs and hands the dragon back to Zuko. He warms his hands up with his bending and Druk settles into his arms and curls his tail over his snout.
"I can't believe all of this time you were off hatching a dragon's egg."
"I wanted to tell you, but the Sun Warriors wouldn't let me leave their grounds until the egg hatched and then after that I had to wait two more months before I could take him home."
"What was it like watching the egg hatch?"
"Amazing. The dragon seemed so helpless and small at first. I didn't think he'd even be able to break out of his shell because he struggled so much. I wanted to help him but the Sun Warriors told me I couldn't interfere. Watching him try and break out of that shell was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but it turns out Druk didn't need my help. He's a fighter and he doesn't give up."
"Then the two of you are well matched."
Zuko gave the little dragon a scratch on the top of his head. "I'd like to think so. During those first few months he'd cry if I left him alone for to long. I never knew that dragons were so affectionate, but this little guy was kind of starved for it." He grinned wryly. "I can relate."
"It doesn't seem possible that he'll ever grow into anything as big as a dragon. Katara says. "He's just so little and cute. I can't believe you have-."
"We have a dragon." Zuko corrected. "We're in this together Katara. I'm sorry I had to keep this from you before, but now that you know it's me and you from now on."
"So we're the dragon's parents."
"Good because we're going to need all the practice we can get."
Zuko looked up from the dragon's yellow eyes which were only narrow slits that were struggling to stay open.
"What? Katara are you saying that-."
"I'm pregnant, Zuko. We're going to have a baby!"
Katara nodded and took one of Zuko's hand and placed it on her stomach. Through her bending he could feel the life that they had created together within her. It didn't matter to Zuko if they were having a son or a daughter he just couldn't wait until their child was born so that he could meet them. Taking care not to disturb their little dragon Zuko pulled Katara into his arms and hugged her.
Tears ran down Zuko's face."I can't believe I'm going to be a father." He lowers his face so that he is on speaking level with Katara's stomach. "Sorry if I don't get this fathering thing down right away, but you don't have to worry because you're going to have the most amazing mother in the world."
"You're going to be an amazing father." Katara says. Her hands touch his face. Her thumb softly touching the rough-hewn skin that covers much of the left side of his face. She doesn't find his scar disgusting to look at or to touch. She never has. To her it will always be a sign of his great strength and his even greater compassion.
Zuko reaches up and touches the twisted scar tissue on his face and then he reaches down to touch Druk's rough scaly skin. "Like father like son." He says. His hand is still on his wife's stomach reveling in the feel of the strong essence of life that surges within her. "And daughter. I have a feeling that you're carrying our daughter."
"I have a feeling that you're right." Katara says.
For a moment the couple is silent. Both of them trying to picture in their mind what their daughter will look like. Will she have Zuko's smile? Or Katara's eyes? Will she be a waterbender, firebender, or a non-bender.
Druk begins to purr in Zuko's arm. The sound is just like he described it to Katara. Like rolling thunder.
"Good night Druk. We love you." Katara says.
Zuko takes Katara's free hand and places it on his hand that is still resting on her stomach. He bends back down so that he is on speaking level with Katara's stomach once again. "Whoever you are or aren't in there we already love you." Zuko begins
"And we can't wait to meet you." Katara finishes.