One-shot. Ozai and Iroh spent some quality time togeather in their younger days.
Iroh stared at his maps, more out of spite then interest. The maps were called antiques, in truth they were crusty pieces of paper at best; there was absolutely no value in examining them. What Iroh really wanted was a nice cup of tea and to play some relaxing music until his fifteen year old body collapsed into sleep. But the Fire Lord had commanded him to study, so here he was. This loyalty would be the death of him.
A small dirty face made it's way towards him. Ozai smiled, Iroh suspected an unfortunate accident was the cause of his joy. A teacher's meal exploding, an unwilling squirrel fire bent into oblivion, that sort of thing always put a giddy expression on the ten year olds face. Were all little brothers like this, or just his?
"Hey Iiii-roh. Look at this!" Ozai giggled waving a flame in the air like a torch. Iroh guarded his scrolls warily. The firebug should not be in a ten-foot radius of such an important library.
"Quite," stated Iroh, not taking his eyes of the faded sheets. Ozai sulked in annoyance, glaring at the maps. "I'm working."
"What's this?" asked Ozai innocently. It was almost annoying how cute he was. His sparkling eyes were huge and ladies of the court were often commenting on them.He'll break alot of hearts one day. No pest should look that adorable.
"Maps." said Iroh dryly, clearly showing his feeling for theevil things.
"Can I see?" Ozai reached out for one eagerly before Irohhit his sticky hand back.
Ozai had a way of showing when you hurt his feelings. When he was little his eyes would water and his lip would stick out like a kicked puppy dog. Now he just looked at you until the brotherly instincts kicked in. Iroh couldn't decide which was worse.
"Don't touch." sighed Iroh.
"Jeez, can I at least look?" asked Ozai angrily. Iroh carefully considered his options. He could tell him no, but then he'd have to deal with Ozai's whining. He could say yes, but then he'd have to deal with Ozai.
Anywayyou looked at it, Iroh lost.
"Fine, you can look." groaned Iroh. Ozai brightened up right away. Pulling up his own chair, Ozai plopped down happily. He stared at the maps with keen interest.
"What's that?" asked Ozai, pointing to the blue upper section of the map.
"That's part of the Water Tribe..." began Iroh.
"Is not! That's part of the Earth Kingdom." shouted Ozai. The others in the darklibrary looked at them as Iroh blushed in embarrassment.
"Please be quite you little..." whispered Iroh. Ozai would have none of it.
"But it's part of the Earth Kingdom!" he screeched, stomping his foot. Someday the boy was going to keel over from rat poison in his food.
"Its part of the old Water Tribe and Earth Kingdom agreement. It's really old. " sighed Iroh. Ozai looked at the parchment doubtfully.
"What's that?" asked Ozai suspiciously. It would not be the first time Iroh had lied to him. Iroh recalled the 'Turtle Duck accident' with a mixture of amusement and annoyance. Afterwards Ozai grew a deep fear of all things aquatic and Iroh was forbidden from desserts, music, and any sort of new cloths or excitement for a whole year. Some how it had been worth it.
"Well a really long time ago a part of what is now the Earth Kingdom was ruled by the Water Tribe." began Iroh.
"Was not." whispered Ozai. But he continued listening.
"One day the Earth Kingdom leader decided he wanted to extended his land outside of his own domain." said Iroh. He was beginning to like the story telling. Maybe if this whole Fire Lord thing didn't work out he could do it professionally.
"Like Dad. Anyway the leader of the Earth Kingdom realized that he couldn't possibly defeat the Water Tribe. The leader of the Water Tribe felt the same about him. So they made a deal."
"Could the Earth Kingdom defeat the Water Tribe?" asked Ozai. Iroh thought for a moment. It was a very good question. Ozai was always asking interesting questions.
"Yes but it would have killed many men on both sides." explained Iroh. Ozai thought for a moment.
"Anyway, the leaders agreed to share the land. The Earth Kingdom people farmed it and the Water Tribe irrigated it." said Iroh dreamily. It must have been a lovely way to live. Two of the elements living in the same place at the same time working together. When he was Fire Lord he'd try to get that to happen more often. Maybe the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom could work something out. King Bumi seemed like a pretty cool guy, if a tad insane. Maybe it was all the hats... They didn't need the Avatar; he could reunite the elements himself.
"What happened?" asked Ozai. Iroh doubted he knew what 'irrigate' or 'domain' meant.
"Drought. It was no ones fault, just the will of the Spirits. But the Earth Kingdom blamed the Water Tribes water and the Water Tribe blamed the Earth Kingdoms farming. The Water Tribe people simply moved away to the north or the south. The Earth Kingdom refused to leave and seized the land." Iroh shuddered slightly at the history.Ozai ignored his older brothers discomfort.
"That's why we're taking over. The others nations don't know how to rule!" shouted Ozai. The other people in the library were staring again.
"Yes, you little loser, that's one of the reasons." sighed Iroh, getting back to his maps.
"What are the other reasons?" questioned Ozai. Iroh ignored his questioned until Ozai poked him in the shoulder.
"I honestly don't care," snapped Iroh. Ozai lifted his eyebrows inquisitively.
"You don't care about anything! How are you going to be Fire Lord?" giggled Ozai.
"Right now I care about memorizing these maps. So If you don't mind, I'd like to get back to work." smiled Iroh. Ozai smiled right back.
"Oh, I don't mind." Ozai ducked, as his brother's hand narrowly missed his head. He quickly made his way towards the door.
It would be three seconds before Iroh realized his ponytail had caught fire.