Set after episode, the Firebending Masters. It was dinner time after Zuko and Aang arrived back from the Sun Warriors’ community. Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, Haru, the Duke & Teo, wait for the arr...
Summary: Set after episode, the Firebending Masters. There are many secrets that mortals in the past have long forgotten. Ever wondered how the War started? How the mortals in the Avatar world learned to bend the elements from the help of the Gods themselves? And how did the mortals then defended evil that wanted to take over the world? What happened to Aang’s friends before the War, after he disappeared? How is Zuko related to Avatar Ruko and Kuzon? Is Ursa still alive or she is dead? How did Iroh became a member of the Order of the White Lotus? What really happened to Iroh’s son Lu Ten? What really became the airbenders 100 years before? Ever wondered what became the other characters in the story after we never see them again?
What secrets would be discovered? And what is the cost to know them?
It was afternoon, when Aang and Zuko stopped training. Aang was exhausted, Zuko could tell after another mutating section.
“I think it is wise for you to rest, Aang.” Zuko told him.
“I can’t rest!” Aang protested. “I need to train harder if I had to defeat the Fire Lord and--” Aang stopped as Zuko grabbed his arm.
“Aang, how can you defeat my father if you are about to collapse from exhaustion?” Zuko asked him, raising his right eyebrow.
Aang was about to complain telling Zuko that he doesn’t understand, but didn’t. Looking at Zuko’s golden eyes, he could tell that he couldn’t win this fight. And despite his wishes, Aang knew that Zuko was right. Nodding his head, Aang stood up from the ground and bowed.
Zuko bowed back in respect. Aang turned and started to walk back into his bedchamber. Maybe he could take a rest, maybe just a minute….
Zuko watch as the Avatar stumbled down the hall. Shaking his head, Zuko wondered what got Aang’s head that he needed to train to the point that wasn’t healthy. What would the world say if they find out that the Avatar died of exhaustion? He already failed the world twice, that he could think of.
Zuko walked to the fountain, sitting down next to it, ignoring Katara, who was sitting seven feet from him, sewing one of Sokka’s shirts. Katara too ignored him as if he wasn’t there.
‘So she’s ignoring me now? Good, now I can have peace without her bellyaching at me.’ Zuko thought happily. Just as he was about to close his eyes, a small dark figure came to view.
“Yeah Zuko! Do you want to play a game with me? Everyone else is busy ” the Duke said popping out of no where. Zuko jumped and turned his head, stared at small being in front of him as if he grew another head.
“What game?” Zuko dared to ask, not wanting to play a childless game.
“Hide and Go Seek!” the Duke yelled, making Zuko cringe of the loud noise.
Zuko titled his head in puzzlement, gritting his teeth he asked, “How do you play?” He never heard of the game before. Is it like that game he used to play when he was younger, that they called ‘Seek the Weak’?
It was the Duke’s turn to look at Zuko in confusion. “You never play Hide and Go Seek when you were a kid?” he asked.
Zuko thought about it. “No,” He said, not wanting to admit his fucked up childhood and also the fact that the Duke looked far to young to understand if he tried explain his peoples’ ways about playing childish games. “How do you play this Hide and Go Peek game?” he asked.
“Well,” the Duke began, sitting down next to the firebender. “first of all, its not called Hide and Go Peek. Its called Hide and Go Seek….”
Sokka was walking down the hall humming to himself, but stopped when he saw Zuko in a short distance ahead, kneeling on his hands and knees looking around behind rocks, as if he lost something. Watching him for a moment, he couldn’t figure out what Zuko was doing. Finally, after a moment of watching, not knowing what the firebender was doing made him crazy, he had to ask.
“Ah, Zuko, what are you doing?” Sokka dared to ask him. “Did you lost your ego or something?” he joked.
Zuko looked up, narrowing his eyes. “Lame joke, Sokka.” he told him.
Sokka glared at the firebender. “It was a good joke.” he muttered to himself. Zuko turned back of what he was doing. “But seriously, what in the heck are you doing?”
“I’m looking for the Duke.” Zuko told him, not looking at him.
Sokka raised an eyebrows. “What? He’s missing?”
Zuko shook his head. “No, he’s not missing. He’s hiding. Or something like that.”
“Hiding? From you? What did you do to him?”
“I didn’t hurt him or anything! I swear! No, we’re playing a game. I think its called-- Hide and Go Peak? No, its called Hide and Go Hike? Ah, whatever you call it.” Zuko said shaking his head. How can he not remember the stupid name of the game?
“Do you mean, Hide and Go Seek?” Sokka asked him, unsure that he heard Zuko right.
“That’s the one!”
“You never play the game?”
Zuko shook his head. “Never.”
“And you suddenly felt like playing this game?”
“No, but the Duke asked me to play with him. This game is so confusing!”
“How can this game be confusing? Its easy! The ‘it‘ person close their eyes, count to 10 or whatever, find the players and the first player that was found first gets to be the ‘it‘ person on the next turn.” Sokka told him.
Zuko glared at him. “Well, I never played the game before! Its not the rules that is confusing. It‘s the fact that I can‘t understand what the point of this game is! What are you people teaching your kids? Go hide when danger is near?”
Sokka looked at Zuko in a weird look. “I don’t know what the point of the game means. Never thought about it…. Anyway, you didn’t answer my question. Why did you never play this game before?”
Zuko sighed. He had hoped that the water peasant would drop it. “In the Fire Nation, when you hit the age of six years old, you are old enough to learn how to fight. Basically, being six years old, your childhood is finish and learning how to be a warrior.”
There was silence.
“That’s lame.” Sokka said after a moment later. “Six year old? That’s far to young to learn how to kill someone. You Fire Nation is fucked up.”
Suddenly both Zuko’s and Sokka’s shot up above them as they heard a giggling noise. Slowly the two boys looked up. Above them, the Duke was hanging from a nearby limb, one hand coving his mouth, trying not to laugh and the other holding tight on the limb so he won‘t fall.
“Found you.” Zuko said, smiling.
The Duke jumped down. “You are doing good.” he said. “But we will work on it, so you can be good as me!”
Zuko smiled. “Maybe some other time, the Duke.” he said.
The Duke nodded and smiled.
“Hey, Zuko…” Sokka started.
“Yeah, Sokka?” Zuko asked him.
“Well, I saw that you brought swords a few days ago, so I was wondering… do you want to spare with me?”
Zuko couldn’t stop himself, he smiled. Finally he was slowly making friends with these people! “Sure.” Zuko said.
Sokka then smiled.
Zuko and Sokka walked to a clearly and started to spare. The Duke sat back and watch.
A large dark figure jumped into the river, in the mainland. The figure sighed in delight as the cool water licked his tiring limbs. He had been running for several days now, without stopping to eat or sleep, fearing that he would be found. He can not fail his mission, he must warn the Others and tell them, it’s Time. And hopefully after hearing his side of the story, they would agree to help him and the War will end, the with the help of the Avatar, of course.
Iroh, son of the former Fire Lord Azulon, slowly dived into the water, his whole underneath the liquid.
As he waited in the water, thoughts of his nephew lingered into his mind. Where is he now? He is well? He is hurt? He is he still serving his father?
In each passing moment the thoughts make him sick. He was still hurt of the betrayal from Ba Sing Se, but he is willing to forgive him. Zuko is like a second son to him. He hopes, that in the end, he will come around and aid the Avatar.
After a few minutes of rest, Iroh got up out from the water and started to run into a nearby forest.
He will not fail his mission. He must get to the Holy Counsel before its too late.
He is the only one that knows the truth of what’s going on in the Fire Nation, their plans of death to all the Nations, that would lead the end of the Fire Nation itself.
If only Zuko is here with him--
Iroh shook his head. He must not let his emotions get a better of him, or he will fail.
Ignoring the killing weight of not knowing the fate that became of his nephew, Iroh kept on of his mission without looking back.
(End of Chapter)