|A Dream Long Forgotten
Author: Liooness PM
In the final battle, Zuko intecepts lightning meant for Aang and dies. The gods give him a chance to return; protect a group of children. The children are eerily familiar but Zuko can't remember anything to say why. R&R!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Friendship - Zuko - Chapters: 5 - Words: 23,774 - Reviews: 97 - Favs: 54 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 05-27-08 - Published: 05-19-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4265874
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I had a dream and it wouldn't let go and led into this. Please let me know what you think and R&R!
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar
A Dream Long Forgotten
The final battle had started and Zuko faced off with his sister down the hall from where the Avatar faced off with the fire lord. Zuko knew Aang was ready to face Ozai, and the waterbender and her brother guarded the entrance to the throne room along with his uncle, making sure the Avatar wasn't interrupted. Zuko dodged the lightning his sister hurled at him and was about to fire at her when she was imprisoned by earth.
"Twinkle Toes needs help! I've got her!" Toph yelled from Zuko's right.
Zuko stayed behind a second longer, glancing at Toph before nodding and running to help Aang. He heard Azula blast herself out of the earth and the battle raged behind him as he ran through the hallway and towards the sound of thunder and earthquakes. The water tribe siblings were engaged with several firebenders and he ran past them, through the great doors and into the throne room. He came upon the throne room and saw Aang defending against bright red fire thrown by the fire lord. Aang sent a blast of air and fire at Ozai. The fire lord dodged as Zuko ran towards them and Ozai started lightning as fast as he had done on the day of black sun.
Zuko saw that Aang was unprepared for the lightning and dove between the two, trying to redirect it as he heard Aang and Iroh shout out his name from behind him. The lightning hit Zuko and with great strength of willpower he redirected the lightning to the side, but it went through his heart. He saw Aang deliver a final blast of fire to the fire lord as he fell.
The fire lord stared at his smoking chest before he crumpled to the ground, defeated once and for all as Zuko landed on his side and slid a few feet, gasping as his heart strained to keep going. He heard people yelling his name and Toph, Iroh and Aang came into his field of vision. He saw Toph start crying as his body started going numb. He wished she wouldn't cry, she was too strong to cry. Katara was suddenly there, her hands covered in healing water, but Zuko knew that he couldn't be healed. Aang sat and mediated, his arrow flickering as he tried to get onto the Avatar state, but it was useless.
"No!" Toph cried, though her voice seemed so distant. "It's not fair!"
Zuko knew it wasn't fair and tried to speak as everything started going black. He reached out and wiped away Toph's tear as he heard his uncle and friends start to grieve. It wasn't fair, and he knew it wasn't supposed to end there. Somehow he knew his destiny was supposed to take him farther than that day. He felt his heart slowing and everything went black.
Zuko opened his eyes suddenly and sat upright, finding himself in a great hall. It was exactly the same as the throne room, but it was grey and brown, not red and gold, and there was no one there. He was alone and no fires burned anywhere. Four orbs of light came out of the ceiling and circled him, each a different color. White, blue, green and finally red as he stood and waited, watching the orbs circle him before they separated and spread to the four corners of the room. Zuko waited, ready for an attack, but none came as the orbs of light grew larger and into the shapes of people.
Four people soon faced him, regal in standing as Zuko waited, shocked by what he was seeing. A noblewoman with raven hair and bright green eyes stood to his left, gorgeous in green robes and smiled kindly at him. Behind him was a woman with brown hair and blue eyes. She wore a blue and white fur lined dress and frowned at him, just as Katara did. Zuko turned to his right and saw an elderly man with a long white beard and a blue arrow tattoo on his bald head and hands. The man wore the orange and white robes of a monk and his face was expressionless as he studied the prince.
"I told you he has spirit," the man in front of Zuko stated, a smile in his proud tone. The man was in shadow, but he stood tall, and the hem of his robe was red in the faint amount of light.
"Spirit maybe, but is he strong enough?" the woman behind Zuko demanded.
Yeah, Zuko thought, frowning. She definitely sounds like Katara.
"Who are you?" Zuko asked the man in front of him, trying to stay calm, but felt his temper rise. "And why am I here? What happened?!"
The man stepped forward out of the shadow and Zuko fell to his knees, bowing respectfully. The man was middle aged, and had dark brown hair with several grey streaks flowing into his topknot. His face was strong and young, just as the fire lord had appeared, but Zuko knew this was not his father. The golden eyes shown with power and brilliance and Zuko knew he was before the gods.
"Rise, young prince," the fire god stated, walking closer to Zuko.
Zuko rose, standing slowly just as he had before his father not so long ago, but this time it was different. Agni looked down on him with kindness, not disdain.
"You know why you're here," Agni stated and Zuko saw the others continue to study him. "You gave up everything to save the Avatar, the world's last airbender. You knew the choice when you made it. You died, Prince Zuko."
"But my destiny wasn't supposed to end there!" Zuko cried out as Agni started to walk around him. "I know that! You can send me back, great Lord." Zuko turned to Agni and kneeled before the god of fire, pleading for his life. "Please, my lord."
"You can not possibly believe him, can you Fire?" the woman in blue cried, scowling at the prince. "He will make a mess of things as he has always done, as his ancestors have done. I will not allow it!"
"He has hope. He has changed," the monk stated calmly.
"I agree with Air," the woman in green said, smiling at Zuko. She reminded him of Toph, strong and capable, but elegant and beautiful. "The boy has hope. He deserves the right to prove it."
Zuko felt his temper rising at being called a boy, but kept his mouth shut as he waited. Agni smiled wryly at him before turning to the woman in blue.
"Water? What say you? Should we give him a chance to prove himself?"
The woman in blue sniffed and looked down her nose at Zuko before glancing at the other spirits. She sniffed again and started glaring at Zuko. He met her hard look just as he had met the waterbender's glares every time Katara had glared at him, but did not speak a word. Zuko felt his temper rising as he and the woman glared at each other. Why won't she see that I've changed? He thought to himself. She's just like Katara!
The woman in blue looked startled before narrowing her eyes and glaring at him even more.
"Very well," she stated, anger underlying her sharp tone. "He should have a chance. If he fails, he remains. If he succeeds, then he shall return."
Agni nodded and turned to Zuko again. "You shall have a chance to prove yourself, young prince. If you succeed, you shall live and return to your friends and family. But if you fail, you shall return here. Understood?"
"What's this about proving myself?!" Zuko cried to the god, standing. "I've changed! I saved the Avatar! I taught him firebending and helped him defeat my father! Why can't you send me back now? I know this isn't right! This wasn't supposed to happen!"
"Perhaps too much spirit," the monk stated calmly as Zuko faced the god of fire, seething.
"Sometimes too much is just enough, just look at my daughter," the woman in green said, still smiling at Zuko.
He looked back at her, still seething and saw that her bright green eyes never focused. She was blind, just like Toph. He felt calm enter him as his gaze met hers and nodded his thanks to her before turning to face Agni again who was still smiling wryly.
"What do I need to do?" Zuko asked the fire god before him.
"Protect a group of children," Agni stated and Zuko saw the others nod their approval, the woman in blue almost grudgingly.
Zuko almost sighed in relief. Protecting some kids should be easy enough. Sokka had done it well enough for the past year.
"But you must not tell them your true name, or why you've been sent," the monk said.
"It would be better if he didn't remember anything," the woman in blue said, a wry smile tugging at her mouth. "Then he may forget why we sent him there in the first place."
Zuko scowled at the woman. "I will never forget who I am," he stated proudly.
"Perhaps he should remember," the woman in green said. "But not everything."
"And no firebending!" the woman in blue shouted.
Zuko stared in shock at the women. No firebending! Are they crazy?
"I agree, no firebending," Agni stated, turning to Zuko as he stopped in front of the prince. "Unless it is needed. And you will not remember everything. It will be as if a dream long forgotten. Protect the children, and if you succeed, you will return."
Zuko sighed and nodded, bowing his head to the god of fire. "I am yours, my Lord," Zuko told Agni. "When will I go?"
"Now," Agni stated, laying a hand on Zuko's shoulder.
Zuko felt lightning course through his body and the pain made him close his eyes and grit his teeth against it. But then the pain was suddenly reduced to an ache and he was falling face first into a pile of snow. Everything ached and hurt as he pushed himself up and looked around. A blizzard was starting and snow was blowing through the white world. A patch of darkness was ahead and he pushed himself up and walked towards the patch, keeping his head bowed against the wind and snow. As he walked, he became aware that he was wearing white winter clothes, and not the red kimono he had been wearing. Also the familiar feeling of his Dao swords was on his back. As he approached the patch of darkness, it turned into a cave and he saw an orange glow of light inside.
Protect the children, he heard in his head and pushed the strange thought out. He stumbled into the cave, hurting even more and glad to be out of the wind when he saw five children rise and face him, ready to fight. He stared at them, each of them facing him in a different stance. A boy with brown hair and silver eyes of about six faced him in an airbending stance. Next to him were what looked like twins, one boy and one girl. The apparent twins both had brown hair and bright blue eyes, but the boy had his hair in a warrior's wolftail and carried a small sword, really more of a dagger, while the girl stood in a waterbending stance, her hair in a simple braid. The siblings looked to be about seven, maybe eight and were both taller than the first boy.
Next to the twins was a boy about seven, in a firebending stance. He had brown hair and golden eyes and had his hair pulled back into a ponytail. Last was a girl of about eight, the eldest but not tallest of the group, and she had black hair and green eyes. She was in a classic horse stance, most familiar to earthbenders, and her blind eyes never focused. All the children wore the blue and white parkas familiar to the water tribes.
"Toph?" Zuko asked as he stared at the green eyed girl, startled before he fell, going unconscious from the pain still coursing through his body.