From Days Gone By

hehe..this is my first fic EVER..so im really sorry if it's bad..but please read it anyways.

Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar of any of its characters. But I own Aya..puahahaha


Chapter 1: Say You Remember

Back when Prince Zuko was young, he used to visit his uncle every summer and play along the beautiful beaches. He had some of the best years of his life in those sands. His uncle would teach him many things about the beach, things that his father never had the time to talk to young Zuko about. Each summer he would come back home full of joy and with new discoveries that he found on those white sands. For him, those days were carefree, happy, and so long ago.

It was a warm, sunny morning and a young, 7 year old Prince Zuko was strutting around the secluded private beach outside his uncle's summerhouse. Just as he was about to sit down, he noticed a small figure farther down the beach. It reached down and seemed to be picking up something.

"Hey! HEY!" Zuko called towards the figure. But to no avail. The person continued to walk along the shore, ever nearing Zuko. Already slightly irritated, he ran towards the figure, stopping to catch his breath about 3 feet away.

"Did you not hear me calling to you?" the ever-arrogant Zuko asked to the stooping figure he now recognized to be a girl, considering the long hair. The young girl maintained her silence, concentrating on whatever she was doing.

"I said did you not hear me? This is a private beach and you're trespassing." He snapped, flames flaring slightly at his wrists. This time, the young girl turned, flipping her hair back away from her face. She looked up at him with large, chocolate brown eyes that pierced through his yellow ones.

" I heard you."

" Then why didn't you answer to me?" Zuko's voice was now more confused than frustrated. No one had ever purposely ignored him before.

" I was busy." She said plainly, not removing her fixating stare.

" With what?"

" I'm digging up clams." Came her simple answer.

" What makes you think you can dig up clams on MY beach? Give me that bucket. Those clams belong to me since you've been stealing from my beach." Zuko said smugly.

" You own the beach?" the young girl asked, incredulous.

" Yes, and many other things" Zuko replied absently. " You still haven't given me those yet".

"What?"

" Those clams. The clams you stole from MY beach, little girl."

"No way am I giving these to you. Don't call me 'little girl' I have a name, you know. And we're about the same age" the girl stated, obviously annoyed.

" I'll call you whatever I wish, little girl" Zuko sneered.

The girl stood up and brushed sand off her knees. Zuko finally got a proper look at her. She was half a head shorter than him, thin with dark brown hair a few inches past her shoulders. Her back was straight and she wore a red tank top with a long black skirt. She was more cute than pretty with her full lips and small nose.

" My name is Aya, little boy", She said, imitating Zuko's demeaning tone, " and I would like it if you stopped being so stupid and learn to be nice"

Zuko narrowed his eyes. Anger surged through him and flames flared at his wrists. No one dared to mock him back at home, much less talk to him in a less than respectful tone.

" I AM NOT LITTLE! IF ANYONE IS LITTLE IT'S YOU! DON'T EVER TALK TO ME IN THAT TONE AGAIN!"

" WELL YOU WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT CAUSE I'M LEAVING RIGHT NOW!"

And with that Aya stomped off in the opposite direction, stopping a few steps away to hurl a clam at Zuko's shocked face.

" THERE'S THE CLAM THAT I STOLE FROM YOU!" she snapped as the dark shell bounced off Zuko's forehead. She then sharply turned and continued to tread heavily in the opposite direction. Leaving a shocked and angry Zuko who was rubbing his head.

The next day, the young Prince Zuko was playing on the beach again, making piles in the sand. He was so intent on his work, trying to make one big tower of sand, that he didn't even notice the girl from yesterday stationed a few feet away from him until she was directly in front of him, scooping up seawater with her bucket. His eyes followed her to where she was making her own sandcastle, wetting the sand and pressing it together until it was up to her mid-thigh. He looked back at his own tower, which was barely 5 inches tall, then back at her impressive one. Although he tried to ignore the curious feeling inside of him, he eventually couldn't take it anymore. He stood up and dusted sand off of him and walked slowly towards the young girl.

" Can you p-p-ple-please show me h-how to do that?" He stammered and looked away quickly, finding it difficult asking the very girl he had just screamed at 24 hours ago to help him. Zuko waited for her answer. She slowly turned her head to answer him. For a moment, he thought she looked like she was going to scream at him again. But she didn't. Her face softened to a slight smile.

" Sure."

They spent the rest of the day building the most extravagant sand sculptures, with her lecturing him and giving tips every now and then. His temper flared every now and then, but she ignored it. They were young. Sandcastles were important. And as the sun began to sink from the sky, Aya stood up and started to walk away.

" Wait! Will you be here tomorrow?" Zuko shouted after her.

" Maybe." Aya replied without turning around.

The next day she was back. As Zuko walked up to the shore, he saw her sitting, watching the tides with her knees up to her chest. He approached her slowly but she must have sensed his presence because she turned around and gave him a pleasant smile. The young prince was taken aback; the smile was so open, so real. Up until then, the few smiles he had gotten were either clearly forced, or seemed to be covering up something.

" Is there something on my face?" Her voice snapped him out of his thoughts.

" What? Oh, no its fine." Zuko replied absently. She gave him a curious stare and cocked her head. After about 3 seconds, she jumped up and put her hand on his shoulder, pulling it back as if she had just touched something extremely hot.

" What was that for?" The prince inquired.

" TAG! You're it. Catch me if you can!" She laughed, bolting out towards the water. Zuko stood there, not moving for a few moments, a what-just-happened look on his face. Then he sprinted after her. The prince never turned down a challenge.

They frolicked around in the water for hours, splashing at each other and laughing. They even had a contest over who could hold their breath the longest. The sun was just past the middle of the sky when they walked back to the sands, panting with their eyes full of delight.

" I'm tired. So I'm gonna lay down for a while okay?" Aya said sleepily. She then squeezed the salt water out of her hair and pushed it behind her as she laid down on the sand. She was sound asleep soon. Zuko sat there silently, staring at her for the longest time. Noticing how the wind picked up few strands of dry hair and made then dance around her face. Suddenly realizing just how much earlier events had worn him out, he laid down beside her and shut his eyes. Some hours later, the tide brushed against their feet and caused them to stir. Aya blearily opened her eyes, and then sat up abruptly. The sun was setting, and she needed to get back home.

" I need to go now, Zuko," She whispered to him as she stood up. He slowly turned over to face her and looked straight into her eyes.

" You'll be here again tomorrow?"

" Yeah."

She gave him one last smile, and then ran down the sides of the beach.

The two of them played together everyday on those white sands formore thana week. They laughed, had fights, and made up new games. Zuko never felt so happy in his entire 7 years in existence. Nothing else really mattered at the time, he pushedall other thoughtsto the back of his mind, and concentrated on having the most fun he possibly could.

Seven days after theirfirst encounter, they were playing in the waterswhen Aya spotted a something and swam towards it.

" Look Zuko! Isn't it pretty?" Aya exclaimed while Zuko rolled his eyes and muttered something about girls. As he looked down, apparently not caring about whatever was 'pretty' he heard a scream rip through the air. His head snapped up just in time to seeAya collapse in the water.

" Aya? AYA!" Zuko panicked as he felt beneath the water for her. Luckily, the water was shallow and it wasn't very hard for Zuko to drag her back up to dry land.

" HELP! SOMEONE! HELP!" He yelled into the air, his heart beating a tattoo against his chest as he looked around.

Seconds later, a rather beefy man raced up to them.

" You children okay?" He spoke with concern in his voice. Zuko glanced up at him and then reverted his attention back to Aya.

" No, I don't know what happened, but she just …" Zuko's voice trailed off as he noticed red markings on her shoulder. He cocked his head and stared more intently. It looked like three squiggly lines.

" Hey, those are some bad stings on her shoulder there", the older man's voice interrupting his contemplations, "I'd better take her to the medicine man in the village before they get worse." He picked her up gently and started to walk away.

" She's going to be fine, right?" Zuko asked, hoping to ease the feeling of dread in his stomach.

" Dunno. Judging by that blue tinge in her lips, it may already be…" He paused, "well son just don't get your hopes up. If she does wake up, I promise the first thing I'll do is remind her that there's a little boy waiting for her on the beach." He smiled a toothy smile, and turned to carry her toward the village further down the beach. Zuko stood somberly, watching them go, and made a promise to wait for her return.

She never came back.


Sorry if that was fragmented and short and/or confusing. I wanted this to be a prequel, kinda. So the next chapter will take place when Zuko is 17. Thank you for reading! I appreciate any comments you have about it. But please please please don't flame me.