I don't own ATLA
Sorry for the delay. I was on vacation
Thanks for reviewing:
EyeoftheTigerKissoftheDragon– Thank you and sorry again for the delay.
EastCoastie1500 – Lol. It is like an oxymoron isn't it. I honestly didn't think of that when I had made the move, but I guess it adds to how cool it is, or it does in my mind.
Angel of Music – Lol. Glad you're liking it thus far.
Zuko stood next to the railing, gaze cast out at sea, as the ship sailed quickly in the direction the Avatar had made off in. For two days they had been following, but they had yet to catch a good glimpse of them and it was entirely the other worldly girls fault.
The mere thought of her boiled his blood. Twice she had gotten the Avatar away from him, twice she had delayed him in meeting his goal and twice she had humiliated him with the ease in which she had done everything. Anger quickly became rage and the exiled prince clenched his fists so tightly his knuckles turned white.
"Calm yourself prince Zuko," the calm voice of Iroh sounded from behind the boy. "If you do not hold patience how do you expect to accomplish anything?"
"Uncle how can I be calm at a time like this!"
"Simply," Iroh answered, "Don't get worked up over past events, instead plan future ones."
Zuko loosed his fists, "That girl is powerful, how are we to get past her and capture the Avatar?"
"She is bound to have a weakness prince Zuko, it is only a matter of finding and exploiting it."
"But what is it?" Zuko asked more to himself than his uncle. "She uses advanced techniques I've never seen before," he growled, "That stupid cell held us back for half an hour and all that was required was a weak excuse of a fire attack to break it."
Iroh chuckled, "I have heard of it in my younger days, it is very effective. The purpose is as you know, to hold an opponent back, but most take hours to find a means of releasment. I am impressed that you figured it out so quickly."
Zuko shook his head with an agitated sigh, "She had practically told us before she left by saying 'you're thinking too hard.' Yet I didn't catch it quickly enough." With the last part his fists clenched once more.
"Most would not prince Zuko," Iroh told him calmly as he gazed out to sea. "That is why the technique is valuable in times of war. Many think they can break the cell with powerful attack when in truth they are perhaps strengthening it. One needs to think minutely with such things, but people become hot-headed in battle and do not think in the proper ways."
"Why is it no longer used then if it's so handy in battle?" Zuko questioned, his fists once again loosened.
"People have become too interested in causing damage than taking hostages."
Zuko nodded, "You need to teach me the technique so I can catch the Avatar."
"You are forgetting something of great importance prince Zuko, Keara knows of the technique. So it is a given that she can get herself, or anyone else, out of it with great haste."
The banished prince growled and slammed his fist onto the banister, "Curse that girl!"
The growling of Sokka's stomach alerted the band of friend that it was around noon and they had no food left from the morning meal. The hungry teen held his stomach, "We have got to get something to eat," he groaned.
"I have to agree with Sokka this time," Katara said with a face as her stomach too growled, "I'm even hungry."
Aang looked back from his steering position, "There's a town not far away, we can stop there."
"How long?" Sokka whined.
"Not too long," Aang said after a moments thought.
Katara sighed and leaned against the side of the saddle. She looked over to Keara, whose gaze was lost out on the horizon with a sense of longing held deep within her eyes, Drake sitting peacefully next to her with his eyes closed. "Thinking about your home huh?"
Keara nodded, not startled in the least by the sudden question. Drake opened his eyes and looked to his long time friend with a slight frown, "Don't dwell where we are not wanted Keara, it will only lead to further heart break."
"I know," Keara said softly as she took her gaze from the vastness of the sea, "But I cannot forget the place of my birth so easily."
"Care to talk about your home?" Katara asked with interest, "I mean, if you don't want to I understand." Even Sokka sat up with interest and Aang looked back.
With a light laugh Keara nodded, "I don't mind and, who knows, maybe talking about it will help me let it go." She smiled to Drake who gave her a look somewhere between a smile and sternness, a look that always seemed to humor the girl. "Why don't I tell of the time when we first met Drake."
The humanized dragon held back his laughter and shook his head. Keara's smiled widened slightly, "We met back when I was …"
A six year old girl with brown hair done back in a neat ponytail walked down one of the many corridors in a stone palace, her hand resting in her mother's gentle grasp. Her long sleeve rich red dress swayed with each step she took, her light blue eyes shone with childish glee.
The halls were decorated with elegant tapestries and a suit of freshly polished armor after each door. The floor held splotches of moister, revealing that it had been washed but an hour before hand. Light entered through the windows and danced on the ground, making the occasional rainbow that made the girl giggle and point it out to her mother, who would smile down at her kindly.
"What's daddy got for me?" the child asked with a smile.
"I'm not quite sure Keara darling," the woman admitted. Her sapphire eyes kept their gaze down the corridor, her rich brown hair flowing freely behind her. "We'll just have to wait and see."
The child nodded and remained quiet until they came to a pair of darkly polished wooden doors. The two guards on either side gave a respectful bow before they opened the door wide for them.
The room beyond was large in both size and height with. Its ceiling painted with the kings of the past, lush red carpet, suits of armor rested around the walls and, as Keara knew all to well, highly trained guards were hidden in the shadowy alcoves. Against the wall the door they had just come through was adjacent to were two elegantly carved throne, one of them holding an occupant.
Coming in front of him the two females gave polite curtsies. "My lord, you called?" the mother asked.
"Yes," the king said as he stood, "Come this way." He quietly led them through a door on the other end of the throne room.
They walked in silence for sometime before they reached their destination; the courtyard. Since it was late spring all the flowers were in full bloom, giving off a pleasant smell to all that passed by, unless, of course, they despised nature.
A gasp escaped the woman as she laid eyes upon the reason they had been brought there. "You're highness," she said in a fearful voice, "This is in no mean meant for a child."
"Dragon!" Keara yelled in glee. She tried to get her hand out of her mothers grasp, but the woman refused to let her child go towards the beast, which was struggling greatly with the chains that held it down.
"She seems to like it," commented the king with little care.
"She is merely six years old my lord," the woman said worriedly, "That beast could tear strong men apart and I don't want to imagine what it could do to a small child."
The dragon was trying to rid itself on its bondages, but it was a vain attempt against the thick and heavy chains. Its growls struck fear in the hearts of all the guards and the child's mother, but Keara and the king felt no such emotion towards it. Its honey colored eyes shone with a ferocity that only one of his species could pull off.
"It's already showed parts of its capabilities," the woman said as he pointed out the scorched earth that stretch for several yards before the dragons stationary head.
Keara tugged wildly at her hand as he tried to pull it away, "Let go mamma, I wanna pet the dragon."
"It'll bite your hand off before you can pet it," her mother said sharply, but the tone did not seem to affect the child.
"Let go," she whined. Suddenly her hand became free after a rather sharp tug that sent her stumbling backwards, towards the dragon.
"Keara!" her mother cried and tried to grab her daughter, but she quickly sped off to the captive dragon, a place her mother was too freighted to follow.
Being a child Keara did not think of the danger of her actions, nor the danger held by standing directly in front of the beast. "Hi mister dragon," she said gleefully.
The dragon seemed bemused at the child's lack of fear towards him, much less her willingness to stand before him and speak so kindly. He felt he had to change her on look, after all he was a dragon, a creature meant to be feared by humans. With a sharp intake of breath he release two jets of flame, one from each nostril, that went on either side of the child, but did not hit her.
"You're mad aren't you," Keara said with childish pout.
The dragon was deeply confused by this as the girl held no trace of fear, instead she held a sense of sympathy. Thinking that a second action would give him the response he desire he shot flame on either side of her small body once again, but the reaction was no different.
"Keara get back here now," her mother cried in a panic.
The child did not seem to hear her mother's words and began to walk closer to the dragon. As she did so the beast's exhales shifted her dress and hair about as if she were on a hill during a windy day. When she was within reaching distance she smiled happily and patted the dragon's snout.
A low growl was let out by the dragon, one that would have been a roar had his mouth not been clamped shut. "Silly dragon, don't growl. I'm not going to hurt you." She kissed his snout softly, as if to prove her words.
All struggling and growling stopped and if the on lookers hadn't known better they would have thought the dragon had been petrified. In truth it had been deeply taken aback by the child's display of affection, especially after he had surrounded her with flame not once, but twice less than five minutes ago.
When sense returned to it the dragon struggled violently against the chains, even more so than he had before. Perhaps the action now was more desperate became he wanted to get away from the child that confused him so, or perhaps he knew what was about to be said.
"She's had her enjoyment," the king said, "Now kill the beast."
Keara looked to him with teary eyes, "No killing mister dragon! He's my friend!"
"You haven't known him ten minutes, so don't cut that with me child," the king said sharply.
With a trembling lip the child turned to one end of the chain holding the creatures head down and tugged on it with all her might, "I won't them hurt you!" The guards were coming ever closer to creature, causing her to become even more desperate.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she tried to pull hard on the chain. "I don't want you to die," she cried. Suddenly a whirl of fire encircled her, but it had not originated from the dragon. With haste the fire crashed into the chains with such intensity and heat that it broke a clasp, causing the entire chain to break as the dragon tugged harshly on it.
"She used an advance technique," her mother gasped.
Now that the dragon had its head free it was a simple task to get the rest of it body out as it wriggled back and forth violently. Keara smiled at him, "Be free mister dragon."
By now the guards were on top of the dragon and they tried to end its life before it got completely free. The attempt however failed as the beast rid itself of the chains. In anger the guards shot fire at him, a horrible mistake on their part as the dragon moved, making the fire go directly towards the terrified child.
Keara screamed and put her hands over her head as she squeezed her eyes shut, but any pain she thought she would have felt never came. She frightenedly opened her eyes and saw nothing but the deep red color of scales in all directions. Looking up she saw the angry face of the dragon looking in the direction the guards had been.
"You saved me," Keara said softly.
The dragon looked down at her and his eyes seemed to soften at the sight of her. Not a moment later did he uncurl from around her and stand by her side, gaze back at the guards with her old ferocity.
"Keara!" her mother cried and ran to her, not caring about the dragon any longer. She wrapped her daughter in a tight hug, "Thank the gods, you're alright."
"Mister dragon saved me mamma," Keara said when she was able to look her mother in the eyes. "Don't let them hurt him mamma, don't let them."
"Keara he's very dangerous."
"But he saved me," she whined as tears trailed down her cheeks once more. "Mean things don't save people."
"Baby, he can't stay," her mother told her.
"Then let him go home," she cried.
The dragon looked her, surprise evident in his eyes. Keara got her mother to put her down and she quickly ran to the dragon so many feared, wrapping her arms around his neck when he had lowered his head to her.
The king did not seem at all pleased, "This has gotten out of hand. Get off that thing Keara or there will be severe consequences. That thing is not human and so it cannot remain here."
"No!" Keara cried and tightened her grasp. She let go only when the one she was holding wriggled free, but before it move again she had it's snout in her arms. Seeing the child's tears stopped it from trying to get away.
"I want him to live," she sobbed.
"He is not human!" The king roared.
"I don't care," she cried, tears dripping onto the dragons' snout.
The dragon breathed softly as if to try and comfort the child. For whatever reason it felt affection toward the girl, perhaps it was because she was risking her own safety to protect him, or perhaps it was because she shed tears for him. What ever it was it held the same principle; she treated him much differently than any human ever had before.
Suddenly a light began to emit from the creature itself, causing everyone to shield their eyes, even Keara was forced to let go due to the brightness. After several moment the light began to fade away and everyone could once again see normally, but what they saw was not what they had not been expected.
In the place the dragon had once been now stood a boy looking to be around twenty with red hair and honey colored eyes. He seemed deeply perplexed as he looked down at his hands, turning them back and forth several times as if wondering if they were real or an illusion of some sort.
Keara looked at him in wonder, all tears now gone from her eyes, "Mister dragon?"
The boy put his hands down looked at her calmly before stooping down and giving a smile. Tears came back to the child's eyes as a smile appeared. Without a word wrapped her arms around her neck.
"What just happened?" One of the guards asked in complete confusion.
Keara's mother smiled, "He turned into a human."
"A dragon cannot do such a thing," the king said sternly.
"I believe he just did my lord," she responded softly. "For whatever reason, he is now human, so you cannot bring harm to him, lest you go back on your words."
The king growled and watched as the boy-once-dragon stood with the child safely in his arms. "You," he said viciously as he the pointed to the boy, "May fool the others, but you do not fool me." He glared at the boy before he continued, "You will protect that girl with your life to prove that you are worthy of such a form. Should any harm come of her," he smirked, "You will be executed."
The boy-once-dragon was not fazed by the words, but it was clear that he understood them. The girl in his arms looked from the king to him, a small smile appearing when their eyes locked. "Mister dragon, what's your name?"
With a light laugh at the name she kept calling him he answered with, "You can call me Drake, as my true name would be too hard for you to pronounce."
Keara smiled widened, "My name's Keara." She hugged him, "I'm glad you can stay and be my friend."
Drake was unsure of what to do for a moment, but soon figured something out. He kept her supported with one arm and with the other he stroked her hair, "Me too."
The three that had listened had smiled plastered on their faces. "That's so cute," Katara said.
"Wow, you guys go way back," Aang said, "Sorta like Appa and me."
"Ya," Keara looked to her dragon friend, "Sort of like that."
"I never would have thought of a dragon having compassion," Sokka mused.
"We have many things humans tend to neglect," Drake said coolly, "But after being around your kind for so long I understand why."
Aang looked back in the direction they were traveling in before laughing, "There the village. We'll have food soon Sokka."
Sokka grabbed his stomach and leaned over as it grumbled, "Why'd you have to remind me?" he groaned.
Aww. That was a cute recollection, but geez, her dad's a huge jerk… but I hope you knew that already. Lol