Disclaimer: Don't own A:TLA for god's sake! Jeez!
Note: This is being written for a challenge fic issued by 4EverSleepingDragon.
Warning: This fic contains mpreg (male pregnancy) and possibly OOC-ness, although I do try to make all characters as IC as possible. It is sort of an AU-fic as well, since we all know that mpreg will not happen in the normal episodes. Also, there is yaoi (slash) in this story, so if you are against that, please leave. Do not say I did not warn you.
Anything else? Uh…mild cursing perhaps…dunno. I'll put more warnings up later if I deem it necessary. Hope you all enjoy.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, there were no Fire Nation soldiers attacking… save for that retired Fire Nation general downstairs who was currently on a murder rampage.
Well… it kinda had to do with why he was currently hiding in a closet.
Sokka sat huddled in that small musty closet, praying to any God, Spirit, or deity who was willing to hear him that Iroh would not find him. He tensed though, when he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. He was too nervous to recognize them.
The footsteps stopped in front of the door and he heard it creak. There was a soft silence, then,
He let out a sigh of relief when he heard that. It was Katara. He opened the closet door just a tad bit, still too scared to come out. That senile old general could be scary sometimes. "In here."
There was a pause, then the closet door jerked completely open, making Sokka wince at the sudden light flooding into the tiny place. Katara stood before him, staring down at him with surprise on her face mixed with amusement. "What are you doing in there, Sokka?"
Sokka paused, glancing under the closet door to check if Iroh wasn't anywhere. "Hiding, what did you think I was doing?"
"In a closet?" Katara sighed, putting a hand on her hip. "Stop being so stupid, Sokka. This closet isn't even ours."
"So?" Sokka snapped, grabbing the door and trying to shut it again, but Katara stopped him. "I'm borrowing it."
Katara held back another sigh as she rolled her eyes. "Oh for the love of… Get out of there already."
"It's rude to hide in other people's closets, especially an old lady's one… besides, Iroh's not going to kill you."
Sokka looked up at her at that. "What makes you so sure?"
"Because Aang had managed to talk to him and now he's talking with Zuko."
"Zuko? He's awake?"
"Yes, he's awake, and in a really grumpy mood." Katara answered, smiling a bit.
Sokka winced and tried to shut the door again, but Katara stopped it. "Now you see why I need to borrow this closet."
"For the love of the Spirits, Sokka! It's your fault anyways! Now get out of there and face the consequences!" With that, Katara grabbed her brother's shirt and yanked him out.
Sokka let out a yelp as he tumbled out of the closet. With a groan, he sat up and glared at his sister. "Easy for you to say! You don't have an insane Firebender trying to murder you!"
"Of course I don't." Katara replied sweetly. "Now get downstairs and apologize."
"For what? Trying to stay alive?"
"No!" Katara let out an exasperated sigh. "For hiding in the poor old healer's closet! Then, I want you to sit down and have a nice long chat—yes, Sokka, WITH Iroh—and find out what exactly is going on."
Sokka snorted. No way in hell was he going to sit down with a senile, overprotective, old man, who just happened to be a Firebender. "Make me." He snapped.
Katara stared at him in surprise, trying to decide whether her brother was being extremely brave or extremely stupid. She finally decided on the latter one, and shrugged, flipping open her canteen.
Two seconds later, there was a smack and a loud yelp.
Iroh was standing by the small bed, an uncharacteristically angry expression on his face as he stared at his nephew. "You knew the consequences!" He finally yelled, unable to keep quiet any longer. Someone had to put some sense into his nephew's head! "You knew what could happen if—"
"I know! I know!" Zuko snapped, finally turning around to face his uncle. "I just… forgot…"
"Forgot? FORGOT?" Iroh almost lost it right then. "HOW in the world can you forget such an important thing like that?"
Zuko shrugged coldly, turning his head away again as he glared at the wall.
Iroh snorted, a small wisp of smoke rising from his nostrils. He had not been this angry with anyone since…well…since his nephew had been banished. "I thought you were more mature then this! I thought I could trust you not to do anything rash like that! I thought—"
"I KNOW!" Zuko screamed, smoke rising from the corners of his mouth. Guilt trips. How he hated them. "It was just a spur of the moment and--"
"THESE THINGS ARE NOT SPURS OF MOMENTS! THERE ARE ALWAYS CONSEQUECES, AND IN YOUR CASE—" Iroh roared, but was interrupted by Zuko.
"UNCLE! I KNOW! SPIRITS DAMN IT! HOW MANY TIMES—"
"Don't you DARE bring Spirits into this—" Iroh snarled, flinching a bit. He had had enough reason to fear the Spirits.
"I'LL BRING THEM IN IF I WANT TO!" Zuko yelled, glaring at his elder. There was a strained silence, and then Iroh raised a hand and swiftly smacked his nephew across the face.
Zuko went silent immediately, eyes widening in faint surprise. His uncle had never hit him before…
Iroh gritted his teeth. "Will you stop being so stubborn?" Iroh hissed. "I know I've said I wanted grandchildren, but not from you!" But as soon as those words were out, Iroh immediately regretted them.
Zuko's head snapped up at that, the pain in his cheek forgotten. "Why?" He hissed venomously. "What's wrong with me!"
Iroh winced. He had not meant it the way it came out. "Zuko...—" But he got no further.
Zuko's jaws clenched as a smoke cloud began to form around his head. "Is it the scar? Or is it because I'm banished? Or because I was born under the Sun? Or—"
"Zuko, listen to me!—" Iroh tried to explain, holding his hands out as if pleading. But Zuko would not hear him out.
"NO! I WON'T LISTEN! GET OUT!"
"Zuko! I won't get out until you hear me out!"
But Zuko had jumped up from his bed, ignoring the sudden sick feeling in his stomach, and shoved his uncle in rage out the open door. "GET OUT AND STAY OUT!"
With that, he quickly slammed the door in Iroh's face and locked it.
Iroh immediately tried to open the door, although he knew it was useless. "Zuko! Open this door right now!"
There was no answer.
Iroh sighed as he rested his head on the wooden door, letting his shoulders drop. If he could change anything in time, it would be what he said. He really had not meant that. It just was... a spur of the moment.
He inwardly winced as he remembered what he had said about that.
He hated loosing his temper like that. He always ended up saying something he did not mean and then look what happens.
He turned to look at the two water siblings.
Katara frowned as she glanced at the locked door. "It didn't go well, did it?"
Iroh sighed, massaging his temple, trying hard to pretend the water tribe boy didn't exist. "No." He admitted. "And I'm afraid it's mostly my fault."
Sokka shifted uncomfortably at that, but said nothing.
Katara glanced at her brother, but said nothing to him. "How so?" She asked instead.
Iroh glanced back at the locked door. "I said a few things that did not come out how I meant them to come out."
Katara winced at that. "Oh." She too glanced at the door. "And let me guess, he took it the wrong way."
Sokka glanced between them and mustered up his courage. "Can I go in--…" He winced at the glare from Iroh, "--To talk to him? JUST to talk?" He quickly clarified.
"I think that's a great idea."
The trio turned around to see Aang standing a few feet behind them all. He looked back at them, the usual carefree smile gone, but there was no anger on his face. "Think about it. It makes perfect sense. They're already a couple...well, nearly…and maybe Sokka can calm Zuko down."
There was a strained silence as the youngsters turned now to look at Iroh. Iroh frowned, thinking a little then sighed, letting his shoulders sag. "All right." He looked at the Water Tribe boy hard now. "But just to talk."
Sokka quickly nodded in agreement.
Meanwhile, Zuko strode around the room, ignoring his uncle's plea to open the door. He snarled at the walls, smoke rising heavily from his mouth.
Now that had hurt. But not nearly as much as the guilt he felt now.
His uncle was right…like always. Zuko sighed as he rested his head on a wall, closing his eyes. How could he have been so stupid? Stupid hormones…
Why did he have to let himself be wooed like that? Now he had gone and gotten himself pregnant. Great.
What would people think? What would father think?
Zuko's eyes snapped open at that, his breath hitching. Father. Oh shit.
He was so dead.
Letting out an angry growl, he swung his fist then hissed in pain as his fist collided painfully with the wall.
Glaring down at his fist, which was starting to become red, he swung it again, punching the wall. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Why him? Why not some random other person? Why HIM!
But he knew he wasn't the only one cursed like this. About one-fifth of the entire Fire Nation population was like him.
He felt tears prickle the corners of his eyes, threatening to escape. He squeezed his eyes shut and swung his fist again. He would NOT cry. Crying was a weakness he could not afford.
But this time his fist connected to the wall and pain shot through his arm like a wild fire, almost making him cry out in pain. Managing to hold it back though, he let out an inaudible gasp as he quickly grabbed his fist and slammed his back against the wall, sliding down onto the floor.
Once he got his breathing under control again, he glanced down at his fist and winced. His fist was bleeding now, and badly.
Letting out a sigh, he ignored the pleas from outside the door, asking him to open it. He didn't want to deal with anyone right now.
Quietly he tore a piece of his tunic off and began to wrap his hand gingerly in the white cloth. Blood was already beginning to stain the clothing.
Sokka sighed as he tried to door again. "He's not opening it." He finally reported, turning around to face Aang and Iroh. Katara had disappeared to find a key.
"I got it!" Katara called out as she ran towards them, waving a small metal key. "Here." She handed it to Sokka and then backed away, laying a hand on Iroh's arm. "Come on. Let's leave them alone a bit." She said quietly, gently tugging Iroh away from the door.
Iroh let out a soft sigh as he glanced back at the shut door and Sokka, then followed the Waterbender down to the kitchen.
Aang glanced at Sokka and smiled encouragingly, before trotting off after them.
Sokka watched them go before fitting the key into the keyhole and unlocking the door. Gently pushing it open, he stepped inside.
Zuko bit back a groan. He did not want to see Sokka now. Oh well. At least it wasn't Iroh. "Leave."
Sokka bit his lip, scanning the room for the Firebender, before catching sight of him huddled against the wall. "Look, I just want to talk—"
Zuko didn't look up, only snarled, "Good for you. I don't."
Sokka sighed. "Look, I'm sorry okay? I'm sorry—"
"You don't even know what you are sorry for."
Sokka paused at that. That was true. He had no idea what to be sorry about. He took a step closer to the Firebender. "Still. I'm sorry—"
"Don't be." Zuko replied curtly. "It was all my fault and I knew the consequences and I should have warned you."
Sokka took another step forward and crouched down in front of Zuko. The Prince didn't even glance up at him. "But still…Oh Spirits! What did you do to your hand?"
Zuko's jaw clenched as he tried to hide his bloody fist. Sokka, however, quickly reached over and grabbed it, dragging it out to full view.
"Let go." Zuko snapped, his temper flaring.
The Water tribesman ignored him, however, as he unwrapped the bloody clothe. He let out a soft hiss as blood began to drip from the wound. "What did you do!"
"I said, let go." Zuko growled as he shoved Sokka away from him, and quickly began to wrap his fist into his tunic.
"I'm trying to help! That fist is bleeding badly and—"
"Why do you care?"
Sokka bit his lip at the question and fell silent. He could feel Zuko's eyes finally looking at him, boring into his soul, but he did not have the courage to look into those amber eyes.
The question was cold and snappish, and Sokka didn't know how to answer. There was an awkward silence, and then Zuko looked away, scoffing. "Just as I thought."
Sokka snapped his head up at that, gazing at the Firebender. Licking his now dry lips, he finally murmured the answer.
Zuko blinked and glanced up at the peasant. "What?" He had not heard him.
"I said, I care because I…" Sokka paused, a faint blush creeping onto his cheeks, "I love you."
Zuko stared at him for a few seconds before chuckling bitterly. "Sure you do." He snarled, looking back at his fist as he began to rewrap it tightly.
"Yes, I do!" The other protested, inching closer. Why was he not listening?
Zuko refused to look at the peasant. It was a trick, he knew it. "For Spirit's sake, stop lying! I was just a one-night stand, and we both know it."
Sokka paused, staring at the bender. Was that how he really thought it went? "No it wasn't."
Zuko slammed his good fist onto the floor, looking up to glare at the peasant. "Yes, it was! It was a spur of the moment and—"
"No it wasn't!" Sokka growled, feeling his own temper rising. "Is that really how you see it?"
Zuko paused, looking away. No, yes…he didn't know how to see it exactly. So he kept quiet.
Sokka watched him intently, feeling his own anger wane as the silence edged on. "You weren't a one-night stand, really." He whispered, loud enough for the other to hear it.
The Prince just grunted, not looking at him. Sokka sighed and reached over, kissing the other softly on the mouth.
Zuko's eyes widened a bit, and he automatically brought his hand up fully intent on pushing the other away, but stopped. Gently, he let his hand slide back down into his own lap and grasp his bleeding hand.
Sokka pulled away after a few seconds, a small hint of a smile on his face. "So tell me, what exactly is going on?"
Zuko sighed softly, turning his head away. "Our nation was created by the Sun and the Fire Spirits," He began. "Much like your Ocean and Moon Spirits. The Sun was the very first Firebender, so to say. He was the one that taught us how to bend. But…" Zuko paused, looking down at his hands. "You know that the Spirits were the ones that created us, right?"
Sokka nodded, shifting into a more comfortable position beside the Firebender.
"Well, unlike the other Spirits, the Sun and the Fire were both male. So in order to create Firebenders, the Sun bore them himself after a long and painful pregnancy. He managed to create two children, a girl and a boy. They eventually became the very first Firebenders, not to mention the very first Firelord and Firelady." Zuko paused at that. "In my nation," He continued, taking a deep breath. "We can be born under two Spirits. If you are born under the Fire, it means that you are a normal male or female. But if you are born under the Sun, it means that you, like the Sun, are able to bear children if you are a male."
Sokka listened with silent fascination. He had never heard this legend before. Actually, he hadn't heard any Fire Nation legends at all, now that he thought about it. "So how do you know if you're born under the Sun?"
Zuko sighed, studying his bloody tunic. "In my nation, whenever a child is born, they cry and make a fuss almost immediately after they are born. Those children are deemed to be born under the Fire, since like the Fire, they fight. But sometimes, there are children who are born quiet and calm, just staring into the world and not saying a word. Those children resemble the Sun, for like the Sun, they are quiet and peaceful. They are those whom we deem to have been born under the Sun."
"And let me guess, you were born like that." Sokka finished for him.
Zuko nodded. "Yes, I was."
"So…" Sokka glanced at the bender. "You are now pregnant with a kid?"
Zuko nodded again.
Sokka suddenly chuckled. Zuko blinked and stared at him like he was crazy. He saw nothing funny about this.
"What's so hilarious?" He snapped finally. His temper could not take it anymore.
Sokka kept on grinning. "Nothing. Just trying to imagine you nine months from now."
Zuko's eyes widened and his face began to redden slightly. "Excuse me?"
Sokka giggled. "You heard me!"
Zuko shot him a glare, then looked away. "So you don't care?"
"What?" Sokka cocked his head. "That you're pregnant?" He shrugged. "I've always wanted kids…That is, if you don't mind."
Zuko stared at him, then frowned. "Uncle is going to kill you for this you know."
Sokka flinched. "I know. That's why I spent the past few hours hiding in a closet."
"What?" The stare increased. "You hid in a closet?"
Sokka nodded. "Yep. It was a tad bit uncomfortable though…"
Zuko rolled his eyes. "How brave." He murmured sarcastically.
"Yep." Sokka answered before standing up. "I'm going to get that old healer woman. She'll do something about your fist."
Zuko said nothing as he watched the tribesman leave. Sighing inaudibly, he glanced down at his wrist.
The peasant had taken it better than he thought he would. But through all his years of experience with people, he had learned not to trust anyone save for himself and Iroh. Sokka would get sick of him and ditch him soon enough. It was simple as that.
He fingered the bloody cloth unconsciously.
He had been a one-night stand after all, had he not?
Well, that was the first chapter. Hope you all enjoyed it. (Hope you like it 4EverSleepingDragon) I'm trying.
Read and Review please, and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism accepted. Seriously, CONSTRUCTIVE criticism only. I really do hate that 'this sucks' or 'this is one of the gayest fuckin' fanfics I've ever read' kind of thing. It's lame and does not help me improve my writing at all. If you do write that kind of thing, please write other stuff around it like 'more descriptions' or something. Thank you.