Hello, I'm back, and I'm sure ya missed me;) Haha, I know you didn't but still…All right, I'll let you go ahead and let you read while I sit back, spinning in my chair (Spins) WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
WARNINGS: Nope, nothing that will offend anyone I hope. Except Toph does swear, once but that's it.
Hmm… I wonder when Katara will come back? I hope she hasn't strutted off somewhere and gotten lost…
What? It's not like I care if something happens to her… I don't! Stop looking at me like that! Why don't you believe me? I was just wondering because-
"Hey Zuko!" A cheery voice appeared out of nowhere. I opened my eyes to see a pair of grey eyes staring back. I'll give you three guesses, on whom I am looking back at. "Watcha doing?" The air bender asked floating high, upside down in the air. He achieved this by standing upside down on what he called, an air scooter.
"Nothing." I replied. "Shouldn't you be training?"
"I was, but now I've finished!" Aang grinned. "Wanna play with me?"
"Why not?" Aang asked, pure disappointment shadowing his face. He skipped off his air scooter, like an acrobat. I'm sure even Ty Lee would be jealous of his grace and stature. Oh great, now Aang is making his sad turtle duck face. How can the Avatar be so powerful, yet so innocent? I swear, the air bender's façade of virtue will be his greatest weapon…
"Because I am too tired. Ok?" I said.
"Why?" Must the Avatar keep asking these useless questions!
"Because last night I stayed up to guard the camp."
"To protect you and everyone else in the camp."
"So no one can turn you in to my father and kill you!"
"Why?" Ok! I know the air bender isn't this dumb! He's playing a game with me! I know, because I can see that little mischievous grin on his face! Well a twelve-year-old boy will not wind me up!
"Look, are you going to stand there and ask me stupid questions, or leave me alone?" I snapped, sounding a little angrier then I really was.
"Ok, ok, I'll leave you alone. Geez, if you wanted to be left alone, you could have just said." Aang said, walking off with his air bending staff in hand. "I'm going to find Katara and Sokka. Maybe they will play with me! Come on Momo!" He chirped. The loyal lemur appeared out of nowhere and jumped onto his master's shoulder as he jumped off the ground and soared into the air with the help of his staff.
You know… even though he's the Avatar, he sure doesn't act like it. He acts more like… like a… well, like a twelve-year-old. That is what he is…
A child… And I guess all children need to be protected, sometimes. Even the Avatar…
The Avatar was messing around in a pile of wire he had taken from Sokka's fishing rod. I didn't think the Water Idiot would be too happy about that.
"What are you doing?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at the tangled boy.
"Argh, ah!" He grunted, as he struggled out his predicament. "I'm trying- Ah! To make a present for- Ah! Katara!" Aang finished, when he finally released himself from the wire.
"Why?" I said suspiciously. I knew the air bender had a crush on the water tribe girl and made many attempts to court her, but I wondered why was there this invidious feeling that was welling up inside of me? Aang seemed confident in showering Katara with gifts, but I had too much pride for that. Was I jealous of Aang? No! No, no, no! Haha, I've been letting these stupid thoughts get the better of me lately…
"Because, Mother's day is just around the corner! Didn't you know that?" Aang said. Mothers day… that brings back some memories… Painful ones…
"… Yeah, I knew…" I replied, with a sullen expression. I turned away from the Avatar's all knowing eyes, for if he looked upon my face, he would know something was wrong.
"Are you ok Zuko?" Aang asked.
"Yeah, fine, it's nothing." The Avatar instantly perked up, beaming up at me. "But you still haven't answered my question. "Why would you give Katara a gift on Mother's day? She's not your mother, last time I checked."
"I know…" Aang said. "But, she's kind of like a mum. Don't you think? She's the first girl I've ever known, she takes care of me like a Mum, she gets mad whenever I get hurt and she defends me from stuff, like turtle ducks biting me!" He smiled.
"Stupid turtle duck! Why'd she do that?"
"Zuko, that's what mom's are like. If you mess with their they'll bite you back!"
For the first time in ages I smiled. I remembered all the times my Mother had protected me to the extent that she had given up her life for me…
"Well, I guess I'll go back to making this stupid bracelet! I'll never get it done before Mother's Day!" The Avatar whined, desperately trying to manipulate his labour. He failed several times.
"You're doing it all wrong... Give me that." I took the wire from him and showed him how to make his gift, properly. "Now watch what I do and then you try it." I explained what he had to do in great detail, until he got the gist of it.
"Wow! I did it! Thanks Zuko! I didn't know you knew how to make jewellery!" Aang grinned. "Is it one of you secret hobbies we don't know about?" I gave him a light smack on the back of his head. I would not accept any of his cheek!
"No! But like you, I was once a boy who wanted to please his mother on Mother's Day." I told him. The airhead blinked.
"You were a boy?"
"Just take the bracelet!" I snapped. The little boy complied, taking the piece of jewellery and ran off, giggling to himself. I rolled my eyes, wondering why I ever bothered helping these people. But… at least I got something in return. I smiled at the memories of my mother that were flowing through my mind… She made me really happy. Avatar, you may be annoying, but you bring back great memories…
Master and Student
"Come on! It's very simple!" I snarled at Aang. "Igniting fire from your finger tips is the easiest thing you can do in fire bending!" I encircled the boy, a merciless glare on my face. Aang averted his eyes away from me, a frown tugging on his lips. "Why won't you listen to me!"
"I am listening!" He cried.
"But you're not trying hard enough!" I growled. "Tell me Aang, what's holding the mighty Avatar back? Is one simple task too easy for the powerful bender? Or are you not bothered that the lives of thousands of people depend on you learning the art of fire bending!" I screamed at the air bender a little too loudly.
There were the puppy eyes again. Now that was the time to feel like an oaf. Though you could never tell, my face was masked with annoyance. Before anyone could utter a single word, Aang ran off, pushing his way through the forest.
"Aang wait-" But Katara was too late. He already disappeared. The boy's mother figure ran after him. Toph glared in my direction, throwing daggers at me with her eyes as best as she could. Even with her lack of sight.
"Nice work dumb ass." She commented, following the air and water bender into the woods. I turned around to see the disappointed face of Uncle and a blank look from Sokka. That's when the remorse hit me.
"What?" I spat out. "Look, I'm sorry, but Aang just wasn't co-operating! I got frustrated ok!" A reassuring hand placed itself on my shoulder.
"It's all right nephew. You're still learning how to be a teacher, it's ok you made a mistake." Mistake? Mistake! I never make mistakes! I had to slap some sense into that boy! "But next time, you should be more wary of your temper." Well, I can't argue with that…
"I just don't understand… I try to teach him something that's been a part of my culture since the beginning of time, and he could care less!" I sighed, crossing my arms.
"… There's a reason why Aang won't co-operate…" Sokka began. "It's a long story, but I think this will help you to understand…"
The water tribe boy told another story from the many events that happened during the journey to the North Pole, which I wasn't a part of. The tale consisted of Jeong Jeong the Deserter, a twelve-year-old boy playing with fire and a water bender in tears.
"And that's why he's afraid to fire bend again." Sokka concluded. "He's afraid if he loses control, that one of his loved ones will get hurt." I stood there, I didn't know if I was surprised, shocked or maybe even ashamed at myself.
"… I see… Excuse me…" I left Uncle and Sokka, I felt their puzzled gazes trailing my back. I was on yet another hunt for the Avatar. But this time I didn't have a price on his head.
"Do you think I got through to him?" Sokka asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I think you did." Uncle smirked.
I pushed passed every branch and every bush until I finally reached a clearing. There Aang sat on an edge of a cliff, watching the sun set. But he was not alone. The water and earth benders were sat on each side of him. The daughter of Earth was consoling Aang with a nice pep talk and reassuring hand on his shoulder. I took note that Aang was blushing under Toph's touch. And the daughter of water sat there smiling at the brood of youngsters, knowing everything was going to be all right.
There were three of the elements, joined together as equals. They were one whole…
There was still one element missing.
"Ahem." I coughed. I successfully gained the attention of the group. The Blind Bandit narrowed her eyes in my direction, again, ready to make another sharp-tongued comment. It was the water bender that surprised me. I half expected her to mimic Toph's expression. But her face was shadowed with a surprised, almost sullen look. Her eyes had wonder in them; she was wondering whether I had come to beat Aang into fire bending or whether I was here to apologise. But whether it was one thing or another, she took her motherly role and was ready to protect Aang.
The boy himself shook in fear in his spot. His eyes widened at me and slowly huddled closer to Toph.
"Aang. Could I have a word with you, please?" I said as calmly as I could. "Alone."
The Avatar signalled for Katara and Toph to leave. Katara respected his wish, but Toph was not as lenient as she was. Katara took Toph by the hand and dragged her away, even though she kept struggling against Katara.
But she gave up eventually.
But that was so unlike the stubborn earth bender, I thought to myself.
I turned my gaze back at Aang. The Avatar sat there, like a Saber-Toothed Mooselion cub; Turtle duck eyes and all. To think he was actually afraid of me, when he had such power at his fingertips... It didn't make any sense. He could easily wipe me out.
Or maybe he doesn't want to.
"Sokka told me what happened." I started. "When you tried to master fire, you ended up hurting someone close to you, and now you're afraid you'll do it again." He didn't reply. The air bender confirmed my statement, nodding in agreement. "But you can't run from fire forever. Running is what got into trouble in the first place." I recalled the story Aang told me, when he had ran away from home.
I took a seat next to him as his gaze turned away in shame. Maybe even in embarrassment.
"But sometimes being afraid is good." The boy's eyes widened, he looked up at me just to make sure I wasn't joking. "It's an emotion you can draw from. And fire bending is all about emotion, turning it into power and moulding it, taking control." I emphasised my knowledge, by flickering a flame from the palm of my hand. I couldn't tell whether Aang was hypnotised by my words of wisdom or by the blaze. "Being brave Aang, is being able to face your fears, despite your anxieties. And if you're brave enough to control fire, and to command your emotions, that will make you a fire bender. Follow my words carefully and you will not falter Aang. And I will try to keep my temper at bay."
I looked Aang straight in the eye when I told him this. His eyes burned possibly with inspiration and maybe even adoration. A grin tugged on his lips.
"Thanks Zuko." He said. I was surprised I managed to keep a straight face through out. If I ever smiled in front of the air bender, at that moment, I would never hear the end of it.
So we sat there for a while, not uttering a word. You could say this was a mushy moment between a student and master, but I'm not really a fire-bending master myself. At least, not yet.
Lately I have had to play the big brother role. Not that I have had a choice in that. Maybe it's just the way the Avatar thinks of me… I don't know how he could have ever trust me, after the 'I must capture the Avatar' phase. Maybe he just wants to pretend that I am a part of the family he never had… Or the family he lost.
It's all complicated…
End… For Now…
Can you feel the drama! And this is supposed to be humorous! Hehe... I've got to fix that. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and thank you for reviewing! There's more Aang and Zuko friendship (or acquaintanceship since Zuko is too stubborn to admit anything) coming soon.
Oh and if anyone has any new info on the Avatar Movie movie coming out on the 14th of July? If you help me find the trailor for it, I'll dedicate a chapter to you!Thanks.