Omake – a little bit extra, prompted by one of my reviewers, Riana1. Not to be taken seriously.
"If only there was a metal that was liquid," murmured Iroh to himself as he watched his nephew, the Avatar and the waterbender girl squabble for the third time that day.
"Huh?" said the waterbender boy. Sokka, wasn't it? "Isn't that quicksilver? I thought Gran Gran was going to murder me when I broke the last bottle of it in our village."
Iroh stared at the boy for a second. Quicksilver. Mercury. How could he have forgotten? But then, it was used for healing and that had never been something he was good at. He began to laugh, and surprised the boy with a hug. The laughing continued for a long time, and Sokka joined in even though he had no idea why Iroh was so amused.
Finally, Iroh calmed down and wiped tiny tears out of his eyes. "Out of the mouths of fools," he said.
The reviews seem to have sparked a lot of debate about metals and people so I thought I'd clarify a few things I couldn't work into the story on the theory that if one person asks, other people want to know.
Ozai's wife – Zinc, a metal that is stronger when mixed with other metals/elements. Usually used as a protective shield for other metals like iron.
Iroh's wife – copper, which combined with iron (unrefined steel) makes bronze (Lu Ten).
Azula – steel. No question. This scares Iroh.
Ozai being gold - Iroh's thinking about the older properties of this metal, namely that it comes from the sun where all firebenders take their power; that it glitters and shines and always wants attention; that it's worth the most when soft and pure, and that Ozai is anything but.
Azulon – Iroh used to think his father was steel, but later he decided on cast iron – strong, tenacious and impossible to bend.
And there you have it for the extended metaphors. Thanks to everyone who reviewed!