A/N: This is the sequel to my fanfic "Lucky to Be Born"—please read that one first if you haven't already! Not only will it clarify some things in this 'fic that might otherwise be confusing, but I consider it one of the best things I have ever written.
About the dates: I have written them in a format suggesting the use of the Chinese lunar calendar, but to make it immeasurably easier on myself, the actual months and days are those of our modern Gregorian solar calendar: hence, "10th Day, 7th Moon" means July 10th. The zodiacal year I figured out mathematically—in "The Library," we find out through Sokka's setting the dials in the planetarium that the current year in the series is the Year of the Monkey; if we assume that Zuko has or will turn 17 this year, that puts his birth in the Year of the Hare. Further, according to the official Fire Lord timeline revealed by co-creators Mike and Bryan in a recent interview, Azulon reigned for 75 years, and Zuko was 11 when the old man died. This puts Zuko's birth in the 64th year of his grandfather's reign. (Yes, I know the above information contradicts the eulogy given in "Zuko Alone," but I trust Mike and Bryan to know what they're talking about over a writer who may not have had access to the official information when drafting the script.)
That is all. Enjoy!
Excerpts From the Diary of Princess Ursa
10th Day, 7th Moon, Year of the Hare (Azulon 64)
Future readers may wonder about the gap of nearly three weeks between my last entry and this; the reason is that this is the first day since the birth that I have been well enough to get out of bed and write. I could, I suppose, have forced it before now, but my lord husband is quite insistent that I be careful. He has not quite forgiven me for coming so close to death.
I remember little of the birth itself, save flashes of immense pain and, worse, the despair of thinking that my baby and I would both die, and he without first living. But Dr. Chung has proven himself to be, possibly, the finest surgeon in all the capital, and we are both alive, and my son is as healthy and beautiful as ever I could have hoped for. My lord husband has named him Zuko—a fine, strong name. May he bear it well as he grows.
The truth, however, is that my son will be my heart's joy no matter what he becomes. While I was pregnant, I often tried to imagine what it would be like to hold my child in my arms…but my fantasies never anticipated the reality. One cannot truly imagine mother-love until one has experienced it for oneself. I know now that I would die for Zuko without a moment's hesitation. But even more than that, I want to live for him—to be a strong and healthy mother upon whom he can rely for all forms of nurture.
I must laugh—as if he knows what I am writing, he has awakened and begun to cry for my breast. I shall continue this entry when I have finished nursing him.
My lord husband came to visit us while I was feeding Zuko. He made a half-hearted attempt at scolding me for getting out of bed, but as Dr. Chung has authorized it, he has little justification for preventing it. Instead, he expressed vague disapproval at my choice to suckle Zuko myself instead of hiring a wet nurse. But this, too, the doctor has recommended; he says it will speed my healing. My lord husband believes this is obvious nonsense, but it is not he who has a medical career spanning decades. I am sure that Dr. Chung has the right of it, for my feeling of well-being when I am nursing my baby is quite profound.
I think the truth of the matter is that Ozai is envious of Zuko, who requires and receives so much of my attention. Though he did not often seek out my company before the birth, he at least had the assurance that it was his for the asking, an assurance which he has no longer. The day before yesterday, I had Su-Lin turn him away from my chambers because I did not wish to be disturbed while holding my sleeping baby. He kept his temper, but the look on his face so alarmed Su-Lin that I dismissed her for the evening.
I shall close with that, for I have other work to do. I mean to petition Fire Lord Azulon to award Dr. Chung an official acclaim for saving Zuko's life and mine, and I must draft the letter of request.