He has fallen so very far.

-I failed again-

His eyes are shut

- the pain is too much-

He wants to cry

- but all the tears are gone, burnt away-.

He hears the voices, hears their whispers of disgust and antipathy, their jeering murmurs of humiliation and broken pride.

- please forgive me-

He hears the footsteps of his father, echoing away, a dying heart, a throne denied, a fatherhood forgotten.

-Please don't leave me-

Silence.

-Why do I always lose-

"Get up." The voice is brusque, but kind. "You are exiled, not dead."

-Thank you-

Zuko grasps his uncle's waiting hand.