"Zuko. I'm begging you. Look into your heart and see what it is that you truly want."

"It's time for you to choose. It's time for you to choose good."

"Ever since my son died–"

-Iroh


"Because I'm not sorry for what I did."

The quiet that bloomed outside, beneath a trees shade from the sun, held a soft essence: deep and tolerable. Zuko couldn't press his finger to it, push it down to nil– and he didn't want to. It was a quiet that wasn't disturbed by voice, by words. Speaking didn't break the silence that breezed with the wind of "understanding" and the airs of "listen". Zuko leaned back against the tree trunk, fingering the vial Song handed to him. How tiny it was, in the palm of his hand...

He clutched it.

"It's better this way." He went on speaking, comfortably. "It's the way I've chosen. I have no regrets." The gash in his left arm– bandaged by her– the tear on his left sleeve attire– fixed by her– the cuts and bruises on his legs– herbed and cared for by her. Her, who he had stolen from. Her, who he had not seen in many a-time. Why did she help him? She, who owed him not the breath to which she spoke to him!

"The Fire Nation...you are a fugitive." Song wrapped up her medicinal supplies on the moist soil pricked with bright green grass beneath them. "I've seen posters...You are the prince of the–?"

"Not anymore."

"I see."

"Do you really?" Zuko crunched the vial in his palm; its blue juice flowed down his wrist. "Because I don't. I can't accept this. I don't know you well enough to."

Song looked down at the broken shards of the vial, a mixture of surprise, sadness, and comprehension playing on her face. Finally, she answered his wordless barrier: "I do see. I see a lot more than you yourself may, Prince Zuko–"

"– Junior," Zuko corrected firmly.

"I'll call you what I like after you crush my medicine," Song said calmly, and Zuko suspected she used this stern voice– equal to his own!– on her tempermental patients. "There's no rush to send yourself to an early grave right? There's been much more death than when you last left; I won't let there be anymore if I can help it. The Fire Nation hasn't taken away my right to help– and neither will their Prince.

Now, Junior Prince, come on."

"Junior Prince!" burst Zuko.

Song nodded. "Junior Prince. Small Prince. Ostrich-horse stealing Prince. – They all become one prince, don't they?" Song shook her head, and then smiled, cloth bag strapped around her shoulder. Without asking for approval she bent and hoisted Zukos arm around her.

"What!" Zuko burst, blushing, flustered. "What are you..!"

"'What' prince," Song added...smirking? She heaved, and then- with remarkable power for someone her size- pulled him to his feet in smooth motion. "Up you go!"

"I stole from you–! You could have tried to poison me with that vial for all I–!" Zuko shouted, unable to withdraw his arm from her grasp; she held on tight and his energy was drained enough just from standing.

"– Lean more on me. There you go. Lets do our best; there's no hurry to get there...but all the better. Your injuries," Song said, as they stepping in unison together, slowly, by long pause-by-pause, "need more treatment , with more medicine then what I have on me at the moment–"

"Why are you doing this?" Zuko tried to search into her eyes- melt her into a submissional response: bribery, Azulas secret power, Dai Li agents- all the appropriate answers- but she would not look at him directly; Song only faced forward with a determined, yet somehow hopeful and reassured smile on her face.

"– your injuries–" Song kept going back to. She would not answer the question.


Authors Note: Hey there readers! Hopefully, this first part was a smidge enjoyable? It has been an impulsive choice to write this, fun nonetheless. This takes place just a bit after the second season finale. No plans. No plots. Nothing. Just a firm "go" of the chapters for me. Hope you enjoyed it and thank you for reading! Happy fic-finding in the Avatar section!