I don't own the Avatar: The Last Airbender or any of its characters.
All I Need
Chapter 1 - Where All of This Started
Story by Last Butterfly
Summary: While the gaang's looking for Appa in Ba Sing Sei, Zuko had his own reasons to go and find them, and he's also forced by two freedom fighters to look for their disappeared leader. What will happen if they meet?
It's a continue after Ep36. Zutara, Blutara
The first morning rays of the sun were descending upon the city of Ba Sing Se. The banished prince of the Fire Nation woke up in the house that was situated in the lower ring of the earth kingdom's capital.
When Zuko walked out of his room, he found his uncle sitting by the table… with a cup of cold tea. „You haven't drunk your tea." He stated with a raised brow, bringing the old man out of his thoughts.
„Oh… you're awake! Yes, it's really a sad sight, isn't it?" He answered, while peeking down at it before making a small smile. "I'll heat it up once we've talked."
The young bender sat down next to him and looked at him worrying. „Did you sleep? You look tired…"
„I am tired… but it's not what I wanted to talk about." He hesitated for a moment and looked up from his tea to his nephew. „I had a dream last night."
„If a dream makes you leave a tea perhaps I should have tried to whisper: You don't like teeea… when you were asleep." He smirked.
Iroh smiled proudly „I see your sense of humour is finally coming back." His smile faded away „But to be honest it's just rude to joke with that! You know that tea means much to me!"
After a moment of silence he asked his uncle about the dream. "In my dream I have seen war. The firenation army had arrived to Ba Sing Se, and they came with giant flying machines… I'm afraid that the avatar doesn't own the sky anymore."
„That's all?" Zuko asked. „Everyone can count on that the war will come upon the city. The refugees know peace is only temporary here… hmmph! Peace… with these walls! It's more like being caged!" He groaned.
„I have seen the walls cracking, breaking and falling down."
„Yeah, those should go down!"
Iroh raised one of his eyebrow „Will you let me continue?" His nephew nodded, but his frown did not leave his expressions.
„I have seen you and the avatar too."
„Did I capture him?"
„No…" He hesitantly started while eyeing the prince for a second. "You were fighting side by side with him and his friends." Zuko's eyes immediately narrowed.
„They would never trust me after everything I had done… you know that." He looked away.
„Perhaps not the fire prince… but the Blue Spirit?"
The scarred bender sat up straight. „You've said he is just a legend." He said quickly and his only eyebrow rose with expectation.
Iroh smiled before speaking out. „I might be old but I'm not blind! You have tried to hide that mask during our whole journey… and you are very talented with broad swords. Besides why would anyone else who knows the firenation's barracks try to free the avatar from Zhao's hands? ...if you remember: he tried to get you out of the way for that."
„I thought you didn't know…" The prince seemed rather disappointed than surprised now that his secret has been revealed.
„Don't worry about that, I'm good at keeping secrets!" Iroh smiled widely.
„Yeah? Like when you told everyone that I had a date?!"
„Oh," Iroh's smile widened more. Indeed… „I'm just proud! Charm is in the family! …It's a pity that it didn't work out though… Jin was a really nice girl!"
Zuko felt like smashing something „If it's going on that way I will just go and sell tea…"
„No, there's more. But you know…" He hesitated for a moment before he went on. "It's the worst part of the dream." Iroh closed his eyes and sighed. „In the end I have seen Lu Ten. He wanted me to tell you a secret I've kept for a long time, and he told me… that we will meet again soon." Zuko's eyes widened.
„No… Don't say That." He closed his eyes. Just don't say that! Please…
„Zuko…" He opened his eyes and looked at his uncle desperately. „I am dying."
„Come on! The sun is up already!" Blue eyes opened lazily „Sokka are you awake?"
„Look for me in the kitchen… perhaps I'm there." he said slowly.
The door swung open and Katara found his brother in bed again „Sokka! I've pulled you out of bed once!" Katara smirked. „But if you want me to do it again…" She bended out the water from her pouch and send it circling above his brother.
His eyes wide opened as he saw the water then he began smiling „Oh I've just realized this is the moment I feel myself ready to go." He jumped out of his bed and just slipped away from a wave of water. „Haha! Good try… I loved it ten minutes ago too." he crossed his arms.
She made the water return to her pouch and smiled „If you had woken up when I've just asked you I wouldn't have had to do that."
„EVERY MORNING KATARA?!" Sokka groaned.
„If you simply never wake up! Don't blame me because of your sleep loss." She sighed, slightly shaking her head. „It was much easier when you simply didn't have a bed."
„Well maybe you should just ask me nicely. Guys like that you know… you should try it sometimes and maybe not just jerks would run after you!" He said out of annoyance, but as her cheeks flushed he had a hard time to force his expressions not to change.
„Hey!" Katara grimaced. „Not only jerks come after me! Do you know who is being a jerk right now, Sokka? It's you!" She hissed, and felt her nails digging into her palm but chose to ignore it. "If you wouldn't be in their tail every time they try to speak to me, then maybe I could have a normal relationship once!"
Sokka lifted his eyebrow and looked at his sister, his eyes suddenly aware and suspicious. „What do you mean by relationship exactly?!"
„Aaah!!!" Katara palmed her forehead. „Sokka, you are such a…!" She only let the sentence finish with a murmur while turning on her heel then she went out of the room.
„We are not finished yet young lady! …" He stomped with a foot, but as she only gave him an icy glare then disappeared wordlessly. His shoulders slumped for a sec then he threw his hands up in the air. „Argh, I just can't stand her voice in the mornings!"
A rather angered female voice came from somewhere in the house „Snoozeles! I'm going to bend you out of your room if you don't hurry up NOW!"
„I am coming!" Like they had it easier waking up… He sighed and finally left his room and his bed within it.
When he reached the hall where the others were Aang just slipped in the front door. „I don't see Joo Dee anywhere. Perhaps we get rid of her…" He peeked out the door again „But in case she returns the plan is divide and conquer. So I will go with Toph to one direction and Katara, you and Sokka go right the opposite way. Is that clear?"
"Of course… but maybe I could go with Toph, and you could take Sokka." Katara said.
"What? Why?" Sokka raised an eyebrow. „You don't want me to be around, do you? Just so you could run after some boys! Katara that is really nasty when you should be looking for Appa!" he smiled self-satisfied.
"Ooh… maybe Sokka will come with me then." Aang said.
Sokka's jaw dropped „You agree with HER? Come on where is the solidarity amongst men? She just cannot go alone!"
"Khmm… she won't be alone." Toph punched his arm. "I will be with her."
"Well that was what I feared…" he said as he kneaded his upper arm.
"Ok. So now that we are over this we'd better get moving… I want to look for Appa without any crazy-smiling zombie-looking woman this time!" said Aang as he turned to open the door.
"Waait a minute…" Toph turned her head. „Someone is…"
In the moment the door opened the three of them widened their eyes and took up their fighting positions. Someone was at the door…
"Well never mind… you see now." she joined the others "Who is it?" asked Toph.
No one said a word… the man in the door was smiling from ear to ear. Except of the smile he was the same. Brown hair almost in his eyes, a blade of grass in his mouth, two swords with the hooks in its' ends. He didn't even blink. „Good morning! I am Jet. I will be your escort today."
„No way! You can't! That's… that's not… that cannot happen!" he jumped to his feet. „I'll get a doctor."
Iroh sighed. „The doctor was here two days ago… when you went to the marketplace. He said that he cannot help. I'm old nephew… my heart just can't catch up with my lifestyle." he said with a half smile.
„Is it because…" Zuko bit his lower lip „because of Azula's attack?"
„No… it's not. I had redirected lightning too many times… getting one is just not so big deal…"
Zuko's face darkened. His thoughts were racing… The feeling of helplessness grew inside him. Over worry and fear anger reached his mind. He clenched his fists. „Arrgh! I should have let that waterbender…" He stopped suddenly and his eyes slowly widened as he realized perhaps the only chance they had. „That's it!"
The old general just raised an eyebrow at his nephew's reaction. „That's what?"
„I'm going to find the avatar!" he answered as he jumped on his feet.
His uncle heaved a sighed „I thought you got over that by now…"
„What? …I didn't mean! Aw…" Zuko shook his head then explained. „I don't want to fight with him! I'm going after the Water Tribe girl who's with him!"
Iroh's face suddenly brightened with a smile. „Oh… well I a kind of expected that once you would… she is such a nice girl." Zuko's jaw fell. „I felt there was something when you tied her to that tree… the air was vibrating between you!" Iroh smiled as proud as ever. „You are just like your uncle."
„WHAT? NO!" Iroh smile vanished at the half grimace, half scowl on his nephew's face. „She is a healer!" Zuko shouted and his good eye twitched once. „She can help you!" There had been a short pause. „And there was nothing between us! And NEVER will! Did you understand me?!" He said louder than necessary then turned around furiously… „Me and that little… ehhh!"
„Her name is Katara if I remember well…" Iroh smiled.
„Kata…" He stopped before saying it out then shook his head. „Not important! She is a healer that's what counts." He went back to his room and slammed the door.
„Well he's not a crazy-smiling zombie-looking woman, is he?" Sokka asked ironically.
„Jet what do you want from us?" asked Aang.
Jet still smiling widely „I got straight orders not to leave you alone while you are wandering the streets of Ba Sing Se."
„How could you come back after what you have done?" Katara asked. „Do you want to freeze again?" she smirked.
„Again?" Toph asked, frowning at the thought that she had not been informed about something before. Again. „Who is this guy?"
„Former rebel and freedom fighter, his name is Jet and he had a crush on my sister." Sokka said and gritted his teeth.
„Wow…" Toph smirked „Cool!"
Katara roared and turned to his brother „Could you just stop it?! You are on my nerves all day and it's slightly past nine!!!" she frowned „Don't make me water whip you!"
"I think you should really calm down now" Aang said "or someone is going to get hurt…" both Sokka and Katara looked angry as they glared at Aang. He already regretted he had tried to calm anyone… he began smiling widely like Jet and took a step back.
„What are you talking about?" asked Jet. Now they realized that his smile faded and his face darkened as he tried to remember something but then he blinked and his smile returned. „We have never met before." He said in a carefree voice they never heard him using before.
The others were too surprised to say anything. „So, if he's a former rebel, who was in love with Katara…" Toph started.
„He was Not in…"
„Yeah, whatever, so why doesn't he remember you?"
They all fell silent except for Jet „So where would you like to go today?" smiling.
„Ooh come on… that smile is creepy!" Sokka turned away.
Jet reduced his smile's deepness and now looked almost normal. Well, in a still creepy way.
„How can you not remember us Jet?" asked Aang. „You know… the kids from the trees… you were fighting against the fire nation's army that stayed in your forest. You made me and Katara flood a whole village of the fire nation but Sokka saved its villagers… can't you recall anything from that?"
„This is funny. You're probably mistaking me with someone else." Jet closed his eyes and his smile widened again.
The gaang looked at each other and than back to Jet. Katara sighed „I guess we won't be going anywhere today… let's just go inside and sit down."
They started to return back to the living room Aang and Toph were the first then Jet then the siblings. Sokka took his sister's hand and made her stop. „Katara…" Sokka rolled his eyes as he gave up „Ehm… maybe I went a little bit far with this thing… but I just want whatever is good for you. I'm sorry."
„Thank you Sokka." She smiled with relief „And sorry for that jerk thing. I… I didn't mean it you know how I am when I'm mad…"
Sokka smiled „It's ok." He hugged his sister. „Now let's question Mr. Dazed-faced-creepy-smile, shall we?" Katara nodded and they went after the others.
Teashop… teashop… Zuko was at the counter washing teacups, pots and teacups again. He stopped for a moment and closed his eyes. I'm not in a teashop, I'm not doing the dishes and I am definitely not wearing an apron. He opened his eyes. Teashop. He groaned then turned to peek at his uncle again.
Iroh just finished a joke at one of the tables. The old couple he was entertaining began laughing and he smiled widely and laughed with them.
Zuko smiled sadly. How can he be so cheerful every time? He turned back to the pots and cups and other pots and sighed. Sometimes he was envious of his uncle. After all they have gone through in their lives his uncle became wise, understanding and he still remained happy. Ever since he could remember he had only been stubborn and desperate… and he did not know the way to change that. Perhaps he would always be like that, whether he wanted it or not.
But maybe that's why… no, especially that's why…
"I won't let you pass away uncle." He whispered in a determined tone. "I'm just not ready to let you go."
„Khmm," Someone coughed behind him. He turned back and saw a tall man with a big hat and a little boyish girl next to him. They were Jet's friends from the ship: Longshot and Smellerbee.
Zuko's eyes held a glint which made it clear that he was not 'happy' to them again. „What do you want?" He asked rudely.
His uncle peeked towards the counter. His eyes widened as he saw the newcomers then he returned to the old couple with a bright smile of his. „I hope you will like the Jasmine tea. Now If you'll excuse me…" Then he hurried there smiling at them too. „Welcome my friends! Would you like a cup of tea?"
„Thank you Mr Mushi but we have just a few minutes and we would like to speak with Li." Smellerbee said turning back to Zuko.
„Oh, just Mushi please!" Iroh said „And if you have some minutes then you should come and try our new fruit cakes! These came out of the oven right now." Zuko looked at his uncle with narrowed eyes.
„Thank you Mr Mushi."
„Just Mushi!" Iroh smiled and returned to one of the tables.
„Your uncle is a nice man." She said.
„You didn't answer the question." The prince barked. „What do you want?"
Smellerbee looked at Longshot. He nodded and she returned. „We wanted to talk to you about Jet."
„I haven't seen him for two weeks. Why do you ask me?"
„Well…" Smellerbee hesitated for a moment then continued. „We haven't actually seen him since either."
„What?" Zuko raised his eyebrow. „He did not return?"
„Last time we saw him it was you fighting with him. And we saw that the Dai Lee took him away."
„We know why he attacked you… he was obsessed with the thought that… you know. I don't need to explain… we thought one night in jail would clear his thoughts and he would stop following you. But he didn't come back. We looked for him in the whole lower district. He disappeared." Smellerbee said sadly and Longshot put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
„That's really sad but why are you here?" 'Li' asked.
„We thought maybe you could help us find him. It's a kind of your fault that he disappeared…"
„I have my own… issues to make first." He peeked at his uncle who was watching them from the corner of his eye. „And why should I care for someone who would love to slice me in two?" he crossed his arms.
„Because…" Smellerbee looked at him with calculating eyes. „Because we know that he was right about you."
Zuko's face darkened as he gave her a similar glare she had. „I don't know what you're talking about." He replied. „Now if you'd excuse me I have work to do…" he said and started to turn his back to them when Smellerbee continued.
„We have seen you at the fountain." She stated simply. The prince stopped at once.
„It was not too wise to impress a girl with your… abilities." She smirked.
The young firebender turned back with a blush on his face. „You were Spying on me?!" He spat out.
„Well… we knew if Jet would return you would be the first who had to realize it." She said with an evil little smile. It just reminded Zuko of his own sister. „You were lucky though. The Dai Lee wouldn't be so understanding."
Lucky… He knew he had lost. He turned back to them and closed his eyes. „What do you want from me then?"
„So you're in?" Smellerbee asked.
The scarred teen opened his eyes. „Do I have another choice?"
Smellerbee smiled „No, not really."
„Then speak." He grunted.
„We will go to the upper tiers to look for him. We have found some places on the walls that are not so well guarded at night. But we need to be quick and we need something that would distract the guards' attention."
Zuko's eyes widened „You want me to get caught?! Forget it!"
„We don't need you as a victim." Smellerbee said and looked in his eyes. „We think some fire would do it instead…"
„I'm not so sure that This was a good idea." said a bored voice. „Did we really need these dresses? I hate this colour…"
„I think it's funny! Isn't it Azula?" Ty Lee asked. „We're going into Ba Sing Se! I've always wanted to perform here! … But somehow the fire nation circus just wasn't invited." She sighed sadly.
The sunrays lit up a pair of golden eyes as the princess looked out of the train, at the city. „I think it is the best way to get close to our enemies." She smiled and looked up at the acrobat. „You shouldn't use my name here though. We don't want to draw attention upon us, do we?"
Ty Lee gave her a worried face then smiled apologetically. „Sorry!"
„So how should we call you?" Mai asked.
Azula's gaze followed the high walls they just left before she began smiling. „Call me Ursa."
„Ooh," The girl who usually wore pink hugged her friend. "I think she would love to hear that."
„Or perhaps not…" The dagger thrower murmured while observing her fingernails, as if even those had been more interesting than the Earth Kingdom Capital.
The prince was only smiling slyly. „Well, we'll see." She hesitated for a moment and continued. „Don't forget that you're wearing the uniform of the Kyoshi warriors…" Her smile widened. „Thanks to some of our friends, I don't think we will have any troubles here."
„Maybe we won't but our pride has just faded with this make-up…" Mai complained.
Ty Lee looked at her smiling. „Think about it as acting. It's like being someone else!"
„Yeah, someone without dignity." She grimaced.
„We just need to be helpful looking and we can go wherever we want. And maybe these uniforms will be good for a little trick too." Azula said thoughtfully.
„Oh you want to set a trap, don't you?" Mai smiled for the first time.
„You just read my mind Mai." Azula smiled back at her.
The acrobat raised one of her eyebrows and then she began smiling too „I hope we will meet the cute guy again!" she asked.
Mai and Azula sighed at the same time. „Ty Lee, you consider everyone cute."
Ty Lee smiled widely „If you don't like them, I will have more." she giggled.
Mai rolled her eyes. Azula stood up and stated „We have arrived."
A/N: Well, this is how it started. Let me know if you liked it, ok?
I've started editing this story... I'm a bit behind myself, but soon I'll go on with this too. Well, if anyone is still out there. XD