Run Summary: Okay, the rules of engagement between the air bender and Zuko had always been simple: he runs and Zuko chases, but why is he being chased now!

Rating: All Audiences; K

Disclaimer: Nope … not mine.

Image: Avatar Impractical Escape by Lainchan.

Title: Run

Tag Your It!

Do not pout.

The sun is shining.

The wind is fresh.

Restore your vigor,

My broken Prince.

Zuko ducked behind a bush as he heard someone desperately call out his name. He tried to calm his breathing, but he had been running for so long it was a wonder he could stand at all, for that matter breath.

"Zuko! Where are you? I'm bored with this game!" A small voice called out, making the teenager twitch as if death had just whispered his name.

Quickly, the prince tried to get as small as possible as he leaned into the dirt like a whipped dog. Had the air-bender finally decided to do him in? Please don't find me! Zuko took a deep breath and held it, trying to remain as still as possible; Uncle's voice echoing in his head. Be one with the tree, be one with the tree. True, that had been meant for getting out of a tree and not breaking a limb, but who was counting?

Suddenly, the air-bender flew by with his friends in tow, nearly making the prince gasp, "Where did he go?"

"Does it matter? I'm hungry. So, unless we're going to cook Zuko up and eat him. I think we should do something more valuable with our time … like finding something to eat," growled Sokka as he scratched the back of his head with his boomerang.

Katara rolled her eyes. Her brother was such a child.

"Is that all you think about, your stomach? And cannibalism … eww much? Now come on, let's find Zuko before he gets away! We can't let our plaything's trail grow cold," laughed the water bender as she raced down the trail with the Avatar at her heels, dust following in their wake.

Sokka glared at the two disappearing figures and called after them, "You're both crazy! Even if we do find him, doesn't mean he'll do what you ask. WE SHOULD AT LEAST THINK ABOUT EATING HIM!"

Zuko finally gasped for breath as he watched the water tribesman chase after his friends. Were they gone? Truly, truly, gone? Not like last time when he had hidden under that royal woman's robes. After a few minutes of silent prayer to every god the young prince could think of, he rose from his hiding place. He then leaned against the tree with a sigh. Why was this happening to him? Hadn't he suffered enough in the past few months? The young man scratched his chin. Okay, there was only one way out of this situation. He needed to change his name and become a cross dresser… or pretend to be Earthnation, they both wore dresses anyway. Yes, that would do.

The fire-bender looked around once more and then turned around only to squeal in horror as he was met head on with non-other than the Avatar. The young monk was hanging from his knees by a tree branch, a huge grin implanted on his face. Zuko didn't even have time to think as Katara and Sokka both grabbed one of his arms. The teen quickly looked from side to side at the two grinning figure and then he looked forward, dread setting in his gut. This was the end! The end! He was too weak to fight right now, too exhausted.

"No. You can't. You wouldn't dare. No, I'm too young to be eaten," cried Zuko before his mind could catch up to him. "Please, you can't do this. Y-you're the Avatar!"

A still moment hung in the air, Aang's face taking on a curious expression … before he dropped to the ground, laughing himself silly. The young air-bender then drew close to the prince, pulled out his pointer finger, and tapped the teenager on the forehead stating, "You won't fool me Zuko! You're it!"

Sokka and Katara then jumped away giggling, leaving poor Zuko standing there with a dumfounded look on his face. The trio was almost out of sight when they stopped to look at Zuko, confusion written on their faces.

"What?" called Aang. "Don't you want to play anymore? We've been playing tag since we left the pole … don't tell me you're bored already?"

"What?" whimpered the prince in a stupor. What was going on? Here the avatar had chased him for the past week and for what … to poke him in the head?

Aang was soon near the prince again, but far enough away just in case it was a trick so the teenager could tag him, again. "Come on, your it!"

Zuko just blinked. "O-okay."

And the chase was on, once again. The only thought residing in Zuko' head was that he was NEVER drinking uncle's tea, again. The old man must have spiked it.


Paw07: Yah, yah. Stupid humor, but if you stop to think about it the first season was really like a huge game of tag.