Chapter 3

"Ok, The Duke, hand me the rock."

"Which rock?" The Duke looked at the small pile of tools/rocks.

"The one I used for a hammer" The small child warrior handed him a flat rock

with a few indents in the center, showing prior use, hoping that it was the

one he wanted. Without so much as a second glance, Sokka continued his work.

"You don't have to this Sokka. I'm sure I can be fine..." Teo looked

worriedly at the rock and at Sokka's already bandaged and throbbing

fingers.

"Hey I promised you a chair and I'm going to make you one!" narrowly

missing another finger, Sokka continued building a make-shift chair for Teo

with an indignant look on his face.

Toph heard the three boys more than she felt them. She smirked at Sokka's

foolishness and he hit another finger with a yelp. She knew Teo was there, as

he was the only one that was not moving his legs, and The Duke was the

smallest one in the little family of sorts, so it was not hard to spot him in

a crowd so to speak. Walking over to the little group, Toph sat down next to

Teo.

"How's it coming along?" She asked

"Um..." Teo hesitated, "Great."

"And by great," The Duke said, rolling his eyes, "I think he means

terrible."

"Hey! "Sokka said indignantly, "This is going to be the best wheel chair Teo

has ever had!" Teo gave a nervous smile, and then looked towards Toph.

"So, spent some time with that Zuko kid?" Teo really didn't want to see

Sokka hitting another finger.

"Yeah," Toph said, lying out. "I guess he's alright. Just gotta beat some

sense into that boy." She stared blankly at a cloud over head, obviously not

really seeing it.

"Or just gotta beat him" Sokka smirked as the others laughed, already knowing

about 'redeeming his honor' shtick.

Toph got up quickly and looked over her shoulder. "What are you trying to

stalk me?" partly serious and partly sarcastic. The others looked up as they

saw Zuko standing there, his arms crossed over his chest.

"I just figured I should probably talk to Sooka"

"It's Sokka." He corrected.

"Whatever," Zuko said. He walked closer to the group. It was a bit awkward as

everyone avoided eye contact with him. "So...Teo right."

Teo looked up, "Yeah?"

"So..." Zuko was trying to find the right words to ask him, but he didn't

want to try and offend Teo. It's bad enough that everyone else hated him,

"How

did..."

"A flood," Teo said. " I was hurt badly and my mother was killed." Teo seemed

very short with Zuko.

Zuko looked toward the kid in the helmet. The kid sniffled and wiped his nose

with his arm. "The Duke right?" Zuko asked

The Duke nodded. "Yep, The Duke's my name, former Freedom Fighter's the

game..."

"Freedom Fighter?" Zuko's good eyebrow perked up, "As in Jet?"

Sokka and Toph perked up at that the mentioning of Jet.

"How do you know Jet?" Sokka asked

"I met him in Ba Sing Se." Zuko said. He looked at Sokka who in turn looked

at Toph.

"Hey The Duke," Sokka said, "I need more rocks."

"But you got plenty right here." The Duke said motioning to the pile he

painstakingly made so it wouldn't topple over.

"Well I need more!" The Duke got up and walked away, following Sokka's

orders. Sokka waited till he was out of ear shot, then turned to Zuko." So you

met Jet in Ba Sing Se?"

"We met on the boat there, helped a few people. When we got to Ba Sing Se, my

uncle was stupid enough to heat a cup of tea. Jet noticed. He tried to

convince others my uncle and I were fire benders, but got arrested for

starting a riot.

"So it's your fault then." Sokka accused.

"What's my fault?" Zuko immediately took the defensive.

"What happen in Lake Laogai?" Sokka said, then he sighed, "Never mind." He

continued to work on Teo's chair. Teo looked from one teenager to the other,

having no clue as to what was going on.

"Lake Laogai?" Zuko asked quietly.

"Yeah," Toph said, "It was a big headquarters under a lake that the Dai Li

used as a prison." She fiddled with a blade of grass.

"Yeah, I know about it." Zuko said, adverting his eyes.

" How do you know about it?" Sokka said. "Wait a minute...YOU WERE

BRAINWASHED BY THE DAI LI SO YOU CAN TAKE AANG BACK TO THE FIRE NATION!" Sokka

yelled as he stood up pointing his finger in Zuko's face.

"No I wasn't." Zuko said, as Sokka sat down. Zuko sat down next to Sokka and

Teo. "I found out that Aang's bison was lost. So I figured that if I found it

and took it, Aang would come looking for it and..."

"Well that was a pretty stupid plan." Sokka said without looking at Zuko.

"Anyway..." Zuko went on pretending he didn't hear Sokka's remark. "My uncle

followed me to Lake Laogai and convinced me not too. So instead, I set him

free."

A loud thud came from Sokka hitting his finger with the rock, again. He was

just

too shocked that he heard such a thing. He looked at Toph who had the same

expression on her face. Sokka cleared his throat, "Well, The Duke seems to be

taking a long time getting those rocks." Sokka sighed, "I needed one for a

screw driver." Sokka took his sword out of its case, "Sorry

swordy."

"You named your sword swordy Sokka?" Teo asked, a slight smile playing at his

lips.

"You sound surprised at that." Toph joked

"Ha Ha." Sokka mocked.

"When did you get a sword?" Zuko asked.

"A few weeks ago." Sokka said flatly, " Paindao trained me."

Zuko let out a small "Ha" at Sokka's remark.

"What?" Sokka said jumping up and getting in Zuko's face again.

"I've heard stories about Piandao." Zuko said, "Fought off a hundred fire

nation soldiers. I highly doubt he'll train you." The skepticism was thick in

the comment.

"Well, do you want to make something of it?" Sokka said in a threatening

tone, backing up and getting into a fighting stance." I see that sword on your

back. Let's do this right now!"

Zuko stood up and reached back. He grabbed the sword handle with one hand.

Then what seemed like to be in one motion, he spilt them in half, having one

part of the whole in each hand.

"Ok so you have two." Sokka said. "Still shouldn't be a problem." Sokka

lunged forward toward Zuko.

Toph, slammed the ground with her foot, causing the ground she and Teo were

sitting on to rise up.

"Why'd you do that?" Teo asked,

"This is going to get ugly." Toph said, "and I sure do not want to be

anywhere near it."

Zuko caught Sokka's blade in between his two blades, Zuko then lifted up his

foot and kicked Sokka causing him to fall down. Zuko ran toward Sokka, to

which he saw just in time to roll out of his way. Just as Zuko passed him, he

quickly got up and was back-to-back with Zuko.

"You're pretty good." Sokka said, as he swung his blade in Zuko's face.

"Thanks." Zuko said blocking Sokka's sword. "You're not so bad yourself."

Quickly Zuko ducked, and removed his swords, causing Sokka to fall down.

Thinking quickly, Sokka ducked his head under and rolled then quickly to stand

up again a few feet away from Zuko. He ran toward Zuko again, giving his sword

a low swing. Trying to dodge the attack, Zuko lost his balance. With Zuko

lying on the ground, Sokka seized his opportunity and put his foot on Zuko's

chest, putting the point of his sword in Zuko's face.

"You are pretty good." Zuko remarked. Sokka smirked and reached out his hand

and helped Zuko up.

"I do not believe this!" Toph said, flabbergasted as she lowered the

platform, "Are they actually getting along." She whispered it to Teo.

"It would seem so." Teo said just as amazed. He had only known both of the

boys for a short time, but even so, this was amazing!

"Hey doesn't mean it like the guy" Sokka said after hearing Teo and Toph's

remarks. "Let's just say...it's neutral… for now."

"Well that's good because I still don't like you." Zuko said brushing the

dirt off of him. Zuko turned over his shoulder, and gave a smirk to Sokka.

Zuko started to walk off.

"Wait a moment," Sokka said, "Where do you think you are going?"

Zuko shrugged, "Might go looking around this place." Zuko waved his hand and

resumed walking away, "Never seen a Air Nomads Temple. This'll be good time

to explore one."

"Well you go and have fun with that, or whatever it is that evil psychopathic

fire benders do. " Sokka said as he continued to build

Teo's chair.

After a few minuets silence, and Sokka coming close to the completion of

Teo's chair, which was another amazing thing Sokka had done that day. Toph

spoke up, "You know Snoozles, I'm surprised you let Zuko go off and explore so

easily."

"You're point?" Sokka said, not taking his eyes off Teo's new chair.

"Well didn't Katara say she was going off to explore the temple this

morning?" Toph lifted an ebony eyebrow suggestively.

Sokka eyes went wide. He dropped his rock and ran off in the directioin Zuko

had gone that morning. Sokka slowed as he passed, The Duke, "Hey, The Duke,

finish up Teo's chair for me, ok!" Sokka ran off.

"Uh, ok?" The Duke said, watching Sokka run into the bushes.

All three of the young teenagers heard a "GET AWAY FROM MY SISTER YOU

FREAK!" Toph couldn't suppress the giggles.