Okay. I know these chapter are short, but like I said...I just sort of make them up as I go along. Thanks to all who have been reviewing. I hope this next chapter is good...not my best, and sort of boring I think...but shrugs I'll let you decide that for yourself, so read and review:3

Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar or anything related to it...Very sad, I know...


Chapter Four: Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire

Aang was obviously distressed since he was pacing. He rarely ever paced. It was almost making Katara dizzy just watching him "Aang…you should sit down…"

"How am I supposed to sit down? I can't even stand still. Why aren't we going any further?" Aang asked and seemed almost angry at the fact that they were no longer flying.

"We can't just march up to their front door, Aang, and demand that they let Zuko go." Sokka said while still studying the hand drawn maps that Zuko had made for him. They were almost like blueprints. The ex-prince had surprised him with how much he really knew, and also with his ability to draw…it was much more superior to Sokka's, but that wasn't saying too much.

Toph was leaning up against a resting Appa who groaned loudly at them. The animal seemed to sense his friend's distress as well "You're wasting your energy, Twinkletoes. We'll be going in to kick some Fire Nation butt in no time." She said as if she were very carefree about all of this.

"But we don't have time! He's already been with them for this long…they won't keep him alive much longer." Aang said quickly and ran a hand over his bald head.

"Aang-"

"I know you still do not believe in him, Katara, but I do. We can't let them execute him!" Aang yelled and seemed to surprise Katara greatly.

The water bender gave a soft sigh "I know, Aang…I just want you to make sure that you do not rush into this. The last time we were here we had a bit of an advantage…you know that the Fire Lord wants nothing more than you right now, and-"

"You do not have to tell me that, Katara. I know…and I've known for a long time." He swallowed hard and closed his eyes "He's helped us a lot…I'm not going to leave him when he needs us the most."

"Maybe he doesn't want help…" Toph said softly and knew that they were all looking at her now "Before he left…he was lying…"

"What? Why didn't you tell us before? I knew that-" Katara was cut off by Toph sighing loudly again.

"Geez, Sugar Queen. Calm down. I confronted him about it before he left…"

FLASHBACK

"Hey, Hothead."

Zuko turned around to look at the earthbender and sighed "Yea?"

Toph walked over and stopped his arm as he had turned back to keep putting some supplies in his pack "Why are you really leaving?" she asked more curious than angry that Zuko was keeping something from them.

Zuko looked at her hand then back at his things "I already told you guys."

"And I do not believe you. You're almost a worse liar than Sokka…you're heart was beating pretty fast earlier…What are you afraid of?" Toph asked in the same tone.

Zuko didn't answer for a while then finally slumped his shoulders a little "I have something that I need to do to keep Aang safe…I think I've out stayed my welcome."

"That's not true. You're welcome here with us." Toph said with confusion in her blind eyes.

"Thanks, Toph, but I need to go. I've done what I came to do." Zuko said with a voice that was much lighter than his usual abrupt tone. He shouldered his bag and started to walk out his little door, leaving Toph behind himself.

"Oh, and Toph…"

"Yea?"

"If you see my Uncle again…tell him that I am sorry that it took me so long to finally understand what he was trying to tell me." He said softly before walking out.

FLASHBACK ENDS

The others looked confused…especially Sokka.

"What does that have to do with anything?" the young man asked while still studying his maps.

"Don't you get it? He left because he didn't want to end up getting Aang hurt. I think he knew something was going to happen…" Toph said thoughtfully.

"But how could he know that?" Katara asked and sounded more curious than accusing now.

Aang's eyes widened a little "His dreams…he saw something in one of his dreams…

"Dreams…?" Katara asked while narrowing her eyes.

"He wanted to know what I thought of his dreams since I've been to the Spirit World… he told me that he had been having a lot of strange dreams lately, and wondered if I thought they could mean anything. I told him that dreams are usually brought to us by the Spirits that want to teach us something." Aang said and sighed and almost looked more guilty now "He didn't have to leave…"


Zuko groaned as he woke up slowly and found that he was once again in a holding cell, but at least he could see a bit more in this one. Apparently, they did not seem to be worried about him firebending at the moment. They knew he was too weak to do very much. That was true too, however, he was feeling a little better which surprised him.

He looked down at himself as he sat up and noticed that his entire upper half was bandaged up and the blood that had been dried to his face was gone. How long had he been out? He tried to stand, but found that to be too much of a strain on his legs which hadn't been used very much. He groaned as he ended up back on his hands and knees.

"Why do you keep fighting against them? Against what they want?" came a voice from another cell. Probably just another prisoner "They'd finish you off a lot faster if you gave in."

Zuko looked up in the direction of the voice "It is because that is what they want me to do. I will not give in, because they want me to." He said while trying to stand up again and used the bars on his cell to hold himself up. His legs shook a little, but at least he remained standing. He still couldn't see the man's face, but he could see an outline of his face and body. He was sitting on the ground and leaning against the wall behind him, but he was sitting up straight. "You're still in here…why haven't you given up?" Zuko asked the man coldly.

"Are they safe?" the man asked suddenly.

"Who?"

"The ones you were with, the Avatar and his friends…"

"Yes, but how did you-?"

"Katara and Sokka are my children." The man said and leaned into the light. Sure enough, those bright blue eyes and tanned skin could only belong to someone from the Water Tribe.

Zuko's eyes widened in realization "You're Hakoda?" he asked and blinked then looked around "And the others?"

"As far as I know they are all still alive." Hakoda said softly and sighed while leaning back once again "You have a good heart, Prince Zuko. I can see it in your eyes."

Zuko was once again amazed by what this man was saying "But I'm not-"

"Not a prince? Of course you are. You still hold that title. You were born into it, and you earned it as well. I know quite a bit about what you have done, and what you have been doing recently. You are very brave for doing so…" he paused and chuckled "Oh yes, we all know. We're prisoners, but we still hear many things, and the news that you were captured circulated very fast. They will be coming to get you…you know that, right?"

"Who?"

"Your friends of course…they would never leave you here."

"Friends…" Zuko said softly then turned his head as he heard a door open to the cell block.

"The guards are coming for you now…good luck, Zuko, and may the Spirits protect you." Hakoda said then was quiet.

Zuko glared at the guards who were now standing at his cell. One was holding a scroll and pointed it at Zuko.

"Bring him." The guard said before turning and starting to walk away again.

Zuko tested the chains on his hands while backing away from the cell door as it opened. He could see all the weapons they were carrying and the one with a scroll had keys…

A guard moved towards Zuko first and was quite surprised to have a foot smash into his face and was sent sprawling backwards into two other guards who ran forwards to subdue Zuko, however, the young man seemed to be quite desperate to get out of his cell now.

The guard with the scroll turned and his eyes widened as the second and third guard were knocked back and Zuko hopped into the small area outside of his cell, and ran at the guard. The guard with the scroll was tackled to the ground.

Zuko had the keys in his hand quickly and the chains off in an instant. His legs were still wobbly as he made his way towards the door.

"Sorry, Zuko…" came a sweet voice from above him and he felt sharp jabs hit various points on his body which immediately went numb. Ty Lee landed to his side with a look of guilt on her face as Zuko fell to the ground with a cry of disdain.

Zuko looked at Ty Lee first then his eyes landed on two others…his sister and "Mai…" he whispered and noticed how the young woman wouldn't even look at him.

"Oh, Zuzu…you never fail to amaze me…after all of that you were still think that you could escape?" Azula said while walking over and kneeling by his head and lifted it up to look at her "Didn't you want to say hello to Father first?" she asked with that wicked smile on her face.

Zuko then realized that he had played right into her hand. She had sent those other guards just to see how much fight he had left in him…he knew those guards were too easy…

Azula stood up and looked at the guards who were getting up now "Pick him up…he won't be able to fight you now…" she growled before walking out of the cell block once again.

Zuko looked at the floor as it seemed to get further away from him as he was picked up again. He turned his eyes back towards Hakoda who had a smile on his face and nodded to him. Zuko looked back at the floor as he was brought back out into the light while on the way to his father's throne room. He couldn't give up now…he knew where their father was…he could still do something. He had to get free, but he knew he was running short on time.


Well, there you go. I think this will only be a couple more chapters long...I hope you are enjoying it. Please remember to review!