Hi, never intended to write for the Avatar fandom, until I came across a fic titled Mist by Reigning Fyre I was really impressed by the main concept of the story. This fic is based on a similar concept , the contents of the story however is original and totally my own. This is set after the end of the cartoon, with a slight twist from canon. And because of what I want to do with the characters, the main story is set a few years in the future to make them young adults.

Please be warned the story is angsty, and as it goes on definitely for ADULTS! Slash, slave, BDSM, and all other warnings. I own nuts.

Read, review and enjoy.

Dragon's Prey

Chapter one : Excess to requirements

The war did not end like they imagined. When Ang chose to spare the fire Lord Souzin, and just take his power away from him, Ang could not have imagined the ripple he caused. The 4 elements had buckled, warred for a moment, then achieved a balance and had been reborn.

Primodial energies raced across the land. The spirit of water, found a natural home in Katara, the spirit was gentle and the two bound easily. The spirit of air, found twin children and merged with the two, the twins balanced the energies between them, and would reignite the air nation. The earth spirit found Toph and the child raised by the creatures who had taught earth bending, hardly even noticed the new spirit within her, so seamless did they join.

Then the spirit of fire, fire burned, fire was dangerous, but fire unlike the others required fuel to burn. The spirit of fire of all the energies was the only energy that was a danger to itself, a danger to the one it bound with. Without the fuel to the fire, the one that cooled and well as caused the fire to burn, the bearer of the fire spirit was doomed in a matter of time, burning themselves up. Dying as their own flames killed them from inside out. Prince Zuko knew this, knew the dangers inherent in accepting the spirit of fire. Even so to ensure the prosperity of his nation, on his coronation, he accepted the spirit. And his whole life changed.

The first weeks were a constant struggle to find a balance between him and the fire spirit in him. His blood, his brain boiled, burned constantly. The energies inside him warred, and the benders of all nations came to his aid, to help his calm the raging spirit of fire inside him. Aang, Katara and Toph worked with him to channel the elemental force within him, to give it shape, to give it form. With their help he managed to put on a front during the day, and begin work on rebuilding the nation. His nights were full of his inner battle.

For 28 nights he fought the spirit, then on the 29th night the battle calmed. The raging fire spirit having tested its host was for now willing to be calmed. The benders came together, and all of them danced together. Their movements synchronizing, antagonizing, they moved together and against each other, but all the while in a strange harmony. Finally the fire spirit began to take shape, take form, and the Dragon was reborn. The fire spirit formed a dragon within the young Fire Lord. For the time being the spirit was satisfied, but it was only for a time. For the spirit to truly be at peace, its fuel, its sacrifice was required. But they had bought time, the Fire Lord could now live in relative control of the spirit for many years. All the benders who were satisfied at what they achieved knew, that sooner or later the sacrifice would be required or Fire Lord Zuko would be consumed.

It was only then that the Zuko and the others could take stock of the harrowing month.

There had been such a focus on the benders, in that one month, that it took a little bit of time, a few days after the successful yolking of the fire when it actually hit them. The non-benders on the Avatar team had left. Suki had gone back to Kyoshi Island to help them rebuild. And Sokka, Zuko was unsurprised to learn that the your warrior had returned safely to his homeland, where he seemed to have settled happily.

What surprised Zuko, was that the others did not know why the young warrior had left. They all believed it was because the fire nation were less then pleased that a non-bender had almost single handedly whipped their whole airship armada. Thus making the water warrior's stay in the fire nation uncomfortable. The others did not really understand fire nation, the fire nation warriors would see the your man's actions as something to be admired, Zuko had no doubt that songs were even now being composed in honor of the water warrior. No, the reason why Sokka had left was because Zuko had inadvertently revoked his welcome. In the grasp of the raging spirit a week after the coronation, Sokka had come to visit the Fire Lord, and Zuko had done the unforgivable, controlled by the spirit he had attacked the wounded and unarmed warrior, he had invited to his presence.

The memory of the incident were one of the few memories that stuck to Zuko from that time. Zuko had managed with the help of the benders to quell the fire spirit for a few hours in order to deal with major matters. Sokka had been the last item on his list for that day, before he retired to try controlling the spirit once more. Zuko remembered he had been so pleased with himself. He was going to offer Sokka the position as ambassador of the water tribe, and bribe him with the idea of being able to train with his sword master for a more meaningful period of time. The Water tribe man's ability to plan, to bring people together and somehow turn a bad situation into and advantageous one, would have stood the fire nation in good steed. All the papers had been prepared, and it had all turned to dust.

Zuko remembered the second last appointment leaving, he remembered his excitement and he grabbed the scrolls, and asked the guards to send the Water Tribe's man in. He would see the young warrior alone, his uncle was supposed to have been there, but was running a little late. Zuko had heard Sokka's voice from outside the door, telling the guard to be a "good man, and step aside" in a ridiculously pompous voice. The beginnings of a smile cracked Zuko's lips, Sokka on crutches walked in with a huge grin. Beaming at Zukko, Sokka clomped into the room, he said something, but Zuko could not recall what he said.

Zukko could only recall the spirit roaring in his mind. Breaking free of the restraints put on it, the spirit roared out, pushing his conscious control aside. Zuko tried to cry out, tried to warn Sokka but it was too late, he had no control of his body. His body stood, his hands caught on fire, and with fiery hands he lunged towards the unsuspecting boy in crutches. Zuko trapped in his own body, was horrified as his own clawed fired hand aimed for his friends neck. He was going to kill his friend.

But even disabled Sokka was not a warrior to be underestimated. In the split second he relised he was in danger, Sokka used the crutch as a weapon lashing out and slamming against Zukko before the fiery hands closed around his neck. The crutch was turned to ashes as the out of control fire Lord caught it, yanked it away from the boy and tossed it aside. Sokka leapt he caught himself on one palm, and back flipped landing on his good leg. Sokka was shouting at Zuko, but nothing registered. The spirit raged, and Zuko felt his foot lash out, Sokka tried to move away from the lashing foot, but with his leg he was not quite fast enough. He managed to avoid the flat of the foot, but Zuko's boot tip caught the young warriors side. Sokka was slammed against a pillar, and a distinct crack filled the air. The healing leg had broken again at the force of the blow. Iroh had walked in to witness the blow, the old man ran to put himself between the two men. Prepared to defend the Water boy against his nephew.

But it was unnecessary, the sound of the breaking bone, had fueled Zuko's own will. The young Fire Lord, had wrestled back control from the spirit, binding it, forcing it to crease its attack. Zuko shook with the strain of controlling the power. From a distance he heard Iroh shout out that they needed the other benders in the room as soon as possible. His uncle went to Sokka to help him stand. Zuko just managed to hold on to the spirit as it lunged for the Water boy again. Zuko remembered the look of pain and confusion on the young Warriors face. The spirit looked out of the scarred left eye, seeming to want to burn the young man to crisp. Sokka saw the look and paled. The warrior also saw the effort Zuko was taking to hold his spirit in check.

The look of fear that crossed Sokka's face, caused Zuko to curse. There had been no chance to apologize. Sokka had bowed awkwardly, without saying a word, the warrior had left. It was a week after the incident when Iroh had finally told Zuko that Sokka his leg once again broken, had left for the South Pole two days after the incident. The Water tribe boy, had not told any of the others about the cowardly attack on him. He had quietly left, and though Zuko moaned the loss of his friend, life went on.

-- **

It was Sokka's 20th birthday. No one would have known from the look on the young man's face. The world had changed, in many ways for the better, in some ways not.

He had been just shy of 16 when he had returned home. His blasted leg, thanks to that impromptu bout with Zuko had taken months to heal, and in cold weather still hurt. Considering he was in the south pole, the pain was almost constant. It didn't slow him down, he would not allow that. It was just there. He accepted it like he accepted everything else that had happened. There was no point staying with Ang, the benders did not need him around, like this, he was definitely excess to requirements and Zuko's attack had some how made it clear.

The first few years back in the South Pole had been good. He focused on helping his tribe rebuild, There had been little time away from the work of rebuilding, hunting and training. In that time he and Suki had drifted apart, at first they wrote every week, then it became every month, Sokka honestly did not know who had stopped writing, it was almost mutual. He hadn't even been sad, just a little nostalgic when after almost 6 months of silence that went almost unnoticed, they finally broke contact.

The tribes were finally gowning in numbers and strength, Ancient rituals like facial tattooing was being reinstated. With the whole living elemental spirit, bending was becoming increasingly common, and much much more important. Initially Sokka was training to be the headsman of the tribe, but that changed when he was just before he turned 18, when he was supposed to get the tatoo of heir. Instead his own father had approached him, and asked the young warrior to step aside for a water bender. All other tribes in all nations had benders as leaders. And Sokka's father had given in to the pressure of the council to choose a water bender rather then his son as heir, especially since his daughter held such a position of honor, as chief bender of the whole nation. The council felt it was better for one family not to have so much power, and Hakoda being a fair leader could see the logic in the argument. Hakoda had been very proud of his son, who had listened and agreed without any fuss. The young man, had cracked jokes and lifted his father's spirit.

Behind the mask of the meat and sarcasm boy, Sokka had hurt. It was the end of the war all over again. Everyone's focus had been on the benders, Sokka had been pushed into the background, excess to requirements. He didn't mind, he was never one to hog the limelight – hard to do when he was surrounded by the best benders on earth. Still it hurt to be set aside so easily, it definitely hurt to be forgotten. But Sokka put the hurt aside, his role was to be the normal one, the one that could blend in, Whether they acknowledged him or not, Sokka would do his part and help in the rebuilding of his people. Sokka imagined that now that he was no longer heir, his responsibilities would lessen, he would just be a warrior in the tribe.

Things did not turn it that way. The Water Bender they choose as heir, was decent enough but he did not have Sokka's charisma and ability to plan. The boy was a couple of years younger then Sokka, and much to Sokka's resigned disgust, he seemed to be doing the same amount of work, if not more then before. The heir constantly came to him for advice, and Sokka became the unofficial mentor of the new heir. Many of the tribe did not like that, and Sokka found himself doing a great deal of work, but some how being left out of celebrations and important functions, where the heir needed to shine. Sokka found himself never alone, because it seemed that people always wanted things from him, but he was lonely so damn lonely. He was not one to whine, not one to complain, unless people wanted to listen and welcomed his company.

Increasingly no one wanted the Water Warrior around. It seemed he no longer fit in, in his own home.

Katara was stationed in the North pole, was heavily involved in training benders. She made flying visits, he had seen them maybe once a year. He always kept things light, always laughed and joked, they had so much on their plates, the last thing he wanted was for them to worry. No one told Katara her brother was no longer heir, she never thought to ask why he had no tattoos on his 18th birthday, and Sokka chose not to mention it.

Now it was his 20th birthday, for the last 4 days the tribe had been split. With a heavy heart Sokka had watched the tribe's people instead of welcoming and celebrating his accession to proper manhood, to getting his tribal warrior tattoo, were arguing. His tribe knew he deserved the tattoos of the highest warriors, he had more then proved himself. But still some argued against giving him the highest warrior tattoo. They wanted him to receive the tattoo of a normal warrior, a brave tribesman – but not of a quality of a leader. Others were against that, wanting Sokka to be properly recognized, and still others argued that Sokka should be the next chief, water bender or not. The reason for the argument was all political. Some feared Sokka's influence, some wanted to use the helpful young man for their own needs and some wanted to do what was right.

According to tradition on the morning of his 20th year, Sokka would go to the town square where the people would be gather for a morning celebration. His tattoo would be conferred before breakfast, and there would be hunting and celebration fro the rest of the day.

Sokka spent the whole night as he had many nights leading to his 20th birthday, thinking, alone. As dawn broke, dressed in full outfit, he walked out into the town square. He could see clearly the divide in the tribe. He had hoped it would be settled but he could see that there was still much resentment, anger and suspicion in the tribe – because of him. This was not what he wanted. Werther they recognized him or not, Sokka was a water tribe leader, and he felt the divide reflected his failure as a leader.

Before they could call him as was the tradition, Sokka strode into the middle of the circle. Slowly people stopped talking as they noticed that the Young Warrior was dressed in his heaviest clothes with his boomerang and sword that they had not seen in years strapped to his side. Sokka waited for silence, then he flipped back the hood of his jacket. Everyone gasped, Sokka wore his hair loose, the wolf knot of the warrior for the first time in their memory, gone.

"It is the duty of the warrior to make a tribe strong. To bring people to gather and foster harmony. In this, I have failed as a warrior and as a member of this tribe. My presence has caused a rift in the tribe in a time when we need to be strong. There is only one true solution, the cause of the rift should be eliminated from the tribe. Therefore from this day I exile myself from the Southern Water tribe, I will claim no ties to the tribe, nor wear the symbols of the tribe." Sokka had to use all his will to stop his voice from trembling, he slowly raised his hands, and removed the symbol of his tribe that he had worn since birth. He walked up to his father, looking him in the eye, dropped the whale bone choker into his father's hand. "I will always be your son father, but we both know I have no place in this tribe anymore. We do what is best for the tribe, you taught me that." Sokka said softly when his father's eyes filled with tears and he seemed to want to protest. At his son's words, pride and sorrow mingled in the old warriors face.

Sokka bowed to him, turned and walked away. There was a shocked silence, no one called out, no one knew what to say. His heart breaking Sokka knew he had done the right thing. Without turning he got into the Kayak he had loaded earlier, and pushed off away from the South Pole. It was only when the tribe was out of sight, did the paddle fall onto his lap. His head bowed, Sokka sobbed. He had done what was right for everyone else, now he was without a tribe, cold and alone. He was not going to visit his trouble on others, he had no idea what he was going to do, where he was going to go. He Sokka was now a tribe-less wonderer, unwanted, unneeded, excess to requirement all over again. The waves rocked the little Kayak and the wandering seal was the only witness, of the heart rendering sobs that wafted across the waves.

-- tbc???--

Well what do you think worth continuing? Review please.