The Crown Prince's Homecoming

Sozin was doing hot squats when he saw a small messenger hawk come toward him and land on his outstretched arm. Sozin immediately recognized the royal seal and broke it. He saw a small letter written by Fire Lord Ozai.

Sozin, the Fire Nation is nearing victory in the war. Omashu has fallen months ago and I have just received word from Princess Azula about the fall of Ba Sing Se. She also told me about Zuko successfully killing the Avatar. I guess you were right about Zuko after all.

Sozin broke from the letter and closed his eyes. He remembered what he felt when he realized what had happened to his best friend three years before, when Zuko was burned and banished.

Sozin docked his boat and stormed angrily to the throne room. He walked right into the throne room and looked up at Fire Lord Ozai who had no guards in the throne room with him.

"Sozin, what brings you to the palace 11 months from your next tournament?" Ozai asked slowly.

"You know full well why I am here!" Sozin spat back at the intimidated Fire Lord.

"I had my reasons" Ozai said quickly.

"I don't care about your reasons! You challenged two thirteen year olds to Agni Kais! Zuko is your son! What son would try to burn his own father? What respectable father would burn and banish his only son? You have put him out on an impossible task. Even if Zuko finds the Avatar you know he is no match for him! You want Zuko to die" Sozin bellowed, green sparks coming out of his mouth in anger.

"General Iroh chose to go with him" Ozai said.

"I don't care! All that accomplishes is one more person who is no longer in the way of your rule as Fire Lord! Zuko is your son and you have fed him to the dogs!" Sozin yelled, taking a few steps toward Ozai.

"Don't come any closer" Ozai said, standing up behind the wall of fire.

Sozin walked up to the wall of fire and raised his arms. The wall of fire rose in height and turned green instantly. Ozai took an instinctive step back out of fear. Sozin separated the fire and advanced on Ozai.

"I am warning you right now; if anything, and I mean anything, happens to Zuko or Azula I will return to finish you off permanently" Sozin spat, fire in his eyes.

Without waiting for a response, Sozin extinguished the wall of fire and walked out angrily, leaving Ozai in fear. Never again did Ozai stay in his throne room without guards.

Sozin opened his eyes and the white campfire returned back to an orange glow. He then looked back down at the letter.

Zuko and Azula are on their way home and they would want you to be here to greet them. You will be able to stay in the palace and your ship will be taken care of. I don't want you to come to the palace, but it is what they would want. For their sake, I hope you return to the palace.

Sozin put the letter on the ground and sent the bird back to the royal palace with no reply. Sozin immediately went to pack what little things he would need for the trip, grabbing all of his belongings that he had.

In a few moments, Sozin's boat was moving steadily across the ocean on the road to the palace.

When he got to the palace, Sozin saw a large crowd surrounding a balcony. Sozin walked up toward the balcony and pushed his way through the crowd. He looked up and saw Azula standing proud on the balcony. Their eyes met right before Zuko walked onto the balcony. Zuko didn't notice Sozin, but Sozin went back to his ship to grab his training robes, knowing he would see Zuko and Azula again soon.

When he grabbed his gear, Sozin went back to the Throne Room to see Fire Lord Ozai, once again alone.

"Sozin, I'm surprised to see you here" Ozai said, taking a sip of tea.

"You shouldn't be. I have no idea where I will be staying while I am here" Sozin said.

"I will call a guard to escort you" Ozai said.

"You need to remember what will happen if anything happen to my friends while I am here" Sozin hissed at the Fire Lord.

Once the Fire Lord nodded curtly, Sozin followed the guard to his room and Sozin put his small bag of clothes onto the bed. He changed into some comfortable clothes, specifically some shorts and a tight short sleeve shirt, before going outside.

He walked around for a few minutes before finding Azula and Zuko sitting at the pond. Sozin saw Zuko let out a sigh as he approached them. Zuko retreated away, not seeing Sozin but Azula had noticed the older Firebender, and she was waiting for him calmly.

"Welcome back" Azula said.

"I have to say the same thing to you. I heard about the fall of Ba Sing Se" Sozin replied coolly.

"Yes, with the Avatar's fall, the war will end soon" Azula told him.

"How did the Avatar fall?" Sozin asked, frowning slightly.

"I shot him through the back with a bolt of lightning" Azula whispered.

"Fire Lord Ozai told me Zuko took down the avatar" Sozin said, raising his eyebrow.

"I know; I wanted to give Zuko the praise for the fall of the avatar" Azula told him. Still skeptical, Sozin shook his head and he walked into his quarters to meditate, hoping to get some guidance from Agni.

Sozin knelt down and breathed a few breaths in and out, calling to Agni.

"What is it, Sozin?" Agni demanded, the old man looking irritated.

"I am curious about something. Azula admitted to me that she killed the Avatar, but she gave Zuko the credit. Why?" Sozin asked.

"Because the avatar survived, Sozin. He is alive and will come back to stop the Fire Nation on the day of the Eclipse" Agni replied.

"Can we stop him?" Sozin asked.

"Yes, you can. But not until Sozin's Comet comes to aid you. You need to avoid the Airbender until then" Agni explained.

"What about the rest of the Fire Nation? They will be vulnerable during the eclipse" Sozin mentioned.

"They will be able to avoid defeat long enough" Agni muttered, looking off to the outside.

"What can I do?" Sozin asked.

"There is a war meeting that is coming up. You need to go and work with Ozai to keep the Fire Nation strong during the eclipse" Agni said. Sozin rolled his eyes in disgust at working with Ozai but held his tongue.

"Don't worry; you won't have to work with Ozai that close. All you need to do is keep him trusting you until the time is right to strike him and steal the throne out from under him" Agni explained. A calculating grin appeared on Sozin's face, exiting his meditation to walk to join the royal family for dinner.

He got to the dining chambers a little later than everybody else, curtly bowing to the Fire Lord before sitting down in between Ty Lee and Azula.

"Now that Sozin is here, I do believe we can start this discussion" Ozai declared, waiting for the servants to finish uncovering all the food before they all cleared the area, allowing the royal family, Sozin, Mai, and Ty Lee to have a private conversation.

The table was circular, with Ozai sitting in between Zuko and Azula. Mai was sitting next to Zuko and Ty Lee was between Mai and Sozin.

"Now then; I realize that the solar eclipse is coming up. I have already informed Sozin of this, so now we need to plan for the eclipse" Ozai told them.

"What would you like us to do, father?" Azula asked, looking down at her food with an unreadable look on her face.

"Starting in two days' time, I am going to be hosting four war meetings meant to discuss the day of black sun and what we are going to expect. During that time, you are going to go to Ember Island for a little vacation. I will be meeting with my advisors in private" Ozai explained. The atmosphere cooled off considerably right there with the teenagers all in shock. Zuko and Azula were livid, Mai was indifferent, and Ty Lee was excited. Sozin was looking at the Fire Lord, staring the older firebender down, refusing to look away.

"When do you want us to leave?" Sozin asked, shocking Azula who expected him to talk back to the Fire Lord again.

"No, no, Sozin, you misunderstand. I want you to stay in the war meetings with my advisors and me. I think you are going to be necessary to survive the eclipse. Zuko, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee will go to Ember Island the morning after tomorrow, while you and I will attend the war meetings" Ozai explained. Azula looked at Sozin with anger in her eyes, unable to understand why her father would allow him to stay but not her, or even Zuko.

Sozin did not notice the anger in Azula's eyes at the Fire Lord's proclamation, so he was a little surprised when she excused herself right after the meal was finished, saying that she was very tired.

He shrugged, knowing that she would be fine. Instead, he went off to his own quarters, deciding to rest up, knowing that he had a big day tomorrow.

For, he and Azula were going on their first date together.

Author's Note: So, believe it or not, I'm not dead, guys! Just kidding, but seriously. I know most people were not expecting an update, and I honestly was not planning to update this story either. I had forgotten about it until I got my most recent review. So, I decided to write one more chapter to this and continue the story.

Normally, I am pretty stingy about reviews. Anybody who has read any of my recent stories can attest to that. I am not going to change that. Right now, I have two stories to write, so I will most likely just write whichever story has more reviews and thus more people who want to read it.

So, you know the trick to get me to update. Thanks guys. See ya next update!