AN: Hakoda's and Ozai's family have a real "in a mirror, darkly" thing going on. Ozai and Hakoda, Ursa and Kya, Zuko and Sokka, Azula and Katara, which even extends to the boys' girlfriends; Mai and Suki, and even, for a certain value, Jin and Yue (think about it for a while; eventually, you'll see it). All of which begs the question: Why doesn't Iroh have an evil counterpart?
Yes, I recycled the name from an OC in The World without the War, and no, it's not the same character. That would make Sokka and Hahn cousins. Which they aren't. I like giving my OCs meaningful names, is all. Also, there was one other reason…
"'KAAAUUUNNN!" Hakoda shouted, barging into the house.
"And a pleasure it is to see you, too, brother," Wakaun said, calmly drinking his tea at the kitchen table. He stroked his beard. "So, how are things?"
"The Fire Nation raided my village, 'kaun. Somehow, they knew we had a waterbender. Somehow, they knew what house to look in," Hakoda said, voice getting ever more strained with contained fury, white knuckles gripping his spear. "How would they know something like that, 'kaun?" He leveled his spear at the older man. "Do you have any theories…brother?"
"Surely, brother, I'd have no reason to want to see Katara dead," Wakaun said.
"I didn't say she was dead," Hakoda said. "I didn't say anyone was dead. Though now that you mention it, it seems the Fire Nation has had a change in policy when it comes to the proper treatment of waterbenders. Tell me, how much money did the Fire Nation give you to sell out your own kin? Or did you do it purely out of spite?"
Wakaun looked Hakoda in the eye. "Is this the part where you kill me?"
"I was hoping for some answers first, or at least for you to beg for your life, but since you're not going to be so obliging—" Hakoda thrust his spear, aiming for Wakaun's throat.
Suddenly, the spear was parried aside. Wakaun was holding a sword—a Fire Nation sword. Quick as lightning, he jumped from his seated position onto the table and lunged across at his brother. Hakoda dropped the spear—it was too unwieldy in such an enclosed space—and drew his sword, jumping back to avoid Wakaun's initial strike. It sliced the air where Hakoda had been standing, and if he'd still been standing there, he'd have been cut in half. Diagonally.
Wakaun swung again, but Hakoda had his sword out, and blocked it. Clang!
"Enough to afford this, amongst other toys," Wakaun answered Hakoda's question from a second ago, "though I would have done it for free, if I had to."
Hakoda roared, and swung at Wakaun's middle. Wakaun, having anticipated this, grinned as he stepped back, and aimed his strike at Hakoda's unprotected neck. Hakoda leaned backwards to avoid the blow, but too far, and fell. On his way to the ground, he kicked out in a furious and desperate attempt to knock the sword from Wakaun's hand, knowing that if he failed, his brother would run him through and his kids would be orphans.
And it worked. The sword was knocked from Wakaun's hand and, for just a split second, Hakoda could see a look of pure consternation and fear on his older brother's face. Not hesitating for an instant, Hakoda rolled over backwards to somersault onto his feet, and the second said feet hit the floor, he sprang at his brother, meaning to run him through.
Wakaun hit Hakoda's sword arm with the back of his left hand, knocking it aside. Hakoda couldn't stop, and ran right into Wakaun's fist, which was itself moving to meet his stomach. An involuntary noise escaped from Hakoda, as did his sword, as he spasmed.
Recovering quickly, Hakoda grabbed Wakaun by the shoulders, head butted him, and kneed him in the crotch simultaneously. Wakaun punched him in both kidneys simultaneously, and stomped on Hakoda's instep. Hakoda fell, but he made sure to fall forward, onto Wakaun. He head butted him again, then crushed his windpipe with his left forearm while punching him in the face.
Then Hakoda felt the blow. The spear! Wakaun hadn't been able to flip it over while still on his back, at least not without Hakoda seeing it, so had hit him with the butt of the thing, but being hit with the butt of a spear almost exactly between his chest and his hip still hurt. Then Wakaun wacked him with the shaft of the spear, repeatedly, and managed to extricate himself from under Hakoda. Now he flipped the spear.
Hakoda spun, kicking out at Wakaun's ankles. Having Wakaun fall on him wasn't exactly an ideal situation to be in, but it was a hell of a lot better than having him skewer him, leaving Sokka and Katara orphaned.
Wakaun landed on him, and Hakoda grabbed for the spear, elbowing Wakaun in his chest and stomach as he did so. They struggled for control of the weapon, rolling around on the floor, hitting one wall, and then the other, wildly kicking at each other while they refused to let go of the spear.
Hakoda managed to launch himself over backwards and land on his feet, so suddenly he was standing while Wakaun was on his back. For just half a second, they did nothing, just looked each other on the eye, knowing that Hakoda suddenly had the upper hand. They let go of the spear, simultaneously, Hakoda to straighten and aim a kick at Wakaun's neck, which would have broken, and Wakaun to dodge said kick, jumping into the air.
But Wakaun was still facing away from Hakoda, and before he could do much more than land, Hakoda kicked him in the butt, which sent him sprawling forward. Wakaun flipped over on his hands, picking up Hakoda's sword in the process, turned, and charged Hakoda.
Wakaun swung diagonally from his upper right to lower left, Hakoda dodged to his left. Wakaun swung again, horizontally from left back right, and Hakoda backed out of it. Not quite fast enough to be entirely unscathed, but the cut, while painful, was shallow, nonlethal, and thus more annoying than anything else at this point in the fight (it probably wouldn't even scar), though there was the danger that he might slip on his own blood at some point in the fight. Hopefully, though, he wasn't bleeding enough for that to be an immediate concern.
Wakaun swung again, bottom right going up and left; Hakoda stepped into him, catching his arm in his armpit and pivoting, causing Wakaun to fall on his back. Hakoda stomped on Wakaun's stomach with all his might, or would have, only he wasn't there by the time he brought his foot down. Wakaun had rolled away, and was swinging the sword at Hakoda's ankles. Hakoda jumped up onto Wakaun's table. Wakaun sliced the table's legs nearest him off, and Hakoda jumped back. He grabbed Wakaun's Fire Nation sword, and they stood, facing each other.
This was mere seconds after Hakoda had first leveled his spear at Wakaun, but the part of him that was a fighter had already long since taken control, and the part that demanded vengeance for his dead wife was a particularly angry voice in the back of his head. They circled each other, and Hakoda wasn't a brother, or a grieving husband; he was a warrior in a fight to the death. Like a gladiator in the days of the Empire of Clouds.
"You're a snake, 'Kaunnie. That's why Dad made me chief instead of you. He knew you for what you were."
"Our father was a fool!" Wakaun said. "I could have ruled this clan much better than you."
Hakoda snorted. "When you can't even rule your own house? Tell me, how does it feel to have been disowned by your own son?"
"Better, now; it appears my treacherous spawn died in that same Fire Nation raid you were talking about. How unfortunate. Just like our father died in that last raid."
Hakoda was silent for a second. "I see. It seems you're an old hand at familicide, aren't you? I always knew you were a snake, and figured you were a rat, but that's just…pathetic."
Wakaun slipped a bit on a patch of Hakoda's blood, and Hakoda took the opening, aiming his sword directly for Wakaun's heart. Wakaun parried the thrust aside, and in the same motion struck Hakoda with the pommel of his sword.
Hakoda was dazed, for just a second, but a second was a lifetime. Wakaun grinned to himself wolfishly. Now. He drew his arm back, moving his hand so as to cut his brother's throat. Then he felt the pain in his leg; Hakoda was dazed, yes, but knew at a level deeper than instinct that to pause, to hesitate was death, and so had swung blindly, and had hit Wakaun in the calf. It was a deep wound, but one that didn't hit any vital areas; the cut on Hakoda's neck, by contrast, was in a very vital area, but barely more than a scratch.
Regaining his senses, Hakoda jumped back, and observed what he had done. It was merely a flesh wound, and nonlethal…provided Wakaun could treat it before he bled out. In the mean time, it put a very real limit on how much time Wakaun could afford to dally with his brother, and his increasing desperation was only going to make Wakaun more dangerous and unpredictable.
Fifteen seconds had passed since the fight began, and nearly ten of that was the banter.
Wakaun went on the offensive, attacking wildly but ferociously, and Hakoda barely had time to respond, let alone take any jabs at his brother himself. Hakoda was pushed around the room—and then, suddenly, Wakaun ran down a hall. Hakoda ran after him, and saw a door slammed in his face. It wouldn't keep Hakoda out long, but Wakaun was betting that it would give him enough time to tend to his wounds.
Hakoda charged the door, slamming it with his shoulder. It gave, but there was a heavy object blocking the door. It took him several tries to break in, and by that time Wakaun was waiting for him, his leg bandaged and splinted and sword in hand.
Thirty seconds had passed since the fight began.
It took a split second for Hakoda to gain his balance, a split second Wakaun used to go on the offensive with a stroke to the heart. Hakoda parried, and swung for Wakaun's sword arm. Wakaun danced away, and swung for Hakoda's head.
Hakoda ducked. He felt a breeze, and saw the hair rain down around him. He stood again the split second the sword was no longer an imminent threat, and grabbed Wakaun's sword arm, though he had to use his own sword arm to do it, and so couldn't use his sword.
Hakoda drew him close, and began punching him in the face and side. Wakaun responded in kind. Where they were not bleeding, they were bruised. Wakaun switched his sword to his other hand, and Hakoda did so as well, almost simultaneously. They let go of each other, jumping back.
They circled each other, slower. Blood loss was beginning to be a factor, for them both, and swelling around their eyes was blurring their vision.
"I'm beginning to get the idea that you don't like me that much, brother," Wakaun said. "Was little Katara really that precious to you?"
"Children are always precious to their parents, or ought to be, if said parent actually possesses an actual human soul," Hakoda said, and it was the truth, though it allowed Wakaun to believe that it was Katara who was dead. "Someone who can kill his own son…well, killing you is looking less like revenge and more like a public service."
Wakaun charged, with something like fury of his own. Clang! Clang! Sword hit sword, again and again. A minor slip on Hakoda's part, and Wakaun swung. Hakoda couldn't get out of the way in time, and couldn't brush aside Wakaun's sword arm, either. So he had to brush aside Wakaun's sword.
When someone swings a sword or club or other such melee weapon, the natural human instinct is to block by holding your arm perpendicular to the object. And this is a good way to get your arm bones broken (if it's a club) or your hand chopped off (if it's a sword). The proper thing to do is to hold your arm at as steep an angle as you can, and receive a glancing blow for pushing the object away. Of course, this didn't leave you uninjured, either.
Hakoda's arm was cut open from wrist to elbow. He stepped back and held his right arm up above his head, minimizing the bloodloss as best as he could. This would definitely leave a scar.
Wakaun saw this, and grinned, knowing that victory was almost a certainty if only he could switch his sword to his other hand. And so, putting his weight on his good leg, he jumped backwards, switching his sword from his left hand to his right, and then went on the offensive.
Hakoda was slowing, losing blood, and using his off hand. Wakaun could smell victory within his grasp, and pursued it ruthlessly. Hakoda was retreating through the main hallway, and Wakaun gave chase. Hakoda was parrying every thrust of Wakaun's but he was concentrating solely on defense, not even trying to attack.
Fool! Now's when he should be trying something desperate. Doesn't he realize that he's about to die? Hakoda went out the front door and to the side. Did the fool think that being in the open would give him some advantage? Wakaun followed him out—and had only the merest millisecond's warning that he'd made a terrible mistake, and that warning was the cracking of the ice beneath his feet. As he fell, he remembered the odd way Hakoda's feet had moved when he stepped out. He hadn't stepped on the front step, but around it. Wakaun's fall was broken by jagged rocks. He was still alive, but he knew he was at his brother's mercy, and that said brother wasn't feeling particularly merciful.
"This was your plan all along, wasn't it?" Wakaun asked.
Hakoda sat on the lip of the hole, bandaging his arm. "Well, I really was trying to kill you in there, but yeah. Honestly, brother, you know my greatest strength as a warrior is with things and gadgets."
"Why did you even bother confronting me about your daughter's death, then? You could have just waited for me to come out and die on my own."
"Actually, it was my wife who died, not Katara, but to answer your question, because I needed to know that you were guilty. Besides, I could control my rage for as long as I had something…constructive…to do, but as soon as it was done, well…" Hakoda shrugged.
"You're really going to kill me, aren't you?"
"I thought that much would be obvious by this point."
"Killing someone in a fight is one thing, but you're actually going to execute me, defenseless as I am, I mean."
"Yes," Hakoda said coldly.
"If you're capable of that, how come you never did it before?" Wakaun asked.
"What, you mean before you had my wife killed, tried to have my daughter killed, and confessed to killing my father and nephew? If you do not know the answer to that question, I really don't know how to explain it to you." Hakoda finished tending to his arm, picked up his sword, and stabbed Wakaun in the heart.
Wakaun looked into Hakoda's eyes, and saw that Hakoda was still in warrior-mode. Wakaun was grateful; Hakoda-the-newly-christened-widower probably would have buried him alive.
AN: You know, I suppose that it's at least as likely that Iroh's counterpart would have a good relationship with Hakoda as the scenario fleshed out above is. After all, Zuko and Azula's relationship is hardly similar in that regard to Sokka and Katara's. Still, Iroh stands out in his family. He's been, always, the voice of sanity, wisdom, and decency in a family where those traits are pretty much lacking. So Wakaun is petty, vile, and has a screw loose. Iroh has a strong sense of loyalty and loves his family, especially, it would seem, his son and nephew, and the greatest tragic moment of his life was when Lu Ten died. So Wakaun not only killed his son, but tried to kill Katara as well. By all reports, Iroh took it gracefully when "Azulon" skipped over him in favor of his little brother to be the next Firelord. So when Wakaun's father passed the leadership over to Hakoda, Wakaun responded with murder (which also follows logically from the last point).
Still, there's multiple ways in which one could take the "Iroh's evil counterpart" concept, so I reserve the right to totally recast the roll and take it in a whole different direction in the next story.
Pretty good, for something I wrote in one day because I had writers' block with regard to The World without the War, if I do say so myself. Just saying.
R&R. Seriously. Or Hakoda's going to come to your house, seeking vengeance and channeling the ghost of Leonidas of Sparta while on a testosterone IV drip—meaning he'll be almost as much of an avatar of destruction as he is here.