I'm not sure if I'm ambitious, or just crazy.
I've toyed with the idea of making a series long AU for a while, especially after the series finale aired, but I just never got around to it.
Some awesome AU fan fictions, such as The Lost Prince by Pyrebender and No Options by Jonman14 all tell Zuko's story and relationship with team Avatar differently, so I thought I would try my hand at it as well. Tell me what you think of this, and I'll see if it's worth continuing. I apologize in advance if it gets confusing to read; the perspectives change depending on the character.
It starts from The Waterbending Scroll, and I hope you like it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar The Last Airbender. It is the property of its creators and Nickelodeon.
Chapter 1: A Very Strange Day
Zuko kneeled in the rain. His armor that was cracked, and broken in certain places, and his ponytail had come loose and his long, regal hair was wild and messy and went over his eyes hiding the tears. In his hands was a handkerchief with an emblem that was torn and ragged. It was a crimson red with a green tiger-wolf on a black rock howling at a white dao sword in the place of a crescent moon.
The trees around him began to tense as the Yu Yan archers took their positions in the canopies and branches of the forest he was in. He looked to his right and saw them, but when he heard the same noise to the left, he didn't bother. He couldn't see them out of that eye anyway with the burn on his face and the eye patch that covered it.
The archers drew their bows and took aim, and all Zuko did was close his eyes. He heard the release of the arrows and a large thud.
Zuko shot his eyes open, and sprung up. He immediately touched the left side of his face, and felt the scar. He traced the smooth callous skin, before his good eye cringed in anger.
He looked around him, and saw the cheap room of the seaside Earth Kingdom inn he was staying at. It was dustier than he remembered, and he smelled something very unpleasant that wasn't from his room. He decided that it was time for him to leave, get some supplies, and move onto the next town.
If he was in the same room three years ago, he would be complaining about the sorry state that it was in, and that the conditions weren't fit for a prince. However, he had been banished, and had three years of humility beat into him, figuratively and literally.
He had changed physically over the years. His muscles were leaner and more defined, and he was stronger. Many of the young, innocent features he once possessed made way for the face of a young man who had seen many fights, and lived. The only thing that didn't really change too much was his hair. He maintained the length that it possessed in his youth, the only thing that was different was the fact that he had bangs, and his hair was slightly scruffier, a sign that it was no longer treated with the royal care that it once received.
Once he tied the hair on the back of his head into a low ponytail and arranged his bangs with his fingers, he put on his leather eye-patch to cover his scar, a pair of dark green pants, a black long-sleeved tunic with black gloves and leather wristbands. Over that he wore a simple Earth Kingdom robe. Once his clothes were on, he went to the foot of the bed, and slung his dual dao swords over his back. The swords, though not particularly special, was the only thing that stood out in his overall look. The sheath was made entirely of wood with images of dragons carved in a tribal fashion, and the handles of both swords had two different colors, one red the other blue.
After he got dressed, he rifled through the chest area of his robes and pulled out the same handkerchief in his dream. It was stitched, but still ragged. He closed his eyes and held it close to his forehead. After a moment of silence, he left the room, and went to the innkeeper at the first floor. She gave him a warm smile as he greeted her.
"Did you sleep well young man?" she asked him.
"Yes, very much, thank you," he replied politely.
"I'm sorry that the rooms are a little messy, but I just don't have the staff to maintain cleanliness for very long. They all fled to Ba Sing Se," she apologized sadly.
Zuko smiled and said it was no problem. The innkeeper smiled as well, and gave him a large bowl of congee porridge. Zuko graciously ate the meal, and thanked the innkeeper. He paid her fifteen silver pieces for her hospitality, and left the inn to the docks to see what supplies he could get from the various merchants in along the pier and the alleys. There was a mixture of different goods from Fire Nation teas and spices to Earth Kingdom silks and ornaments. Being a pragmatist though, he looked for foods and medicines before he would even consider indulgences. He looked in his pouch, and saw twenty gold pieces, ten silver, and sixteen copper. He grinned and thought he could use a new whetstone once he got his supplies.
He started off with medical supplies, and went on to food. He managed to get a lot of deals, and discounts through his acquired skill of haggling, a skill that he taught himself from watching others. As he counted his money, he smiled and went on his way to the alleys to the weapons merchant when…
"Hey you! Get back here!"
He looked to the source of the noise. A band of pirates leapt from a ship to the port, and drew their weapons. He looked further down the road, and saw three kids run from them immediately.
Curious, he went into the alleys, and climbed up onto a roof to get a better vantage point. He dashed on the rooftops of the portside market and began a pursuit of his own once he located them. Because both parties were so focused on the other, they didn't see him at all as he leapt from roof to roof. He saw the whole runaway on the part of the kids, and took note of them, especially after seeing a flying cabbage cart. There were two, a boy and a girl, wearing blue, which he immediately guessed was Water Tribe, some furry flying animal, and a little bald kid with blue tattoos on his head and a staff. He didn't recognize the national colors that the kid wore, but at this point, he didn't really care. The whole situation now fully intrigued him and he was determined to see what the situation was.
He saw the kids stop at a dead end with the pirates blocking their only avenue of escape, and he immediately stopped and crouched down with swords at the ready. He was about to leap in between them and the pirates when, suddenly, the kid sent a powerful gust of wind with his staff. The gust caught the pirates, throwing them back a few yards, and not long afterward, the kid turned his staff into what looked like a glider, and the two water tribe children were hanging off of him as they flew into the air. He looked dumbfounded and stood there looking at what just happened.
'Did they… just fly?' was all he could think.
Zuko left the town at sunset, and followed the river instead of the roads. He knew bandits were in the area, and he had no intention of getting tangled up with them at night, so he trekked through the wilderness near a steady source of water. He couldn't get what he saw out of his head that morning, and the more he thought about it, the more he began to be confused.
'It doesn't make sense… people don't just fly, do they?' he thought before another one entered his mind, "Unless… maybe those stories weren't rumors.'
He was so lost in his thoughts that he did not even notice the slow change from sunset to night until he walked into a tree. He began to look for a good place to set up camp, and stopped at a clearing just as the moon was rising high above the clouds, and decided that it was a good place to set up camp. He set his pack down, and got some twigs together to form a circle. He ignited a flame in the palm of his hand, and was prepared to light it when he heard water splashing. He snuffed out the fire, and went in the direction of the sound.
He hid behind some bushes and saw a girl by the river waterbending, though it didn't really seem like she was very good at it. Zuko got a closer look at her and recognized her; she was the girl in the group that was chased by pirates. She began to get frustrated as she struggled to master whatever move she was doing. A part of him wanted to say hello, but if he did, he would probably be called a creep for sneaking up on a girl in the middle of the night.
He figured it was best to leave her alone with herself, and to get back to his own camp further down the banks. As he did, he heard a loud thud and whirled back around. He dashed into the bushes, and saw the boat that the pirates came out of.
"NO! Let go of me!"
'The girl…!' he thought before running back to her location.
He emerged from the trees, and the girl ran into him without looking. When she turned around and saw him, she raised her hands to protect herself, expecting him to attack her. However, Zuko only caught her wrists firmly, but gently, and looked into her sapphire eyes. She looked into his eyes with fear before a sound caught his attention. He saw more pirates coming toward him, and he looked back at the girl whose wrists he caught.
"I'll save you from the pirates," said Zuko before letting the confused girl go free.
Zuko pulled her behind him, and drew out his swords.
"Get going!" he shouted to her.
The pirates charged at him, and he ran to fight them head on. Suddenly, he noticed a blue blur run past him to a tree stump with a scroll on it, and noticed she was trying to get the scroll. Zuko saw a pirate close in on her from behind. He blocked an attack, and dashed toward the girl. As she rolled up the scroll, a pirate raised a pike into the air, but Zuko blocked the attack. Upon hearing the clanging of the metal, the girl turned around. Zuko pushed the pirate back, and kicked him hard to ward him off.
"Let's go!" he yelled.
The girl went into the forest, and Zuko followed her and covered the rear. He turned around occasionally to block an incoming attack, but otherwise focused on getting away from them. Zuko looked around for anything that could slow the pirates down, and found his answer in the trees. There were some old tree branches tangling one another, and he leapt onto the trunks before pushing off and cutting them down with his swords. All the pirates jumped out of the way of the falling branches, and were consumed by a dust cloud that came with the thud. He caught up to the girl and led her to some bushes to hide in while the pirates were recovering from the diversion. The girl fell on her hands and knees and began to catch her breath while he watched for any pirates.
When Katara began to breathe normally, she sat herself up and looked toward her rescuer.
"Are you ok?" he asked.
She looked at the boy with the low ponytail, and eye patch.
"Yes," she whispered.
He boy simply nodded in response, and peered over the bushes.
"So…" he began softly, "What would a girl like you be doing with a bunch of pirates? I mean, you don't look like the type of person who would even associate with their lot."
"It's a complicated story," she lied quietly.
It was simple actually, she stole from them and they wanted it back.
"Does it have something to do with the scroll that you got from the tree stump in the river?"
Katara's face fell.
"Yes," was her reply.
"Well, what is it, a treasure map?"
"No, a waterbending scroll," she replied.
This time, boy's face fell.
"You mean to tell me you angered a bunch of pirates over a waterbending scroll?" he hissed, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard? Why would you jeopardize your life over something as trivial as that?"
Katara glared at him now, not very happy with the tone of his voice and for calling her stupid.
"For your information, me and my friends need this waterbending scroll," she hissed back, "The fate of the world depends on it."
"How does learning a few fancy splashes save the world?" he questioned in irritation.
"Fancy splashes?" she shouted before standing up, "How dare you call me stupid, and call waterbending 'fancy splashes.' You sound just like my brother."
"Quiet," hissed the boy, "The pirates-"
A clicking sound was heard. The boy instantly lunged on top of her and she fell to the ground with him. The two saw a crossbow bolt imbedded in a nearby tree, and immediately got up.
"So much for hiding" he muttered.
More pirates linked up with their fellow crewman.
"Run! I'll hold them off," the boy shouted.
Katara ran quickly through the forest, and trying to get back to Aang and Sokka. Suddenly, she heard the sound of clanging metal, and looked over her shoulder and realized the boy wasn't there. He was fighting, outnumbered and surrounded. She wanted to help, even if he was infuriating, but she realized that she'd just be putting herself and him in even more danger. She reluctantly left him to his fate at the hands of the pirates, and ran deep into the woods to get help. She owed him, and could only pray that she wouldn't be too late.
It was pretty close to dawn when Sokka woke up. He noticed that Katara was gone, and began to panic.
"Where did she go?" asked Sokka before inspecting the pack, "I don't believe it.
Aang woke up.
"She took the scroll," said Sokka, "She's obsessed with that thing. It's only a matter of time before-"
No sooner than he said that, Katara came rushing out of the woods to the camp, holding the scroll.
"There you are! Where were-"
"The pirates are here," said Katara interrupting her brother.
Sokka and Aang woke up instantly.
"And they got someone who helped me escape," she added.
Sokka looked at her with disbelief.
"Someone else was here?" asked Sokka.
"Just a guy who was nearby when the pirates attacked me," she explained.
"Are you… see Katara," said Sokka in his 'I told you so' voice, "This is what happens when you steal. We're not the only ones who get into trouble, other people do too."
"I know, I get it, ok," said Katara, "We have to get the one who helped get away though."
"Katara's right," said Aang, "Someone got involved because of us. We should try to help him."
"Us? Katara was the one who took the scroll, not 'us," corrected Sokka, "As for the guy, he helped Katara get away. He'd want us leave while we can."
"Says who?" demanded Katara, "We're helping him get away! Who knows what they'll do to him.
"Who knows what they'll do to us if we get caught too," retaliated Sokka.
"I'm helping him Sokka," said Katara.
"And I'll help out too," said Aang.
Even Momo sided with them by landing on Katara's shoulder and screeched.
"Ok, fine!" shouted Sokka as he slapped his forehead, "But we need to do this carefully."
"We should sneak up on them while they aren't watching," said Katara.
"No, they're pirates," said Sokka, "They would be expecting that."
"So what would you suggest?" said Katara in irritation.
"Why not bargain with them?" suggested Aang, "I mean if they want the scroll, we can give it back to them in exchange."
"…Good idea Aang," said Sokka thoughtfully, "We return the thing that got us into trouble, and we save a man's life; another good day for the Avatar."
Katara looked at the scroll, and hesitated. She really wanted to learn the techniques detailed not just for Aang's sake, but for her own as well. However, she sighed. Sokka was right, the scroll had gotten them into trouble, and now a person's life was in danger because of it. She decided it was probably best to return it, and led Aang and Sokka to where she last saw the pirates.
When they got there, the pirates were long gone, and Katara began to frantically look for signs of the boy with the eye patch.
"They were right here," she said, her voice filled with worry.
Sokka looked around, and saw the ground. There were a lot of footprints and some drag marks.
"It looks like they fought and captured the guy, and judging from the drag marks, I think they lead up to the river," said Sokka.
"Then we go to the river," said Katara.
Before Aang and Sokka could stop here, she went forward into the forest.
Zuko could not believe what had happened. He had lost to pirates, and was now tied up and placed in the brig of their ship.
'Stupid girl; this is her fault,' he thought.
He knew it wasn't true. He chose to help her, even if what she did was stupid. After he was captured, and thrown in the cell of the ship, he overheard the captain bark orders to his crew to find the girl, and the scroll. Considering hours had passed, and no new prisoners came to the cells, he assumed that the girl managed to escape.
'Well… at least I don't have to worry about her anymore.'
He started to think of a plan that could get him out of here. He began to struggle a bit, trying to get the pearl dagger in his belt, when the captain approached his cell and looked down on him.
"You're pretty stubborn," he said, "But you're also strong kid, and I'd hate to waste such talent. If you join my crew, then I'll reconsider my original plans."
"I don't deal with pirates," he shot back.
"Ha! Suit yourself, your going to fetch me a good price with the Fire Nation Mining Commission," laughed the captain as he walked away.
Zuko scowled but no one was really watching him, and he could understand why. They had tied him up good, and he couldn't reach the knife in his belt. He could still bend though, but he didn't want to make a scene and decided to wait until the ship began to sail. That way he burn through the ropes, and catch everyone off guard. The pirates would have had to turn the ship around to catch him, but he would have swam to shore and reached land by then. He chose to wait.
Katara, Aang, and Sokka saw the pirate vessel and hid. Katara saw a pair the dao swords the boy had resting on a pack by the shore. She nodded to Aang and her brother, confirming the guy was there. Katara asked for her brother's boomerang and they approached the pirates. The pirates quickly saw them and drew out their weapons.
"Wait," she said, "I have the scroll; I'm returning it to you."
Katara pulled it out, and showed it to the pirates.
"Hand it over little girl," said the captain in a very threatening voice.
"There was a man last night who fought you," she quickly added, "Where is he?"
"Why? What is he to you?" he asked.
"Hand me the guy, and I'll hand you the scroll," she said.
"I don't need to bargain with you," said the captain.
His crew was about to attack, but Katara quickly took Sokka's boomerang and held the bladed end to the scroll
"Where is he?" she asked, not backing down.
The captain growled, sighed and waved his hand, and one of the crew went on board. After a while Katara saw him all tied up and pushed over the ships railings onto the beach with the crew. A pirate used the boy's ponytail to get him on his feet, and boy looked around to see what was going on. He and saw his things next to one of the pirates before he faced Katara and the group.
"What are you doing here?" he suddenly shouted angrily, "I thought I told you to run!"
"I'm here to rescue you! You don't have to be a jerk!" shouted Katara angrily.
"Enough!" shouted the captain, "The boy's alive, so quit your blabbering and hand over the scroll!"
"Argh, how do we know ye be handing him over?" said Aang in his pirate voice.
"Knock it off Aang, it's not funny anymore," said Sokka.
"You stole from us, it's you we won't be trusting," said the captain, "Now hand it over."
Katara was about to toss the scroll over to them when she heard rustling. Everyone looked in the bushes and saw a greasy looking man with a sword shouting back into the forest as he walked in the area.
"I'm not lying boss, I heard something over here!" he said before facing everyone
Zuko watched as an entire group of bandits entered the area shortly after their scout saw them. He knew there were bandits in the area, but he didn't actually think they would be this close. The bandits were on edge, the pirates were hostile, and the kids were wary of the situation.
"Who are you?" said one of the bandits with a very large pudao halberd.
He was imposing, but calm. The leader, Zuko figured.
"Stay out of this," said the pirate captain, "Those kids have something of ours, and we're going to get it back."
The tensions were beginning to mount as one group of thieves leered at the other, ready to draw their weapons on their leader's orders. The situation went from bad to worse, and he looked around, trying to find the best way out of his predicament. He tried to figure how he could get to his things. If he could draw his sword just a little bit, then he could cut himself loose. Zuko's thoughts were interrupted, however, when he heard something from the kids that he was not expecting.
"Aang, now would be a good time to do some Avatar thing," whispered the boy in the blue clothing.
"I can't think of any right now, Sokka," replied the boy in yellow.
Zuko's eyes widened.
'Avatar…?' he thought as he faced the group of kids.
He looked at the bald boy, and his good eye widened. He had heard the rumors that the Avatar had returned and that he was a child with tattoos on his forehead. He had thought they were just rumors and stories told by fisherman and Fire Nation sailors, however. How could a child fight his father? He knew from experience the answer to that question.
Regardless, the resemblance was uncanny. The kid matched all the descriptions he had heard over the months, and he realized they were true.
He looked at the pirates and the bandits. They were too engrossed with animosity toward the other that they didn't even hear a thing. A plan came to him, and though it wasn't as elaborate as Azula's were, it was perfect for people like these.
"Hey Mister!" shouted Zuko to the bandit leader.
Everyone immediately looked to him.
"You talking to me, boy?" he demanded threateningly.
"Who else?" he replied politely, "Don't you know who that kid over there is? He's the Avatar!"
"The Avatar?" the bandit leader and pirate captain shouted at the same time.
"That's right! The Fire Nation is looking for him, and if anything, I'd say there's a pretty hefty sum that comes with him!"
"What are you doing?" shouted the girl.
"Now the question is… who gets him," he said ignoring her, and he looking at the leaders' expressions of distrust.
"On the one hand, they stole from the pirates, but on the other, they're on your land. Who get to call dibs I wonder," he added with a mocking voice of thoughtfulness.
Katara could not believe this whole situation. Here she was trying to save boy who helped her out, and he sells them out just like that.
"Nice move," said Sokka suddenly.
Katara whirled to her brother.
"What?" she said to him.
"Look at them Katara," Aang pointed out.
She saw the pirates and the bandits face each other with greedy eyes.
"He's ours, we saw him first!" said the pirate captain drawing out a straight sword.
"Well, you're on our turf now, you ocean hugger," said the bandit leader getting his pudao ready.
The two groups were ready to brawl over who gets Aang, and she looked to boy to see a smirk crawling across his face. She understood his plan, and smirked when the two groups charged. They were so busy fighting one another that they completely forgot about them and the boy.
"Now's our chance," said Sokka.
The group got to the boy with the eye patch, and Sokka used his knife to cut him loose. He immediately side stepped Sokka, and grabbed the shaft of a spear from a bandit about to skewer him from behind. He pushed it away into the air, and stepped in close before kicking the bandit's arm and snap kicking the ribs. The bandit dropped the spear and the guy punched him, knocking him unconscious.
"Get on the boat!" he ordered before retrieving his swords and slinging his pack onto his back.
The group immediately went to the boat, but several of the thugs broke from the main battle, especially the pirates and went after the group. The boy got in between them, and drew out both of his swords ready for a rematch. The pirates attacked him and he fought back.
Katara and everyone else went to the boat but found it beached, and no where near ready to go into the river.
"We're going to need a team of rhinos to get this boat in the water," said Sokka.
"A team of rhinos, or maybe two water benders," said Aang.
Katara beamed at Aang's suggestion, and the two began to push and pull the water up to the bow of the ship. After a minute or two, the boat dislodged from the shore and began to retreat to the river. They climbed the rope ladder, and Sokka looked to his sister's rescuer.
"Get in!" called out Sokka.
Zuko looked over to see the ship going into the river, and rushed for it. He didn't stop even as spearmen and pirates tried to catch up to him, and take a strike at him. To avoid the attacks he simply slid under or leapt over the weapons coming at him. Just before he was able to get the ladder, the bandit leader took a swing with his pudao to Zuko's legs. However, Zuko leapt up into the air, and took a step on the bandit leader's wrist, then his head before leaping onto the rope ladder hanging off of the bow. He began to climb on board, ignoring the cries of anger coming from the thieves behind him.
When he was on the railing of the ship, he was helped up by the Water Tribe boy.
"Are you ok?" he asked Zuko.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he replied.
"Hi, I'm Aang. I'm the Avatar, but you already knew that," said the young boy as he floated down to greet him.
"Er, hi I'm… you can call me Lee," replied Zuko.
"Hi Lee, this is Sokka," said Aang before introducing Sokka to him.
"Hey," said Sokka.
Zuko bowed lightly, and a girl cleared her throat. Zuko looked up to see the familiar girl from last night, and he groaned.
"I'm Katara," she introduced curtly, "Now, I believe there's something you'd like to say to me."
Zuko sighed, "Thank you for saving me, but you shouldn't have."
"I know, but-"
"No, I mean you shouldn't have come back to save me," he corrected, "I told you to run, what were you thinking?"
Katara's jaw fell open in shock.
"If you want an answer to your question, you were captured! I had to rescue you!" she shouted.
"Well, I didn't ask to be rescued now did I? The point of you running away from dangerous people is so that you don't go back to them!" he shouted.
"Well, then the next time you get captured by bloodthirsty pirates, I'll leave you to rot!"
"And the next time you're chased by pirates, I'll let you get caught!"
Zuko turned away and marched to the railing opposite of Katara. Suddenly, he felt a whip on the back of his head, and turned around to see the girl holding a water whip in her hands.
"Katara, you did a water whip," said Aang in joy.
"Yeah, and it came in handy," said Katara smugly.
Zuko felt like ripping his hair out. He could not believe that this was really the Avatar and his group, the ones who will save the world.
"Um guys, what's that?" asked Sokka pointing further down the river.
Zuko and everyone else went to the bow, and got a better look ahead. It was a waterfall, and from the sound of it, a big one. Aang quickly blew a white whistle, but Sokka shouted at him saying it wasn't the time for flute practice. Zuko looked around for anything to stop the ship, and he saw the anchor on the side.
"Sokka, help get that anchor in the water," shouted Zuko.
"Ok Lee," said Sokka as he took one end of the heavy anchor, and Zuko took the other one, "On three… one… two… three!"
They both picked it up, and threw it over the side. They stood clear of the line as the weight of the anchor did its job. A large thud could be heard from the bottom, and very quickly, the ship whipped around. The group all fell on the deck, but the ship was not completely stopped. The currents of the rapids nearing the waterfall were too strong to let the ship stop, and the rope of the anchor was pulled to its limits.
"Get away from the bow!" shouted Sokka.
The four of them went along to the middle of the ship when the rope snapped. The whiplash from the tension ripped part of the dragon ornament to pieces and splinters were flying everywhere. The ship began to speed up to the falls, but Katara quickly began to perform her bending. She told Aang to do it with her, and the two once again began to push and pull the water. It took a minute, but the ship stopped just before the falls. The question though was for how long.
"Now what?" asked Zuko.
Sokka's eyes widened and he smiled as he looked in the sky.
"We fly," he said.
Zuko looked up in the sky, and saw a giant, flying animal. He could not believe what he was seeing. It really was a weird day. Sokka was the first to leap on to Appa's saddle, Momo flew into it, and Zuko threw his pack and swords to Sokka before he turned his attention to the two water benders.
"You two get on… what is he?"
"Appa," said Aang still concentrating, "His name's Appa."
"Right, get on Appa now," said Zuko.
"But what about you?" asked Aang.
"I'll follow you, and if that doesn't work, I'll swim. Now go!" he ordered before getting some rope.
Aang and Katara immediately dashed for Appa releasing the ship from their hold, and causing it to continue going down river. While Katara and Aang go safely onto Appa, Zuko dashed to the rear of the ship as it began to tip over the falls. At the last possible moment, when the ship went over, he lunged into the air, and tossed the rope to Aang and the others in the hopes that they would catch it.
Sokka missed the rope by an inch.
Zuko fell into the rapids, and followed the same course as the ship. He was falling head first to the bottom of the falls when a white fluffy shape came into view from the side. Aang drove Appa under him, and caught his arms while Katara got his legs. They set him down on the saddle to let him catch his breath, and Aang held up the whistle from earlier.
"I knew a bison whistle would come in handy. Thanks Appa," said Aang as he took them away from the waterfall.
"Yeah, we owe you one," said Sokka.
Zuko got on all fours and crawled to one end of the saddle. He had never seen the landscape quite like this. It was amazing. The world seemed as though it was a living, breathing map. He could see for miles, and he marveled at all he saw around him.
"Wow," he uttered to himself.
Zuko's feelings of amazement ended when he felt a cold chill in his spine. He turned around and saw Katara staring at him coldly. He looked away, and back to the landscape, and pointed.
"There," he said getting Aang's attention.
Aang turned around and saw the hilly countryside he was pointing to.
"Drop me off there," said Zuko, "It's far enough away from the bandits, and close enough to a village for me to walk to."
"I could take you to the village," said Aang.
"No, that's alright. You've done enough for me, I couldn't ask you to do this too," he said solemnly.
"Ok," said Aang as he steered Appa to the direction Zuko pointed to.
Zuko sat silently in his seat as the wind blew his hair around in different directions. He rather liked being in the sky. It felt liberating, and he relished every moment of it while he could, despite the glares he received from the Water Tribe siblings. Aang arrived at the destination, and Zuko pointed where exactly to land and Aang did as he asked. He got his pack and his swords, and jumped down. However, before he went on his way, he turned around.
"Wait," he declared before Aang could get Appa to move, "Katara… is it?"
"What do you want?" she asked in an irritated voice.
"I'm sorry if I sounded like a jerk. I just thought you ran away, and seeing you there… well I got upset. I felt like I helped you get away for nothing, I'm sorry," he apologized with a bow.
Katara looked at him thoughtfully.
"Apology accepted," she said before sighing, "Even if you did call me stupid."
"I didn't call you stupid," he said quickly, "I said stealing from pirates was stupid."
Katara gave a 'humph' and looked away indignantly. Zuko ran his hand through his hair to calm down, and faced the Avatar next.
"Avatar Aang," he called out, "Thanks for the save at the falls. I owe you."
"You don't have to Lee," said Aang.
"No, no, I do," said Zuko, "If you're ever in trouble, I'll help you out. It's kind of what I do for people anyway."
"Well, thanks for the offer Lee," said Aang.
"Farewell, Avatar," said Zuko with a courteous bow, and he went along to the village.
He heard Appa take off, and felt the breeze caress his back. He saw the bison fly off into the distance and a feeling rose in his heart.
'Why do I get the feeling I haven't seen the last of him,' he thought as he continued to walk down the road.
So, what do you guys think so far? Should I continue or not?
This is an AU, so there are of course differences. I want you guys to be honest in your reviews, which means I would like the negative reviews as well as the positive ones.
Whether you like it or not, I want to thank you for taking the time to reading this story. Please let me know how you feel about it.