A/N: Thanks to those who have reviewed so far. I truely appreciate your comments. To Ibby, who left a wonderful review last chapter..I just want to respond in that Ozai did dive for the pearl he gave Ursa. Sorry if I was unclear there. :P Enjoy the chapter guys!
27 years old
"And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life." - Iris, The Goo Goo Dolls
Chapter 8 – Lucky To Be Born
"What's taking so long?" Ozai barked at one of his servants for what seemed like the thousandth time. His voice held the kind of power many would cower before. He had grown into a well respected man with high demands and held himself with confidence and authority. Though he had certainly mastered the art of firebending and combat fighting, he would never accomplish the simple ways of patience.
Four years ago at the age of twenty three, he had married Ursa and today they were expecting their first child. She had been in their chamber for hours, leaving a pacing and impatient Prince Ozai just outside the door as he forced the young man before him to act as a messenger between himself and the Healer's. The mid wife wouldn't allow him to enter the chamber and quite frankly as a prince of the Fire Nation, he found it a little belitting to be told he couldn't enter his own bed chamber.
It took the prince a moment to realize the servant he scolded was mumbling something incoherent at his demand and finding something incredibly interesting on the marbled floors. Ozai didn't have time for this behavior. He needed answers and he needed them now.
"Just hurry up and find out!" Ozai said, cutting the boy off mid-mumble and nearly shoving the helpless servant forward.
"Princess Ursa is a strong woman," sympathized Iroh, placing a tender hand on Ozai's shoulder. "Everything will be fine, brother."
But the younger prince threw it off. "I'm sure that's what you thought with Song and look what happened!" he snapped back.
Iroh's face fell and Ozai only half regretted his words. As harsh as they might be, they were undeniably true. Just as the messenger opened the door to enter the chamber, a disshelved and tired looking Lady Sanyu emerged in the frame. Despite her wrinkled face and graying hair, she seemed to age back ten years with the look of triumph set upon her face.
"It is a son," she breathed in awe, smiling widely. "A beautiful prince of the Fire Nation."
Ozai didn't even feel the clap on his back as he methodically entered his chamber. His eyes traveled immediately toward the large bed in the center of the room; curtains draping around it and servants issuing quickly around the chamber. Ursa lay beneath the red silky sheets with her eyes closed; her dark hair framing her face, which was paler than usual. There was a cry from the other side of the room but Ozai barely registered it; his blood running cold as he stared at his wife.
"What's wrong with her, Lady Ming?" he asked the mid wife, turning his cold gaze upon her.
"The birth was…difficult," said Lady Ming, carrying a stack of blankets and placing them at Ursa's feet. Her eyes still remained closed as though she was asleep but she didn't appear to be in any pain. "We had a few complications but all is fine now. The princess is resting."
Eyes still resting on his wife, he turned back around to find his brother bustling his son into the room; an arm wrapped around his shoulder. Prince Lu Ten must have been lurking in the corridors, unable to stand waiting till morning to see his cousin. For a ten year old he was extremely curious and sneaky; something no doubt, he got from his uncle.
His inky black hair was everywhere and he wore gold and white silk pajamas. He was short and stout, just like his father had been but his golden eyes were gleaming with excitement.
Lady Sanyu stepped into Ozai's line of vision with a huge smile on her face, carrying a bundle in her arms. Lu Ten gasped and pointed.
Ozai's eyes widened slightly.
"Your son, Prince Ozai," said Lady Sanyu, smiling and placing the tiny bundle of crimson in his arms. "Princess Ursa wanted to name him Zuko."
Ozai held his son close, noticing upon sight that this boy had his mother's nose. He was smaller than the prince imagined with a messy patch of raven black hair. His eyes were closed and he was no longer crying, looking healthy despite his size.
"Prince Zuko," he breathed, a tiny smile forming on his face. Somehow Ozai could see himself…see Ursa in this child even though he had only laid eyes on Zuko for a few seconds. There was something, something inside him that told him this child belonged to him; that here was someone he had known all his life yet had been missing until now. It was such an unexplainable feeling.
"He's a fighter," said Lady Sanyu. Her face suddenly fell and her voice came out in a low tremble. "We weren't sure if we were going to be able to save them. Being so early, he was still dependent on Ursa. He took a lot out of her."
Ozai frowned, an annoyance burning inside him. His son had nearly cost his wife her life because he was too early. Too early, too young…and too weak.
"Sounds like he was very lucky to be born."
A/N: I've been wanting to use that last line ever since Zuko mentions Ozai saying this. :P I know it could be interpreted many different ways but I decided to go in this direction. Hope you liked the chapter..I'd love to hear your thoughts!