Okay. I decided I wanted to write a story that's basically dedicated to fluff. And what's cuter than kid!Zutara? Very few things.
This is a complete AU. Things of importance:
- There was no war, so all four nations are at peace and have been for the past century.
- Aang IS the Avatar. But he's fairly old. Yes, he'll be making appearances.
- Royal families often visit each other for political and personal reasons. It is important for the established peace for everyone to be acquainted with one another.
- In the case of this story, Hakoda and Ozai knew each other growing up. They aren't exactly friends, but they agree upon keeping with tradition and letting their children visit with each other once a year.
That's your basic information. More differences will be revealed as the story progresses.
This story is not my top priority, so the updates will be sporadic. The next update could be tomorrow or in a week. For now the chapters will read like drabbles until I decide on a set chapter length.
Enjoy and review!
"No, worm. You have to stay," three year old Zuko admonishes, covering the slimy, wiggly creature with fresh dirt. Mother had said that worms liked dirt, so Zuko was making sure the worm was happy.
He pats the mound of dirt gently, before smiling to himself. "There," he says proudly.
He perks his head up when he hears his mother calling before standing, wandering over to the bush where the pretty flowers grow and then plucking one off.
He rushes towards the direction of his mother's voice as fast as his little legs can carry him.
Zuko loves his mother very much. When she tucks him in for bed at night she sings to him. She plays games in the gardens with him when there's nothing to do. When his father is too busy for him, she takes him to the library and shows him stories with pictures. When he is sad she wraps him up in a big, comforting hug.
Zuko has decided that his mother is the very best mother in the entire world.
When he finally reaches his mother he presents the pretty flower to her. She takes the flower out of his hand and smiles down at him. Zuko has decided that his mother has the prettiest smile in the world.
"Thank you." She takes his hand and begins to lead him into the palace. "Do you remember what today is, Zuko?"
The three year old nods excitedly. "It's Special Guest Day!" he exclaims.
She grins down at him. "That's right! And guess what?"
"Our guests are here!"
Zuko stops in the middle of the hallway. His mother gives him a concerned look.
Zuko suddenly feels nervous because it finally clicks.
He's about to meet strangers.
The Chief of the Southern Water Tribe is very scary.
He looms over Zuko, and he has a funny beard and a big, booming laugh. His wife is standing off to the side. Zuko decides that she is pretty, maybe even as pretty as his mother. Maybe. The Chief's son is a year younger then Zuko, and he's sitting by his father's feet staring at Zuko with the same sort of curiosity that Zuko is staring at him with.
They have a daughter too. She's two years younger than Zuko, and she's fast asleep against her mother's chest. Zuko decides that he'll further assess her later.
Suddenly the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe is kneeling in front of Zuko, a large smile on his face.
"Hello, Prince Zuko. I'm Hakoda."
Zuko realizes with a sinking feeling that if he's going to act like a big boy like his father encourages him to, he should probably step out from behind his mother's leg.
So he does. It's scary.
"I hear you're a firebender."
Zuko nods. He had managed to produce a tiny flame several months ago.
"There are very talented firebenders in your family. If you practice hard enough, I'm sure you'll be very powerful." Chief Hakoda offers him another smile before standing back up.
Zuko decides that the Chief of the Southern Water Tribe isn't so scary.
Mother has told Zuko in the past that he should love Azula because she's his baby sister.
Zuko doesn't think that's a good enough reason.
All at dinner.
Zuko notices that the girl from the Southern Water Tribe (her name is Katara, he learns) likes to giggle a lot. She sits calmly through dinner, only occasionally refusing the food that her mother offers her. She smiles a lot too, he notices.
Zuko decides that she is nice. Maybe he could convince mother and father to trade Azula for Katara. Katara probably wouldn't bite him.
Zuko has decided that the boy from the Southern Water Tribe, Sokka, is not that much fun to play with.
All Sokka wants to do is play with his boomerang. Even after Zuko invites him to explore with him, the other boy is content to play with his small wooden toy all day.
After wandering around in the gardens for well over an hour, Zuko walks back to the nursery to find Azula and Katara playing with blocks.
"Zuzu!" Azula squeals happily when she sees him. "Pway!"
Zuko sits down in front of his sister, gently taking the red block out of her hands and stacking it with the others. He glances up to see a pair of big blue eyes inspected the red blocks with curiosity (hers are yellow). Katara scoots towards them a bit before reaching out to inspect a red block.
"KatKat nnnnnnnoooooo!" Azula screams at the top of her lungs. She grabs one of her blocks and smacks Katara's arm with it.
The other girl promptly bursts into tears.
Zuko feels bad for her. He knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of Azula's one year old wrath. The nurses in the room are looking over with concern, but Zuko is a big boy. He can handle the situation.
Mother always hugs Zuko when he's upset, so he decides that if he hugs Katara, she'll stop crying too.
So he does.
He stands up, steps over to the crying girl and wraps his arms around her.
The girl stills. She shoves him away with surprising strength, an affronted look on her face.
Zuko lands on his haunches.
However, he notices that her tears have dried up, so maybe his hug did the trick.
Katara picks up one of her yellow blocks and flings it at him. It hits him squarely in the forehead.
Zuko decides that he doesn't like Katara very much. He won't ask mother and father to trade Katara for Azula after all.