I do not own Avatar the Last Airbender.
Slightly AU in that ages and a lot of the plot has been changed. Toph/Zuko Pairing. OOC Ozai in that he is now not only a bastard, but a sexist bastard. Also, this is RATED M. (Though I will mark mature chapters if immature readers wish to read the story but not be scarred).
Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. It was said that only the Avatar, master of all four elements could stop them. But, when the world needed him most, he vanished.
One hundred years later, The Earth Kingdom was one of the few countries that the Fire Nation had been unsuccessful in invading because of its Great Wall.
Despite this, the Earth Kingdom's childish but benevolent ruler, Kuei, with the advice of his council, recognized that the wall would not be able to keep Ba Sing Se (The Earth Kingdom's Capitol) safe forever, and therefore decided to begin negotiations with the Fire Nation.
The Fire Nation's King: Fire Lord Ozai, however, remained unwilling to negotiate over territory, wealth, and resources. He too recognized that the Fire Nation would eventually be able to break down the Great Wall, and therefore saw no reason to go through with petty negotiations.
He knew that on the day of Sozen's Comet, the Fire Benders would attain enough strength to win the war, and he would then effectively become ruler of the world. Yet he also realized that he would need a worthy successor before he could take action, and with Sozen's Comet being only one year away, he knew he needed to take action fast.
Those in line to the throne, after himself, were his son, Zuko, and his daughter, Azula. While Azula would have made for a perfect successor… she was a female, and therefore unable to assume his role as Fire Lord. And then there was his son, Zuko, who was disappointment in that he was soft—merciful and therefore unbefitting a true Fire Lord. In an attempt to discipline his son and also make his son a man, Lord Ozai challenged him to an Agni Kai, where his son was subsequently scarred. Feeling that the battle had awarded his son with little growth, the King felt then that he should banish his son. But after being convinced by his older brother Iroh that a marriage would mature his son, Lord Ozai then gave his son an ultimatum: marry, or face banishment.
And so the story begins…
The room was spacious and warm. In the center and turned horizontally was a large bed, fashioned with silken red sheets, blankets, and pillows. Above the bed was a window, which was opened, and thus allowed a cool breeze to waft through the room.
In the center of the bed was a male figure, elegant and regal, whom stirred as the air that rushed through the window tickled his face. His long dark eyelashes fluttered, then blinked against the bright sunlight that was a result of the early morning. The young prince of the Fire Nation awoke, feeling a tingling in his right eye. He massaged it, frowning at the rubbery like texture of his burnt skin beneath his smooth fingertips. The eye had healed since the events of the Agni Kai, but his father's words were still burned into his memory.
" Marry, or face banishment."
It was ridiculous, really. He was nineteen years old and his ass-hole of a father already expected him to get hitched? Really? Sure, there were plenty of women in the Fire Nation who chased after him, so finding a wife wouldn't exactly be difficult, and yes he did occasionally want to…do things…with women but that didn't mean he was ready for the commitment of a wife and children! But perhaps that was the point—the commitment of it all was supposed to make him a man.
'So I'm not a man already, then? I've got a dick—what more do you people want of me?' Zuko thought to himself. He looked down at his aforementioned body part and smiled at it. He looked around himself for a loose sock, then spotted a clean one on the floor.
Getting up rather ceremoniously from his bed, he tip toed over to it, picked it up, and returned to his bed, allowing his right hand to travel south, then thought ' Maybe it's not so bad, I mean, if I get married, my wife will do this for me, right?' He paused, ' What am I thinking?' He threw the sock back onto the ground below his bed, his mood spoiled as his thoughts returned to marriage.
He sighed, turning over onto his back, continuing to contemplate his situation. His thoughts were interrupted, however, as his uncle Iroh entered the room, unpurposely but dramatically slamming the doors open, his arms spread as wide as the smile on his face.
Zuko glared at the man, childishly throwing a pillow in his direction. "Why did you convince my father that I needed to get married, Uncle?" Zuko exclaimed.
Iroh moved to sit next to him on his bed, picking up the pillow that'd been thrown at him.
" Well, it was that or banishment." He fluffed the pillow between his large old hands.
" You couldn't come up with anything else?"
" Well, I do think a marriage could do you well."
Zuko glared up at his uncle, seething. The last thing he needed right now was to get married. He'd much rather train and fight with his comrades–wait -that was it! Zuko smirked as his devious plan began to formulate.
" I will only marry a woman who can defeat me in a fight." Like any woman, aside from his sister, could. Most men had a hard time defeating him as it was, anyway.
"So you'll marry your sister?"
Iroh merely stared back at him, earnestly. Zuko's stomach churned.
"No. I will marry any woman to whom I've no relation, who can defeat me in a fight."
"Would you marry a peasant? I hardly think your father would allow for that."
" Fine, I will marry any woman, who is of no relation to me, but who is of appropriate status, who can defeat me in a fight." Zuko sat up in his bed, mentally congratulating himself at his ability to strategize.
' It's perfect. When I am ready to marry, I'll just let the girl win! It's so obvious.'
Iroh folded his legs onto the bed, Zuko huffing at the notice of his uncle's dirty feet. " But if you take too long, you're father will notice and get angry. "
Zuko crossed his arms over his chest, " He didn't say when I had to get married. He just said I did."
His uncle smiled at him, "He implied that it should be soon. But it's fine, Zuko. Uncle Iroh will take care of everything…" Iroh unfolded his legs and stood from the bed, looking down into the annoyed face of his nephew.
' You should know by now from that scar on your face as to what your father is capable of when angered, Zuko. You don't realize it, but taking too long to wed could mean death. Fortunately, you underestimate women's strength. While they may not be equal to you in sheer physical strength, it takes both mind and body to bend, and to win a fight.'
"Uncle…what are you thinking?" Zuko's eyes narrowed to slits, he knew when his uncle was planning something.
" Nothing—I just forgot where I was for a moment. I really am getting old, after all."
And with that, Iroh turned, leaving the room, yet before doing so, he stopped at the door, " Oh, and Zuko, you really should be more excited for marriage. When you find a wife, life will be much easier for the maids who wash your socks."
TO BE CONTINUED.