Me: I don't own crap.
Toph: If she did, she would sue James Cameron for stealing the title name.
(UPDATE: Sorry for the inconvenience, readers how read before now but as ArrayePL pointed out in the 20th review, she had asked
"The last part - Wanting what you can't have - don't fit to the other chapters and parts. Is this a what if scene?"
Yes, readers, this is a what if scene, at least pertaining to this story's plot. In the story's plot, Zuko didn't join Azula and go back home. He and his uncle had joined the avatar gang.
The reason I typed this scene, Wanting what you can't have, is because one of my respected authors, GhostMajor, had requested a drabble on how Ozai, or Azula, would react if Zuko had returned home.
Sorry for the small inconvenience!)
"Urggh! Why can't I get this move right?" Aang groaned. He furiously swung his arms while long strings of fire followed. It flowed correctly for a few seconds before the fire dissolved in mid-movement.
The Avatar let out another frustrated groan before plopping down against the concrete walls of the temple sulkily.
His teacher paused in mid-Kata and joined his pupil at sitting against the wall, their sweaty backs resting against the cool surface. They sat in silence for a short moment before Aang sighed.
"I'm sorry, Zuko," he said, looking at his teacher with a sad expression. "It's just that..."
He paused, glancing at his teacher to see if he was listening. His teacher was staring at the ground but his ears were perked ever so slightly.
"It's just that...the comet's coming soon and I can't afford to mess up right now," Aang finished with an upset sigh. Instead of being yelled at, like Toph would've done, or being brought into a warm, reassuring hug, like Katara would've done, Zuko said nothing and only rested a hand on the Avatar's bald head.
"There, there," he murmured. Aang guessed this was something that had reassured his own teacher. "You're okay."
"Can you show me that move again?"
His teacher nodded and stood up, helping him stand as well. He felt his teacher's hands guide his arms briefly before he released them. Aang retried the move, this time succeeding.
"Thank you, Sifu Hotman."
He earned a small grunt and beamed widely at his teacher.
He wouldn't ask for anyone else.
If you asked him, Sokka would inform with all he knows about art, drawing wise. How it all began, what materials are needed depending on the project, the famous known artists, anything.
"More than one."
When Toph had asked him what art was, Sokka immediately flew off into the conversation, constantly rambling on and on about how "art is to be taken seriously" and that he only knows and is sure there's only form of art, which was drawing.
"More than one. There is more than one form of art," the Avatar's firebending teacher said simply, having quietly pass by them in search of a scroll or a paper of some sort. He plopped down to the dusty floor and began using his finger to trace swirls in the dirt.
"Wait, there's more than one?"
"More than one. More than one," Zuko mumbled, his finger now tracing random shapes.
"And what's that, Sparky?" Toph asked, plopping onto the floor as well, lying an open palm on the ground and felt the small movement speak to her in many volumes.
Zuko raised his head to the ceiling and his eyes began to roam across the room back and forth.
"Architecture, Music, Martial Arts, Dance, Theater, Literature, Sculpting, Poetry, Painting..."
He paused; whether he was done explaining, he had lost interest or actually forgot if there were more, they couldn't tell.
"You like drawing?" Sokka asked, raising a brow and sounding slightly amused.
"I like painting," Zuko mumbled, his gaze returning to the floor and his finger swiping across his pictures swiftly. His head shot up and, getting up, he exited the room in search of what he needed. After a few moments of silence, Zuko returned with a scroll, a bottle of ink and a paint brush.
He sat on his knees, setting the ink and brush down before allowing the bottom half of the scroll unroll until it hit the floor with a small 'plop'. Sokka hovered slightly near the firebender as Zuko curled up slightly before dipping the paint brush into the ink and began to sliding it across the scroll.
"...What's that supposed to be?" Sokka asked, squinting his eyes and tilting his head to the left slightly.
The firebender didn't respond, already in deep concentration. As time passed, the picture grew a bit more legible.
"Is that me?" Sokka asked finally after the firebender set the brush down and tried to spread the scroll out even more.
Zuko nodded slightly, looking slightly content, relaxed as though he had finished a difficult task.
His drawing looked as crude as a young child's drawing; slightly good but, in a way, surreal. If someone knew better, they would see a row of people, seven in total, either with a wide smile hanging off the edge of the "heads" or an angry face with big sharp teeth.
"Am I there?" Toph asked eagerly, her finger tracing the somewhat dry ink and successfully not messing the picture up.
"Mm hmm. You're one of the ones smiling," Sokka replied, amused at the giant circles near a figure, implying Toph's headband. He had twitched slightly at his picture; a smiling figure with his wolf tail exaggerated and turned a giant, spiky ponytail. He pointed to one of the figures, who was the only one there with an angry face with sharp teeth hanging off a frown and weird loops that looked like Momo's ears upside-down, and asked, "Who's that?"
"Tara," Zuko murmured softly, biting his nail absentmindedly and his eyes roaming across the room once more. Sokka smothered his laughter while Toph cackled loudly.
"What's going on here?"
Toph and Sokka abruptly cut their laughter off as Katara entered the room with a suspicious look towards her brother and friend, but more of a scowl towards the firebender.
"Oh, nothing. Just talking about the wonders of art. Right, Toph?" Sokka said, trying to sound nonchalant. When the blind girl didn't respond for a few moments, Sokka nudged her with his elbow and smiled nervously at his sister.
"Oh- Oh yeah! Mm hmm, just the wonders of art and it's...oldness," Toph finished with a shaky grin. Katara narrowed her eyes and then, as if it suddenly came to her, she turned to the silent firebender.
"Zuko, are they lying?"
Sokka and Toph gulped; yup-they're dead.
Zuko was silent and before Katara could round in on Toph and Sokka, her ears were filled with low ramblings.
"Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. It is also subjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life, such as literature, and history. In many ways, art is-"
"Okay! Okay! I get it!" Katara cut him off, momentarily shocked and disturbed; this was the longest she's seen or heard the firebender talk this much. She gave Toph and Sokka one last suspicious look before leaving the room, shaking her head.
Sokka stared at Toph, who stared back up at him even when she couldn't see him. They both turned to Zuko (who still rambled to himself), before turning back to themselves.
They burst out laughing.
"Whew! I wish I could see. If I did, I would died on just seeing the look on her face!" Toph cackled, clutching her stomach.
Their laughter eventually slowed to low guffaws and satisfied 'heh's' while they were wiping at the tears in their eyes.
"Thanks, Zuko. I'm glad you're good at art," Sokka said, turning to the firebender, who had finally stopped his rambling.
"I'm glad," Zuko echoed, smiling faintly.
At first, she didn't believe him.
"If this some sick joke, I'm not laughing, Zuko," she growled through gritted teeth. It was one thing to save her from the falling pillar, and she's thankful, really, but if he's looking for her approval, taunting her with some lie about knowing where her mother's killer is...that's...that's sick.
"Not a joke," Zuko replied, shaking his head softly. He reached into his shirt and took out a scroll, letting it loose, revealing a map full of red ink. He sat on the ground, spread the map out and pointed a giant, noticeable "X".
"Southern Raiders," Zuko said, pulling out another parchment out of his shirt. Laying smack on the middle was that symbol that haunted Katara's dreams since that day.
He was telling the truth.
Katara gaped at the firebender before furrowing her brows and pulling on a determined look.
"Take me to them."
"Thanks for understanding, Aang."
Aang gave her a soft smile but pure worry leaked out of his eyes.
Please don't choose revenge. Let your anger out, then let it go. Forgive him.
Katara inwardly frowned.
I'm sorry, Aang.
After they successfully found the location of the Southern Raiders' patrol position, near Whale Tail Island which was quite a long distance from where they are now, Katara and Zuko rode on Appa into the night, the waterbender taking the reins and the firebender blearily waking up.
She heard him wake up but did nothing, for things as such would not distract her from her mission.
Katara's grip loosened slightly and she looked over her shoulder to see Zuko stare at her blankly. One would think that by the look on his face, Zuko was bored, but Katara knew better. Zuko was actually a bit concerned for her.
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine," Katara said with a wry smile. Zuko frowned and began to crawl towards the end of Appa's saddle, near the front where Katara sat. His finger reached forward and, if he leaned forward a bit more, almost touched her eyelid.
"Tired. Go to sleep. Rest."
"I don't need to sleep to get more energy, Zuko. I have enough to fill a Komodo rhino," Katara said, stiffly trying to joke with the firebender. Zuko's face remained straight and serious until Katara gave in and sighed.
"Fine. But for one hour only," Katara reluctantly said, raising her index finger warningly.
"One hour only."
"Good," Katara let herself smile loosely and, handing the firebender the reins, she laid down on the warm saddle and fell asleep.
Until now, Katara never knew that Zuko can be...well...
Zuko held the captain by his throat against the wall. He growled something low into the man's ear and as every second passed, the man's eyes grew louder and louder.
"He's in Chànhuǐ Island, straight across from here. P-Please, don't kill m-me," the Captain whimpered and after a few seconds of a tense silence, his throat was let loose and he collapsed. Zuko gave the man a very chilling dark look before turning to Katara.
"Time to go."
They follow him until he finally found out their hiding place. Well, almost found it.
Katara shivered lightly as she realized what would have happened if they had decided to hide behind that bush. She breathed in deeply and exhaled softly before setting her look of determination.
"When?" she whispered softly to Zuko, who stared intently at the man, who turned away grumpily from the burning bush. As soon as that man tripped over that wire Zuko had set up, the firebender whispered back:
With a kick, Zuko let a burst of fire almost touch the man's skin as Yon Rha turned and backed away fearfully.
"We were not behind that bush," Zuko said calmly before taking an eerie tone. "...I...suggest you do not firebend anymore."
To her surprise, the monster merely raised an arm as if to shield himself instead of attacking like he would have done years ago. "Whoever you are, take my money. Take whatever you want, I'll cooperate."
Katara inwardly sneered and decided to come out of her hiding place. Without hesitating, she pulled off her face mask and glared deeply into that man's eyes.
"Do you know who I am?"
The monster's eyes widened in fear. "No, I'm not sure."
Katara almost snarled as she spat at the man, "Oh, you better remember me like your life depends on it! Why don't you take a closer look!"
Yon Rha stared at her anxiously before he lowered his gaze guiltily, his eyes wide with sudden remembrance. "Yes, yes. I remember you now. You're that Water Tribe girl."
He stared at the ground for a while before he said. "I remember your mother had said that...if she told me who the last waterbender was, if I would leave the village alone. She had told me that she was the one, she was the last waterbender. And I..."
He gave a gulp.
"I had said I wasn't taken any prisoners."
There was a long deadly silence and Yon Rha dared to gulp once more as rain began to fall smoothly.
"She lied to you," Katara said after a while, squeezing her eyes shut, desperate not to cry in front of this man. "She was protecting the last waterbender."
"What? Who?" Yon Rha asked. Realizing his mistake, he shivered and gave another gulp.
Katara glared at him before shouting furiously, "Me!"
With a swift rise of both of her arms, the raindrops froze and created a watery sort of dorm that grew with each passing second, so big that Zuko stared at it with curiosity and lowered his own face mask. The dome suddenly turned into a floating blob of water until that shrunk into thin, sharp ice spikes that hung over Yon Rha before speeding in for the kill.
Yon Rha let loose a gasp and curled in on himself, making a cowering noise. Realizing that he wasn't dead, Yon Rha hesitantly opened an eye to see the ice spikes frozen just inches from his body. Katara had frozen in stance and her wrist was just seconds away from snapping and the death of the man would be quick.
Please don't choose revenge.
Katara glared at the man, who stared back at her fearfully.
Let your anger out, then let it go.
She gritted her teeth inwardly and her hand began to shake.
Slowly and reluctantly, Katara loosened her stance and let her arms fall, the ice spikes dissolving into water before falling all over Yon Rha.
Kneeling, Yon Rha quickly said, "I did a bad thing. I know I did and you deserve revenge. So why don't you take my Mother? That would be fair. "
Forgiveness flooded out of her system, replaced by pity and disgust.
"I always wonder what kind of person could do such a thing. But now that I see you, I think I understand," she said, pausing for a moment before continuing. "There's just nothing inside you. Nothing at all. You're pathetic and sad and empty."
Yon Rha began to whimper loudly, sensing his chance of living getting shorter and shorter by the second. "Please spare me."
With a frustrated glare, Katara forced out, "But as much as I hate you..."
She felt her eyes fill with angry tears but she held them back as she continued once more.
"I just can't do it."
When she saw that man smile weakly, she grimaced and walked off, missing the ominous look Zuko gave the man. She heard a loud whimper and the sound of water running, even though the rain had already stopped. A few seconds later, Zuko caught up with her, looking slightly content.
"He peed on himself, didn't he?"
Zuko gave a mischievous smirk and, for the first time in many weeks, Katara began to laugh.
"I'm proud of you."
Katara gave a heavy sigh, her shoulders still feeling slightly heavy and her chest feeling a bit stuffed.
"I wanted to do it. I wanted to take out all my anger at him but, I couldn't," Katara explained, her feet rising out of the water and her gaze rising up to Aang. Behind him was a silent Zuko, who stared more at the sunset behind her instead of at her. She wasn't really as bothered as she would be before; now's she's used to it. "I don't know if it's because I'm too weak to do it or if it's because I'm strong enough not to."
Aang smiled at her and said, "You did the right thing. Forgiveness is the first step you have to take to begin healing."
Swallowing the lump in her throat and letting out an angry sigh slowly, Katara said, "But I didn't forgive him. I will never forgive him."
Katara's thoughts suddenly screeched to a stop.
Katara brought her gaze up and looked past Aang and silently watched the firebender shift his weight from one foot to the other, his thumbs twiddling each other anxiously, staring blankly at the port.
The heavy feeling on her shoulders and the stuffiness in her chest disappeared as she began to smile.
"I am ready to forgive you, though."
Zuko's thumbs stopped twiddling and his fidgeting halted as his gaze rose from the port to her eyes.
Not her forehead.
Not her chin.
Katara began to walk to him, a soft smile on her lips. For a second she paused, but slowly, and surely, she spread her arms and hugged the firebender. She felt him jolt then stiffen awkwardly, as if a Boarcupine needle had snuck into his pants and poked him in the-
Warmth was suddenly brought to her as the firebender slowly brought his arms around her, his hands awkwardly hanging in air, for he had never actually hugged someone back. Hell, she's surprised her wrist wasn't bitten off.
As quick as it came, the warmth disappeared and the firebender jolted away from her and looked a bit uncomfortable but otherwise, calm.
It just needs some time.
And as she walked away, heading to the blurry figure she recognized as her brother, she smiled warmly.
"How did it go?" Sokka asked her after receiving a hug.
When Sokka saw the look in his sister's eyes, the look she had lost for a long while, he smiled.
"It went great."
Wanting what you can't have
When after three years of banishing the boy with what had seemed an impossible quest to capture the avatar, the boy finally returned.
The bo-Zuko deserves to be treated as a person now, for he had followed his orders without once complaining.
Now that the bo-his son was back, he would have to hire those tutors and perhaps call attention to that one servant who watched over th-his son ever since he was two.
Should he try making this work or is the boy really not that important?
Ozai sighed again, a headache rising. If he had the traits of his brother, this would've been much easier. Then again, his brother is just a lazy cretin who's meddling led him to jail.
What use would the boy be to his family? He just can't let someone like...that rule the throne...can he?
Ozai makes an urgent note to make sure that the tutors teach him more advanced lessons and see how that goes through. If that fails, he would have no choice but let his daughter rule the throne.
Then again, there's always second chances.
It was past dawn when they arrived. Sitting in his throne, simply waiting for his daughter to arrive and explain the whole situation, Ozai dimly heard his daughter's bubbly friend's voice bounce off the walls of the palace.
Yeesh, how in the high spirits of Agni did his daughter tolerate with someone so...cheery?
His thoughts paused as his daughter entered the room with her usual prideful walk and smug grace, a small smirk on her lips.
"We bring wonderful news, father."
"'We' as in you and your brother, the person you were sent to hunt down, correct?" Ozai asked cooly. If this were anyone else, they would've flinched in fear and the fire in his throne would've been higher. But this was his daughter, and from where he sat, it had looked like that smirk on his daughter's face had grew larger.
"If it weren't for the help of Zuzu, the avatar wouldn't have been slain last night and Ba Sing Se still would have been ruled by that worthless king and his adviser."
"So with the assistance of your brother, you took Ba Sing Se and killed the avatar."
"Zuzu killed the avatar all by himself, father."
All was silent for a long while before Ozai waved a hand nonchalantly.
"Send your brother in."
When he entered the room, the first thing that Ozai saw was that infamous scar. The scar that he had caused, inflicted by his own hand. Were he someone with more of a heart, he would've felt horrible.
The next thing he saw was that same dazed look in those golden eyes, hazy and unfocused, th-his son's mind not quite there. Perhaps he was in shock, his uncle being sent to jail a bit too much on him?
His son knelt onto the floor and bowed until his forehead touched the cool surface of the ground.
"You have been away for a long time. I see the weight of your travels has changed you. You have redeemed yourself, my son," he said, meaning every word.
His son raised his head slightly, his eyes not quite staring into his but more of the surrounding fire.
With a slight lowering of his hands, the fire decreased under his command and he decided to step out of his throne. His son met his eyes for a few seconds, scrutinizing him after being away too long, before they lowered to the ground, all confidence drained.
His son barely reacted, a small twitch but nothing more. Ozai smirked as he realized, his son was now under his command.
Anything he said, he knew his son would take to heart, whether he reacted or not.
"I am proud of you, Prince Zuko," he started. "I am proud because your sister conquered Ba Sing Se. I am proud because, when your loyalty was tested by your treacherous uncle, you did the right thing, and captured the traitor."
He paused and watched as his son shook slightly but held himself together by a string.
"And I am proudest of all of your most legendary accomplishment. You slayed the Avatar."
If he had looked closer, he would've the look on his son's face crumple slightly and his brows furrow heavily.
But he didn't look closer.
His mind filled with ideas of fixing his son. Small mistakes like that can be fixed with hard teachings and rewards.
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