Dragon at Heart
AU. Prince Zuko quits his hunt for Aang to look for his mother instead, but when reunion with Ursa doesn't go well, Zuko goes through a metamorphosis to find a new path in life. Meanwhile, Gaang are forced to realize world isn't black 'n white. Dragons, friendships, and major changes to plot.
Prologue: The Escape
Zuko was running, which was ironic. Many times he had despised the Avatar for the boy's lack of commitment. The foolish airbender solved all and none of his problems by jumping on the back of his bison and flying off to sunset, never looking back. Now Zuko found himself doing the exact same thing. Ironic.
Though not as ironic as finding out, after almost three years of searching, that his Father really did not love him, and capturing the Avatar wouldn't change that. On the back of his mind, Zuko had suspected as much, but he hadn't let the creeping doubt reach his consciousness before.
That, however, wasn't the reason why Zuko was running. The news about Ozai was bad, but it wasn't the unexpected revelation that had turned Zuko's life from pretty bad to unbearable.
My Mother doesn't care about me. The pain and weight of the thought caused Zuko to sway uncontrollably in the air for a moment.
Zuko hadn't expected that. Not from her. He had always thought that his mother loved him unconditionally, and would always love him, no matter what. Zuko's newly gained insight hurt like physical pain. It was worse than not being loved by his Father on many levels.
At least Ozai would give, and had given, Zuko a chance to prove himself worthy of being loved. Ursa had never asked Zuko to change, and she wasn't asking for that now. She just didn't want Zuko in her life, and there was nothing he could do to make it right.
What's wrong with me? Zuko thought, for surely he was to blame when even his own parents thought that he was no good.
No. No more pain. Zuko had been a poor son, nephew, firebender and prince, but he would leave all that behind now.
The air was whooshing past him at an incredible speed. Zuko was moving faster than he had ever moved before; faster than any human could.
A spirit had once told him: 'You are a dragon at heart, and when you listen to your heart, it will lead you to things you never knew you needed'. Now the Prince understood what she had meant.
Zuko was giving up all the things he had ever known or wanted, and it felt good. His human life, for all he cared, was over.