Author's Note: I should give fair warning that these aren't in any particular order, so the ages of Zuko and Mai's kids are constantly changing. I'm just writing whatever pops into my head at the time. I'll tell you how old they are, though.

"Tell me about Fire Lord Azulon." Zuko said, his hands behind his back as he walked with his ten year old son.

"Fire Lord Azulon was Fire Lord before my grandfather, Fire Lord Ozai." Zane recited, looking at the portrait. "He was a tactical master in the war, and sent Grandpa Iroh to conquer the Earth Kingdom capitol of Ba Sing Se."

"And how did General Iroh do?"

"He didn't. He got through the outer wall and then his son Lu Ten died and he gave up."

"Gave up?" Zuko raised his eyebrow at his son.

"Well, he did, Dad. I'm not saying that I blame him. He was probably really sad and hurt and missed his son, but he gave up."

Zuko nodded. "Very good. How about Fire Lord Ozai?"

"I don't know why we're doing this. You said we were going for a walk, not a pop quiz on history!" Zane complained.

"We're doing this because those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. To prevent causing another war, we need to remember what war almost did to the world." Zuko said. "So tell me about my father." Zuko stared down the painting of his father.

"Sozin's comet came during his lifetime. He was going to use it to wipe out Ba Sing Se and win the war once and for all." Zane said. "But Uncle Aang defeated him and took his bending away. He lives still in the palace prison."

"Very good." Zuko looked at his own portrait, at the scar on his face that no one else had, a souvenir of his father's evil.


This had occurred twice before. Standing before these portraits, Zane would ask the same question. "You want to know how I got my scar."

"Yes. You've never told me."

"I got burned."

"I know that. But what happened?" Zane asked, tugging on his father's arm. "I'm grown up now, Dad. You can tell me."

"It's not a happy story." Zuko warned him.

"I don't expect it to be."

"Very well." Zuko led his son out to the courtyard, and sat beside the turtle duck pond. "I got my scar in an Agni Kai when I was thirteen."

"I didn't know you were in an Agni Kai!"

"I've been in three, actually." Zuko said. "This was my first. I begged Uncle Iroh to let me go to the War Council, and he let me on the condition that I sat and listened and didn't say anything. A general proposed a plan that would basically sacrifice a group of men in order to gain the upper hand in the war. I was horrified by the plan, and I spoke out against it."

"So you disrespected Grandpa Iroh?"

"Honestly, I think he was as against the plan as I was. I disrespected the general, and he challenged me to an Agni Kai."

"So you fought the general."

"I thought I was, but when I turned around, the person I was facing wasn't the general. I had spoken out in my father's War Council, and in doing so, had disrespected him.

"You faced your father?"

"I refused to fight him." Zuko said quietly. "I knelt before him and apologized and begged for mercy. He told me that I needed to be taught a lesson... and that suffering would be my teacher. He put his hand on my face..." Zuko placed a gentle hand over his son's left eye. "Just like this, and then…" He pulled his hand away and shot a stream of fire into the air. "When I woke up, he banished me."

"My grandfather did that to you?"

"I told you it wasn't a pretty story."

Zane stood up, staring at his father, and then ran, into the palace, leaving Zuko alone. The Fire Lord stood, watching his son disappear and wondering what had gotten into the boy.

He found out a few moments later. "Zuko!" Mai stormed out of the palace, her eyes flashing. "Please tell me why my son is terrified of you."


"He came running up to me, crying, telling me that you were going to challenge him to an Agni Kai. Where did he get that idea, Zuko? Because I know that you wouldn't challenge him to any fights if you wanted to continue living."

Zuko swore. "Dammit! He asked me how I got my scar, and I told him. Where is he, Mai? I have to go talk to him."

"You're not going anywhere near him. He's terrified of you, Zuko! Leave him alone for a while!"

"No, Mai! I'm going to talk to my son. Where is he?"

"Dad?" Zuko looked over to Azaria, standing in the doorway with tears in her eyes. "Dad, you're not going to fight Zane, are you?"

"No, Azaria. Of course not.

"B… But he said that your dad burned you and you're going to burn him." Azaria sniffled. "He said that you're going to fight him and hurt him, and I don't want you to!"

Zuko knelt in front of his daughter, brushing that stray hair out of her eyes gently. "I'm not going to hurt anyone, Azaria, least of all your brother. I promise."

"And when you promise something…"

"I always keep it. That's right, sweetheart." Zuko said. "Zane's scared because I told him a story that's scary. But it's a story, something that happened a long time ago, and will never happen again. I want to go talk to Zane. Will you tell me where he is?"

"He said he was going to hide." Azaria sniffled, hugging her father. "He said he was going to the bunker."

"Alright. Thank you, Azaria." Zuko stood and strode towards the trap door that led into the metal bunker beneath the palace. He knew exactly where Zane would be hiding. Sure enough, when he reached the center of the bunker, where his father once hid from the Avatar, his son was curled up on the throne.

"Zane?" The boy knelt, his forehead pressed against the floor, and Zuko could see him shaking. "Zane, stand up."

"F… Father, please…"

"Zane." Zuko sat at his son's side and placed his hand on the boy's shoulder. "Zane, I'm not my father. I won't do what he did."

"B… But…"

"I'm sorry, Zane." Zuko said softly. "This is why I never told you how I got injured. It's scary to think that your dad will hurt you. I know that, but I'm not like him."

Zane lifted his head to look at his father, and Zuko pulled him into a tight hug. "Dad…?"

"I'm sorry I frightened you, Son." Zane murmured. "Believe me when I say that I will never do to you what my father did to me. I will protect you, Zane."

"I don't need protecting. I'm a warrior." Zane said when his father released him. Zuko smiled.

"That's right, my little firebender, you are a warrior. But do you want to know a secret?"


"Even I need protecting sometimes." Zuko stood up and offered his hand. Zane took it and let his dad help him to his feet.


"That's right. Uncle Iroh, Aang, your mom… I've had a lot of people protecting me. I wouldn't be here without them."

"Grandpa Iroh, Uncle Aang, and Mom protect me too though." Zane said, staring at his father.

"They're the best protectors I've ever seen, Zane. You should be happy to have them in your life."

"No they aren't." Zane said confidently. "My Dad is."