Took me MONTHS, but it is finally posted. Haha. Talk about major writer's block. But here you guys go. I hope you like it.
The next day Zuko and Korra arrived at the remains of the arena, looking at the cops inspecting the damage before he looked at the Avatar. "So the boys live here?" he asked, raising an eyebrow as they took the back away, easily avoiding cops as they headed to the top.
"Yeah, in the attic. Tenzin wanted me to offer for them to live with us so, here we go. And then we'll be searching for Erin so she can take us to Lin. Then we can see about forming some sort of plan to get you home while defeating Amon." She led him up the stairs as she talked, but Zuko wasn't paying much attention. He was thinking about Erin and how she was dealing with the loss of her bending. It couldn't have been easy…
"Um…Korra, how about you talk to the boys while I go find Erin. I'm sure she doesn't want all of us there at once after what happened last night." he said, earning her attention as she turned to him.
"Uh…ok? If that's what you think, Zuko. How about we meet back on the island around noon?"
He nodded before turning, his shaggy hair falling in his eyes as the two departed. She smirked, knowing he was starting to develop feelings for the ex-bender. But that smirk was quickly replaced with a frown when she finally thought about what Erin would do if she found out who Zuko really was.
-Republic City Park-
Erin sat under a tree, tracing the dry grass with her fingers as she rested her head on her knees. She felt so empty…Like nothing. Her brother was worse off. He depended on bending for everything. For getting girls, doing work, getting publicity…He didn't know how to depend on himself. Just his power. And it was really worrying her. "Stop the bending! Put the benders in their place!" she heard a man shout before looking up, seeing a man holding up flyers. "Go to Amon's protest to benders! See for yourselves how we are better off without them!"
Scowling, Erin stood and walked over to the booth, placing a hand on her hip. "What is all this?"
"Hello, little lady! Here's you a flyer." he said, holding one out. "See the benders for what they really are at Amon's protest." Erin took the flyer and ripped it in two.
"No thanks. I actually have respect for people." she snapped before turning away. Around her, she was catching the crowd's attention. She heard their whispers and how much they wanted to taunt her. How she was different even if Amon took her bending away. "Get a life." she growled out before picking up her satchel from the tree she had sat at, slipping it over her shoulder.
"You'll never be one of us." A man said, throwing a rock at her when she had her back turned to him. Erin's eyes flashed with anger before she turned to the group, dropping the satchel.
"What? Not going to attack me to my face?! Not going to make comments about who or what I am? I'm one of you now. Amon took my bending, remember? Or will I always be different just because I could once throw rocks?" she asked them, tears of bitter anger forming in her eyes. "You are all blind to what is in front of you! Amon is what's evil. He takes something that is a part of a person. And he takes it against their will! None of us have ever purposefully tried harming any of you! Especially not me! I always respected and admired you all for who you are. For how different you are. But now? You've become shallow. You think you're better because your abilities can't be taken away. They can't be ripped from your hands." She walked up to the man who had thrown the rock at her, bruising her already sore back. Her eyes were like green ice as she looked at him. She whispered, "But guess what. Your abilities can be taken from you. A person just needs the right tools." She sneered at him before punching him in the gut. The much taller and older man fell to his knees, grunting before she glared at the others, turned, and left.
She didn't notice the girl standing in the very back of the crowd, smirking. Her blondish brown hair was pulled into a braid and she cocked her head, watching with fascination as the silver haired ex-bender stormed off into town. She couldn't help but keep the smile off her blood red lips as she turned away from the crowd. Erin was slowly becoming ready to join. Her anger just needed to be pushed a bit more.
Zuko hunted through town for Erin, not sure where she would be. He was starting to realize just how little he knew about her. And he was also starting to realize just how much he wanted to know her. Searching a nearby crowd, he saw a head of silver hair and smiled, knowing no one else had that hair. Pushing through the crowd without taking his eyes off of her, he finally reached her and touched her shoulder, turning her towards him. "Erin?"
She looked at him and he immediately saw the tears in her eyes. "H-Hey, Zuko. What're you doing here?"
"I was looking for you. I wanted to make sure you were okay after last night." He smiled down at her. It was the smallest of smiles, but it was there.
"Yeah, I'm fine." she said, shrugging off his hand. "Things just…haven't been easy these past few hours." She looked away from him as concern entered his eyes.
"Look, Erin, you've helped me the most since I got here. Please…you can trust me."
She looked at him, raising an eyebrow. Erin tried to think about everything she knew involving Zuko. In reality…all she knew was his name and his cousins. She didn't know anything solid about him. "Yeah," she lied, "I can." She turned and started walking as he joined her side. "But this is something me and Tahno have to deal with on our own."
Zuko looked down and silently nodded. "Alright, I get that. But…we can still be friends, right?" he asked, looking over at her.
"Yeah," She looked at him. "Yeah, we can. After all, I think I'm the only friend of yours that can get you to Lin Beifong without ticking her off." She smirked before grabbing his hand and maneuvering through the crowd where she knew Lin's house resided. Zuko needed answers and she was going to do her best to help answer them.
But…as they passed the main square of the city where the statue of Fire Lord Zuko stood, her eyes landed on the now missing statue. She raised an eyebrow. Just a few days ago it was there. Where could it have gone? Shaking her head, she pushed the missing statue to the back of her mind before leading him through a dark alley where there was a wooden door hidden behind a stack of crates. She heard rats squeaking and crawling through the sewers beneath them, but didn't pay them much attention as she led him to the back. "Lin lives here?" he asked, looking at Erin.
"She doesn't exactly like being very showy with her life. Lin's private. Always has been. So yes, she lives here. Well, when she actually gets away from being Chief of Police." She smiled wryly before pushing aside the crates, with Zuko's assistance. "Let's see if she's home…" she whispered before knocking on the door. Standing there in complete silence, the two waited patiently as they heard footsteps inside the small home before hearing them grow louder towards them. It was only a matter of seconds before the knob turned and the door slowly opened…
-Some Secret Hidden Base-
"Riley," Amon said with his back to her as she opened the door and stepped inside, bowing before her master before she straightened, tossing her braid over her shoulder. "Are our plans in action?"
"Ever so slowly she's drifting, Amon. I can feel it. The goodness inside her is weakening with her bitterness of having lost her powers." She smirked, crossing her arms as her charm bracelet made a small jingle with the movement.
"And the boy?"
Riley's arms dropped to her sides and she glanced at the fireplace to her right, the flames flickering and making shadows dance across her face. "I…He's different. I don't know who he is. No one does but the Avatar and her friends. At this point, I'm not even sure Erin truly knows. But things have been changing since he showed up. The statue of Fire Lord Zuko? It's gone. And General Iroh? He went missing yesterday."
Amon didn't move. This information didn't faze him. Instead, he nodded and turned towards Riley. "I think I know who our little visitor is." She could feel the grin behind his mask and watched him, wondering if he would tell her.
He looked up at her as he sat down at his desk. "All will come together in time, Riley. But we cannot take chances. If he is who I think, we must take extra precaution. After all, he defeated your own grandmother with the help of that filthy water bender, Katara."
Riley's eyes widened and she stiffened, her eyes darkening with anger. "He-"
"Go practice your fire bending, Riley. We need an advantage in this battle." He looked down at his papers, searching through them. "Soon we will need to make our move. And I want to make everything perfect."
Riley nodded before turning, closing the door behind her as Amon leaned back in his seat. He looked down at his papers and held up an older picture of the Fire Lord. His eyes landed on the face of Zuko and he chuckled darkly. "Welcome home, your majesty." He said, crumpling up the paper and throwing it into the blazing fireplace. "Welcome home."