Mercy

An Avatar: The Last Air Bender fanfiction

by Nelarun

Avatar: The Last Air Bender does not belong to me


Zuko found himself walking along the beach, no longer pretending to search for Aang, confident that the boy was no longer on Ember Island. The stars above him sent small comfort to the fire bender as their distant fires warmed his inner flame. Do we even need Aang? His second-guessing is going to screw this entire mission up and get us all killed. Ducking his chin he turned towards the ocean and walked in, her cool water greedily lapping at his ankles, burying his feet with her sand. Truthfully they didn't need Aang, they could fight and quite possibly even win, but there would be more losses on both sides. More death, needless destruction, famine and squabbling over the left overs. "Miiko, Tora, Habi, Yuudai, Appo, Koda, Huang." His voice faltered at the recitation of names. These were the names of his personal guard, his patient tutors and friends, all killed by the Avatar.

Aang claimed that all life was precious, that all life deserved to flourish. If all life was precious Zuko wondered why Aang would quite happily kill foot soldiers. Why would he throw people off cliff edges or the sides of ships in full armour? Did he truly believe that they had nice soft landings? That the air cushioned everyone's fall? That the ocean never claimed any of Aang's offerings as her own? His entire journey since his awakening had been littered by the bodies of men, of boys, who weren't evil, weren't cruel, merely doing their job, probably as frightened as Zuko had pretended to not be.

If Aang had stated that he wanted to take Ozai alive because he could provide them with intelligence, if he had stated that he wanted to take Ozai alive because he deserved a gaol cell for the rest of his life, then Zuko wouldn't have an issue with it. But what made the life of the Fire Lord any better than a foot soldier? What made him more worthy than they of being recipient of the Avatar's mercy? Why should he get to live when Aang had personally killed maybe one hundred men... maybe more? Zuko reached into his pocket and pulled out the fire lily, placing it on the ocean in memory of his men, watching as the flower was dragged first away, then under the water. He turned away from the ocean, dragging his feet from the sand and walked towards the house.

Tomorrow Sozin's comet would arrive. Tomorrow the Avatar would show mercy to the one man who deserved none.


A/N: Thank you Corthis for reading it over. ^_^