Boys Still Cry

I write too much angst. Out of the ten pieces I written, only four don't contain someone dying -.-U. I really am a light hearted person in reality. It's just that, writing seems to bring out the darker side of me.

Disclaimer - me no own Avatar.

I slumped along a tree branch contemplating what to do with my miserable life. Leaves tickled my hair and twigs dug uncomfortably into my side but I didn't bother to adjust my position. My mind kept going back to Uncle's final moments. What had his departing words been to me? 'Don't die,' he had said just before he exhaled his last shuddering breath. I forced down a lump that swelled rapidly in my throat. It happened every time I thought about Uncle. My eyes watered but I roughly wiped away the tears before they could fall. Crying wouldn't bring him back. Besides men, don't cry.

Underneath me I heard a gang of people crashing though the undergrowth making an unbelievable racket. The Avatar and his friends came stomping along making no attempt to be stealthy. It was a wonder how he managed to evade all his enemies creating that constant uproar. Before Uncle's death I would have burst from my seat and tried to apprehend the Avatar, but now? Now there was no point. The only one who had ever whole heartedly supported me had died because I was too weak to save him. I felt exhausted with living. Father was right, I was weak and useless. He wouldn't want me back. Heck, I wouldn't want me back.

I didn't know what to think of Father. He had branded and banished me yet he had given me a chance to return home. He had set my witch of a sister on Uncle and me who had been the cause of Uncle's death. But still, I couldn't hate my father. I couldn't explain it but I desperately clung to hope that he still cared about me. If I captured the Avatar, maybe I'd still have a chance to regain his favour. Maybe I could return home. But what would home be without Uncle? I had dragged Uncle down and it wasn't right to come back up without him.

I watch the Avatar and his friends laugh about as images of Father, Uncle and home clouded my vision. How the Avatar could still find time to be a kid even with the world on his shoulders amazed me.

The Avatar's young voice shattered my thoughts speaking from a distant memory that I thought I had suppressed.

'If we knew each other back then do you think we could have been friends?'

I tried to shake his childish words from my head but they echoed over and over again so I gave up trying to block the request. 'Yes,' I thought. 'Yes, we could have been friends.' But times had changed. Besides I was too different. I would never fit in. I was hated too much.

"No," I whisper to the memory. "No, we can't be friends."

I could never betray my father again. I betrayed him once already by speaking out of term. I wouldn't make the same mistake twice by befriending the enemy. And besides, the Avatar would wage war on the Fire Nation. I couldn't abandon my home and fight against my people. I knew where my roots were and I intended to keep them.

But Uncle would have liked me to help the Avatar in his cause. Uncle himself had defended him back at the North Pole. I owed it to Uncle to carry out his wish. If I did, maybe I could redeem myself for letting him die.

However, as the thought to seriously join the Avatar crossed me, Uncle's advice swam into my brain.

"Uncle, please," I beg. "I don't know what to do. Tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it. I swear to carry out your final wish."

Uncle gently wipes a tear that trails down my face.

"My only desire is that you travel your own path. Don't let me or your father pave your road for you. You must choose it yourself. Zuko, be your own man. Never forget who you are and never give up without a fight."

His hands grip mine firmly as he continues to speak.

"Just promise me one thin... Don't die."

He clutches my hand so hard I feel my finger tips numbing. I nod my head in response. There's so much that I want to say but when I open my mouth to speak, nothing comes out. He smiles slightly and I watch in despair as the flame in his eyes dims and eventually flicker out.

I will continue to fight and live not for myself, but for Uncle.

In all honesty, I didn't want to join the Avatar. I had spent too long hunting him and thinking of him as my enemy to just turn around and call him a friend. Moreover, even if my heart allowed me to, my pride never would. I was too proud to apologize to a mere boy and too ashamed to admit that I was alone.

So I let the Avatar and his friends pass on. I didn't want to follow his path which would lead to a suicidal clash with my father. But that didn't mean I would fight for my father either.

I felt like I was fading into nothing. All I wanted was a moment to be real, to be my own man. But I didn't know who I was anymore. I didn't know where my loyalties laid so I would continue to meander through life trying to follow Uncle's advice. But even though I had done what I wanted to do, I still felt as though I had let Uncle down. I couldn't help but let the tears fall. Men don't cry, but boys still do.

Well that was me inspired by the amount of Zuko-joins-the-gAang out there. I thought I would be different :D

I am probably the most insane Zuko fan in the entire world. I don't want the guy to become Fire Lord or join the Avatar or marry Katara or anyone else for that matter. I like beating him up into a bloody pulp. I make him angst at every possible opportunity. I would actually find it quite interesting him he chose to side with his Father against the Avatar. Actually, I wouldn't mind him joining the Avatar since that would mean more Zuko screening time :D AND it would mean more FRIENDSHIP FICS. THE WORLD LIVES ON FRIENDSHIP (Well actually it lives on romance -.-U but I don't like romance) between Zuko and the gang.