"What is a Heart Beat?"

Summary: AU. Zuko was found in the Forest, half-wild, being attacked by a group of unknown beings wounded severely but yet somehow not effect by the pain afterwards. Read and found out the secret of the Fire Nation, the reason why the nation despises the rest, the reason why the nation seemed cold, and yet...

Chapter 9

Ba Bum ... the heart beat once.
Ba Bum ... the heart beat twice.
Ba Bum ... the heart beat three times.
Ba Ba Bum ... and the heart beat no more.

"Take them to the Eastern corridors." King Bumi said. Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph looked up. Finally they made an agreement. "We really need to number them." Bumi said to a guard next to him. The guard looked at his king in a weird look.

The guards in the throne room bowed. "We will talk Aang, now rest and in an hour, join me to dinner. Now, take the prisoner to the dungeons!" Bumi continued.

Two earth benders grabbed Zuko by the arms. "Try anything and you will be killed." One hissed in his ear. Zuko laughed.

"Many tried earth scum." Zuko said loudly. "No one has. The only person that almost did was my father. You are weak compare to him. If he couldn't then you surely can't." Zuko eyes narrowed.

Bumi grinned in amusement. He liked this prince. "Take him away!"

The two earth benders dragged the Fire Prince out from the throne room. When the doors slammed shut, Aang stepped towards his friend.

"Please don't hurt him, Bumi." He said.

Bumi nodded. "Don't worry, Aang. He won't be hurt by my hands that I promise."

Aang nodded. He bowed and turned away following his friend out of the throne room.

"I can't believe Bumi didn't order him to death," Sokka said 10 minutes later as the four friends retired in their rooms. "I mean, he is the Prince of the Fire Nation. He is the last of the royal blood. With him being alive, the Fire Nation will rise and start attacking us. With him being dead, the war will never start up again. So why not kill him?"

"I am sure Bumi has his reasons." Katara said.

"Yeah, come on. Of what I was told from you, Meat Face, he is a cunning guy." Toph shrugged.

Sokka nodded. "What do you think he meant when he said that his father tried to kill him?"

"Just ignore him." Katara answered.

"I have to agree with Sugar Queen." Toph said in bored tone of voice. "He just wants you to feel sorry for him."

Katara looked up towards Aang. He has spoken since they walked out of the throne room. "Hey, Aang, are you okay?" she asked him.

Aang didn't answer her. He was staring out in a blank look as if he was in a day dream trice.

Katara waved her hands over his eyes. Still Aang didn't blink. "Oy, Aang." Sokka said, poking him on the arm. "You okay, buddy?"

A rock was thrown at Aang. As the rock hit him, Aang shot up in the air. "Ow! What was that for?" he asked, rubbing the part where the rock hit him.

"You were day dreaming pretty hard, Twinkle Toes.

"I was thinking! Not day dreaming!"

"So, what were you thinking about?" Sokka asked.

"Things." Aang answered.

"What things?"

Aang sigh. "Do you think it was the right thing of bring Zuko here? Shouldn't we let him go when he asked us?"

His three friends looked at him in an odd look. "We had done the right thing, Aang. The Fire Nation are evil. And he is their Prince." Sokka answered.

"No! That's not what I meant. He said 'Let me go back to my people in peace; let me die with them'. His sister is the Fire Lady. He doesn't want to rule. He just wants to go back to people. What would happen if you were captured? Would you want to die with your people?"

"It's not like that Aang. I am Water tribe. He is Fire Nation."

Aang sighed in defeat. He had been thinking a lot lately about the Fire Nation. How people are hunting them like animals. Are they doing the right thing? The only person that could help is, Avatar Ruko.

"I need to talk to Ruko." Aang said.

"Why? You haven't spoken to him since you defended the Fire Lord. And that was two years ago. Didn't you say he told you that you didn't need him anymore?"

"Yes, but this is different! I need advice! He is Fire Nation. Maybe he will tell me—"

"Tell you what?"

"Never mind." Aang said.

There was silence.

"I can't believe you related to the bastard." Sokka said abruptly, breaking the still silence in the room.

"SOKKA! Language!" scowled Katara.

Aang sigh rolling his eyes. "Only in my past life!"

Sokka made a sickening face. "Yeah but still. Who would think that the Fire Prince is the great-grandson of Avatar Ruko?"

"I am not surprised." Toph said.

"Huh?" Sokka muttered, staring at Toph in a wonder.

"Think about it. Ozai probably didn't love his wife. Only married her because she is the granddaughter of the Avatar! Marrying her and him being the son of the 'all powerful fire bending royal family' would make his line stronger and powerful. It's the reason why Azula is so powerful."

"She does have a point." Aang said, turning to Sokka who looked at Toph in a new light. Who would've thought that?

"She does have a point." Aang said, turning to Sokka who looked at Toph in a new light. Who would've thought that?

Sokka rolled his eyes.

There was a knock on the door. An old female servant comes into the room. "The King wishes me to escort you to the dinner chamber, my lords and ladies." The woman said bowing her head.

Sokka smiled. "Alright!" he said getting up from the chair he was sitting on. "What are we having?"

The woman smiled. "It's nice to see such a young man is pleased about food. Mind you, young man. Watch of want you eat or will get fat."

"So what are we having?" he asked again impatiently, ignoring what the old woman told him.

The old woman smiled shaking her head. "Come, come darlings. The King waits!"

The four friends followed the old woman down the hall.


Zuko was led down the narrow pathways underground in the Omashu Prison. The pathways were lined with fire touches at one side of the walls. Feeling the warmth of the fire, Zuko slightly smiled, feeling his element touch him with loving brace. He knew that he will not see the sun for a long time. He felt the sun slowly setting in the sky.

'What is Uncle doing now?' he wondered.

One guard was in front of him and the other was behind him. There wasn't any space to squish through and run pass them. He knew he was trapped. Zuko cursed.

He sighed again. Did Takeshi (1) and the others made it safely to the camp? Do they believe me gone forever like the others? Are they searching for me or mourning my 'death'?

"Uncle…." He whispered.

The front guard sneered. "We advise you not to speck of that language, scum." Zuko snorted.

"Make me." Zuko said, sticking his tongue out behind the guard's head. The guard behind him hit him on the back of the head with his iron fist. Zuko fell onto his knees.

"GET UP! Or we will make you!" bellowed one guard.

Slowly Zuko got up from the ground.

Too soon, he heard a creak of a dungeon door opening. Suddenly Zuko felt himself being pushed into the damp prison cell. He landed hard on his knees, catching himself from hitting his head on the opposite wall from the door. He turned towards the door with war-ish cry, but it was too late.

The dungeon door closed shut with a thud.

The guards laughed and started to walk away.

"You could've untied me!" called Zuko piecing his eyes through the small bared window on top of the wooden door.

A face of one of the guards blocks his vision in front of the window. "Why? So you can fire bend though this door and escape? I think not. You are lucky that the king didn't decide to kill you."

Zuko growled. He watched as the two guards left. "When I get out, you will pay! DO YOU HEAR ME?!" Zuko yelled.

"Shut the fuck up man! Some of us are trying to sleep!" yelled an unknown voice that sounded like it came from a cell two cells down. Zuko jumped. He should've known the he wouldn't be the only prisoner in this prison.

"You shut up!" Zuko yelled back. "You ever you are!" god he felt stupid yelling through the stoned wall.

"My name is Shui (2) son of Jiang (3) the Black Masked Bandit! And please quite down! You don't want to wake—"

There was a large thudding sound that echoed the prison.

Shui cursed. "Too late! You woke it up! Run to the corner of your cells! Cover your ears!" Zuko ignored the voice. 'Run to the corner of your cells? Cover my ears? What for? What is he talking about?'

And then something that he never thought possible happened.

"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me 'earties, yo ho!
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho!"

The voice stopped. And then.

"I forgot the rest of the song!
Yo ho, yo ho! The pirate's life for me!
When I get the fuck out here!
I will cut of your ear!
Until I die!"

Zuko's widen in shock. Whoever was singing, was a horrible singer. Its voice was so high pitch it hurt his eyes.

Taking Shui's advice, Zuko painfully walked to the farthest way from the singing voice in his cell, covering his ears as tightly as he could.

(End of Chapter)

Words: 1,883

(1) Takeshi: Japanese name meaning: "fierce; warrior."

(2) Shui: a male name meaning "water" in Chinese.

(3) Jiang: a male name meaning "river" in Chinese.

(4) A Pirate's Life for Me: A trailer Theme Song from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Author's Notes: I always figured that because people are benders of their elements they could 'feel' the sun, moon, earth and air. Like for example. If Katara is underground looking for an exit she would 'feel' the moon showing her to way outside. Or Zuko feeling the sun on the other side of the earth and so on for all benders.

I wasn't planning on ending it here, but I figured to update and leave it as that. I am late for class, about 35 mins. I wanted to finish this chapter.

Sadly this chapter is not beta-ed!

So please give a Review!