Disclaimer: GroggyRae does not own Avatar.

A/N : What's this? Is Rae writing again? Say it ain't so! Anyway, this is my first Avatar fic. The POTC lost my interest. But that's not a very hard thing to do. This will mainly be about Zuko and his interactions with the whole gang, his family etc. Please review and let me know what I need to work on and any errors you come across. Grazie!


Deserving

"I lose my way, no one cares

The words I say, no one hears

My life it seems, is a world of dreams" Dreams to Dream – Linda Rondstadt

Sunlight filtered through the canopy of the trees, casting odd shadows upon the ground. A lone figure sat in a clearing, still as all around him. Flaxen eyes opened with the caress of a soft breeze, and pale lips released a deep exhalation. Zuko found himself waking even before dawn recently. He needed the extra meditation time to prepare for interacting with the group. They're a bunch of kids you've been chasing all over the world for almost a year. They have good reason to ridicule you. He sighed and shut his eyes again as the refreshing wind freed itself from his form. I deserve it. I've lived with Azula. I can handle this. They aren't out for my blood. He slowly folded his legs beneath his body and rose from the ground. Except the one. Then he seemed to fall, face down, beginning a set of push-ups. Really can't blame her. Toph is cool. Annoying at times, but I can deal with that. Maybe if Azula had been normal… He bent his elbows for a moment before launching his bare feet into the air and continuing his warm-up with a vertical variation of the exercise. His dark unruly hair hung in his eyes and loosely framed his face, as sweat began to drip from his scalp and he pumped his arms vigorously. The air was already hot from the sun, and the moisture trapped in it. Good day for firebending. Just as his arms began to tremble, he arched his back and his toes gently touched the soft grass. He remained in the back-bend for some moments, breathing and stretching, and feeling calmer than he had in many a time. I can actually see why Ty Lee likes this. He slowly walked his feet in close to his trunk and thrust his lower half back over his head. Then, sitting on his knees, forehead resting in the satiny nest of the earth, he reached his hands as far beyond his head as possible. If it's ever possible, I may ask Ty Lee to join me in a training session. His eyes shot open at the thought. If she lives that is. Rising again from the land, he rolled his shoulders and split his legs apart as far as a male could. Exhaling sharply again he lightly jumped and bounced on the balls of his feet. Grabbing his outer tunic from a low branch, he wrapped it about himself and tied the sash as he walked.

Reaching the edge of the gorge, he paused and listened. Never thought I'd be doing something like this. His mind wandered as he stared into the mist below and the light's play on it, then across the terrain. And I really don't have time to enjoy nature. He slightingly pursed his lips, squinting at the sun, then rubbed his eyes and went to grasp the rope that dropped off the cliff-side. You can do this Zuko; just don't lose your head. Remember Uncle. Tugging sharply on the line he stepped backwards, dropping off the precipice, and began sliding down to the temple. Already he could hear the echo of voices- loud voices. Stopping partway down the cord, he began swinging back and forth. It starts… Again he landed perfectly on the stones below and started trekking to the rest of the group.

"Where is he!" A shrill voice loudly questioned. Zuko mentally sighed. He didn't know which was worse- the constant mind-games of Azula, or suspicion of Katara. Both of the females could end him, as much as he hated that fact.

"Oh, get the briars out your britches Sugar Queen" the little earthbender responded. "Here he comes now."

Zuko schooled his face to nonchalance, but soon found it crowded with a blue-eyed guardian.

"Hey Zuko! How's it going?" Aang shouted from somewhere- Zuko couldn't quite see past the person blocking his path.

"Where have you been?" Katara hissed with narrowed, dark eyes. Zuko couldn't help but gulp. Man, I hope it doesn't rain.