Zuko and Katara are happy with their lives. Asamiya, their eldest child, is Zuko's pride and joy. Iroh, their son, named for his great-uncle, is an amazing sword fighter, and Kana, the youngest of the three, is Katara's baby. But something's wrong. One night, Zuko mysteriously takes ill, and none of the cures seem to work. Could it just be a coincidence that, at the same time, Toph, who would know if someone had poisoned the Fire Lord, is gone? And what about the rebellions springing up in the small towns of the Fire Nation? Is a new threat on the rise for the gAang and their children? More importantly, who's behind it? Rated for near-death and desperate fighting.
Disclaimer; I don't own Avatar. Just Kyoshi, Asamiya, Roh (little Iroh), Kana, and Shia, and Koda (Suki and Sokka's son, Hakoda).
Asamiya sighed as she trailed her fingers in the water of the turtle-duck pond. She smiled up at the clouds above her as she lay on her back, one hand on her chest, her long black hair down for the first time in a long time. She turned her eyes to her cousin, Kyoshi, sitting in the tree above her. The eldest child of her uncle Sokka and aunt Toph stopped reading, to grin back at her cousin. The two princesses grined.
"Hey Kyoshi," Asamiya muttered, pulling her hand from the water, shaking it and placing it behind her head, "What d'ya think it was like here in the War? Do you think the trees were here? I mean, other than the ones Dad planted for each of us?" It was true. Zuko had planted one dogwood tree for each of his children and his neices and nephews. Shia, too, who technically wasn't related to Asamiya and her family, had a tree. Each tree was in a certain place. Asamiya's was a ways away from the palace, up on a large hill near the outer wall. There stood her white dogwood tree. White ones were rare in the Fire Nation, but Zuko had wanted the tree to be like his daughter; different, standing out from the rest, to him, a beautiful treasure, no matter what the rest of the Fire Nation thought.
Kyoshi shrugged. "No idea, Asamiya," the other fifteen-year-old replied. "You're the one who loves history, cousin. And I bet Uncle Zuko would know." Asamiya nodded, closing her golden eyes for a moment.
"Yeah, he knows a lot about the War," Asamiya agreed, smiling again. "I wonder how Roh and Shia are doing?" the fifteen-year-old princess of the Fire Nation wondered, turning toward the sound of metal clashing against metal. She couldn't see anything because she was next to the water, low below the slight hill that led down to the pond, but Kyoshi could see them easy from her perch, so she looked up from her cousin, turning her gaze toward the sounds of her cousins sparring, squinting to see them on the sparring field, that was scorched from the many training sessions between Asamiya and Zuko, when they sparred, or he taught her new moves.
"They're good," the young princess of Kyoshi Island replied to her cousin in the grass.
"Bet you can't beat this, Airbender!" Roh challenged, smirking as he jumped into the air, bringing his sword down at Shia. The Avatar's daughter raised her sword, swinging sideways, and letting Roh's blade slide away. She slid behind him, her sword at his neck.
"I win," she grinned, her grey eyes shining. She lowered her sword, and the son of the Fire Lord turned to face her, a slight scowl on his face.
"Only cause I let you win!" he retorted, sticking out his tongue at his opponent. Shia returned the gesture, grinning as she did so.
On the sidelines, Iroh, for whom Roh was named, watched the exchange with a fond smile. He had the wonderful, nagging feeling that those two would end up together. He'd have to talk to Zuko and Asamiya. They'd help him get those two together eventually.
"I wonder what Asamiya's doing?" Roh muttered, looking toward the turtle-duck pond where his sister, and cousin Kyoshi were.
Asamiya smiled, closing her eyes again, enjoying the warm day. This was her kind of day. Asamiya loved the winter. It was just cool enough that the warmth of the days were gentled down by a light breeze. Said breeze blew over the palace gardens, pulling her hair across her dark skin. It tickled, but it had been the first time in over a year that she'd had her hair down during the day, so she was more than willing to deal with it.
"Sure is a beautiful day, isn't it, Kyoshi?" Asamiya muttered lazily, not opening her eyes, the small, blissful smile never leaving her face. She didn't see her cousin flash a bright grin back down at her.
"I take it this is what the weekends are like around here?" the Kyoshi Warrior teen asked, one eyebrow raised, the smile still on her face. Asamiya let out a contented moan, sighing in relaxation, stretching slightly in the cool green grass.
"Much as I want to make Dad proud," she replied, eyes still gently shut, "having a break from lessons is sooooooo good." The firebender princess slowly opened her eyes, her hands folded behind her head, her expression calm and serene, and smiled.
A sudden, loud burst of giggling split the peaceful silence of the gardens, and both teens looked to see who was coming, Kyoshi switching into a crouched position on her branch for a better view, Asamiya pushing herself up onto her hands, still half laying down.
After a moment, the small figures of Hakoda and Kana, the two youngest children of the family, came running into view, giggling, and chasing each other around. Asamiya smiled warmly as she watched her five-year-old sister and cousin chasing each other around the gardens; running over the bridges of ponds, and streams, across the fields, between the flowerbeds, and under willows and dogwood trees. This was the Fire Princess's home. Everything was peaceful and bright, and happy. Her father was Fire Lord, and she was next in line for the throne. And she was determined to lead just as well as her father did. The Fire Nation was at peace, and everyone was happy with her father. Oh, Asamiya knew that there were some who didn't like her father, mainly because his wife and heir had Water Tribe blood. But there wasn't enough that they could hurt them. The royal family and their relations were completely safe.
"So, what sort of weird, alternate of tag do you think they're playing today?" Kyoshi asked, nodding toward her little brother and the youngest princess of the Fire Nation.
Asamiya grinned, laying back down, folding her hands behind her head, and closed her eyes. Agni above but she loved it when her cousins came to visit. Appa and Roku got along so well. Though Roku was nearly as big as Appa, the four-year-old dragon always had to play with the bison, growling cutely, and rolling around, showing Appa his stomach in submission, then bounding up and jumping all around the bison. And her aunt Toph always had some great story to tell her nieces and nephews. Usually perverted, but almost always funny. If only because of the Fire Lord's reaction. If the story were told just right, Zuko would nearly choke on his tea, sputtering and coughing, looking more like a flustered teenager whose friends had discovered his secret crush than the forty-three-year-old Fire Lord he was. The last time Toph and Aang had come to the palace, and Toph had told one of her stories, however, Zuko hadn't been just drinking his tea. The Fire Lord had nearly choked on the possum-chicken he'd just taken a bite of. It had taken all of Katara's waterbending to help him get that bite of chicken down, and, for the rest of the trip, Toph had not told one off-color joke or story. Not even any funny embarrassing stories of the past the adults had all shared. If Zuko was in any way involved in the story as more than a side character, Toph refrained from mentioning it.
Looking back on the whole event, Asamiya honestly had to say, now that she knew her father was alright, it had been kind of funny. And she felt really sorry for the young assistant to Healer Quang, who'd been fussing over Zuko for days, before the Fire Lord finally snapped. Asamiya had never seen anyone move as fast as that poor guy. She wasn't certain what her father had done, but Zhang had always been a nervous person, and, being still in school, and training, Asamiya knew from experience it didn't take much to scare the poor guy. She'd injured her ankle once, in a complicated firebending move, and when Zuko had brought Asamiya to Zhang, as Quang was out, the assistant had been so nervous, almost afraid to touch the crying ten-year-old, for fear he'd do more damage, and anger the Fire Lord. But Zuko just wanted to get his beloved little girl healed, so they could go to her tree as he'd promised her on the way into the infirmary. Fortunately, though, Zhang, an excelent healer, if a little jumpy, was still with them, assisting Healer Quang more and more the older Quang got.
Asamiya was brought out of her fond memories by Kyoshi's voice.
"Hey! Look alive down there, eh? Your dad's coming!"
The Fire Nation princess's golden eyes widened in excitement, and she sat up again, this time pushing herself to her feet, going to the top of the hill, in the direction Kyoshi had pointed to see her father coming toward her.
"Dad!" she called, smiling and waving. Zuko looked up, and smiled, seeing his eldest child running down the slight slope toward him. Holding his arms out wide, he wrapped them around his girl as Asamiya jumped into his arms. They let go, and Asamiya smiled up at her father, her eyes twinkling. Zuko cupped her face in his hand.
"I'd wondered where you'd gone to, my angel." Asamiya glowed under the affectionate words of her father, the slightest trace of a blush, brought on by the sentimentality of the moment, slipping onto her tan face. Then Kyoshi appeared at the top of the hill, smiling.
"Hey, Uncle Zuko!' Zuko smiled at his niece as she came up to them. The Fire Lord's eyes fell onto the book in Kyoshi's hand. It was the Blue Spirit legend, 'The Spirit and The Lady', one of Zuko's favorites, and now, apparently, one of Kyoshi's.
"So that's where 'The Spirit and The Lady' went," Zuko mused, smiling knowingly. The story was great and hard to ignore. "It's a good one, Kyoshi. I hope you enjoy it."
Kyoshi shrugged. "I'm almost done," she replied, smiling up at her uncle. "It's great. Though, I have to wonder, what happens, after happy ever after."
Asamiya groaned and rolled her eyes.
"You read too much into things, Kyoshi," Asamiya laughed. "Happy ever after is what it is!"
Kyoshi shook her head, sighing.
"I read too much into things, and you, dear cousin," she taunted in a sisterly way, smiling teasingly, "live in a fantasy world."
Asamiya squawked indignantly. Kyoshi bolted and the Fire Nation's crown princess chased after her, not caring in the least about grass stains, or that her hair was down, when traditionally, royalty and nobles wore their hair up almost all the time.
Zuko smiled, chuckling as he shook his head. Asamiya may have been fifteen, but she was still a child. Innocent, and guarded by those who loved her, she always had faith in people. The Fire Lord watched as his eldest child chased her cousin around the gardens, like the child she still was, and that smile grew fonder, as the scene changed in Zuko's mind; instead of Kyoshi and Asamiya running around, it was Asamiya and Zuko, the princess daughter he loved barely three years old, finally over a bad cold, chasing after him, laughing and lunging, trying to catch her father as they raced around the gardens.
"At least you don't shelter her too much."
Zuko smiled at the voice of his wife, his precious waterbender.
"There's no need," he smiled, kissing her softly on the lips, wrapping his arms around his Fire Lady. "We're at peace, my Katara. No one can hurt my little girl. Or any of my children."
Katara sighed, and rested her head against his chest, her arms around his neck, Zuko's around her waist. Reaching up, Katara pulled one arm from around his neck, and played with the single thin lock of grey amidst the black strands of the Fire Lord's hair. Zuko pressed her head back against his chest, resting his chin on her brown hair, both arms returning to her waist, holding her close, all the love he'd ever felt for her coursing through him as he held his beloved waterbender.
"We're getting older, aren't we?" he said softly, smiling faintly. He felt Katara nod against his chest, and his smile grew. "But I'll always be here with you, my beloved Katara, my life. I love you."
Katara lifted her head, and stared into Zuko's golden eyes, her blue ones sparkling and a small, bright smile on her face.
"I love you too, Zuko," she whispered, resting her head back against his chest. Zuko guided them to a bench, and they sat watching the children in the gardens. Kana and Hakoda, like Asamiya and Kyoshi, who'd just flopped into the grass to watch the clouds, were chasing each other round and round the gardens, Zuko's uncle Iroh, as old as he was getting, was watching his namesake - called 'Roh' to keep away confusion - and Shia's sparring, making sure nothing happened to either of the ten-year-olds, fighting with metal swords on palace grounds for the first time.
"They're good," Katara commented, her eyes on their only son. Zuko smiled, and pulled her close against him on the stone bench, nodding.
"Especially ours," he agreed.
'He's had a wonderful teacher," Katara smiled, gazing up at her husband, nothing but love and pride in her ice-blue eyes that were as warm as fire. Zuko blushed slightly under her praise, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Sokka taught him some, too," he muttered.
"Not as much as you did," Katara reminded him, turning her husband's face to hers, kissing him gently. Zuko smiled. He loved Katara's kisses. Soft and gentle, carrying all the love they'd ever felt for each other, all the fear and desperation they'd ever felt at a given moment, and she was always so sincere. "So," Katara started up again, "how was the meeting?"
Zuko groaned, rolling his eyes, a frown crossing his face.
"Biased," he grumbled, clearly not pleased with the ministers. "They don't want Asamiya taking the throne, because 'she's a lady, and what can a lady give to our nation?'. They basically want me to give the crown to Roh, but I couldn't do that to Asamiya. She's my angel."
"And did you tell them that?" Katara raised an eyebrow, looking meaningfully at her husband.
"Of course," the Fire Lord replied. "I almost fired one of them." His voice took on a sheepish tone, and he offered a feeble shrug, and an embarrassed smile. Katara rolled her eyes.
"Did they at least drop the issue?" she pressed, looking hopefully at her husband. It wasn't the fact that a different one of her children would get the crown that bothered her, but the fact that, all her life, Asamiya had been trained for it, and her siblings hadn't had as much training. It would be unfair to everyone to switch heirs. While Roh and Kana were raised as royals, they didn't know the first thing about ruling. To be honest, though, there were times Katara really believed that all the training in the world couldn't totally prepare Asamiya for the throne, either.
"That, and everything else they'd been holding," Zuko mumbled, head lowering. He looked at her through his eyelashes, smiling and slightly shamefaced. Katara just laughed.
"It doesn't really matter," she told him. "Now that it's all resolved."
Zuko nodded. "You're right as usual, my love," he smiled, cupping her face in his hand before leaning in to kiss her again.
Asamiya smiled from where she lay with Kyoshi. She watched her father kiss her mother, hold her close for a while, then lead her to a bench where they sat, talking, and just holding each other.
"Cheerful, ain't it?"
Asamiya and Kyoshi turned to see Lee, Jee's nephew, standing beside them.
"Hey, Lee," Asamiya greeted, smiling her warm, friendly smile.
"When did you get here?" Kyoshi asked, looking up from the ground at Lee. Lee shrugged.
"I just got through training," Lee explained. He was training daily, trying to live up to his uncle's position, and join the Royal Guard that watched out for the Fire Lord and his family.
Asamiya watched the blush creep over Kyoshi's face as Lee dropped down beside her. She'd have to talk to her father and great uncle about those two. They were teenagers, and if some outside force didn't get things moving for the two of them, it might be too late. Lee and Kyoshi were just too good friends to realize what was so comically obvious to everyone else.
The princess of the Fire Nation sighed. This was the world she was born to. Her parents loved each other, and their children, Kyoshi and Lee were destined to find one day, that they loved each other, too, and Shia and Roh? Well, they were only ten, but it was oh so obvious they felt something toward each other, whether they understood it, or not. Everything seemed so perfect. The crystaline sky dotted with fluffy white clouds, the soft, gentle breeze that spoke of a contented world, the great green of the grass, and the colors of the flowers. Her life was everything she could ask for, and she was happy with it. More than happy with it. The fifteen-year-old firebender princess was completly content, and there was nothing she felt she was missing, at all.
And that's the redone chapter one. Review please!