Zuko wandered into the garden, closely followed by Azula. They paused awkwardly at the sight of Iroh and Sué. After a moment, the prince coughed delicately, and Iroh stopped singing. Lady Sué got to her feet, bowed, and retreated back inside.
"Yes, Prince Zuko?" Iroh asked.
He hesitated a few seconds then said, "Did Father rehearse that, or was it improvised? Either way, he was better than the Ember Island Players."
"Good, you're thinking things through. Ozai will wait until the sun turns out and we're all blue from cold before he gives up any power."
"Especially to me," Zuko's palms began to glow. "I know. You know. He knows we know it."
"How knowledgeable you two are," Azula sashayed closer to the men. "Do you realize you're speaking treason?"
"Why should that interest me," her uncle yawned. "I'm already a prisoner."
Zuko touched his scar. "I've tried so hard to regain my honor and make Father proud… but all he does is play and mock. If I—"
Hearing electricity crackle, he quickly turned around to see lightning at Azula's fingertips.
"You can still die honorably, ZuZu," she said. "There's a thought."
More quickly than she thought he was capable of being, Iroh seized her wrists.
"Enough," he said. "We've been at war with the world for 100 years, and you're trying to kill each other? You realize that we are the origins of this war—we carry it like a plague. So many lives have been lost because the living are rotten. We could love each other, Zuko and Azula. There could be peace."
"And what would the Avatar have done while we hugged each other?" She sneered. "Love is for fools. Fear is the only way to manage. It even controls you. You're lucky I don't go straight to Father with the news of your treason! But as it's Midsummer, I can wait."
She turned and left.
"Did you mean that, Uncle?" Zuko asked.
Iroh sighed. "I did and do, but believe me… it's better to love Azula from a very safe distance."
And Zuko smiled, very slightly.
Cartoons » Avatar: Last Airbender Rated: T, English, Drama & Family, Iroh, Ozai, Words: 3k+, Favs: 1, Published: 8/31/2013 Updated: 9/25/2013}
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