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|"I had a brother instead...I thought I had a brother instead."|
|— Sozin, to Kuzon|
|The Traitor and the Firelord|
The Traitor and the Firelord is the fifteenth chapter of the AU fanfiction story .
Taro had been on Kuzon's trail ever since the latter was captured. He had made it to a port of call on the western shore of the Earth Kingdom, and now had to find a disguise and stow away on a ship headed for the Fire Nation. He bought a wide-brimmed hat to cover his arrow and obscure his face. He walked away from the vendor and adjusted his hat under the bright sun.
He observed the ships, trying to decide which would have the lightest security. Then he noticed a figure next to him adjust its own hat just as he had done a moment ago. He grabbed the young man's shoulder and swung him around.
"Kunchen?" He was surprised to see the man he had expressly forbid to follow him had actually been following him.
"Don't be mad!" he smiled apologetically.
"You better start heading east right now, because you are not coming with me," he told him.
"Taro, I want to save Kuzon too."
"Absolutely not. I'm going into the Fire Nation itself. It's too dangerous."
"I'm as capable as you. And you also know that you need my help," he replied, grinning at him.
Taro looked at him for a minute. "...And I'm going to keep following you anyway," Kunchen said simply, stating it as a fact.
"All right. But you had better be careful!" Taro warned him.
"You know me: safety first," Kunchen said, turning his attention to the ships and walking down toward the docks.
A few nights later, Sozin appeared outside Kuzon's cell. Sozin had decided to take advantage of the last chance he would ever have to talk to his brother. He just looked at his brother through the bars. Kuzon looked so different, with his wild beard he had grown in captivity. He was awake, and looked right back at Sozin.
"Why did you do it, Kuzon?"
Kuzon did not reply. He was quiet for a long time. Was his brother so incapable of understanding why he had saved the airbenders? He gently asked the Firelord "Sozin, did you ever have any friends growing up?"
"Do you think I could have ever become the Firelord who single-handedly turned this country from a starving dustbowl into the greatest power on earth if I had stopped to bother with trivialities like that?" he laughed haughtily. Then he became suddenly serious again. "I had a brother instead...I thought I had a brother instead," he corrected himself, turning away.
Kuzon finally asked, "If we were other people, just...I don't know, farmers or something, a normal family...If we were anyone else...do you think things would have been different?"
"I don't deal in hypotheticals," Sozin said coldly. He turned away.
"Just..." Kuzon paused. He couldn't think of another way to ask. "...if?"
"Don't toy with me, Kuzon. Do you think I'll let you off easy because we're related?" Sozin advanced on him, pressing his face against the barred window on the door and spitting his words like poison. "Do you think, after what you did, that I have one shred of compassion left for you? I gave up on you long ago. You are nothing but a traitor, and I will gladly execute you tomorrow." Sozin marched down the hall and out of the room.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Enemies and Traitors chapters|
|Prologues - Brothers - Responsibilities - Necessities - Resources - The Avatar - Opportunities - Preparations - Betrayals - Changing Plans - Scars - Counting Losses - Exiles - Ghosts - Homecoming - The Traitor and the Firelord - Escapes - The Last Chance - Legacies|