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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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PRINCE OZAIMai was expecting the couple's second child, meanwhile news came in the middle of the night that Zuko's father, Ozai, had passed away behind bars.
"Are you going to be okay?" Mai asked.
Zuko shut his eyes. Of all the horrid, despicable things that Ozai had done to Zuko over the years, he was still his father. There was a mountainous volcano of terrible memories of the cruel man, but at the very bottom of the mound, there was a tiny bushel of good memories---they were from a time when Ozai still loved him and protected him like a father should. There was the time he saved Zuko from drowning, all of those vacations to Ember Island, and who could forget the time Ursa drug them to the theatre and the men set the seats on fire in order to get out of it. It was that father Zuko wanted to remember, and it was this father that died many, many years ago who needed to be buried now.
"Mai," Zuko started, "I want my father to be cremated in the hall of the past Fire Lords..."
"Are you joking?" she wondered tiredly, "after all he's done to you?"
"The Phoenix King died behind prison walls---but my father died the night my mother vanished. I'm finally going to bury Prince Ozai the loving father, not Fire Lord Ozai the terrible menace."
"That's very mature of you Zuko," Mai smiled, "I'm proud of you."
Zuko kissed her and she rolled over to go back to sleep. Despite everything Zuko had forgiven his father enough to remember the good inside of him, and by the next day he held Ozai's funeral and had his body cremated in the hall of past Fire Lords as Zuko's very last act of mercy for his misguided father.
HONORA'S TRIP TO BA SING SE
The very same year, Zuko and Mai's daughter, Honora, was a twelve year old Firebending prodigy, and was visiting her Great Uncle Iroh for a small vacation in Ba Sing Se. This was the very first time she'd been to the Earth Kingdom Capital, and also the very first time she's travelled anywhere without her parents. Honora made it to the great wall and rode the train all the way into the city where Earth King Kuei was there to greet her and Uncle Iroh was waiting to take her to the tea shop. Two Fire Nation soldiers were there to guide her and escort her through her trip, but Iroh sent them back to the Fire Nation. He knew Zuko didn't want Honora anywhere near his psycho sister, but Iroh believed their presence would influence her to attack even more. Reluctantly, they were persuaded to leave the Princess in the care of her great-uncle.
"So Uncle," Honora began excitedly, "What do you have planned for us first? Lightning battles, White Lotus secrets, Oooo----are you going to teach me to breathe fire!?"
"No my young niece," old Iroh laughed heartily, "We have an even more dangerous lesson ahead of us today."
"Well, what is it?" she frowned.
"Today you are finally going to meet your Aunt Azula."
Honora had heard stories about her father's sister...she was said to have been ruthless, cruel, and psychotic to say the least. Azula had been without her bending for over twelve years and was kept at Uncle's tea shop to reform her attitude----and according to the letters, it hasn't been setting in.
"Here we are my little lotus---the Jasmine Dragon," Uncle pointed.
"Wow!" Honora grinned, "I've always dreamed of visiting your tea shop Uncle---it's bigger than I ever could have imagined!"
"The shop is closed today, so we will have plenty of privacy..." he said sternly, "Are you ready to face the tyranny of your aunt, Honora?"
"Bring it..." she grinned, cracking her knuckles in an intimidating manor, "I think after a little girl-talk...she and I could become good friends, don't you?"
"You certainly are an idealist---" he sighed, making a weird face behind her back that meant: not on your life. Uncle opened the doors to the shop and peaked inside only to dodge a flying tea pot that shattered against the door. Iroh rolled his eyes and continued through the door, Honora shielded behind him. The shop was lonely and dark with shadows, but Iroh called out to them, saying, "Azula, you have a guest, please try to be courteous for once...."
"If it's Mai or Ty Lee again, tell them not to waste their breath!" she hissed in the distance.
"It is no one you have met, please come out and say hello," he replied calmly. Meanwhile, Honora felt like she was being led into a Tigerdillo's lair....the anxiety was literally swimming through the air and she even jumped when a woman fell from the ceiling to stand before Uncle Iroh. She tightened her hold on his robe and made sure she had some throwing knives ready (just in case). Iroh continued, and slowly stepped out of the way so Azula could greet her guest. "Azula, this is Honora----Honora, this is Azula."
This was the first time Honora had ever seen her aunt in person. She imagined a monster consumed in flames with red eyes and grey skin...sharp teeth and talons used for ripping out people's souls....but this was not that person. Young Honora noticed how sad her Aunt really was---she was just a normal, little woman, about the same age as her own mother; she wasn't even that scary looking.....she seemed actually pretty normal, but depressing, like she had nothing left to live for except to cause minor damage to porcelain tea pots?
"H-hello?" Honora smiled.
Azula merely glared down at her.
"Um," Honora shrugged, "It's nice to officially meet you Azula----I don't know if you know who I am, but----"
"Oh, I know exactly who you are..." Azula sneered, "You are the product of my traitorous former ally and my disgrace of an older brother."
Honora was speechless and looked to her uncle for help, he shrugged and Honora turned back to talk to Azula... "I know you and my family don't really see eye to eye, but you are my aunt....and I thought, maybe we could get to know each other----you know, over tea or something?"
"Ha," she snickered, "What does Zuko wish to prove by sending you here? Does he think you are going to change me, make me good?"
"Actually...this was my idea...I wanted to spend some time with my other family and experience life on my own. One day I'll have to travel all over the place and solve problems, make peace in the world, and I thought my first issue should be making peace within my own family."
"For when you are Fire Lord?" she growled.
"Yes?" Honora shrugged.
"You do not deserve to be the Fire Lord," Azula started.
"You are weak....full of imperfections and naive morals....You think that you are strong and confidant, but you have never accomplished a single thing on your own, and as soon as trouble should occur,you will fall back, running to your daddy with your spineless servants, begging him to fix the mistakes you have made on your kingdom."
"Uncle!" Honora exclaimed.
"Azula," Iroh protested, "She is only a child, and she is your blood---try and be nice. I'm going to show her around, but you stay here and clean up the mess you have made."
"And If I refuse?"
He glared at her and steam poured from his nostrils, making Azula roll her eyes and snatch away a broom. He knealed to Honora and patted her on the back, "You did very well my niece, now come with me, and we can relax from your travels with a nice pot of tea." Honora always enjoyed her visits with Great Uncle Iroh, and she loved sitting by the pond, feeding the Turtle-ducks and partaking in a friendly chat over tea, this was the first time she'd gotten to spend time with him outside of the palace, and other than her creepy aunt, the visit was going smoothly.
Then nightfall came....Honora was unpacked and sleeping peacefully in her room. Unknown to the young princess, a crazed pair of eyes were looming over her, and Honora woke groggily to see her aunt snarling over her bed. Honora yelled and pounced out of the way as Azula attacked her pillow. Honora was struck off guard with terror, but she still managed to shoot out a few daggers from her pajama sleeve, pinning the psychopath's arm to the wall, and Honora ran out the door for Uncle. Azula pursued her and Honora kicked back a spiral of flames to stop her from the making it through the hallway.
"Uncle won't be pleased that you've burned his tea shop, little princess..." Azula called eerily.
Breathing heavily, Honora turned and bolted towards Uncle Iroh's room, Azula was running swiftly behind her, calling to her as Honora shot back a few more daggers to get ahead. She dodged the knives like a shadow and in crazed laughter, Azula yelled, "You weren't the only princess prodigy, Fire Brat!"
Honora gasped and knocked open Uncle's bedroom door; she ran over to his bedside to see him snoring loudly, but he wouldn't wake. She tried to shake him screaming hastily, "UNCLE! UNCLE!?" Then she noticed the small glass in the floor with excess tea dripping into the rug. She picked it up and sniffed the glass before turning back to Uncle.
"Fraid' that won't work?" Azula cackled from the doorway, "Tea is known to be very relaxing....I don't suppose he'll be awake for hours?"
"I won't fight you Aunt Azula!" Honora frowned.
"That's a shame...I suppose your end will just come all the quicker in that case?"
"Why are you doing this, what did I ever do to you?" Honora screamed; she was frightened beyond belief, but assumed her fighting stance and spoke calmly as her Aunt entered the room.
Azula answered her in a snarl, "You were born!"
"Saw that one coming..." Honora thought to herself..."Wait...Father always told me about how unstable his sister was. How she would exploit other people's weaknesses in order to have an advantage on them. She needs a taste of her own medicine..." Honora lowered her stance and started chuckling...
"What might I ask, is so funny?" Azula asked vainly.
"You," Honora smirked, "You act all evil and sinister on the outside, but inside, you're just as scared as I am."
"Scared!?" she laughed, "Scared of what? Of you!? Please, don't flatter yourself. You are a twelve year old mistake of air and a disgrace to the Fire Nation."
"I am a twelve year old----a twelve year old who will always be able to bend more fire than you, and even if I can't. I can still fight, I still have swords, knives, and I've had hand-to-hand combat training since the day I learned to crawl. You!? All you ever learned were a few Firebending positions and how to evade and connive. You may be older than me, but you are not stronger than me Azula, and that frightens you."
"Is that what you think?" she smiled amused.
"Say you aren't scared of me..." she shrugged, "Then what you are is jealous...you hate me because I am the princess you always wanted to be, always trained to be...Someday I will become Fire Lord and you never will. But even after all that---everything that I am that you want...I have one thing you gave up on having a long time ago...and it's the thing you've wanted more than anything else in the whole wide world."
"And what might that be?" she growled.
"I have a mother who loves me and who will never ever abandon me!"
Azula charged for Honora and in one blink, she shot out a flow of knives, pinning Azula completely against the wall of Uncle's room. She roared and struggled to get free, but she was completely immobilized. Honora was strong enough to protect herself from Azula, and although she didn't like getting under her aunt's skin like that, it was the only way to take Azula down peacefully.
Iroh woke up by the following morning to learn of the series of events that had happened the previous night. Honora was sitting in the floor in front of Azula completely asleep with two cups of tea in her lap; her pajamas were torched at the ends and tattered on the shoulders, but other than that she seemed fine? Meanwhile, Azula was unconscious and pinned to the wall with knives, but slumbering peacefully in midair.
"Honora..." Uncle whispered, shaking her awake by the arm.
She pounced up and looked over to see her uncle and smiled before dragging him into the hallway, wrapping him in a hug as she exclaimed, "UNCLE! YOU'RE FINALLY AWAKE!"
"What happened!?" he pleaded, looking over at the holes and scorch marks throughout the hallway.
"Azula and I just needed a little girl-time to talk over tea..." she smiled, "I told you she and I would become friends?"
"Friends? Really? But, how!?" Uncle was astonished.
"It was simple Uncle, I just had to speak her language..." Honora grinned, "Though I don't think we should trust her with making tea anymore---or let her have sharp objects---or a nail file----no pillows either."
Uncle was confused, but proud that Honora was able to defeat Azula and manage a civil conversation with her without getting killed, and he sighed tiredly before going back into his room.
Honora followed close by and eagerly tip-toed into her next honoree statement, "So...Uncle...after we cut Azula down---do you want to teach me how to breathe fire!?"
- Zuko's forgiveness towards Ozai just proves that he has grown up to be a better man than his father.
- Note: This is the first time we officially see the Royal Procession acting as the Royal Guards in this Fanon. Although, their uniforms appear to resemble the common Fire Nation Army uniforms, rather the actual Procession attire.
- This is also the last official time we see Mai.
- Honora has never been to Ba Sing Se by herself before, but she has flown over it in her father's War Balloon. Still, this is the first time she's set foot in the city.
- This is the first we see of the Jasmine Dragon from the outside. Notice there is a small tombstone near the front door as a tribute to Iroh's son, Lu Ten.
- This is the very first time that Honora has ever met her Aunt Azula. Azula has been living in Ba Sing Se for twelve years, and has been without her Firebending the entire time.
- Honora has never had to fight to survive before, but she has been in training for such an occasion since the day she could walk. Mai also taught her everything she knew about throwing knives, making Honora an extremely capable fighter for her age.
- By the end of this Year, Honora and Azula had become friends (in their own odd sort of way).
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