Zuko was watching the sky. It was certainly very beautiful. The orange and red mixed together, and spots of sunlight stroked the Earth. Zuko felt… relieved. Finally… his journey was over. His father and sister had been defeated, and his friends were safe.
Finally, the ending had come. He was at peace at last…
Yet, he couldn't help feeling… slightly melancholic. He had been through so much, and had even managed to befriend the Avatar, that not so long ago was his sworn enemy.
The thing that was preventing him from achieving his honour.
Right now, he was sitting on a marble balcony, just… thinking, while observing the world around him. He thought about his new friends and his old memories back at home. His mother… Iroh…
The Fire Nation as a whole.
Had they really been that horrible? He almost couldn't believe he was one of them.
Things were different now. He wasn't going to let war take over. Peace and love would be the only things that mattered.
But guilt was still resonating within him...
"Hey," a voice interrupted his thoughts. He turned around, and saw the young Earthbender Toph staring at him. Her eyes were hidden as usual.
"... Toph," Zuko grunted as a greeting. He'd be politer, but he didn't enjoy his thoughts being interrupted.
"You're looking thoughtful about something," Toph said. She walked over to him, leaning on the balcony.
"Just… thinking." Zuko replied.
"'Bout what?" Toph asked, with a faint grin.
"... just the journey." Zuko responded. "Everything that happened… all that kind of thing."
"Very serious indeed," Toph shrugged. "'All that kind of thing'."
"I might've had a better answer if you didn't interrupt me." Zuko deadpanned.
"Alright, calm down grumpy pants," Toph waved her hands. "Just saying."
Zuko sighed, looking off into the distance. Toph sat next to him.
"Excited about being Firelord?" she asked him.
"It's not exciting." Zuko replied.
"So you're neeerrrrvous?" Toph asked, smirking.
"..." Zuko frowned.
"I won't judge," Toph shrugged. "I got nervous when I first started entering all those Earthbending competitions. Really nervous. But hey… I got used to it all, and grew my confidence. You've done a lot of leadership stuff yourself. You led a bunch of armies who tried to kill Aang-" Zuko flinched, "-you led us at some point, you taught Aang how to firebend…" She smiled at him. "So don't be nervous because you'll do great. I know it. Okay?"
Zuko sighed. "I disappointed my nation, you know. They cast me out."
"So what? You're better now." Toph replied. "You have more morals than all of those losers put together. You'll be a great leader. A much better leader than your power-hungry father."
"..." A small smile appeared on Zuko's face. He shared it with Toph. "... thanks. You're not so bad for a kid."
"You're not so bad for a fiery teen." Toph responded. She laughed at her own joke. Zuko rolled his eyes.
"You just ruined the moment." he sighed.
"I know, that's what I do best." Toph smirked. She punched his side. "By the way, that scar makes you look really cool. You look all, y'know, battle-hardened. It's like you've kicked a lot of butt. And we all know you kick butt. Most of the time. You are kind of a softie."
"Am not." Zuko grumbled.
"Yeah you are." Toph snorted. "You couldn't really kill someone, could you?"
Zuko glanced at his hands. He felt… uneasy. He thought about his friends once again…
Azula… his father…
"... maybe not." he sighed. He wiped his eyes. "Maybe I'm… a little easy-going sometimes. But definitely not weak."
"I never said you were weak," Toph replied. "Besides, nothing wrong with having a little compassion. You definitely have some of that. Which makes you even better."
"You are being far too nice." Zuko replied, but he couldn't help smiling.
"That's me," Toph grinned. She looked at his face. "I see that smile. You've got a heart in there."
Zuko sighed, pouting. Toph wrapped her arms around his middle, making him jump. After a few moments, he lightly returned the hug. He smiled as well.
"Seriously," he said. "You're not bad for a kid."
"And you're not bad for a Firelord." Toph added.