Training was never easy, not since he lost his left eye or, more easily explained, lost sight in his left eye as the eye was still there but the sight had been burned away from it. His depth perception was awful to nonexistent since ‘the accident’ as he referred to it but his uncle knew it was no accident and he hated that he knew it wasn’t an accident. His hair had grown scruffy and scraggly and he would be near unrecognizable if he were to step foot in the Fire Nation again, not that he would ever do so. Iroh called for him to do his spar again, repeat the action and he was about to when the boat suddenly turned far too quickly, leaning the boat. Zuko’s immediate reaction was to grab onto the wall of the deck but he saw his uncle lose his grip on the other side of the deck and he fell into the cold southern ocean water. Zuko’s brain raced and immediately reminded him his uncle couldn’t swim, making his new reaction to release the wall and jump in after him. Once he hit the water, he belatedly realized he couldn’t swim either but he felt adrenaline racing and he somehow managed to get to the surface with his uncle, both cough out water that had filled their mouths. Zuko felt an unfamiliar sensation race through his veins as he attempted to get them to shore but was ultimately failing until the feeling happened. Their landing on the icy land was sudden and Zuko realized that he’d airbended them to shore, that he had airbended. His heart nearly gave out upon the realization.
“Zuko, How did you get us here? You can’t swim, nephew.” Iroh asked him.
“I um..air-ahh-adr-adrenaline.” He lied stammering but Iroh seemed to accept that and let him calm down. The boat slowly came to them and got them back onboard. A couple days passed and Zuko realized that Iroh knew he had airbended and he locked himself in his room and cried. He couldn’t be the Avatar. He tried to focus on firebending but he simply made the tapestries flap with wind. He sobbed into his knees, holding his doll that his mother had made and given to him, that had been sewn back together endless times because of Azula and his father. He was a traitor to his own nation. His uncle would take him back home as a prisoner and then he would be tortured into the Avatar State until he could be killed to end the Avatar cycle. Upon realization that he was truly the Avatar, he lost temporary control and destroyed everything in his room with a scream. He released a destructive blast of air, tossing and upending everything and throwing everything at the walls with his air subsequently making spheres around what he treasured unwittingly to save them. Then came the nearly catastrophic blast of fire that turned it all to ash, not even lighting it aflame, but scorching it all to immediate ash. Shaking, he wrote a letter to his uncle, gathered into a bag all the gold, silver, and copper he could. He looked at the doll, Roku. He clutched Roku close and he took the doll with him. and then left to the nearest land. He didn’t want to hurt his uncle, not the last person who cared about him. He fled the ship mourning that he may never see his uncle again. He ran to the closest place, the Southern Water Tribe.