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Sons of Sozin

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There were two boys inside the iceberg. And a sky bison. And a baby dragon.

At least, Sokka assumed it to be a baby, despite the thing being easily as long as he was tall. And it just kept staring at him with big round polar bear-puppy eyes, as if begging for a piece of the jerky from the pouch Sokka always kept tucked underneath his parka-

No. Nope. Dragons were Fire Nation, and if this one wanted any jerky it could go hunting for its own seal-leopard.

“-need to speak to Chief Attiok, it’s an emergency,” stressed the guy the baby dragon was currently wrapped around waist to shoulders. “Most of the Nomads didn’t believe me, but there’s an attack coming, my father is going to use the Great Comet in a few weeks to burn down all of the Temples unless the Southern Fleet stops him from getting out of the archipelago and why are you staring at me like that?”

Well. Multiple reasons, starting with Fire Nation teenager and ending somewhere along the lines of what in the world did he mean ‘in a few weeks’?

“...who did you say you were again?” Katara asked when Sokka couldn’t.

“He’s Zuko!” The bald kid perched above them on the sky bison’s head grinned like this explained everything. “He’s Firelord Sozin’s son, and he’s gonna teach me firebending when I’m ready!”

Uh.

“But- you’re- I thought you said you’re an airbender?!”

“I am! But, well, I’m also kind of the Avatar? So, technically Zuko’s here to ask your chief if he can borrow the Southern Tribe’s ships to stop his dad from starting a war, and I’m here to ask if there’s a waterbender who can help me with the next element I’m supposed to master.”

Katara aimed her own set of polar bear-puppy eyes in Sokka’s direction, with a distinctly panicked slant to her mouth. He gulped, then took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. “Look, uh, Aang, and Zuko- there- there aren’t any southern waterbenders anymore. And. There haven’t been any airbenders either, not in a hundred years, when Sozin’s Comet kinda kickstarted the war.”

The baby dragon made an unhappy squeak as its owner staggered backwards to drop onto his butt in the snow. “They- what. What.”

“Preeetty sure you must’ve been in that ice for a hundred years, so, yeah. Thanks for the warning but uh, a little late?” Katara smacked him in the side, even though Sokka was already wincing at how bad he handled that. Zuko’s head dropped into his hands, the one on the left side angled to avoid touching what looked like a fairly recent and really nasty scar. Aang, in the meantime, didn’t move from his spot on the bison’s head, but certainly looked like the first strong breeze to come along would be enough to blow him over.

“But- but they can’t be all gone,” the kid protested in a small voice. “Monk Gyatso believed Zuko, even if the other Council members didn’t, and he promised to start moving people out of the temple!”

“I mean-” Sokka paused to cough. “I dunno. If there are any left, nobody’s heard of them.”

“Too late,” Zuko muttered, still sitting in the snow, the baby dragon nudging urgently at his arms. “I’m too late.” A slightly hysterical laugh sputtered out of him, and at that point Katara’s Matriarch In The Making instincts took over.

Very shortly after, the four of them plus baby dragon Druk were situated in Appa’s saddle as he slowly swam in the direction of their village.

-SoS-

Zuko couldn’t stop staring at everything with horror. Even with the scar obstructing half his expression, it was plain to see, and that’s probably what made Sokka agree to drag him along after Aang and Katara to see the otter-penguins. Those two went sledding, their shrieks of laughter echoing through the long valleys of ice and snow; Sokka ambled around to where the true tundra began, still refusing to share any of his dried jerky with Druk no matter how much he begged. And for a critter that hadn’t uncurled so much as a handspan of tail from his owner, the baby dragon really knew how to put on the 'I’m so pitiful please feed me' show.

Then they came around a corner to the sight of the decades-old Fire Navy ship trapped in the ice, and Zuko stopped dead in place.

“...I don’t think all of me believed you,” the taller teen eventually said, after several long minutes of silence. “But that’s... that’s...”

“Yeah,” Sokka quietly answered him. “It’s a lot to take in.”

Normally, he’d be the last person in the world to try comforting a Fire Nation citizen, let alone a prince, but he couldn’t get the way Zuko’s face had crumpled out of his head, when Sokka explained he’d come a hundred years too late.

“...Azulon did this.”

“The old Firelord? Yeah.” Not that Sokka could say he’d ever really thought about the guy compared to the actual raiders who came to their shores. But when he did think about it, standing at the edge of a tundra devoid of anything except the black steel ship before them, and put the two and two together of Sozin’s son- “Was he, uh. Older? Or younger?”

“Younger,” Zuko managed to say. “By a couple years. Some, uh. Some people thought we were twins, before I started hitting my growth spurts. I thought it was funny, getting to lean my elbow on his shoulder.”

Yeah, Sokka knew that feeling, with regards to Katara when she was slightly smaller. Trying to translate it to the Firelord responsible for his mom’s death? Nope. Not going there.

“Is he- is he still-?”

“Mm? Oh- uh, no, died a few years back. His son’s on the throne now. Firelord Ozai.”

Zuko just nodded, gaze still distant and looking a lot further than the iced ship. Then he blinked, a little bit of clarity coming back. “Spirits. I’m an uncle.”

And, okay, everything else aside, the sheer bafflement on Zuko’s face as he said that- laughter was a very natural response, okay? And once he started Sokka couldn’t really stop, especially once Zuko started laughing too, a little more hysterically, and then Druk came out with the most ridiculous squeaky-pop noises trying to copy them-

They’d mostly managed to pull themselves back together by the time Aang and Katara slid out of the hills and ended up close by, and then all laughter died in the face of stopping the airbender kid from going exploring in the iced ship. Both older boys very firmly squashed his protests - Zuko probably to keep Aang from seeing any frozen corpses that might remain, Sokka for the slightly more practical reason of not setting off any booby-traps thank you very much.

By then the penguin-otters had wandered off, so their little group needed to walk back around on foot to the village. And along the way, Zuko came out with the blunt words, “We can’t stay here.”

-SoS-

At dawn the next day, a sky bison set off from the South Pole, bearing in total:

-assorted hundred year old supplies of vegetarian foodstuffs and random trade goods.

-assorted cold weather camping supplies and distinctly meatier foodstuffs much newer in age.

-one young airbender/Avatar practically begging to stop at Kyoshi Island to ride the giant koi fish.

-a slightly older waterbender-in-training eager to get to the North Pole to find a teacher.

-an already exasperated big brother wondering why he hadn’t just stayed home.

-and last but not least, a Fire Nation prince and his accidentally acquired baby dragon, intent on righting his family’s wrongs as best he could manage.

What could go wrong?