: Iroh is dragged along with his parents, who decide to visit his grandmother, Katara, at the Southern Water Tribe. Katara had some matters to discuss with his father, Bumi. Apparently, there have been claims lurking around of the new Avatar. He's a little unsure as to why he had to tag along--it certainly wasn't his business yet. So while his parents met up with Katara that day, he decided to sneak out and take a stroll around the Southern Water Tribe village.
Fate certainly is a funny thing.
--- Author's Note
: I had to write something about General Iroh II. And I really love the headcanon of Teenage Iroh and Little Korra having this childhood friendship! Also, I wanted to write about why Korra grew to love fire. Besides, I haven't written in such a long time. Hope you guys enjoy
This is dedicated to jwxwei, xoxogossipgill and water-tribe-korra. They made me very happy a couple of days ago, and I can only hope this fic makes all of them happy, too!
"Hey, Mister!" a small voice calls out from behind him. He blinks, surprised, and jerks his hand downward as the fire in his palm disappeared. He was so sure no one was following him. He couldn't even remember how many times he looked over his shoulder to take a peek, as he tried to be inconspicuous.
He turns, but faces no one, and his eyebrows scrunch together, confused.
"Down here!" the voice calls again, and he steps back quickly, staring down at a petite girl, with hair styled in a way he was unfamiliar with. She had her arms crossed, and was glaring up at him. She tapped her foot repeatedly, her lip jutting out in a pout. It almost seemed as if she was staring him down.
"What were you doing?" the girl asked, in a tone that reminded him of his mother; as she belted out commands to those who served her. "Just now, you had something in your hand!"
It wasn't a question; it was an accusation. She had seen it.
Since they had arrived in the South Pole, Iroh didn't run into anyone other than his grandmother, Katara. Katara had to discuss a few things with his father and mother, and then they'd be off in a few days. Seeing as he had some free time on his hands, he decided to sneak out and take a stroll in the outskirts of the village. Should've meant no harm, so long as no one recognized him to be the Fire Lord's son.
But the kid had seen him -- and news of the arrival of the Fire Lord's family probably spread like wildfire. So why else would there be a firebender in the South Pole?
And now, he had to deal with it.
"I wasn't doing anything," Iroh lies, attempting to hide who he was. Not wanting to attract attention, he crouches to face the kid, eye-to-eye, "I was just taking a stroll."
"Liar!" the girl points an accusing finger at him, accusing eyes to match, saying, "You're a bender!"
"I am?" he asks playfully.
"You are!" she points again.
"Really now?" he muses, "And what did you see exactly?"
And then, oddly enough, she lowers her arm and her gaze finally drops from his face, and down to the ground. The way her shoulders hunched, with her head tucked in between...she was shy. But her lips were parted, as if she was very eager to say something, but unsure of how to.
"I saw something...really pretty."
Iroh blinks, completely caught off guard. "...What?" he asks, a little baffled.
And she suddenly points at him again, that he had to pull his face away, afraid she'd poke his eye out. "It was fire! But, it wasn't...
"It was blue," she continued, the tone of her voice shifting from a bark to a praise, "Blue, like water. And it was really, very pretty..."
Silence settled around them as he tried to let what she was saying sink in. The element of power, the element that could not be stopped, the hardest element to control...
"...I'd love to see it again..." she mutters softly, pout still in place.
Iroh got the hint--and he knew it was wrong. He thought he was being inconspicuous with his fire, but even this little girl saw him. Who knows who could see him next?
"It isn't safe," he says aloud in contemplation. Her face falls--but he knows it's true. After all, he didn't want to attract attention. He could simply say no, get up, and walk away -- forget any of this ever happened, and return home.
And yet, to his own surprise, he lifts his hand, and a warm light erupts from the center of his palm. She latches onto his arm, surprised, and stared, eyes wide, at the fiery element. The fire flickered softly, blue and bright, and he smiled at her awe-struck face, wondering what sort of thoughts were racing through her head. To him, blue fire meant power and strength. But to this child, it meant magic and beauty.
How something so dangerous could be so beautiful.
"One day, I'd love to do that," the girl whispers, and he was pretty sure she was saying that more to herself.
Iroh laughs, a little unsure of what to say after that. A little, southern water tribe girl, bending blue fire? He ruffles the kid's oddly styled hair, chuckling, and whispers back, "Sure, kid. Maybe someday..."
After that day, Iroh found himself visiting the village again; wondering where the kid was--if he'd ever see her again. The little Southern Water Tribe girl. The girl who wanted to bend blue, bright and beautiful fire.
But Iroh and his family left two days later.
He didn't get the chance to see the kid again.
Well...not until she was revealed to be the Avatar, anyway...