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Afire Love

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The crew immediately came to the side of Mako and Senna on the beach, after having handed down the fight to the dragons. Korra went after Noah with no idea about who he was. As Opal composed an air-shield just in case, Bolin knelt to their side, touched his brother's shoulder, worried like everyone.

"How is she?" He asked glancing at Senna and Mako regularly but met the catharsis of his brother's emotions.

"I don't know!" Bolin gave no sense his shouting but startled. 

Without even seeing the questioning face of his brother, Mako slowly lied her head down on his left shoulder, wrapped up her body tightly, and began breathing fire to increase her body temperature. He'd already given up waking her up, after a few more trying with calling her name and fondling her face. 

Korra furiously came back to their side. She couldn't find the man as if he flew away. As soon as viewing her, Mako instantly called Korra in panic, still in the same position. 

"Korra, she needs healing!" 

However, before Korra could even step forward, the last fully-equipped enemy ship arrived at the quay, began attacking them. Because Mako was holding the princess, Korra, Bolin, and Opal counterattacked them. 

Mako pulled her in as much as he could, just in case to protect her, checked her temperature once more but it was as cold as before that enraged Mako. He shouted to the crew. 

"We need to get out of from here! Now!" 

"We're trying Mako! Calm down!" Korra shouted back. They realized a red dragon with a person on it was coming to their side. Without seeing the rider, they thought it was the enemy's. 

"I knew that was gonna happen!" Bolin shouted in fear with widened eyes, glanced at others already taking a position to fight. He exhaled a deep fed-up breath, composed an earth ball. 

However, the dragon surrounded them by circling his body around the crew. They couldn't see the outside or move due to shock for a while but easily comprehended it was here to defend them, with the increasing screams of the opponents' soldiers. After burning everything about the last ship, the dragon opened the circle with rising to the sky, then landed again with leaning down to the crew's side. Lord Zuko shouted at them to hop on in hurry, viewing his granddaughter. 

"Mako come on." Bolin cautiously patted his shoulder again. Mako quickly lifted Senna, but all hesitantly got on to the ship since that was their first time riding a dragon.  The princess was still on his lap that Mako was holding her tightly with no intention to leave. He approached her ear with fondling his face. He smelled her scent freely, whispered without knowing Lord Zuko's regular glancing at them. 

"You're going to be fine Senna." 

Korra sat turning to Mako, immediately asked the places of the wounds. After Mako's having shown the place on her belly, she began using the water from the spirit world to heal the deep wound. 

They reached the palace much faster than General Iroh's ship. The royal family was already lined up, waiting for them with obvious concern on their faces. 

Taichi'd already predicted something went wrong since the radiotelephone talk, and seeing a slim body lied down on Mako's lap made him sure of that. He rapidly ran to the dragon's side, without letting Mako or Lord Zuko, he fragilely took Senna's body from Mako's lap and ran inside with Fire Lord. 

"Korra, what happened?" Iroh asked touching her shoulder softly but with obvious concern on his face. Korra calmly began explaining. 

"When we reached the beach, we had to fight the enemy alone, then she came to our side to help us..."  Bolin suddenly shouted with using his hands to express everything better. 

"She was so powerful. Her fire...it was colorful. She held a huge fireball, easily sent it back. She composed a huge fire-lava shield; I've never seen something like that before..." Bolin ceased talking till meeting the others' gaze. Opal continued with the same tone as Korra's. 

"With her plan we took the fight to the hills and then a guy with Phoenix mask came, I believe the leader of the group, then they fought each other." Iroh gave a surprised look at his grandfather, he nodded his head with closed eyes that took crew's attention. They easily comprehended there was something else. 

"That guy attacked Senna first, then us. She saved me, but suddenly, he threw her off the cliff." Mako said gloomily almost like muttering but enough to be heard, looking down. He couldn't protect her even if she was the one for him when she was severely injured. 

"Let's go inside." Lord Zuko broke the short silence turning back. The crew followed him and Iroh to the Princess's chamber with so many questions in their mind about her fire and the attack. 

Outside Princess Senna's room, The royal family and the crew stood in anxious silence waiting for the healer to come out and give the information about her state and the good news. No one said a word, as if breaking the silence would crush everything down. It was just the voice of their breathing which was even enough to make everyone more nervous. When the healer finally exited the room, the royal family stood, all eyes were on her.

"She is fine with several scratches but the wound in her right arm and her back are deep which will take some time for her to heal, but thanks to the Avatar's early intervention to the wound on the back, it doesn't cause severe damage for her moving her legs...However, she went too harsh on herself, so I can't say when or if she is going to wake up. It only depends on her inner fire. Now, all we can do is wait. I'll come and check on her every two hours." 

Lord Zuko thanked the healer, as now hugging his daughter about to cry, asked if they could see her. With approval, all walked inside. 

Senna was laid out on her back. Unconscious and unmoving with her sheets tucked up under her arm, and over her breast. She was wearing her typical nightclothes and even with the scratches on her arms and neck, she looked peaceful. Izumi and Taichi stepped up to the side of their daughter's bed while Zuko and Iroh stood at the foot of it, and the crew and staff stayed at a proper distance behind them. A silence fell over the area and no one has any intention to break it but finally, Lord Zuko spoke turning his body to the team Avatar. 

"You must be confused about this occasion. Let's go somewhere else and let me explain everything to you." He turned back and left the room with the crew following him.

Now the Royals were alone with Senna. Neither of them could talk. Taichi and the Fire Lord held her hand strongly hoping her to feel them. As Iroh, he was standing still with a squeezed fist because of thinking why she was now lying on the bed, struggling for her life. 

After Iroh's long effort to convince his parents, Taichi and the Fire Lord compulsorily left the room to take care of their business, join meetings after the attack. Now, Iroh became alone with his sister. He slowly walked to her bed, sat at the edge of it, and held her hand to hoping to give her some strength. He left a kiss on her forehead, fondled her hair with an automatic smile of how she could still look naive like in her childhood with large and small scratches all over her body. 

"Stay strong sister like always." He muttered hoping for her to hear him. 

The crew sat around the chairs alining in the parlor table, waiting for Lord Zuko to start the conversation. He reached the edge of the table, stood up, making eye contact with everyone. 

"First of all, you should know that the group she was fighting was Red Lotus."  Lord Zuko automatically touched on the main topic. 

"What?" They reacted all together,  shocked with open mouths and eyes. 

"I thought after destroying their headquarter they split up." Bolin stated looking at Lord Zuko with a questioning face. 

"Unfortunately no. After your fight with the main members and razing most of them, so many things have changed. Zaheer went into prison as you know, but his son became the leader of the group and changed its course. He wants to kill all the leaders like his father too but also wants to become the leader of the world. That's why he calls himself Phoenix or wears its mask, ironically like my father." Lord Zuko distinctly explicated with a short cynical smile at the end of his sentence. 

"What about Senna?" Mako asked curiously. 

"She has been fighting with them for three years." Korra joined the conversation by pounding her fisted right arm to her left palm, furiously thinking about her past experiences with Red Lotus. 

"We have to stop him." Lord Zuko put his hands on the table, leaned down a little. 

"Unfortunately, It's not that easy Avatar Korra. You'll need my granddaughter's bending and knowledge about them and this has to wait till her full recovery." 

"But Lord Zuko we're wasting time. What if they try to kill your daughter or other leaders again?" Korra courteously objected with still the furious tone in her voice. 

"I think, since Senna and you destroyed all their ammunition, it will take some time for them to compensate for all the damage and counterattack." He slowly erected, without letting any objections began talking calmly as walking to the door. "Now if you'll excuse me I'll go and check my granddaughter." He turned back and bowed to them and called a staff ordering him to show them their room. All stood and bowed him back still confused not knowing what to do.


Shortly after noon in Fire Nation with its usual sunny weather. The day after the blossoming of the fire lilies, the supposed beginning of the Fire Lily Festival. Fireworks, dragons' show, fire lilies in front of the all windows, on all bodies as a crown, necklace...

However, all around Fire Nation was buried in huge silence and grief. Instead of all nation, the entrance gate of the palace was filled up with fire lilies in quite a long sequence by all citizens to show their hopes, support, or somehow connect with the princess. The ancient dragons were in their caves, sadder than ever seen with slightly groaning in pain regularly, no one knew why but just guess to communicate with the princess.

It'd been two days since the sudden attack on the Sun Warrior Island and the princess's injury. The island was already repelled from the enemy by the princess, the crew, and dragons, that once the civil armies arrived, there was almost nothing to do. A great number of opponents' soldiers were caught but not Noah. He somehow achieved to flee and no one knew how.

Most of the injured Sun Warrior Island citizens and soldiers came back to their homes but the princess still didn't wake up. With increasing body temperature, she was still cold. Healers and Korra regularly visited her chamber, water bent on her wounds seemingly healing, but no one figured why she hadn't opened her eyes yet, concerning everyone especially the royal family madly if she...

As the team Avatar, now they were walking inside of the palace with staff in front of them thanks to Lord Zuko's strong insistence since none'd gone outside of their room in the last two days knowing there was nothing they could do and not causing any impediment. 

The staff showed them all around the palace and gave information about it and returned them to the corridor where all their room was. 

"The princess was supposed to show you city square but if you want to see now, I can escort you." Korra slightly smiled at the staff. 

"I think we'll wait for the princess. Thank you." He approved her and withdrew with bowing. 

As Mako, the last two days were like torture for him. He madly wondered the princes, wished to see her regardless of asking Korra about her state and receiving the same answer. However, he knew her side wasn't his place. He hardly restrained himself from everything about her even drawing but thinking. 

Mako barely listened to the informations staff gave to them. He was unable to stop thinking about the princess especially when he thought about how nice it would have been nice if she was the one showing them the palace. It just wasn't the same without her kind distinct tone of voice and bottomless knowledge about almost everything but especially the Fire Nation and with the shine in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. 

After resting their rooms, at almost dawn all reached to the garden, saw Druk. Firstly, they excitedly tried to feed her or even touch it but with her gazing at them and exhaling fumes with slight groaning, they decided not to since she seemed to suffer. Then sitting around the pond, instead of the dragon they fed the turtle ducks. 

The deep silence fell over between them with none of them knowing how to start while desperately wishing to discuss everything. However, finally, Opal did as throwing small pieces of leaves on to the pond with a questioning tone. 

"Isn't that weird? I mean How did the princess get involved with this anyway?"  Mako was lying flat on the grass with closed eyes letting the last remnants of the beams hitting all his body. With Opal's question, he stood on his elbows looked at her.

"What do you mean?" Opal shrugged. 

"I don't know. She seems like a person always working or joining in the meetings and told us nothing about fighting with the Red Lotus in the letters." 

"Exactly!" Korra enthusiastically proclaimed with the summary of all her thoughts in her mind. She ceased feeding the turtles as ready to talk about it thoroughly. 

"I think it's weird too, but, in the fight, they obviously knew each other." Bolin added leaning on Opal's shoulder hopelessly. 

"I think we should listen to Lord Zuko and wait then we can ask anything we want to her." Mako recklessly stated and lied back. 

"What about her fire? Why or how was that colorful like that?" Korra vainly asked granting Mako right, and still knowing no one had no idea about it.

Mako couldn't stop thinking about the princess. He suddenly recalled one of the letters she had been sending, telling him how peaceful this garden was since it received sunlight in all hours of the day. He smiled slightly with agreeing her idea but didn't take long, also recalling her state right now. He wondered about her and couldn't stop the idea of just standing up and running to her room...

"Where are you going, bro?" Bolin asked immediately realizing his silent movements. Mako slowly stood up, gave his best aloof look. 

"To my chamber. I'm a little tired." Asami rose a brow with a shrewd smile. 

"Mako stop lying. You're going to see her right?" The answer immediately came in still the same tone. 

"No."

Yes.

"He's." Korra chuckled lying back on Asami's upper legs. Shortly others joined her. 

"What is it?" Mako asked, scowling, disturbed with their attitude. 

"Aren't you little too worried about her, Mako?" Korra asked. 

"It's not too much. She was severely injured and I just want her to be well." Mako objected as an answer. 

"Come on bro, we saw you in the battle. You know you become too protective and aggressive when it's come to the people you love." Bolin smiled at him. With this, Mako's aloof look suddenly changed.  

"People I love...I don't love her!" He protested. 

"I think we should let him go. He needs to give a good impression to the Fire Lord." Asami added, blinked an eye at him as fondling Korra's hair. 

"That's cute. He's trying to take care of her." Opal added. 

"You're ridiculous!" Mako rapidly turned back, he went into the palace without listening to them more. He walked to her chamber, but hardly curbed himself again. 

I shouldn't be doing this. 

Mako went to his chamber, immediately sat on the desk full of papers he'd asked from staff and the pencils he brought from home. He immediately began drawing her at lightning speed like a worker in a factory because of having been holding his whim for two days.

Fire Lord Izumi was now in the gate from the time she spared for herself with her son's insistence to sleep which she had no intention to do. As her daughter was fighting for her life, how could she even think of sleeping? 

She looked at the fire lilies with a slight smile on her face recalling Senna's childhood memories, but especially one of them rolled over in her mind again and again. 


(Eighteen years ago) 

Izumi was planning to have lunch after finishing the last file about the statistical computation of the annual economic income from all Fire Nation lands.

Suddenly the door was opened without even knocking. Izumi quickly looked up to see the person who dared to come inside like that, yet she saw Taichi. Before even questioning his arrival, a three-year-old baby voice spoke.

"Mummmmmm! You have to come with us!" 

With her daughter's voice Izumi slightly laughed looking at her husband, understanding the reason of his presence now. She stood up looked down at her, but her daughter's clothes and face were full of mud in a mess that panicked Izumi. Her laughing speedily withered, eyes widened. She briskly walked to the side of her daughter, quickly knelt before her. 

"Senna! What happened to you!?" Izumi attempted to clean up her face yet she turned her head with pushing didn't let her. 

"Senna..." 

"I guess our little daughter is happy with them." Taichi compassionately looked at his daughter and wife. 

"Believe me, I tried too." Both made prolonged eye contact, but they soon had to break it with her daughter shouting at them which was almost like a muttering. 

"Can you listen to me please?" Little Senna smiled now having all attention on herself. "You have to come with me." 

Izumi stood up held her little muddy hand just like her father.

"Then we're coming with you, fire lady." 

Together, Senna led them to somewhere, both attempted to ask questions wondered, but each Senna silenced them and just said one word: Surprise.

Reaching the garden, Senna asked them to close their eyes. With her slim hands, she directed them in the middle of the garden stood in front of them.

"Open your eyes, please." Taichi and Izumi opened their eyes, saw her standing in front of them. 

"So darling? Where is the surprise?" Taichi curiously asked.

"Here!" She enthusiastically answered moving beside with two arms pointing to the heap of the soil which all grass was moved and with a few bumps lined up in order surrounded by the stones from the turtleduck pond. 

"Why did you remove the grass, Senna and what are those lumps?" Izumi  softly asked fondling her face with confusion. 

"Because I planted fire lilies. Soon our garden would be full of them!" Senna enthusiastically stated with jumping due to not able to standstill. 

With this statement, both began laughing Taichi softly put his hand on her shoulder, knelt.

"But darling, you can't flourish Fire Lilies in here." 

"Why not?" Izumi sat down and talked this time. 

"Because this soil is not watery enough."  

"Then I will water them every day!" Senna rapidly turned back, kneeling. She began landscaping her small garden.  With this sudden supposedly harsh attitude, both first looked at each other giggling, already having talked their next movement with eyes. Then, together, they hugged her from back, pulling her in between them. 

"Are you striking an attitude toward your parents, fire lady?"  She didn't answer her mother, just pouted. 

"I guess we have no other choice." Taichi began tickling her, shortly Izumi joined too. 

Senna instantly forgot everything, now she was laughing with joy shortly the garden was filled up with their voice of joy.  Izumi and Taichi ceased when no one has the energy to laugh more. Senna's face suddenly became serious. 

"I will make this happen, dad." Taichi nodded fondling her hair, smiling with Izumi. Together they held her hands.

"We will."  


Fire Lord Izumi silently let the tears go, soon sobbed and collapsed on the ground. After probably years in her life, she didn't think of to seem well, which she had to be as the Fire Lord, and cried freely. 

Shortly with two hands on her shoulders, she startled, suddenly looked back, and attempted to pull herself together by picking up the tears. Lord Zuko knelt, softly turned her body to his.

"Darling, are you okay?"

She was relieved to see her father and with his hands on her face, she stopped trying to look strong. She looked up at him and endeavored to pick up the words with trembling voice. 

"I couldn't protect her, dad...I-I did everything I could to keep her away from these fights...pain, but It wasn't enough, I wasn't enough." Lord Zuko pulled her daughter into a hug.

"Don't say that, Izumi. You're one of the greatest, strongest mother in the world, and she knows that too." 

Izumi hardly pulled herself back as now Lord Zuko compassionately picking up her tears with a slight smile. 

"She has to wake up, dad. She has to see this, see how much she is loved, cherished by so many people and she wasn't alone in this world. She can't...she can't die, dad, she is too young...too good..."

A few tears already fell from Lord Zuko's eyes but achieved to hide them from his daughter. After everything, Senna never gave up on life and infect her people, everyone with happiness, and Lord Zuko desperately hoped that she wouldn't give up this time either. She was such a strong woman like her mother. He tightly pulled her. 

"She is the strongest, Izumi. She will be fine, with us again. Come on. You didn't want your daughter to see you like that hah?" Lord Zuko helped her stand up and accompanied her to her chamber. He helped her to lie down on the bed, didn't leave her side till she fully slept just like in her childhood. 

After sleeping just a few hours, Fire Lord Izumi went to Senna's chamber. She sent  Iroh to sleep promising she would go back to her chamber shortly after him, but she had no intention to do that. She sat on the edge of her bed and fondled her hair softly. 

"Hah...my little fire lady." 

When Mako was finished his drawings, it was late at night. He felt relieved from inside and wiped the drops of sweat. He realized he didn't have dinner but didn't consider as problem at all. He stood up from the chair and didn't curb his desperate intention this time, thinking nobody could be in the room at this hour. He went out and walked to her room, like a secret agent, trying his best not to be seen by anyone and silently sneaked in. He slowly closed the door and leaning its back with open little bent legs, exhaled his breath of relief. He stood in the same position till hearing the Fire Lord's voice calling his name. His eyes immediately opened, widened after meeting hers. In lightning speed, he straightened his stance, now looking at her with a forced smile, soon faded, finding ridiculous in these circumstances. 

The worst thing he could imagine just took place. 

"Fire Lord Izumi..." He bowed to her in panic, then stood steep like a soldier. She laid her eyes on him slowly, not knowing his increasing tension.

"What are you doing here?" She frigidly asked. 

"Uhh...I just wanted to check if the princess was okay." She looked at him blankly that Mako just wanted to get lost right at that moment. 

"As you see, she is still unconscious. The healer just came and checked her, said her heart beats better but still her body temperature is low." She distinctly recounted everything, still looking at him. 

"I-I get it." Mako unwillingly made eye contact with her, but he quickly broke as lunging to the door. 

"So Uhh...I should be going." She just nodded, turned back to his daughter, and began fondling her black straight hair. 

Mako instantly opened the door with his best effort of being silent. However, before even moving he bumped into the princess's father. 

This is getting worse! 

"You're Mako right? The pro-bender?" Instead of a frigid attitude like the Fire Lord, Taichi intimately smiled at him. After not seeing his wife in bed, he quickly came to the only place she could be at this hour.  

"Yes, sir." He formally answered with still like-a-soldier stance, hoping he could get over this night without any wrong conception and injury.

Taichi put his hand on his shoulder with a risen brow, his smile withered that frightened Mako. 

"I'm guessing you wanted to see my daughter?" 

"Yes." 

What am I doing? I shouldn't have said that. I have to get lost right now!  

Mako waited as ready to all kinds of reaction but probably not this since he just softly passed him moved throughout his wife. As reflexion, Mako touched all over his body to check if he was okay, and strangely he was. 

"Izumi, my dear you should sleep." Taichi hugged his wife from back putting his hands on hers which were strongly holding their daughter's. She subsequently shook her head. 

"No, I can't leave her Taichi." 

"But you're a Fire Lord and you have so many things to do tomorrow...please." Fire Lord turned to his husband as he is now grabbing his hands. 

"What if she wakes up?"  

"I can stay in case she wakes up." With this sudden foreign voice, they all turned to the source of it, having already forgotten Mako's presence there. 

"I'm so sorry if interrupted your conversation and disturbed you, but I think you're right sir and I believe I can help you get the rest you need, Fire Lord Izumi." He distinctly stated slightly bowing to them in the end. 

"I think it's a good idea. Thank you, Mako." 

Taichi said with obvious gratitude in his voice, just happy his wife would finally rest since all day she mentally and physically exhausted herself with political works not to think about their daughter. He took Fire Lord's hand helped her to stand up. Before walking away, she made and eye contact with Mako and put her hand on his shoulder compassionately, much more different than moments ago.

"Thank you." 

After ensuring their departure and closing the door, Mako exhaled a breath with relief again. He achieved to get over this night, but not because of his skills, surely. 

He first looked around him. The room was huge but exactly how he could have assumed. Simple, tidy, and with too much red. He walked to her desk to take the chair, viewed pencils and the papers some of which had short paragraphs on them. He pondered they might be manuscripts of the letters, she had been writing to them, or some political reports. Without reading them since knowing it might be out of line, he hauled the desk's chair close to her bed. 

Before sitting, Mako, firstly, leaned down at her. With the beauty sleeping in front of him regardless of the paleness of her skin, scratches, he couldn't move for a while and just viewed her face with smelling her scent spreading around. He checked her temperature which was still lower than usual, hardly pulling himself back, he sat and absentmindedly held her hand, softly fondled it.