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Afire Love

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Assuming not able to sleep, Senna exhaled a breath of weariness, opened her eyes. No sooner she did, she pouted her face since she wasn't in her room, as now lying on grass that with her usual clothes, first, she couldn't comprehend the situation. 

With increasing questions in her mind and tension about whats and hows, Senna speedily stood up, yet having felt no pain, before even viewing around she first looked down at her right arm, didn't see any bandage, then touched on her belly even slightly rapped there, still afraid of hurting, felt no pain either. That agitated her to ponder she had to be in a dream. 

Presuming to have slept and have a different dream after a long time, Senna hardly felt happy, curiously looked around, her eyes first found the sun resided at the beginning of the area, meaning it was dawn, then realized she was in a huge rapture with full of colorful flowers and kinds of birds flying around the sky, she had never seen in her life. Everything was seemingly realistic, like another world, indicating something was wrong, strange. 

Senna concluded just standing wouldn't have any benefit to her. She first rose on her tiptoes attempted to see the end of the rapture, but except the grassy soil the clouds inserted, she saw nothing. She hesitantly began to stroll around, deliberately taking her steps slow,  looked around to see a sign, still believing she was in a dream otherwise this place had no other explanation. 

"Are you lost, young lady?" Having heard a voice of a man behind her back not so far, Senna turned to him with a little panic, and still looking at his face, she attempted to answer. 

“I don’t know. I mean- Iroh! Uncle Iroh!” 

Seeing a familiar face from the drawn picture in the royal gallery, Senna couldn't finish her sentence, actually, she had nothing to express, looked at his face with shining eyes, enthusiastically proclaimed the first thing about him in her mind: his name. 

However, Uncle Iroh slightly scowled due to recalling no acquaintance with this lady somehow seemed from his nation and familiar. However, with alive suspicions tone, his face was still soft and even slightly smiling. 

"Your uncle? I think you made a mistake, young lady." Senna first just looked at him confused then could easily understand the reason for his attitude that enraged herself for not having thought of it. To appease him, she lifted her hands till her breast with open palms to him. 

"No, I'm sorry I didn't introduce myself. I'm Senna Lord Zuko's granddaughter." Senna bowed as he rose his brows with shock. 

"Izumi had a child?" Senna nodded. 

"Yes...actually she had two." Uncle Iroh's brows turned normal, and he put an intimate smile on his face with amazement, now comprehending why that lady's seemingly familiarity in the first encountering. He slowly approached her, put his hands on her both upper arms. 

"Then what are you doing here Senna?" With his questioning, Senna rose a brow, made eye contact, automatically answer him. 

"Here? Where am I?" Uncle Iroh quickly responded, giving no meaning. 

"You don't know? You're in the spirit world."

Senna couldn't react first and believe him. Her head automatically viewed around, gradually noticing this place was how she read in the books. As recalling the books, she also recalled one of the articles recounting that the bendings would be useless in here, she kindly pulled herself back, attempted to compose a fire stream first, then a flame, failed in both. She looked at Uncle Iroh's face and the only world she could say unwillingly fell into from her mouth. 

"Shit." Shortly coming from her senses and presuming that as disrespect, Senna suddenly closed her mouth with a hand, then apologized to him, with a humorous smile. Uncle Iroh began laughing with putting his hands on her stomach, which made her relieve. "I like you, Senna..." Receiving her reciprocal with a candid smile with slight blushing, he continued pointing the wicker basket left on the ground after him having to see her. "...I was looking for herbs to prepare tea for my cake. Would you like to help me? I could enjoy my niece's company." Senna nodded to him, deciding to go with the flow and just relish the time with her grand uncle she wished to meet due to her grandfather's mentioning it many times. 

"Of course." Uncle Iroh calmly turned back, walked deliberately slow, to the clouds as if he'd come here every day, letting her easily reach him. 

With his guidance and informing her about the Spirit World, they first passed over the clouds which was much easier and quicker than Senna'd expected and reached another rapture full of white flowers. He showed her how to pluck the flower without any damage, she carefully watched his movements. However, she couldn't help herself questioning the flower since having seen none just like the others. 

"Are these what we need for tea?" She asked pointing the flowers with a hesitant face. 

"Yes. We will make a white flower tea."  She scowled with his approval, unwillingly question the name. She was always open with new flavors and she would willingly taste it, of course, if she wasn't in the "Spirit World." 

Noticing her nerves, Uncle Iroh got up, approached her carefully with a few steps trying not to smash the flowers' branches, and put a hand on her shoulder, endeavoring to appease her. 

"Don't worry. You can drink or eat anything you would like here. Also, the White Flower Tea is one of the most delicate of all teas due to its connoisseurs, also holds complex recipe, but My friends here call me as the master of it because I've been doing this since coming here for special quests...like you." Senna gave a breath of relief and grinned at him, pointed the basket with her forefinger. 

"Then what are we waiting for?" Both rolled up their sleeves and start to work with continued chatting...

"You said Izumi had one more child too?" With an obvious but normal curious tone since receiving no news about his family for years, Uncle Iroh asked plucking another white flower. 

"Ah...Yes. I have a brother. His name is Iroh." 

With Senna's answer, he suddenly stopped moving, his eyes were widened as the result of astonishment. 

"Iroh?" He muttered. Senna put a few flowers on her hands on the basket, made eye contact with him with nodding her head, realized the excitement to be read from his face. 

"Yes. My grandfather put your name to him to live your memory, and I think your name carried your legacy to him, he became the youngest and greatest general just like you." 

His eyes shone with pride and the tears filled up. He unwittingly put a slight smile on his face, couldn't answer first, and just laid his eyes on a specific point brooding. Seeing his emotionally thoughtful seconds, Senna concluded she should leave him to himself. She leaned down, continued plucking the flowers till hearing an answer after a few moments. 

"It's good to hear...What about you?" Just like him seconds ago, she dove into the thoughts delaying to answer immediately, viewing the white flower on her hand and fondling its petals. 

What have I done?

As usual, Senna first remembered her first mission, to which others indirectly related, which was given without her permission, after her brother decided to follow his dream, her mother told her after coming back from the Sun Warrior Island and having found that she had the dragon's fire. 

"You will be the future Fire Lord, little flame."  

Without having any idea about the responsibility it brought, Senna recalled how she became the happiest in that day, her enthusiastically jumping up with clapping hands and repeating her mother's sentence and hugging her. 

Then she speedily thought of the Fire Nation citizen: all activities she'd participated with them, or the fights she'd stood up for them, against them... how they ended to be afraid of her after finding out her fire and Azula's death. Her fire...

"Senna?" With Uncle Iroh's voice she pulled herself together, yet contemplatively looked at him for a few seconds, then shortly the answer came. 

"Uhh...Mine is not that awesome. I'll become the Fire Lord after my mother so I'm trying my best to have a benefit for my citizens. I had the Dragon's Fire at the age of five and...that's all I guess." She calmly put the flower in the basket as him now chuckling with proud eyes, having already stopped plucking. 

"Not awesome? That is awesome! I knew there was something special about you." 

Senna found his eyes, wishing to believe him, slightly smiled blushing, thanked him, and felt needed to change the topic. 

"Are those enough for the tea, Uncle Iroh?"  

He lunged to the wicker basket, meaning yes for Senna. Together, they reached a white house with a green roof and a table with seats in front of it that she admired how they could pass the longest roads with just a few steps.

Senna suggested helping him but with his persistent request, she sat down, began waiting as he went inside. In that time Senna had a chance to stare around and ponder. She tried to understand why she came here in the middle of nowhere. She recalled what she was thinking before sleeping: Azula. However, that didn't help her to deduct a conclusion since instead of Azula, now she was with her grand uncle. 

Uncle Iroh first brought a huge fruited cake with plates, forks and a knife, asked her to allocate for both as going inside again. She obediently sliced the cake carefully, put a big piece into each plate, and shortly he came back with a tray with two cups and a teapot, sat next to her, poured the tea on each cup, and served them. 

Senna curiously took a sip. She unwittingly pouted her face due to suddenly noticing it was nothing like she'd ever tried but that didn't take long since she somehow liked this strangeness. She waited till him putting his cup on the saucer to verbalize her opinion looking down at the tea. 

"That's better than I expected." Iroh nodded, candidly smiled, asked a different question. 

"It is...So you don't know how you came here?" Senna first looked at him doubtfully with a slight smile as if he'd read her thoughts just now. 

"Yes. I was thinking of seeing someone before sleeping and then I was here." Iroh took a sip from the tea. 

"Someone? I'm hoping that person was me." With his humorous tone, Senna chuckled.

"I'm sorry but it wasn't... It was Azula, your niece." Uncle Iroh put the cup on the saucer, his face turned serious, and muttered. 

"Is she dead?" Senna nodded as him exhaling a breath of blues. 

"Hah...We didn't have the greatest relationship, even she once tried to kill me just to run away, but still, that made me sad." Senna grinned since recalling that day from Azula's recounting to her in her own bedroom. 

"She told me about that. I was just seven, thinking she was just telling a fanciful story, then found out it was real." Uncle Iroh took a fork from the cake, shrugged. 

"She was always weird...actually crazy." Senna kindly rose her forefinger to him, objected. 

"Yet she was healing..." He rose a brow, turned to her. 

"Really?" With his cynical tone of voice, Senna felt needed to convince him. 

"Yes. My grandfather always tells me it was because of me that I was somehow good for her." He chuckled, easily finding the reason. 

"It might be because you're just like her." Senna raged with scowling and shaking her head as hearing the words told her all over again by a great deal of people around. 

"I'm not!" Iroh put his hand on her shoulder to calm her. 

"Of course you're not, Senna. What I mean is that you look just like her. Her younger self. Another version that what she could have become. That might be the reason." Senna laid her eyes on the fumes of the tea and gloomily mumbled. 

"Maybe..." Uncle Iroh decided it was a good time to change changed the topic. 

"Why haven't you eaten the cake? If you're on a diet don't worry. You don't any gain in the spirit world..." He put his hand on his stomach laughed. "...and you won't lose any either." Senna laughed back to him. She stick the fork in the cake and took a piece, happily stated its tastefulness. 

Till finishing their tea and cakes they talked about mundane matters, generally about the Fire Nation and its people. Uncle Iroh asked after Izumi and Taichi and more details about her grandfather and Senna saw his eyes shining when hearing great news about the ones he loved just like all of her family members.

"...And depending on what my father told me, after my grandmother Mai's death, my mum and grandfather were devastated and the capital was in a big grief..." Uncle Iroh's happy mood suddenly changed. 

"Did she die too?" He murmured with a sad face. Senna approved. 

"A year before I was born. My grandfather always tells me that my birth was a new hope emerging from in the core of the palace...That's why he gave me this name, Senna since it means-" Iroh politely intervened.

"Brightness." Senna smiled blushing. 

"You really carry your name, Senna. I can see the brightness from your eyes, but your spirit..." Senna hesitantly contacted his eyes waiting for an answer.

"What about my spirit?" Uncle Iroh slowly turned to her on his chair, set his hand right on her heart with a sad face, worrying about her. 

"It's in darkness...pain. I can feel it." 

Her eyes slipped down his hand, she gradually exhaled a breath and recalled everything from inside. 

"I guess it is...I've been suffering for years and I don't know how to get over it." Senna united her hands, diffidently looked down at them playing.

"But you can't live with it all your life." He inserted his hands into hers with a slight smile. Senna pouted her face, shook her head, her eyes were still on their hands. 

"I have to till catching the one who is responsible for everything." Iroh slightly chuckled, having acquaintances with this attitude, yet kept it short not to sadden and enrage her more. 

"You remind me of Zuko's young self, Senna. He was so dedicated about catching the Avatar to please his father that he didn't even realize he dragged his spirit in darkness, just like you."

Senna didn't lift her head. She knew this story from her grandfather, but she wanted to listen to it from another point of view. 

"What did he do then?" Senna murmured. Uncle Iroh slightly smiled waiting for this question. One of his hands went on her chin, lifted till aligning her eyes to his. 

"He struggled and even darkened his spirit more. However, he went where everything was started and faced all darkness inside of him, achieved to realize his real purpose in life. Then everything came after easily and quickly with him following his way waiting for him. In the end, he found his truest way, the destiny which surely wasn't so easy for him."  Senna carefully listened to him from beginning till his last word, but looking down again, only one of his sentences stuck in her mind, made her unwittingly mutter from outside. 

"Where everything was started..." Iroh squeezed her hands. 

"Maybe you should begin there, then I'm sure the destiny will lead you to your truest way." Senna desperately closed her eyes letting a few tears go, recalling the starting place, that night. 

"I can't, Uncle Iroh. I don't think I can handle all the bad memories in there...In Ember Island." He gloomily smiled even not knowing what happened, he felt the deepness of her anguish. 

"Don't you have any friends, Senna? Maybe they could help you." Senna unwillingly sobbed with speedily closing her mouth and shook her head. 

"How come a beautiful lady like you doesn't have any friends?" With risen brows, Uncle Iroh asked, realizing she must have gotten the destiny of Zuko and Azula. 

"I don't think I could trust people again after even one of who I trusted most betrayed me, put me in this pain." Uncle Iroh lifted her chin again peacefully stated his words. 

"You should let your past go, Senna. I'm sure there are still countless people worthy of your trust." Senna cynically giggled, picking up a few tears left. 

"Azula used to tell me that trust is for the fools and I'm pretty experienced about this." He disapproved. 

"Azula said those because she didn't want a friend to trust or share good memories. She just wanted someone who insistently obeyed her and her rules that made her weaker day by day. However as you said before you're not like her, Senna. You're a strong woman. I'm sure you can do anything, even what you think is impossible. I can feel it." Senna desperately made eye contact with him, viewed the truthfulness of his words. 

You can do anything. 

"Then what am I supposed to do?" Senna regulated her stance as well as her voice.  

"Just take the first step. Then the rest will come." Senna slightly smiled with his statement and suddenly hugged him from his belly, placed her head on his breast. Now she found out the real purpose of her presence here. 

This meeting was exactly what she'd needed to begin recovering herself...her spirit. 

Uncle Iroh first couldn't comprehend, yet shortly reciprocated her gesture as now she was stating her thoughts gratefully. 

"Thank you, Uncle Iroh. My grandfather always tells me that talking with you always heals him and leads him correctly. Now I'm sure it does." He appeasingly fondled her back. 

"I think I have a way with words...Also when you're back tell him to visit me. I miss him." Senna sadly giggled at his partly emotional statement, tightened her arms around his waist. 

“I will.”