the iroh with the baby voice

Ozai meets his baby granddaughter

Ozai sat in his cell. Lately he had been contemplating suicide, as he saw no end to the dishonor that was brought upon him, when the Avatar took away his bending. Many questions plagued him daily. Was what he had done truly that wrong? All he had wanted to do was fulfill his grandfather’s legacy, a Fire Nation stronger than imaginable, a united world.

“Hello brother.” A pleasant voice rang through the cell, as the guards let Iroh in. His brother had been visiting him on a weekly basis, Always bringing a Pai Sho board with him, as well as a hot pot of tea. Today the sweet smell of a chamomile tea was following Iroh’s entrance, who sat down at the table in the centre of the cell. Ozai could not complain about his accommodations though. While he was definitely a prisoner, his cell was furnished as fitting for a king, with half a library as well as a good bed, and a sofa.

At the center Iroh had finished setting up the Pai Sho board, ready for their daily game. Ozai sat himself down on the opposite side of Iroh, who smiled a gentle smile at him. “It appears that Mai is pregnant. Zuko tells me that they are expecting the baby in the early autumn. You are going to be a grandfather.” Ozai sat perplexed. He was going to be a grandfather. Him, the man who had never appreciated his children, was still going to be alive to see grandchildren.

“D-do you think that Zuko would ever let me near his children? I am, after all, the man who challenged my own son, a thirteen year old boy, to an Agni Kai.” Ozai felt a bitter taste in his mouth, he had found many regrets after losing his firebending and becoming imprisoned.

“Zuko has grown to be a kind, loving man, and a fair ruler, I am sure that he can find it in his heart to let his father meet his child.” Iroh said in an assuring voice, with a warm smile on his face. He poured them both a cup of tea, before starting their game.

***

For the next few months, whenever Iroh would come to visit Ozai, Ozai would always ask how Mai was doing, and if the baby was growing well. And Iroh would always assure him that everything was going well, and that everything was going well. The summer came and passed without many new events happening in the world. Ozai was anxious, as the date of the birth was closing in. Every day he found himself looking more and more forward to his brothers visits.

The days were still warm, although they had passed the last days of summer. A gentle breeze was blowing outside, as Ozai sat in his room, awaiting Iroh’s visit. He heard the gates open, and straightened himself anxiously. The lock to his cell clicked, but to Ozai’s great surprise Iroh was not alone. Zuko entered after him.

“Father.” His voice was kind, but a little strained still. It had been a long time since Ozai had last seen his son. His hair had grown long, and he was wearing the official outfit of the Fire Lord.

“Zuko, it has been a long time. You look well, like a true Fire Lord. How are you doing? How’s your wife?” The words felt stupid, but he did not know what else to say.

“Thank you. It took me a while getting used to it all, but I think that the direction that me and Avatar Aang are taking the world is helping us move forward as a non-aggressive nation.” Zuko seemed to have relaxed a little, as he was speaking more naturally now. “As for Mai, she delivered the baby 3 days ago. It’s a girl. We’ve named her Izumi.”

A daughter. He had a granddaughter. “A-and how is she? Is she healthy?” Ozai could not contain the excitement in his voice, and Iroh smiled gently behind Zuko, clearly happy with how his brother had changed.

“She is very healthy. If you would like to, you can come visit her?” Ozai was stunned, that his son would so readily invite him.

“I would like that very much I think.” Zuko smiled at him, and gestured for him to stand up. He opened the cell door, and held it open for his uncle and father. Two guards accompanied them all the way to the mansion, however they stayed outside the building. Mai was lying in a great double bed cuddling the sleeping baby in her arms when they stepped in. Her smile froze when she saw that Ozai was with her husband. She looked at him, and he silently nodded at her. She relaxed a bit, but was still tense in the presence of the former Phoenix King.

Ozai was very nervous, as he approached his daughter in law. All he had eyes for was the small child in her arms. As he came up beside her, and got a proper look at the small girls face, suddenly he felt tears overwhelm him. “Oh she’s beautiful.” He managed through his tears, smiling like a big goof.

“Would you like to hold her?” Mai asked him in a kind voice. He nodded, and she held the baby out to him. He sat down on the edge of the bed, cuddling the child as if it was the most precious thing in the world.

“Hello, Izumi. My name is Ozai, I’m your grandfather.” He had never been so happy, and so at peace as when he held that baby in his arms. “Oh you’re so beautiful, you are going to grow up to become a fine Fire Lord one day. Your father is the best thing to happen to our country in a century.” The baby Izumi opened her eyes and cooed at him happily. Ozai couldn’t help but start crying happily once more. “Thank you.” He looked at Mai and Zuko and Iroh, and bowed his head slightly, before returning the baby to Mai.

***

That night Ozai had a good night’s rest for the first time in years.

“I can’t believe you got me drunk and talked me into this,” comes his steel-tempered voice.

“Prince Zuko, you deserve a day of relaxation.”

“We’re at a day spa for women, Uncle!”

“You should enjoy yourself.”

“Uncle, I’m buried up to my neck in mud.  I HAVE CUCUMBER SLICES ON MY EYES!”

“Prince Zuko. After you have soaked for an hour, your skin will feel as soft as a baby’s bottom.”

“You’ll have to fight the men off with a stick,” Jee crows.

Jee lets out a booming laugh at Zuko’s discomfort.  They’ve become such good friends.


An excerpt from “The Dragon’s Song”