A Cursed Blessing

BY : Yaoiandcoffeeaddict
Category: Avatar - The Last Airbender > AU/AR - Alternate Universe/Alternate Reality
Dragon prints: 6464
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar Last Airbender or profit from this story... damn.

Warnings for this chapter: Angst, miscarriage, mpreg, death

DEATH AND NEW BEGINNINGS

In the Fire Nation, the legend goes that the 'cursed' boys were created when the first fire-benders learned from the dragons, a result of an imbalance of yin and yang as the child developed in the womb. Normally, a cursed boy would be immediately identified when it went through female puberty before having its male puberty. But that was not always the case, as seen in Fire Lord Sozin's younger brother who hanged himself when he discovered he was having his first period rather than cause dishonor to his family.

The reason why these boys were seen as cursed was they always were poor benders and sometimes had trouble controlling their abilities. For these reasons these unfortunate boys were looked down on in the Fire Nation. Suicide among these boys was thus understandably high.

In contrast, in the Earth Kingdom, these boys were celebrated- the true embodiments of the Earth Spirits as they were physically as strong as men yet as nurturing as women. Their origins in legend came from a tale of a middle-aged Earth King who could not perform his duties to his kingdom with a woman. In light of this plight, the Spirits took pity on the good king and sent a 'blessed' one to the king. In nine months, the happy couple had a healthy male heir for the throne.

It was this cultural difference which caused many conflicts between the two nations. Also, it was because of this legend that Ba Sing Se's laws were highly protective of these 'blessed' ones and often these boys were married at their first period to nobles in the inner ring of the city. Since Long Feng became leader of the Dai Li, it became required to report the presence of a 'blessed' boy to the Dai Li for their 'protection.'

And thus begins our tale…


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Sad golden eyes watched as the Dai Li led Jet away as Jet kicked and protested against it. "They're f***ing fire-benders! I'm telling you… they'll kill us all…" Zuko heard in the echo of the earth-container the Dai Li had thrown the brunette in, chorused with loud bangs like a drum. Zuko ignored the sympathetic or suspicious glances of the crowd as the Dai Li walked away with their reluctant cargo.

Amid the din of the whispers, Zuko's good ear picked up the whisper "Oh, Jet." A discreet glance to his right informed him that Jet's comrades outfitted in the same makeshift armor had arrived, barely noticeable in the shadows of a small, narrow alleyway. The small female was holding back tears as her silent companion laid a comforting hand on the armored shoulder. He'd forgotten their names.

The crowd was whispering louder, some pointing the way Jet had been taken to others who had just come and others were pointing at him- gesturing to him and his scar, covering their own left eyes in unintentional or intentional mockery. Zuko's heartbeat skyrocketed in anger, stress, and worry and a stomachache began to build although his face remained completely still.

Zuko watched from the corner of his eye as the tall one gently nudged the female back down the alleyway. Slowly, the crowd began to clear until he was one of the last standing there, staring vacantly at the spot where Jet had stood before him. The swords began to strain his biceps as he gripped the handles loosely until he was sorely tempted to let them drop.

Why couldn't he bring himself to move? He wasn't sure what he was feeling… it wasn't guilt… or was it… he knew for sure it wasn't love sickness. He might have liked the guy enough to allow Jet to take his vir… but he didn't love him.

"Li," Uncle Iroh's voice intruded on his thoughts as a heavy yet reassuring hand came onto his right shoulder. That damn name, it was so common. He hated it. It was a reminder that he no longer had a title and a secure home. "Nephew, are you feeling all right?"

"I… I…"

"Nephew, you look too pale, even for you. Go home and get some rest. I'm sure the owner of the shop will understand," Uncle Iroh said, concern clear in his dark eyes as he turned Zuko slightly to face him before glancing at the approaching man in slightly better quality clothes than others in the crowd.

"Indeed I do," the owner of the tea shop said as he approached them, a kind smile on his face. "I must say although I was highly impressed by your sword techniques, I wish this incident had not happened especially when it is clear by his coloring your nephew has some… other nationality in his blood." A deep sigh escaped the old tea shop owner. "I'm sure you don't need a reminder of this when you came here to escape the…" A nervous glance looked around. "Please go home and rest Li. Mushi and I will be fine."

"That is very kind of you," Uncle Iroh said with a bow of respect. Uncle Iroh should not have been bowing to him. Uncle Iroh was a Prince. Just as Zuko was…

The owner gave a slight nod of acknowledgement and walked slowly back to his shop where his customers men and women of various ages had crowded the windows.

Uncle Iroh gave one comforting squeeze to Zuko's shoulder before pasting the large and friendly smile Zuko loved as a child on his face and walking back to the shop.

Zuko watched them go for several seconds before deciding to take their advice and heading back to the small two-room apartment he didn't consider his home in the slightest.


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The sharp pain in his stomach awoke Zuko in the pitch blackness of the apartment. In the dead of night, the apartments were silent, the thin walls sound-proofed with hard earth, so the only noise penetration the blackness of night was his uncle's gentle snoring through the open door of the other room. For a few moments, Zuko felt fine and he closed his eyes again but then another sharp pain in his stomach made him cry out in pain and surprise.

"Wha… what is it…?" came a sleepy question just as Zuko felt something inside of him snap. To Zuko's eternal shame something began to leak out of him and an awful smell filled the room.

"Nephew?" came the question.

Zuko swallowed the yelp he felt at the back to his throat as another pain hit him. No way could he let his uncle see… whatever this mess was… "I'm f…fine… go… ba…"

A lamp was lit with new spark rocks, illuminating what was obviously blood soaking the thin wool blanket. "Zuko!" Uncle Iroh shouted as he put the lamp on the kitchen counter near Zuko's bed and knelt next to his nephew's side. Zuko had never seen his Uncle's face more terrified in his life.

Shaking, aged hands pulled the thin blanket from Zuko, revealing a soiled and blood soaked mattress and blood soaked pants over Zuko's limbs.

"Oh dear Spirits," Uncle Iroh exclaimed, his face terrifying and pale in the light of the glass lamp. But Zuko knew by the look on his Uncle's face he knew what was happening to Zuko.

"What's happening Uncle?" Zuko asked, terrified by the amount of blood coming from his body.

"I'll be right back, Nephew. Our neighbor who lent me the spark rocks is a midwife. I need to go get her," Iroh said as he hurried out the door before Zuko could reply

"Mid…Ahh…" Zuko screamed as he felt something coming out of his anus then the pain suddenly began to lesson.

Moments later, his uncle had returned with the midwife who appeared just as frantic as his uncle. Zuko realized he had seen her before in the halls and she'd always been pleasant. She was a slightly meaty young woman with long brown hair clad only in a thin green night robe. "I need to cut away his pants to see what has occurred so far."

Uncle Iroh handed her some scissors in the kitchen drawer as she took her place by Zuko's side and immediately seized his hand. "It will be alright," she promised before releasing his hand to cut away the thin material of Zuko's work pants until Zuko's privates were exposed to Zuko's embarrassment.

For the space of several moments, there was silence in the apartment until Uncle Iroh asked, "Is that…" Zuko tried to bend and see what they were staring at but he couldn't move without great pain.

"Unfortunately, yes. The child has passed and journeys to its ancestors. I'm so sorry for your loss."

"Child?" Zuko repeated as his Uncle moved under the sink to retrieve a towel and hand it to the midwife, who proceeded to wrap something small that was about the size of his pinky finger before handing it to his Uncle who held whatever it was close to his chest as the midwife began to probe his anus with her fingers. "Ow… what are you…"

"He doesn't appear to have torn badly and the bleeding is slowing… I'm going to need you to take him to the bathhouse to clean him while I see if I can clean up this mess and ready some herbal remedies that will help with the sudden hormone change," the midwife ordered.

This entire situation felt like a bad dream and everything was moving too rapidly for him to comprehend what was happening. Zuko barely realized his uncle had picked him and was carried him to the communal bath until he was placed in the warm water and was scrubbing his naked flesh as though he were a toddler.

Just as Iroh began to clean his short black hair, Zuko gathered the courage to ask, "Uncle, what…?"

The gentle hand in his hair stilled as the gruff voice of his uncle replied, "You lost a child Zuko… You were pregnant."


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The next few hours passed by in a constant blur to Zuko. The midwife had been able to miraculously clean everything and aired out the room in such a short amount of time and it was almost as if the miscarriage had never happened. Zuko had been gently redressed and laid back on his bed just as the first light of dawn broke on the sky.

When Zuko had come to his senses enough to protest his babying, his uncle and the midwife had both given him glares that had silenced him. So, Zuko remained silent as the midwife made him drink horrible herbal teas and 'padded' him before stepping out into the hall with his uncle leaving Zuko staring at the towel bundle on the counter.

In that towel was a child… his child… now in the arms of his cousin and other ancestors in the spirit world. He'd… he'd lost a child he never knew about… and he didn't know how he felt about it… He knew he didn't want to see it… Overall, at the moment, he was numb to everything.

He had a fever… at least that was what the midwife said before making him drink cold tea and then leaving.

He knew aware of the tea shop owner coming by when his uncle was encouraging him to eat broth… but he didn't know what was being said. A little while later, the owner showed up again with some bread and money, handed both to his uncle, and left with a sad smile.

It was about noon when a middle-aged noble man, flanked with guards, showed up and had some heated words with his uncle. Zuko only paid attention when one of the men with the noble took the bundled towel away.

Zuko was sure he had a fever a little while later when he blacked out…

To Be Continued...

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A/N: Sorry for making Zuko loose his first child, but it's important for the story. And yes, the baby he lost was Jet's. And yes, Jet will learn of the loss at some point.



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