Crossover Fan Fiction / Crossover With Non-anime Series Fan Fiction / Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ NAvatarUTO ❯ Iroh and Zuko ( Chapter 27 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Zuko lay on a hospital bed, nursing some broken ribs from being body slamed by a heap of shadow clones, and thought about what Naruto said.

It's those of us who have to struggle to get recognition that becomes strong.

Could it be true? How else could Zuko have lost to that orphan, that nobody? “Am I not struggling for the recognition of my father though? Why am I not strong?”

All you do is hide in your father's shadow. Is that really what you want? To gain respect from a father who burns and banishes his own son? Just to follow in his footsteps?

“Is that what I want? That's what you asked me Naruto. Why is it so damn hard to answer?” Zuko was jarred from his thoughts by a knock at the door. “Come in.” He wheezed. The door opened and it wasn't a surprise to see Uncle's kind face approach. But he looked worried, and his clothing was different than usual. “Why are you wearing that?” Zuko asked.

Iroh looked down at the black and red cloak he was wearing and sighed. Walking over to his nephew, Iroh sat on the edge of the bed and took his hand. “What I'm about to tell you may be hard to hear, Zuko. I cannot blame you for being angry or even hating me. But please know that I love you.”

Zuko frowned at the serious tone his uncle had donned. “What are yo-”

Iroh held up a hand for silence. “Soon after the death of my son, I was forced to join a criminal organization called the Akatsuki.” Iroh let that information sink in.

“Why would I be mad about that?” Zuko asked, confused.

“Because,” Iroh said, “The mission they gave me, that I have been enacting for the past three years was to prevent you from capturing the Avatar.”

Zuko's eyes widened in shock. All this time? “You lied to me?” He asked, mouth dry. Iroh nodded. “You Traitor!” Zuko yelled, and bolted upright, before clutching his sides wincing.

“Easy there,” Iroh said with concern and helped his nephew gently lay back down.

“Why…are you telling me this now?” Zuko asked, panting.

Iroh looked off in the distance. “Because I've lied to you for much too long. The Akatsuki has given me a new mission. I need to kidnap Naruto Uzumaki.”

“What will they do with him?” Zuko probed causiously.

Iroh shook his head. “I'm not at liberty to say, though I do know that it will result in the boy's death.”

“What?” Zuko yelled, once again struggling to sit upright. “And you're just going to go along with it?”

“Of course I am, I have to!” Zuko heard his uncle shout for the first time. “I have to follow every order the Akatsuki gives me or else…”

“Or else what!?” Zuko demanded. “You're the thunder dragon damnit! What could they possibly do to you?”

Iroh held his face in his hands. “It's not me they'd harm. It's you.” Iroh straightened and looked his nephew in the eye. “If I refuse this mission, the Akatsuki will hunt you down and kill you. I'm doing this for your safety Zuko. Don't get in the way.” And with that, he departed, leaving a stunned Zuko behind.