The Woman in White

By Clockworkcaptain

Adventure / Romance

Take a look and you'll see

It just didn't make sense to Korra, why had the Fire Lord come to the South Pole only to turn around and go back after a couple hours? Her father's guards had found and fallowed the Fire Lord's ship keeping to the mist. They reported back that company never left the city and left almost as soon as they arrived.

She sighed and pulled her coat closer around her as the small ship eased into the bay. Originally, when Korra and the smallest of the aid ships had turned back they were going to give extra protection to the two children but as the reports came in that Rohku hadn't made any action towards the children it turned into a question of why. Why had the Fire Lord bothered to visit the North Pole? What was so important in Fire Man's bay? Korra shook her head. The whole place had been abandoned for centuries what could possibly be of worth to him? Or was it for her, that woman standing at his side? Did she have business in the city? The side of the boat floated close to the icy land and she jumped from the deck down to the ground before the gangplank could be fixed. She heard the sailors she left behind call after her.

"Search the city!" She yelled back. "Look for anything that's been disturbed or doesn't belong."

"And what do we do when we find that thing my lady?""Find me and we'll go from there."

It always amazed Korra that the old ruins of Fire Man's Bay always looked like they were inspired by another source. She paused her eyes finding red in the snow. She walked over to the trail and kneeled down it looked like one of Rohku's party pissed off an arctic panther, she glanced to the side to see the poor creature laying still snow starting to burry it. The blood trial lead to the bay so Korra fallowed it to where it began. She paused outside a gated arch made of ice.

"Hmm, a city of the dead? Huh? What could you want here?"

Precursors' to actual graves, the dead where once 'housed' in blocks of opaque ice created by water benders to preserve the body and give relatives' a place to honor the dead. Often the tombs were elegantly caved on the out side for decoration and to tell the graves apart. The tradition changed over time and eventually the whole idea of such a place was forgotten but this city was abandon while 'cities of the dead' were the common trend. Korra walked through the heavily decorated tombs fallowing the blood as far as it would go. Ice sculptures of the spirits and grim lantern bearers sat upon the rooftops or by the entrances of larger mausoleums. The blood trail ended outside an extremely large crypt. The word traitor craved crudely into the wall. The ice door that was meant to seal the tomb forever sat in two crumbling pieces on either side of the doorway. Above the door the ice statue stood headless. Korra looked around and picked up the head and using water bending reattached the head.

Korra stepped back. "Now why would a traitor's grave have the Spirit of the Northern Star (The spirit in charge of fallen soldiers and sailors)?" She shook her head and walked through the entrance. "Next question why did someone, probably Rohku, break into here?" She spotted a Fire Nation glove lying on the ground and picked it up. "OK…so Rohku was definitely here, so why? Why come here and break into this grave?"

Korra found the tomb like a Russian doll, multiple buildings built around each other. Korra shook her head. "This must be the tomb of the burning man and which each new shell as an attempt to lock that phantom away." She paused, realizing for the first she was standing in her true love's crypt. Was she even allowed here? She knew how bodies in this place barely if ever decayed. Could she look upon his first face? She bit her lip but pressed on climbing over each of destroyed doors until she came to the last and first crypt.

The room was a circle lit by the sunlight filtering through the ice. Coated not in ice but left to rot on a icy table was Occam the same as the day they laid him in the tomb a sword protruding from the middle of his chest. Korra walked up Occam and brushed some of the hair out of his face. He was just as handsome as the day her left her. She could see the burns on his legs and feet and shuttered.

"You didn't deserve this." She looked at the sword she had originally presumed had burned buried with him as sort of an insult but now looking at it closer she spotted the sword's black blade. "Sokka's space sword? Now you definitely don't belong here."

Taking the sword she tried to pull it out but she just didn't have the strength. She looked at Occam's face as she got up on to the ice table and used her new position to pull the sword out. She might have pulled a little too hard and if flew out of her hands. It clattered to the floor dripping crimson onto the ice.

"Blood?" She turned to the body, which now had blood seeping from the wound. "Bleeding! But if you're bleeding…what-what's happening to Iroh?" Pulling some of the ice from the broken door she made it melt and put it on the wound. She bit her lip, she had never tried to heal a corps before but neither had she encountered one that bled. Holding her breath, Korra let the water glow and heal. The action seemed to take all her energy but the wound closed and bleeding stopped. Korra sighed in relief and water bent a new coffin around the body sealing her love away in five feet of ice.

Still feeling the effort of her work she picked up the sword and turned to head back to the ship. So Rohku had gone to the South Pole just to impale a corps. It didn't take a Sherlock to figure out that Rohku had figured out whom Iroh had been and that by attacking the original uncorrupted body would kill or harm the current incarnation. Korra bit her lip. The only question was why had he only stabbed him? Why not go further? And why leave the sword.

Her answer came in from of two young arctic panther cubs crawling into the room through a whole in the back of the crypt. One of the babies had a burn on his paw that was just now showing the signs of healing. The two mewed pitifully and Korra felt her heart strings being pulled just like when she had seen Naga as a pup. Slipping the sword in her belt she kneeled down and let the two cubs crawl into her arms.

"Where's your mama huh?" She remembered the panther she saw earlier. "Oh, never mind. Looks like you two are coming with me then. Come on lets go get you two some milk." She readjusted the cubs in her arms before standing up and walking to the ship. As she walked she talked to the cubs or more precisely talked out loud while the cubs just sat in her arms.

"So Rohku knows enough to try and destroy Occam's corps, now the question is why? Is he afraid that Iroh will try to take the throne or is it an older debt? Who are you Rohku, A new enemy? Or an old enemy with a new face?"


For two days Iroh could do nothing but coughed up blood from a wound that could neither be explained nor healed and then just as suddenly as it came it stopped completely healed no explanation or reason. Iroh was left incredibly weak because of the blood loss and that he hadn't slept at all during that time. He actually fell into a sleep so deep the moment it ended that the nurse trying to help him thought he had died.

While the circle had been kept small Iroh's identity had been compromised. Mako really didn't have a choice but to confess who Iroh was when it became clear he was going to need a blood transfusion and Iroh's rare blood type almost demanded that it be from a family member. Of course Zechi had been all too happy to offer his blood in exchange for the President's promise that he would not be sent to the Fire Nation and a chance to see as he put it 'darling baby brother'.

The President had been beside himself with anger when he found out the truth. He had tried to reprimand Queen Sozza for 'stealing' his best soldier and making him a 'freak show' to which she replied that he the only reason he was upset was because it fooled him. General Howl wasn't able to show his face around the inner circle for a good few days as the embarrassment of hitting on a guy (his predecessor no less) was just too much for the relatively straight-laced square of a man. The man had actually run from the hospital hallway when Mako asked whether or not he was going to try to grab Iroh's ass again or try to say he hadn't met the right guy yet.

For better or worse the whole affair was kept pretty quiet and really the only ones really in the know of what happened was those directly involved and the medical staff. Even Tonraq who arrived in the early morning wasn't told about what happened to the General only that one of Sozza's officers had taken ill with an unknown disease. Not knowing what Iroh had currently been assigned with and not having Korra there inquiring as to where her husband was, Tonraq focused on helping the refugees.

When Iroh did wake up he felt horrible but alive. He had expected Korra to be there when he woke but he was met with a less welcome visitor. Zechi sat by his bedside, hand cuffed, watching him with those familiar gold eyes. Iroh glanced over to see Mako leaning against a wall looking straight at Zechi.

"Ah, I see you're finally awake." Zechi's voice hadn't really changed but there seemed to be a humility there that was missing before. "How are you feeling?"

Iroh glared at his brother. "What is he doing here Mako?"

"You needed blood, family works best and he was willing but he wanted to meet with you. Just humor him, I think the past few years has changed him." Mako uncrossed his arms and rested one hand on his holstered revolver. "Maybe not enough to leave you two alone but I think you should try to have a conversation."

Zechi sighed. "Please brother, we have so much to talk about."

"You attacked my friends, tried to kill me, and stabbed my wife, I really don't think we have anything to talk about." Iroh rolled over in his bed so he didn't have to look at Zechi.

"You married Korra? That's wonderful! You always did like her."

"Go away Zechi."

"Please brother turn around, talk to me.""I'm not your brother anymore Zechi. Leave, I never want to see your face again."

Zechi hung his head. "Please, Iroh turn around. Talk to me…I-I'm sorry, I'm so sorry for that day."

Iroh chuckled as sat up and looked at his brother. "Sorry? You don't know what that word means, you've never been sorry in your life!"

"But I am. I've changed Iroh, I really have."

Iroh could hear the sincerity in his brother's voice but he couldn't decide if he cared or not. "What changes a man who would kill his own brother for power? You declared war on your own mother, invaded your home country. Why should I even for a moment believe you or care that you've changed?" Iroh looked away the anger inside him swelling up.

"Please, Iroh look at me. I know I cannot beg for your forgiveness but I am sorry about the pain I caused you and Korra, but please give me a little credit I've known where you've been for years and never told a soul until I had to. Let you live your life in peace with your daughter and Korra didn't even try approach you once."

Iroh turned to look at Zechi. "You knew I was alive? And you told someone?!"

Zechi held up his hands. "Just Chief Befong and Father. I only did it because I don't- I can't be taken to the Fire Nation!"

"Can't face your crimes?"

"Iroh you don't understand." There was panic in his eyes. "Rohku he's a monster and so is his witch of a wife! What she did to Lafey." He looked Iroh right in the eye. "It's worse then death. She's just a doll now and-and mother's too gone to notice it!" He grabbed Iroh's shirt. "I know you think I'm a monster brother but the real monster is Rohku! I'm so sorry about what I did I really am, but you've got to believe me. Rohku's the monster in the family. He says things, things to turn people against each other. Like what he did to me and you."

Iroh raised an eyebrow. "What kind of things?"

"Seven years ago, Rohku started making comments about you or rather your opinions on things." Zechi sighed. "He insinuated that you wanted to become Fire Lord because you were the only fire bender in the family and grandfather's favorite. He also said that I couldn't because-never mind." He looked away.

"Because why?" Back then Iroh barely ever spoke to his brothers especially not his opinions."It doesn't matter. It was just a personal observation Rohku made that called into question my own qualifications to lead the Fire Nation. Not that it matters now."

Iroh leaned back for a moment, really looking at his brother. The first thing he noticed was how miserable the man looked the next an interesting piece of jewelry hanging from one ear. Iroh let out a sigh the pieces all fitting together, he now saw his brother as a whole picture, probably for the first time and with that picture came understanding.

"You know I always forget that Rohku was a raging homophobe, but then again unlike you and Lafey it didn't apply to me."

"How did you-?"

"Guess?" Iroh rolled his eyes. "Please, I've know about my twin sister since ever. I'm pretty sure we talked about woman while in the womb. You? Well," He tapped his ear "last time I checked when you have that ear pierced you're not exactly a womanizer."

Zechi tired and failed to cross his arms. "And what about you? You have both your ears pierced. What does that make you?"

"Don't you know what I did for a living?"

"No, I knew you were alive and living in Omashu and had a daughter nothing more then that. Also I thought you were a homophobe too." From across the room Mako burst out laughing. Zechi pointed to Mako. "What does he know, that I don't? Are you two?"

Iroh shook his head. "No, I'm straight and he's laughing because he knows what I did for a living in Omashu nothing more. Also the only time I have an issue with gay men is when they try to drunkenly make out with me, or really when anyone but Korra tries that. Actually Zechi most of my friends in Omashu are gay." He paused. "And all of my coworkers except that one guy who was bi. Ah Jack you would try to sleep with anyone."

Zechi tilted his head. "What did you do for a living in Omashu?"

"What did you think I did in Omashu?"

"I thought you did something in security or was a bouncer. You know something manly that would fit with your soldier training and persona." Iroh couldn't help but chuckle while Mako was dying in a corner. "I'm guessing I'm wrong."

Iroh nodded. "Yes, well I have two jobs, the first was playing the part of Fire Lord Ozia in that play grandfather hates so much and might I add doing it in the most fabulous way possible."

Zechi smirked. "I feel like I would pay good money to see you or anyone play our great grandfather as some gay guy."

"Many do. Some even make the trip specifically to see me completely ruin any credibility the man has left."

"And your other job?"

Iroh smirked. "Oh you are going to love this brother."

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