Where real weddings this stressful? Or was it just the fact that he was convinced that he was walking into tragedy that was the problem? It was the night until the big day and Iroh was finding it just a bit hard to sleep. He looked over and saw the looming figure dressed in white.
"Look, if you insist on fallowing me everywhere I go now please make yourself useful." He pointed to a bunch of papers, which had different plans for escaping the white and red lotus. "Sort those in to might work, won't work, and a fucking death wish." The figure just tiled its head and let the appendage fall to the ground before melting into the floor. "Yeah that stopped being scary two days ago now it's just become annoying! I got the message! This wedding is not going to end well help me fix that!"
Korra opened his door and looked in. "Are you're yelling at nothing again?" She looked sleep deprived and stressed.
Iroh crossed his arms. "Yes, but it's not nothing to me." He snapped before relaxing a little. "Sorry Korra that was out of line. I'm just tiered and these hallucinations are just getting worse as the day gets closer."
Korra walked over and sat on the side of his bed. "I know I've been seeing the burning man more and more." She sighed and rested her head against his headboard. "Can I mediate here? I need to go into the spirit world and talk to someone."
Iroh nodded. "Sure, I'll make sure no one disturbs you."
Korra smiled and closed her eyes slipping into the spirit world. She looked so peaceful with her hair down and a mess. Iroh tucked some of her hair behind an ear. "I hope you find who your looking for." He looked over and saw the figure back again. "Oh go away." The figure handed him a peace of paper and disappeared.
He read the paper his eyes widening. This wasn't his writing it was just a few sentences. "When the man says kiss duck and run. Keep running until help comes. The cycle must be broken. The child must live." Iroh narrowed his eyes. What child? He looked at Korra, no it was just a few days ago there was no way.
Suddenly a pain struck him in his head, like something was trying to beat its way out of a lock box. The whole room seemed to spin and get uncomfortably warm. He had to get up and take a walk. He looked at Korra, she'd be fine here alone for a little bit. He left the room quietly closing the door securely. He walked out on to the beach. The moon was out and so he could walk along the beach with out the aid of a light.
The pain in his head was growing becoming more and more like drums or a wild animal clawing its way out of his mind. It was almost blinding and the cool night air didn't help in any way. When it got too much he fell to his knees grabbing the side of his head. "Just stop!" He dug his hands into his hair. "Please I just don't understand! Why is this happening?! Why are these dreams and visions and now this pain tormenting me? What have done!?" He was yelling to the ski or to anyone who could help.
Iroh heard the sounds of footsteps approaching. He opened his eyes and saw his Grandfather Sokka standing over him. The phantom placed a hand on Iroh's shoulder. "Nothing, Iroh nothing but there's something about you that you need to know."
Sokka looked down at the four year old twins playing in the snow. The aging man couldn't help but smile at his little ones laughing. He turned away to see Aang and Kattara walking towards him through the snow. He waved. "Hey! check out the how my two latest grandkids are doing! Since apparently it will be quite a while until you can watch your own grandkids."
Aang rolled his eyes. "Rub it in why don't you?" The Air bender looked over as Lafey tried to throw a snowball too big for her at her brother. All she managed to do was cover herself with snow while Iroh pointed and laughed. Then without warning the boy started screaming. Sokka quickly ran over and held the child who was now crying.
"Hey, hey little buddy what's up?"
Iroh clung to Sokka's coat. "Make her go away, she's scary."
Sokka looked over at Lafey who was just sitting in the snow pouting. "That's just your twin sister. She's not scary." Iroh just whined and buried his face into Sokka's chest.
Lafey crossed her arms. "He's not talking about me." Lafey said defensively. She looked up at Aang. "He's not! He's talking about that bloody lady only he sees!" She sighed as her brother went completely limp in Sokka's arms. "Great, now he's going to have another seizure and then think he's someone else for a few hours." She crossed her arms. "and then everyone will be so worried about him and no one will play with me."
Kattara bent down to look at Lafey on her level. "What do you mean going to have a seizure?"
Suddenly Iroh's body went stiff and he started convulsing. "See and now he's going to be someone else for a few hours. Every time he sees that woman in white he does this." She crossed her arms. "Mommy and Daddy don't believe him about the white lady."
Sokka was holding Iroh close making sure that his head would slam against the ice. The snow around him started to move like is being caught in a whirlwind and soon fire joined the snow. The snow and fire tornado was wrapping around the two and then suddenly it was all gone. The young boy went limp in Sokka's arms. Sokka was shaking and crying fearing the worst for his youngest grandchild. He breath a sigh of relieve when Iroh opened his eyes again.
"Oh Iroh, thank goodness. Are you ok?"
The Boy quickly scrabbled to his feet and backed away. "Who are you?!"
Sokka looked like he had just been stabbed. "It's me Iroh, Grandpa. Don't you know me Iroh?"
The boy backed away further. "NO! and I'm not Iroh either!" The boy took off in to the snow with Sokka and Aang chasing after him.
Kattara stayed behind and played with Lafey while trying to get as much information about what had just happened as possible.
A few hours later Iroh had come back to his senses and was laying on the sofa under a pile of furs a cup of hot chocolate in his hands. He looked painfully pale and had dark circles under his eyes. His sister walked over and sat next to him. "So who were you this time?" She tilted her head. "Was is a girl this time?"
"No!" Iroh sighed. "It was some guy named Lu Ten." The boy sounded angry and ashamed. "I hate when this happens. I'm a freak, and don't say different because I've heard you talking with big brothers. All of you think I'm the Azula of the family."
Sokka looked at Aang and Kattara. "Isn't there something we can do to help? Look at him! This is destroying him…and me."
Aang sighed. "Look Sokka its not that easy and I know its hard but…"
"But what Aang? I held my convulsing grandson and then had him look at me like I was a stranger! Let's not even get into the weird double bending going on. Wait; actually let's get into that! You're the Avatar what the hell was that?"
Aang sighed. "Iroh's a reincarnated spirit and for some reason this woman in white is triggering him to switch into his passed lives. He's a water bender by birth right?"
Sokka nodded. "Yeah, According to Zuko all Iroh's ever been able to bend was water."
"But he has golden eyes like a Fire Bender." Aang frowned. "Doesn't add up. One of his past lives must have been a water bender, which is dominating over Iroh's own predisposed element. His own bending must be triggered when the switch happens. Normal people aren't supposed to cycle through past lives like that or at all. So when he does his body can't handle it and he has the seizure."
Sokka looked at the little boy drinking his hot chocolate. "Will he learn to control it? Like you did with contacting your past lives?"
Aang shook his head. "Look at how just one cycle effected him. His body can't take the years abuse that he would need to learn how to control it and I wouldn't know how to even start teaching him how to either."
"Then what do we do? I can't just sit back and let my grandchild die!" Sokka looked at his bother in-law the distress evident in his voice. "You have to do something! You're the Avatar! Save my grandson! Please!"
Aang looked at Iroh. "I could try using energy bending and severing the boy's connection to the spirit world and his past lives but I would be taking away his bending too, both types." At the moment Iroh was making the hot chocolate float above his head in the shape of a bunny.
Sokka nodded solemnly. "I think I can speak for the rest of the family when I say we would rather him lose his bending over us losing him. Do it. If you think it will make sure what ever that was never happened again."
"Do you want to talk this over with-"
"No, I want you to fix this the best you can now." Sokka's face softened. "Please Aang just do it. I rather call my son and tell him Iroh's bending is gone then tell him his little boy is."
Aang nodded. "Fine but I warn you I can't undo this once its done." Aang walked over to Iroh and Lafey. He looked over at Lafey. "Hey why don't you go and help your Aunt Kattara in the kitchen. Ok?" The little girl nodded and ran off. He looked at Iroh who was sitting up drinking his hot chocolate. "So are you feeling better?"
Iroh nodded. "Yup, Uncle Aang check this out!" He made the chocolate look like a lemur peeking out of the cup. "Cool huh? Can Aunt Kattara water bend like that? I bet not even my brother is as good as me."
Aang nodded. "Yeah I don't think he his either." He took the cup out of Iroh's hands. "Can you do me a favor and hold really still and close your eyes for me?"
The boy looked up at him suspiciously. "Why."
"I'm going to make that White Lady go away forever but you've got to close your eyes first."
Iroh smiled. "Ok! After that can I show Aunt Kattara my trick?"
"Yes." Aang lied. "You can just close your eyes it won't take long." The boy did as he was asked and Aang energy bent a block between Iroh and his past lives, the spirit world and took his bending away. The boy collapsed in his arms. The weight of what Aang had just done falling even heavier on him then the boy. He carried Iroh over and handed him to Sokka. "Don't ever, ever make me do something like that again. In fact I don't think I ever want to see you again Sokka."
Sokka adjusted Iroh in his arms to make him more comfortable. "But you did the right thing Aang."
"Did I? I sealed so much of him away I don't know what kind of empty life he'll have now!"
"You woke up a few hours later forgetting completely you could ever water bend or saw the white lady." Phantom Sokka explained. "You were happy but Aang never really forgave me for demanding that he take away your bending and sever your connection to the spirit world. That weighed heavy on him until the day he died. Though he did come around and started to talk to me again." Sokka's ghost looked up at the moon. "But we definitely had a fist fight when I joined him in the spirit world."
"So what happened? I'm a fire bender why did my bending stay after Aang took it away."
"After Aang died you started showing your talent for Fire Bending which surprised everyone."
Iroh mused remembering the first time he made fire and ran to show his grandfather. "Yeah Grandfather was shocked when I sneezed and set the curtain on fire."
Sokka nodded. "Yes, and for a while I was afraid your fits would come back and the hell I put Aang through was for nothing but they didn't. You grew up happy and healthy."
"Until harmonic convergence happened and triggered the hallucinations again."
"Yes but I fear this time they are warning you of a very real threat to you and Korra's life." Sokka sighed. "I looked into your past lives when I got here. Don't ask how I've got a lot of free time and an inquisitive mind. Your past lives had a rhythm that always repeated over and over again. This time you were born with a stronger connection to the spirit world and so something has been trying to warn you. Trying to stop the tragedy from happening again. I know this might not come as a surprise but you and Korra aren't supposed to make it to tomorrow night."
"So what can I do?"
Sokka pointed to the note in Iroh's hand. "Someone has already given you a hint." The phantom looked out at the bay. "The world is being drawn into chaos and is becoming unstable. A terrible crime committed hundreds of years ago is only now starting to effect the world. There's something about this time that's different and that's causing a substantial change in this world's make up." He placed a hand on Iroh's shoulder. "If you and Korra can make it to tomorrow night you'll have lived longer then any of you past lives. Good luck, you'll need it."
The phantom disappeared leaving Iroh on the beach alone. Iroh got to his feet and looked over at the Woman in White. He sighed. "Do you think this time they cycle can be broken?" The figure nodded. "Glad you think so."
Iroh looked away from the ghost woman right into the butt of a rifle that stuck him, knocking him out. The figure pulled the unconscious man toward the surf. He left Iroh's still form just out of the waves reach and pulled out a dagger. Out of nowhere Nage jumped in between the two. She bit the assailant's arm and he dropped the rifle in his hands and fled hoping Naga would not give chase. She did not; instead she walked over to Iroh and licked his face. Finding he didn't reacted she nuzzled him trying to wake him. The dog whined and bit Iroh's collar pulling him from the encroaching water. Naga pulled him into the plants and watched as the man who had attacked Iroh returned with a few more people. The men looked around but did not come near where Naga sat curled around Iroh.
She watched over Iroh like a mother watching her pups and stayed with him all night keeping vigil. She licked the side of his face as he started to come around just as the sun was starting to show over the horizon.