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Playing With Fire

Title: Playing With Fire
Author: iceprincessd
Rating: G
Prompt: a block of ice (#2 Things)
Characters/Pairing: Iroh + Lu Ten
Warnings: none, pre-show
Summary: “I’m freezing!”


“It’s freezing!” Lu Ten complained, shivering from where he stood, his feet bare. His father sat nearby, both of them on their moon viewing pavilion. Iroh was more warmly dressed than his son, and he held a steaming cup of tea in his hands.

Blowing on the liquid so it didn’t scald his lips, he took a sip. “Would you rather wait and learn this technique in the middle of summer instead?”

“No.” The answer was grumbled back to him, which made Iroh's lips quirk upwards into a smirk.

“Then?”

“I just wish I didn’t feel like a block of ice,” Lu Ten grumbled, staring at the gardens. The shrubs and trees were covered with a blanket of snow, a rarity here in the Fire Nation. This winter had been particularly cold and ordinarily he would have delighted in the change of weather. Stripped down to a single shirt and pants more suited for the blistering summer heat had quickly changed his tune.

“Concentrate on your breath. Feel it warm your lungs, then make its way up and out the throat. Widen your stance; your feet are too close.”

“I feel silly!”

“You’d rather freeze?” He was probably enjoying his son’s discomfort more than he should have, but his own father had taught him the Breath of Fire the same way when he had been ten. Seeing that Lu Ten had reached that exact age, Iroh had thought it was as good a time as any to pass on his knowledge. “Straighten your back, your rear is sticking out instead of being parallel to the ground.”

Lu Ten made the proper adjustments to his stance and then focused on breathing. He could feel his stomach expand with each inhalation and shrink back to its normal size as he exhaled through his mouth. As with any other firebending technique he had already been introduced to, he concentrated on the inner spark of power that came before each move. Mentally, he visualized it as his body being one spark rock and his breath the other, both of them coming together as one to form the flame. His eyes closed, he didn’t see how each breath he exhaled formed more fog in front of his face than the last.

“Good, now with the next exhale, breathe fire.” Lu Ten heard his father’s command. Just as he had been taught, he felt his breath warm his belly and lungs, then come up his throat and out his mouth.

“Excellent!” Iroh said. Eyes still closed, Lu Ten heard his father clap. Slowly opening his eyes, he saw that Iroh hadn’t been applauding, he was frantically trying to stamp out a fire. What had used to be the twin to the chair Iroh had previously been sitting in was now reduced to a pile of kindling.

“Sorry,” Lu Ten said, ducking his head.

“There’s nothing to be sorry about,” his father told him, coming up and placing a hand on his shoulder. “You did quite well for your first try. Your next lesson will be about proper aim.”

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