Iroh II and Zuko, airbender!Iroh AU (at least I’m assuming it’s AU)
At first, everyone thought Prince Iroh was just a very poor firebender (or a “late bloomer,” as grandfather Zuko would furiously insist.) He could only move flame through the air for short distances before it went out, and he couldn’t start his own at all, but he could do some things. He could make fires grow and put them out, he could hold the burning leaf as long as anyone his age, and he excelled at meditating with candles.
Give it air to make it grow, suffocate it to make it shrink. He couldn’t feel the heartbeat of the fire, but he could feel it breathe, and firebending came from the breath, right?
It wasn’t until he was six and, in a fit of frustration during a bending lesson that he just couldn’t master, he let out an angry puff of breathe that knocked his tutor right over. His mother was shocked and his tutor seemed scandalized, and as he listened to them argue he became more and more afraid that he’d done something very wrong. It was several hours later when his grandfather came and found him hiding in the gardens. Grandfather Zuko could be crabby and stern, but he was infinitely gentle that day when he took Iroh’s face in his hands and kissed his forehead and said “you are a child of my house and you will always be treasured and loved. Never, ever doubt that.”
Oh god the last line made me sob!