Saturday, October 30, 2010

A:TNG Chapter 13: He'll Want to Hear About This

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 13: He'll Want to Hear About This

Ichiko wasn't sure how long she stood there frozen in shock. It was as if her mind had stopped working because what had happened was just too impossible for it to even try to understand. Hajime just stood there, waiting for her to answer. When Ichiko was finally able to get her mind to work a little, she noticed he looked more nervous than she had ever seen him.

I have to say something to him, Ichiko thought. The problem was, she wasn't sure what she should say. She liked Hajime as a friend and all, but she didn't have a crush on him. She'd told herself a long time ago that she was never going to date anyone. She didn't see the point. She was perfectly fine being on her own her whole life. She liked the independence. She didn't want to have someone else tagging along all of the time.

Her friends had always told her that she'd get over it someday. She'd been determined- was determined- to prove them wrong. Then why was it that she couldn't just say that to Hajime? I just don't want to hurt his feelings. That's what she told herself. It even made sense, but she still got this sickening feeling that it wasn't true. She hated that feeling.

I don't like him! Okay, this was getting just a little out of hand if she was resorting to screaming at herself inside her head. Just calm down, she told herself.

“Um, Ichiko,” Hajime finally interrupted, “Sorry to disturb you from your thoughts, but we've been standing here a very long time.”

“Right,” Ichiko willed more words to come but none did. “Um...”

“It's okay if you tell me you don't like me,” Hajime told her. Ichiko wanted to believe that, but she knew it was going to be awkward between them no matter what happened now.

“I'm... confused,” she said finally, deciding that it was the most truthful answer she could give him. She glanced around the palace grounds, not quite sure what she should do.

“That's okay too,” Hajime said after a slight pause. “You can think about it if you want and then tell me later. Or, you could never bring it up again. That's fine too.” For some reason, this made Ichiko feel like a horrible person. She was about to try to say something to make him feel better, although she had no idea what to say, before he spoke up again. “Well, I guess we'd better be getting back to bed. We have a long ride on Appa tomorrow. Coming?”

He walked off without waiting to see if Ichiko was following him. She took a few steps to follow him but then stopped. There's no way I'm gong to be able to sleep now, she thought. Maybe a walk through the palace gardens would help her clear her mind.


“Bye daddy!” Sugi and Toya practically yelled as the hugged Aang goodbye. “We'll miss you!”

“I'll miss you guys too,” he told the three-year-old twins as he hugged them. They were the last of his children, besides Yuuga who didn't really understand what was going on, to tell him goodbye. Katara and the rest of his children stood around him along with the rest of his friends and family. Once the twins were done hugging him, Katara stepped forward with Yuuga in her arms. She didn't say anything, she just stepped toward him, and he wrapped his arms around her and the baby.

Finally, Katara whispered, “I'll miss you. You better get home soon.”

“I'll miss you too,” Aang told his wife, “I'll be home as soon as possible.” He kissed her goodbye and took off on his glider. He didn't want to stay around too long after saying goodbye, it made it harder for him to leave.

Hopefully, the Earth King won't be to difficult, he thought as he flew towards the Earth Kingdom.


After Aang's departure, the others had a couple of hours before they were to leave. They were in their rooms making sure they weren't leaving anything behind or making the most of the little time they had left with the Fire Nation royal family. Who knew when they would see them next.


“It's really going to suck not having you guys here,” Ai sighed, “It's so boring when you guys aren't around.”

“Yeah,” Ichiko laughed, “I guess you won't be going after crazed lunatics to pass the time without us, huh?”

Ai smiled, “No, I think that should be something we only do together.”

All of the children were currently standing on one of the palace's lawns saying their goodbyes. It seemed unfair that it was such a beautiful day when they were all so sad to be leaving Ai, Akatsuki, Akiyoshi, Mai, and Zuko behind.

“Next time,”Akiyoshi said in complete seriousness, “I want to go after the crazed lunatic with you guys.”

Ai smiled down at her little brother, “Sure, Akiyoshi.”

Saki looked at Akiyoshi like he was crazy. “Why would you want to do that?”

“It would be fun,” Akiyoshi defended himself.

Saki rolled her eyes. “It'd be suicide.”

“I think it'll be a lot quieter around here once you guys are gone,” Ai said changing the subject, “Less fighting anyway.”

“You're lucky you only have two brothers,” Kazuna said, “I have to deal with seven little kids.”

“I'm not little!” Kuuya protested.

“Fine then,” Kazuna relented, “Six little kids.”

The kids continued their goodbyes until the adults came to tell them it was finally time to leave.


“Have a safe trip,” Mai said as her friends and their children climbed onto Appa. Kazuna knew that Mai told them pretty much the exact same thing every time they left after a visit, but it had never seemed more relevant than right now.

Katara smiled down at Mai as she took her seat near Appa's head, “We will.” She really seemed confident about it too. As Kazuna yelled goodbyes and waved with the others, she wondered if she was just overreacting. It was true that Azula probably wouldn't bother to follow them. They'd be fine. Somehow, even though she knew this was true, she was still worried.

Luckily, it was hard to worry about Azula when you were crammed onto Appa, and Kazuna was literally crammed. There were so many of them that Kazuna was shocked that Appa could even fly. Amazingly, he was able to make it off the ground, but he flew a lot slower than normal and would need frequent breaks. At this rate, it would be a long time before they made it home.

Besides that, Kazuna barely had room to move. She had several off her younger siblings on her lap, and Ichiko and Ayame were pressing in on her from either side. (Ichiko was also practically on top of her as if she was trying her hardest to get away from Hajime who was on her other side. The two of them kept giving each other awkward looks. Hmm, Kazuna thought, I'll have to ask her about that later.) Appa's saddle was not meant to hold this many people. Once the younger ones were too old to be held, they were going to have to find another way for all of them to travel together. Toph, Sokka, and Ty Lee had joined Katara on Appa's head. Toph clinging to Sokka's arm tightly for support while the other three adults were monitoring the kids up in the saddle. They hadn't even gotten but a few mile from the Fire Nation Capital and Kazuna already felt like she was ready for this trip to be over.


Azula looked up to the sky when she heard the familiar noise. A smirk spread across her face as she saw the Avatar's flying bison make it's way across the sky. She could make out the many figures on his head and back. They're leaving, she thought, That will make things a little easier.

She began to make her way back to the Fire Nation prison that she'd been visiting a lot the past couple of days. He'll want to hear about this.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A:TNG Chapter 12: The Earth Kingdom's Expectations

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 12: The Earth Kingdom's Expectations

“The Earth King feels that you aren't trying hard enough to fix the problem,” The Earth Kingdom representative told Zuko for what had to have been the millionth time in the past two days. He had been arguing with Aang and Zuko for what seemed like hours just today. Yesterday, they'd been unable to reach an agreement, so they'd decided to meet again today.

Zuko answered, again for the millionth time, “And what exactly does the Earth King think we should be doing?”

“Capturing Azula, of course,” the Earth King representative, who had introduced himself as Arashi, said this as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“That's a brilliant idea,” Zuko said in a mocking voice, “But you haven't given us any ideas on how exactly we're supposed to do that.”

“That's because it's your job, not the Earth Kingdom's.”

“I assure you, we're doing everything we possibly can.”

Arashi glared at Zuko with cold eyes, “Obviously, that isn't good enough.”

“Guys,” Aang stepped in, “Let's not fight. Look, Arashi, I can personally attest to the fact that Zuko has done everything in his power to stop Azula, but Azula is very powerful, probably more powerful than you're aware of. I can also assure you that Azula is still in the Fire Nation and-”

“Yes,” Arashi interrupted Aang, “She's in the Fire Nation at the moment, but who's to say that she won't show up in the Earth Kingdom tomorrow.”

“Arashi,” Aang said as patiently as he could, “I think it's in Azula's best interests to stay in the Fire Nation. She wants to be Fire Lord first. Then, she wants to worry about taking over the world.”

“How can you possibly know that?” Arashi asked, “This isn't the old Azula we're talking about. She's insane. Insane people don't have plans. She just wants to kill as many people as she can.”

“I think,” Zuko said through gritted teeth, “That I know Azula better than you do. Insane or not, she has a plan, and at the moment, it's definitely to become Fire Lord. I promise you, there are very few people who should be worried at the moment, and most of them are currently in this palace.”

“What about General Iroh?” Arashi smiled, “He lives in Ba Sing Se now doesn't he? See, Azula could come to Ba Sing Se to find him.”

Aang rolled his eyes inwardly. This guy was just trying to use anything to make his point, no matter how far fetched.

“Why would Azula go after Iroh in the Earth Kingdom when there are so many people here at the palace, including me, who she wants the most,” Zuko asked Arashi. Arashi didn't seem to be able to come up with a response. “And she knows that Uncle doesn't want to be Fire Lord. He's not the one standing in her way.”

“That's what I thought,” Zuko snapped, and without another word, Zuko walked out of the room.

“Um,” Aang said awkwardly, “I guess the meeting's over then. I'll just be going. Bye.” He followed Zuko out the door, leaving a slightly confused Arashi.


“Did you hear that?” Ayame asked the others. They'd just been spying on the meeting between Aang, Zuko, and Arashi.

“Yes, Ayame, we heard it,” Ichiko rolled her eyes at her friend, “We were listening just like you were.”

“I hadn't even thought about Uncle Iroh,” Ai said with her face turned towards the ground, “I wish he was here.”

“I hope Uncle Zuko didn't make the Earth Kingdom guy too mad,” said Kazuna, “We don't need the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation fighting right now.”

“True,” said Ai, “I wish everyone could just move on. It's mainly the older people who are still prejudiced against each other. That Arashi guy is old enough to remember the war pretty well. He may have even fought in it. Those are the people who have the hardest time forgiving.”

“They didn't really come up with a solution for Azula,” Ikuo observed.

“Of course not,” Hajime said in a somewhat annoyed voice, “The Earth Kingdom expects the Fire Nation to get rid of her immediately, but doesn't want to have any part in it themselves.” Hajime had never been more upset with his own nation.

The kids were silent for a moment, all caught up in their own thoughts. Then, Ai spoke up, “Did you hear what my dad said? About how Azula wants him the most? I'm so scared.” Just like that, she began to cry. The others weren't sure what to do. Ai was usually the strongest of them all, even if Ichiko liked to pretend that she was stronger.

“It'll be okay, Ai,” Kazuna said in an attempt to comfort her friend. She put her arm around Ai's shoulders.

“How do you know?” Ai asked in a disbelieving voice.

“I don't,” Kazuna said in a dark voice, “But I sure hope it will be.”


The next day, after everyone had had a good night's sleep, the adults herded all of the children together to deliver some news.

“It's been decided,” Aang began, “That everyone's going to return home for the time being except me. I need to travel to the Earth Kingdom and speak to the Earth King, and then I need to return here to help in any way I can. You'll be traveling with Appa, while I use my glider.”

The kids just sat still for a moment, thinking. Then, Saki spoke up, “Daddy,” Aang turned his head to look at his daughter, “Will we be safe?”

Aang knelled down to her level and placed his hands on her shoulders. “Of course you will, sweetie. I wouldn't let you go back home if you wouldn't be.”

Sugi wandered over to her father and sister. “I don't want you to go, Daddy,” she said in a quiet voice, “Why can't you come with us?”

Aang's heart hurt every time one of his children asked a question like this. He'd accepted his fate as the Avatar a long time ago, but he still found him wishing at times that it had been some one else. Then again, if he hadn't been the Avatar, he'd have been dead over a hundred years ago. “I have to take care of this. It's my job as the Avatar, but I'll come home as soon as I can. Okay?” Sugi nodded her head, and Aang pulled her into a hug.

“When are we leaving?” It was Kazuna who asked the question.

“In the morning,” Katara replied, “So, you kids had best get some rest. Come on. It's bed time.” She began ushering the children toward their bedrooms. The adults followed.

Aang really hoped this was over with soon. He didn't want to be away from his family for very long.


Azula quietly made her way through the corridor. It hadn't been difficult to get past the guard. Security had really gone downhill since Zuko took over the nation. Not that the guards had been all that competent during her father's rule either.

The prison was dark and cold, definitely a miserable place. Azula found the cell she was looking for easily. It was the only one in the whole prison that was occupied. I guess he's dangerous enough to warrant his own prison, she thought.

The prisoner looked up when he heard the door open. Azula could tell that she had startled him a little. He probably wasn't used to getting visitors at this time of night. In fact, the only visitors he probably ever got were the guards that brought his meals.

His startled expression soon turned to recognition. He smiled at her in a cruel sort of way. “Azula,” he said in a raspy voice that she could tell had hardly been used in the past couple of decade, “It's been a long time.”

“Yes,” she said, the same sort of cruel smile forming on her own lips, “It has been far too long.”


“Hajime and Hamako are both in bed,” Kaimu informed his wife as he entered their bedroom. He tried to smile at her, but couldn't after seeing her sitting on the bed with such a pained expression on her face.

Kaimu walked over to the bed and sat down next to Suki. He wrapped his arm around her and said, “They'll get Azula.”

“I just feel like we should stay to help,” Suki said quietly, “I could send for the other Kyoshi Warriors. We would be useful.”

“The Fire Nation is capable of handling this on their own,” Kaimu told her, “Zuko knows you'd be willing to help. He'd ask if he needed you.”

“Maybe, but I still feel like I should offer.”

“I'm sure it won't be that long before they catch her, and then this will all be over,” Kaimu said, attempting to comfort her.

“Maybe,” was Suki's only response.

Kaimu knew that that was all he'd get out of her. Ever since the Kyoshi Warriors had left Kyoshi Island to help the rest of the Earth Kingdom during the war, Suki had always wanted to help in anyway she could. It was one of the things Kaimu loved about her, but sometimes she could be a little too helpful. Kaimu was sure that Zuko and the Fire Nation could handle this problem on their own. How could Azula possibly beat a whole nation?


When Haru came into his and Ty Lee's room to go to bed, he found Ty Lee sitting up in bed with her knees pulled up to her chest. She was staring into space, with a sad expression on her face. It was the same expression that had been on her face almost constantly since they'd gotten back to the palace.

He got into bed next to her. Ty Lee must have seen him or felt the bed move because when he looked back at her she was watching him. She didn't say anything. She just laid down beside him. He knew she wasn't in the mood to talk. Everything with Azula had her in a very depressed mood. He just wrapped his arms around her and tried to sleep. That's how they stayed all night.


“I can't believe our daughter was kidnapped.”

“Sokka,” Toph's voice was muffled since she currently had her face smothered in her pillow. She turned over sleepily to look at her husband. “You've said that a hundred times over the past couple days. It's late. Can you please just go to sleep?”

“Fine,” Sokka answered a little grumpily. He laid down and closed his eyes.

Toph was just about to drift off into sleep when Sokka suddenly spoke up again. “I can't believe our daughter was kidnapped.” He received a, quite hard, elbow to the stomach which obviously worked as Toph didn't hear another word from him the rest of the night.


“I hope Ty Lee's okay,” Mai muttered to Zuko as they laid in bed. They'd been trying to sleep for a few hours now and had been unsuccessful.

“I'm sure she'll be fine,” Zuko assured his wife.

“I was thinking,” Mai started to say. She paused for a minute before she continued. “Maybe, once we catch Azula again, we should visit her sometimes.”

“What!?” Zuko practically yelled in shock.

“Think about it,” Mai continued, attempting to defend her idea, “It might be good for her, and I'm not suggesting we take the kids. That would be too dangerous, but the two of us could go. Ty Lee would probably be interested in the idea as well. Even Ursa and Iroh might go with us.”

Zuko had found his mother about a year after the war had ended. She'd been living in the Earth Kingdom ever since she'd been banished, and she had no interest of returning to live in the Fire Nation. She visited several times a year though, and they had even gone to visit her a few times.

“I don't know. Mom and Ty Lee might, but I don't know about Uncle.”

“She's your sister,” Mai pleaded.

“She tried to kill me, Mai!” Zuko said exasperated, “And you and Ty Lee too!”

“And at the time I hated her for it, but the more I think about it, the more I wonder if it was really her fault. Look at how she was raised. It wasn't exactly a normal upbringing. Neither was yours, but yours was a lot different from Azula's even if you are siblings. Plus, she may have been insane for even longer than we knew. She just got worse at the end of the war.”

“Oh, she's definitely always been insane,” Zuko said.

Mai turned to look at her husband, “Will you at least think about it?”

“I guess,” Zuko sighed, and they fell into a comfortable silence once again.


“I always hate when you have to travel,” Katara said quietly. Her and Aang were laying in bed wrapped in each others arms. They dreaded having to part ways the next day.

“Me too,” said Aang, “Hopefully, I won't be gone long. The Earth King is a lot more capable of making decisions, good or bad, on his own now, but it can still be pretty easy to influence him into doing what you want him to do. Usually, I hate that, but in this case, where he's completely out of line, it may actually be a good thing.”

“He's met Azula,” Katara said, “Surely, he could look at this realistically.”

“But everyone knows Azula went insane,” Aang told his wife, “The Earth Kingdom representative kept saying, 'It shouldn't be hard to capture a crazy woman.' They don't understand that Azula's not just any crazy woman.”

“I guess not,” Katara sighed.

“If everything goes well,” Aang said, changing that subject slightly, “I shouldn't be there that long.”

“I hope not,” Katara murmured. She snuggled into Aang, and they both drifted off into an uneasy sleep.


Ichiko was awoken when she heard a knock at her bedroom door. She tried to ignore it at first, covering her ears with a pillow. After about the tenth knock though, she'd lost her patience.

“Who is it?” she asked harshly.

“Hajime,” she heard someone say from the other side of the door.

“What the hell do you want?” she asked as she stomped her way over to the door, still pissed about being woken up in the middle of the night.

“I need to talk to you,” he said as soon as she opened the door. The first thing Ichiko noticed was that he looked incredibly nervous. She'd never heard his voice waver like that, and his breathing was loud and shallow.

“What is it?” Ichiko asked slowly with confusion in her voice.

Hajime was quiet for a minute. He looked over his shoulder as if he was scared someone would sneak up behind him. Finally, he spoke, “Um, would it be alright if we talked outside? We can walk around the palace grounds.”

“Fine,” Ichiko said, still confused.

She followed Hajime out the nearest door. It was a full moon, so they could see the nearby pond and flowers clearly in the moonlight. The scene kind of reminded Ichiko of when Ayame ranted about her dream date. It was beautiful. Wait, Ichiko thought, I did not just think that. I'm not turning into a girly romantic like Ayame. Besides I'm here with Hajime. Why am I thinking about dream dates and how beautiful it is?

“Ichiko,” Hajime spoke after a long silence, “There's something I need to tell you. It's been on my mind for a long time. I was too scared to tell you, but after what happened with Azula, I know I need to.”

“Um, where is this going?” Ichiko asked. She was a little nervous. She thought she might be starting to sweat despite the fact that it was the middle of the night and cool.

“I like you Ichiko,” Hajime finally blurted out before he could stop himself, “I mean really like you. I've had a crush on you for over a year now, and I've been too scared to say anything about it.”

He stopped, clearly waiting for Ichiko's reaction. Ichiko was only able to think one thing: crap.

A:TNG Chapter 11: Not Yet Forgiven

Author's Note: Sorry I didn't post a chapter yesterday.  I wish I had a good excuse but I don't.  I honestly just forgot.  There will be another chapter up right after this one.

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 11: Not Yet Forgiven

The adults and children were relieved when they finally made it back into the Fire Nation Capital. They felt like they'd been gone forever. Had it really only been a couple of days?

They made their way to the palace, passing many Fire Nation citizens who gave them curious looks as they passed. That sure looked like their Fire Lord and the Avatar walking by, but they were in such filthy clothing! Why, it was as if they'd been wearing the same clothes for a couple of days and been rolling around in dirt!

Finally, the palace gate came into sight. The guard let them in immediately upon recognizing them. They were so glad that they could finally rest.

“Mommy! Daddy! Kazuna!” It was Saki who yelled. She'd been playing with all of the other young kids in front of the palace. They'd spent as much time as possible there, so they'd know immediately when their parents and siblings got home.

The next thing they knew, they were being attacked by children. Only Akatsuki, Hamako, and Kuuya approached them more calmly. They tried hard to look as if they hadn't been as worried as their younger siblings had been, but it didn't work very well.

There were many hugs. The parents questioned their children to make sure everything had been fine while they were gone, and the children asked to hear about everything that had happened.

“You actually saw Azula then?” Nori asked, “You fought her?”

“Yep,” Ichiko told her cousin, “And I wouldn't recommend that you ever try it.”

“Why not?” Misoka asked indignantly with her arms crossed, “Nori and I are just as good at fighting as you are, or at least we will be when we're you're age.”

“That's not what I meant,” Ichiko said, “I meant no one should fight her.”

The adults could quickly sense a fight coming on. Misoka and Nori had been arguing with Ichiko since they were old enough to talk.

“Let's go inside,” Aang said trying to divert the fight, “I think we should let everyone else know we're back.”

“I've already informed them,” a palace guard spoke up from a few feet away. The adults had been so happy to see their children that they'd forgotten all about the guard that had let them into the palace grounds.

“Right,” Aang said, “Well, we should be going inside anyway. Zuko and I need to see that Earth Kingdom representative. Do you know where he is?” Aang asked the guard.

“Waiting inside for you both. He heard me inform the palace staff of your arrival. He doesn't look to pleased that you've left him waiting this long.”

“Just as I thought,” Zuko muttered to himself. He then continued louder, “Thank you. Come on Aang. I want to get this over with as fast as possible.”

“Me too,” Aang sighed as he followed Zuko into the palace.

The other adults followed, deciding to go have some tea and rest after the exhausting trip while all of the children headed over to lounge in the shade of some trees. They had a lot to discuss.


“You're right,”Akatsuki shivered, “Azula does sound creepy.”

“I don't think creepy is the right word,” Ayame shook her head, “Downright terrifying is how I'd describe her.”

Sugi was hiding her face behind her sister Kazuna. “Sugi,” Kazuna comforted her sister, “It's all right. Azula can't hurt you here.”

“If she's as bad as you say she is,” Sugi mumbled fearfully, “Than I bet she could.”

“Relax, Sugi,” said Ichiko, “There are tons of guards who all know what Azula looks like standing around this place. There's no way she could get in.”

“You really think so?” Sugi looked at her cousin hopefully.

“Of course I do,” Ichiko proclaimed confidently.

“But I think she'll try to,” Ai said quietly while looking away from the group, “She'll want to get revenge on our parents and maybe even us now.”

They all looked at her silently for a minute until Ichiko spoke up. “She may try, but that doesn't mean she'll be able to. Like I said, guards everywhere.”

“What about when we go back home?” Ikuo asked his sister.

Ichiko froze. She obviously didn't have anything to say to that.

“Do you really think she'd follow us home?” Hajime said, “I think she'd rather stay in the Fire Nation. I don't think we'll have anything to worry about at home, and you guys,” he looked at Ai, Akatsuki, and Akiyoshi, “Will have nothing to worry about in the palace.”

“See,” Ichiko said, her confidence returning, “Nothing to worry about. We'll be fine.”


“I wish I knew what was going on in that meeting,” Katara muttered as she paced in front of the fireplace. Aang and Zuko had been speaking to the Earth Kingdom representative for a few hours now. Katara and the others were anxious to hear about what was happening. At least, Katara was anxious. The others didn't seem to care quite as much. Toph had even dozed off. She'd never cared for politics.

“Calm down, Katara,” Sokka sounded a little annoyed with his sisters antics, “You'll find out. Just be patient.” Sokka looked just about as bored as Toph. He really wanted to go do something interesting, but he had a feeling Katara wouldn't let him leave the room. She wasn't too thrilled when Suki and Kaimu had left, claiming they were going to go train with Hajime and Hamako. In fact, Katara had gotten quite offended and said something about how horrible it was that they weren't more concerned in Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom relations.

Haru had been a little smarter about escaping Katara. He'd claimed he needed to use the restroom half an hour ago and had yet to return. Sokka had considered following his lead about fifteen minutes later, but thought better of it because he was quite sure that Katara had caught on. She could be quite stubborn sometimes.

“Man, Katara,” Sokka was a little surprised to hear Toph's voice beside him, he hadn't realized that she was awake, “What's the big deal? I don't get what you're so uptight about.”

“Do you have any idea how fragile the Fire Nation's relationship with the other nations is right now?” Katara asked her sister-in-law, “If something happens to screw that up, we'll be right back were we started at the end of the war. You do remember what happened right after the war, Toph? It's still a delicate situation, probably will be years from now.”

“Katara's right,” said Mai, “The Fire Nation's pretty much walking on eggshells right now. Even inside the Fire Nation, there are many citizens who preferred the times when Ozai ruled. It's not an easy situation. If there's a disagreement between the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom, there will be many people from the Earth Kingdom who want the Fire Nation punished, and many people from the Fire Nation who will want to start another war with the Earth Kingdom.”

Sokka had to admit that he hadn't thought of that. He didn't think Toph had either. Sokka had forgiven the Fire Nation a long time ago. He hadn't thought that there might be other people who hadn't.

“Ty Lee, are you alright?” Katara asked suddenly. Sokka looked over at the corner where Ty Lee was sitting. Now that he thought about it, Ty Lee hadn't said anything since they had gotten to the palace. She was sitting quietly in the corner, staring at the ground with a frown on her face. She didn't answer for a moment, as if she was considering her answer. Then, she slowly looked up at them.

“I haven't seen Azula since she had us arrested at the Boiling Rock. I usually try not to think about it, but Ayame kept saying how scary she was, and how crazy Azula was. I just-I don't think you could say Azula and I were best friends. Azula didn't have true friends, but still... I don't know...” Ty Lee trailed off, unable to explain to the others. Mai seemed to understand exactly what she meant though. She walked over to her best friend and wrapped her arms around her in a hug.

“What do you think will happen to her?” Ty Lee asked Mai in a small voice.

“I don't know, Ty Lee,” Mai whispered, “I don't know.”


Azula hadn't thought she'd ever need to know how to survive in the wild. Why did the princess of the Fire Nation need to know which plants were edible and which were deadly? (For the record, apparently some types of mushrooms are poisonous. She'd found that out the hard way. She was quite certain that she'd never look at a mushroom again which was a shame considering how much she'd loved them before.)

Azula couldn't even remember the last bath she'd had. Had she really only been out here a little over a week? She had to have lost count of the days. She smelt as if she'd never had a bath in her life.

Azula was currently eating some berries. That was all she'd been eating lately, as she'd discovered these berries to be safe. She longed for some meat, any kind would do, but those damn animals were hard to catch. Not to mention, she didn't actually know how she would kill one. She didn't have any weapons, and firebending wasn't the most effective way since she really didn't want her meat burnt to a crisp.

However, Azula's lack of a proper diet or hygiene wasn't the most pressing issue at the moment. She'd been planning non-stop the past few hours as she sat in her nice, new hiding place. She had to get back into the Fire Nation capital without being caught. That was the only way she could execute her plan. Believe it or not, it wasn't her idiot brother and his family that she needed to see, at least not yet. That came later. No, she needed to see some one who she thought could be very helpful to her. They might be a little shocked to see her, it had been almost two decades since they'd last seen each other, but Azula thought they'd welcome the visit. They'd have some catching up to do, and Azula thought they would be quite happy to hear what she had planned.


It was early the next morning when Kazuna set out towards the barn that was reserved for Appa whenever they visited. It was Kazuna's turn to feed Appa that morning, not that she minded. She loved spending time with Appa.

Her father had gotten Appa when he was very young, and it amazed Kazuna that Appa was still alive, let alone able to fly them around the world.

As soon as Appa saw Kazuna enter the barn, he roared in greeting. Kazuna smiled at him as she brought him some hay.

“It's nice to see you Appa,” Kazuna told the bison as she sat by his side and stroked his fur. She always spent time with him every day unless he was traveling with her father. Appa was one of her closest friends, even if he wasn't human. She enjoyed the fact that she could tell him absolutely anything without a fear of him blabbing it to someone.

Kazuna sat at Appa's side for over an hour. She told him all about going after Ichiko and being captured by Azula. She described the complete and utter fear she felt in Azula's presence. She told him how she felt like a coward compared to everyone else. She knew that they were scared of Azula too, but they were still braver than her. She would always be the coward. She tried to hide her fear but it was still always there. She felt ashamed that she couldn't be braver. She felt like a disgrace to her family. Appa just sat and listened. That was the great thing about Appa, he couldn't judge her based on the secrets she told him.

“Thanks for listening, Appa,” she told him as she stood to leave the barn, “It's nice knowing that there's always someone that will listen.” She patted the flying bison once more before going back to the palace once more where she would try her hardest to hide her fear once more.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A:TNG Chapter 10: Reunion

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 10: Reunion

Aang was using all of his willpower to keep from collapsing. It may have been two against one, but Azula was putting up a fight. Aang could tell that Zuko was as exhausted as he was, but Azula was still smiling and looked like she could fight for a lot longer. They were going to have to defeat her soon, or they were screwed.

“What's wrong?” Azula taunted, “Worn out already? I'm just getting started.”

“How are you able to do this?” Zuko asked his sister in disbelief, “You've been in a mental hospital for years. You haven't been able to train. You should be worse than before, not better!”

“Those doctors,” she said the word with utter disdain, “Are idiots. Clueless. It was easy to do things behind their backs. You disappear for a few hours, and then let them find you in a closet or something. You're supposed to be insane. They don't question it.”

Aang was confused now. “But you couldn't have gotten out of the hospital. Where did you go?”

“The hospital grounds were quite easy to get to, and had several good places that were perfect for training and out of sight.”

The three benders continued to circle each other during this exchange. They were just waiting to see who would make the first move. It was giving Aang and Zuko a little bit of time to regain some of their strength. Aang had even begun debating if he should use the Avatar state. He'd only used it a few times since the end of the war. He didn't like relying on it's power.

“It's a little sad isn't it,” Azula continued, “A supposed crazy girl able to hold her own against both the Fire Lord and the Avatar at once? I always knew I deserved the title of Fire Lord more than you, Zuzu.” At this last comment, she looked snidely at Zuko and wrinkled her nose.

As soon as Azula's attention was on Zuko, Aang used the moment to access the Avatar state. He's eyes glowed for just a second. By the time Azula looked back at him, they were their usual gray again. Azula had no idea what had just happened.

“Now,” Azula got into a fighting stance, “Are we going to actually fight, or are we going to stand here chatting all day? It would be nice to catch up, but I have plans.”

“I hope those plans involve jail,” Aang growled at her.

Azula's ever present smirk widened. “Unfortunately, they don't.”

The fighting continued. This time, Aang and Zuko were winning with the help of the Avatar State. Azula realized this too. She decided to take action before they got the better of her.

“As I said before,” she called after blasting fire at the both of them, “I have plans, and I really am running late. We'll have to do this again sometime.”

She blasted fire at them once more. Zuko and Aang guarded themselves from the hot flames, but it had given Azula the distraction she needed. Once the flames were gone, Zuko and Aang looked to where Azula had been standing just seconds before.

“She's gone,” Zuko whispered in shock, “How could she possibly have gotten away that quickly?”

“It wouldn't be the first time,” Aang said remembering back to when he was twelve, and they'd fought Azula in an abandoned Earth Kingdom town.

“We have to go after her,” Zuko said, “We can't let her get away, and she could lead us to the kids.”

Aang agreed and the two friends set off in the direction Azula was most likely to have disappeared.


“What if she finds the others?” Aang asked Zuko as the ran after Azula.

“I think she's more concerned about getting away from us,” Zuko assured Aang, “Why would she stop to fight them?”

“Good point,” Aang said. “I hope she leads us to the kids.”

“Me too.”

“Look!” Aang yelled. He pointed to where he'd seen something up in the trees that looked just like Azula. “I think I saw Azula.”

“We'd better go that way then,” Zuko said. He and Aang veered off from the direction they'd been running. They'd been running for a few minutes when Zuko asked, “Do you see her anywhere?”

“No,” Aang said shaking his head. “I've completely lost sight of her.”

“So have I. Where should we go?”

“I have no clue. We don't have any trail to follow this time.”

Zuko's shoulders slumped in defeat. They were screwed.


Sokka led the way into the cave. The other adults followed him as quietly as possible.

“I don't think she's in here,” Sokka whispered to the others, “The cave seems pretty small.”

There's an opening over here,” Toph informed the others as she walked up to a crack in the wall, “The children are back there. I can see them.”

“What about Azula?” Sokka asked his wife.

“Not here.”

This had all been spoken in whispers, so the children were unaware of their parents proximity. Ai was the first to notice them coming.

“Mom!” she yelled as soon as Mai came into the little alcove. The other children noticed the adults after Ai's yell. “How did you guys find us?”

“It wasn't that hard really,” said Ty Lee as the adults went to untie the children.

“If you ever do anything like that again,” Toph threatened her daughter, “You're dead.”

“Yes, Ma'am,” Ichiko choked. She could feel the tears coming. She hated crying in front of people. She was shocked to see tears in her mother's eyes as well. She'd never seen her mother cry. Suddenly, Toph was holding Ichiko tightly. As soon as her mother released her, Sokka pulled her into a hug that was just as tight as her mother's had been, while Toph grabbed Ikuo.

“Mom, where's dad?” Kazuna asked Katara. Kazuna had been apologizing so profusely that she hadn't even realized her father's absence at first.

“There was a problem in the Fire Nation capital. Something about relations with the Earth Kingdom. He and Uncle Zuko had to go back,” Katara told her daughter.

“What happened with the Earth Kingdom?” Ai asked anxiously, looking back and forth between her mother and Katara.

“The Earth King is unhappy about how the Fire Nation has handled Azula's escape,” Mai told her daughter and the other children, “But that's not important now. We have to get out of here before Azula comes back. Come on.”

The children set off with their parents. Thrilled to finally be free again.


“Zuko,” Aang held out his hand to stop the firebender from moving forward, “I hear something moving.”

Zuko stopped and listened. “I hear it too. It's too loud to be one person.”

“Let's go check it out,” Aang said quietly. He began moving forward as quietly as possible. He crouched down and hoped that the plants would help hide him from view. Zuko followed him.

They didn't get that far when they saw what had been making the noise. “Katara!” Aang yelled before he could stop himself.

Katara and the others were startled. They were ready to fight before they saw that it was only Aang and Zuko. Katara bended her water back into her water skins as Aang ran towards his wife and daughter. He hugged them both. “Kazuna!” he addressed his daughter, “I'm so happy you're alright!”

Zuko hugged his wife and daughter as well.

“You handled things with the Earth Kingdom really fast,” Mai said slowly, as if she was trying to figure out how it was even possible that they could have gotten to the Fire Nation and back in such a short length of time.

“We never even got there,” Zuko sighed, “We ran into Azula.” The kids all shuddered at the name, more terrified of her than they'd ever been of anything in their lives.

Katara gasped, “What happened?”

“She got away,” Aang hung his head, “We tried following her, but we couldn't track her. That's when we found you guys.”

“At least now there's proof she's in the Fire Nation,” Haru said in a useless attempt to cheer everyone up.

“Yeah, I guess,” Zuko agreed, “We'd better be getting back. The Earth Kingdom representative won't be happy with how long it took us to get there or that we were unable to capture Azula.”

“True,” Aang said, “This will be exhausting.”


Azula walked back to her current hideout thinking about how easy it had been to escape from her idiot brother and the Avatar. I can't believe he was made Fire Lord, Azula thought to herself, He has no talent!

She'd decided to take a long, winding route back to her cave. Zuko and the Avatar might have been idiots, but it was better safe than sorry. She couldn't have them finding her hideout or the children. Because of this, it was sunset as she came upon the cave.

Let's hope those brats didn't do anything while I was gone, she thought as she bent down to go through the opening that led to the secret alcove in the cave.

She didn't look up until she was completely through the hole. Usually, she would have begun taunting the children as soon as she began through the hole, but she'd had a long day. She wasn't in the mood for theatrics.

What the hell! They were gone! She couldn't believe they were gone! There was no way Zuko and the Avatar could have found this place. It had to have been someone else, or what if the brats had gotten away on their own? No, Azula thought, They couldn't have. They weren't smart enough to get out on their own.

“You little demons,” she muttered lowly to herself, “I will find you, and this time I won't be so kind. Next time, you're dead.”

A:TNG Chapter 9: An Unexpected Trip and a Discovery

Author's Note: Sorry there was no chapter yesterday.  It was a strange day yesterday.  It's kind of a long story, but it you watch my Youtube videos than you probably know.  Anyway, there will be another chapter up after this.  Enjoy!

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 9: An Unexpected Trip and a Discovery

Kazuna woke up in a very uncomfortable position the next morning. She turned her head to find that she was half on top of her cousin Ikuo and had somehow oddly twisted her body in her sleep. She moved a lot in her sleep she knew. Apparently, that wasn't a good thing to do when your hands and feet were bound.

It took Kazuna a few seconds to figure out what had woken her. Despite her uncomfortable position, she didn't think that was what had woken her. Then she heard the cold, mocking voice. “Wakey, wakey children.” Azula still had that stupid smirk on her face. Did that damn thing ever leave her mouth?

“So,” Azula continued, “Have you considered telling me everything?” Kazuna didn't believe she was a violent person. She usually left the violence to her cousins, but right then, she wanted nothing more than to rip that stupid smirk off of Azula's face.

“No,” Ai spoke for the whole group, “There's nothing to consider. We're not telling you a damn thing.”

The smirk just grew larger. “Very well then. If you want to be tortured, it's all right by me. In fact, I'll quite enjoy it.”

Kazuna could feel the tears coming again. She'd never thought of herself as a strong person. It had always made her feel like a disappointment really. Everyone in her family was strong and brave, except her. She wasn't quite sure how genetics had messed that one up.

It was as if Azula could sense this weakness in her because Kazuna was the first one Azula turned to. “I think the Avatar's daughter should get the honor of going first.”

Kazuna's breath caught in her throat. She was going to break, she knew it. She didn't want to. Why would she want to endanger her family? But she was weak.

“What do you even want to know?” Kazuna could barely even hear her own question, so she was surprised when Azula answered her.

“Let's start with something simple,” Azula said, “Why don't you tell me if the Fire Nation is looking for me.”

“The whole world is looking for you,” Kazuna didn't see the harm in answering this question. “They know you're in the Fire Nation though.” Kazuna admitted to herself that she wasn't quite sure if she should have told Azula this or not. What were the limits of what you could and could not tell the enemy?

“That was a good start,” Azula even slowly applauded a few times, “I already knew the answer of course, but you've proven that you can be cooperative. Keep that up, and you'll be fine. Now, Ai, I have a question for you. You're already beginning to get ready to take the throne, correct?” Ai just nodded her head. “That means you can answer a few questions I have about the inner workings of the Fire Nation.”

“No,” Ai spat.

Azula smirked yet again. “No, you don't know, or no, you won't tell me.”

“No, I won't tell you.”

“Stupid girl!” Azula was in front of Ai so fast that she appeared to have traveled faster than humanly possible. She grabbed Ai's forearms and gripped them tight. Ai's face contorted in pain. She looked to have been in too much pain for it to just be because of how hard Azula's grip was. Then, Azula pulled away. The other children could see the bright red marks on Ai's arms. Ai had begun to sob, and there were blisters forming where Azula had gripped her. Ai suddenly began screaming and gripping her arms to her body. Ikuo was struggling with his bonds trying to get closer to her so he could help, but it was useless. He couldn't get out of the bonds no matter how hard he tried.

“Now children,” Azula's smirk was wider than ever, something Kazuna would have thought of as impossible. “Have we learned our lesson?” Ai just continued to scream and cry while the other children stared at Azula in terror. “Don't worry,” Azula continued, “I won't kill you. Then, you wouldn't be useful as bait. Now, are you going to tell me what I want to know?”

The adults set off in the morning, still following the faint trail that they prayed led to their children.

“How far could she have possibly taken them?” Sokka asked the others, “She couldn't possibly have taken five children that far.”

“I don't know,” Zuko spoke up, “This is Azula we're talking about. If she wants something done, she'll find a way.”

“Way to cheer us up, Zuko,” Toph said sarcastically as she rolled her eyes.

“Sorry, but it's the truth. I don't think this is a good time to be lying to ourselves.”

“Zuko's right,” Aang said, “We need to be prepared for the worst.” Aang looked at the ground as he said this. Katara could tell he was in pain. She reached out to him and took his hand, giving it a comforting squeeze.

All of the adults were silent now. They drifted into horrible daydreams of the horrible things Azula could be doing to their children. They seemed to be doing that a lot lately.

“But Sokka does have a point,” Aang finally continued, “Azula probably isn't that far from here. We should probably be quieter, just in case. We want to sneak up on her, not the other way around.”

The others nodded, and followed him along the trail. Hopefully, they'd catch up to Azula soon.

The adults heard the bird before they saw it. There were many animals in these woods though, so they didn't pay the hawk that much attention until it landed on Zuko's shoulder. It was only then that they realized it was a messenger hawk. Zuko glanced at the others. What could this letter possibly be about? He prayed it was good news.

“There's trouble in the capital,” Zuko informed the others once he had finished the letter.

“Is it Azula?” Suki asked anxiously.

“No,” Zuko shook his head, “Not directly at least. There seems to be a problem with the Earth Kingdom. They're not happy about how we're handling Azula's escape.” He began to write a quick response back before sending the bird back to where it had come from.

“Idiots,” Sokka muttered lowly before continuing in a normal volume, “They're still holding a grudge from the war. They know you're doing as much as you can. I'd like to see them do any better.”

“Even so,” Zuko said, “I still have to deal with this. They want me back at the capital as soon as possible. The Earth King sent representatives who wish to speak to me. You guys need to continue looking for the kids. I'll go back on my own.”

“No,” Aang disagreed, “I'll go with you. It's my job to make sure all of the nations get along. The others are more than capable of finding and defeating Azula on their own.”

Zuko nodded in agreement. “All right then. Aang and I will go together. Will you guys be alright on your own?”

“Of course we will,” Mai assured her husband while she leaned up to kiss him goodbye. “It will still be eight against one. That's not even a fair fight really. It'll probably be dreadfully boring.”

Zuko smiled at his wife and turned to leave with Aang who'd just finished saying goodbye to Katara.

“If you're not back by the time this is settled,” Zuko called to the others as he and Aang began their way back to the capital. “We'll come back for you.”

They had a long trip ahead of them, but it wouldn't go quite like they expected.

“Is that what I think it is?” Suki asked the others.

“It's a cave,” Ty Lee said with excitement, “The trail ends at a cave!”

“Ty Lee!” Mai snapped quietly, “Shh! Azula cold be in there and hear you!”

“Whoops,” Ty Lee whispered, “Sorry.”

Mai just rolled her eyes at her friend. It was a wonder their friendship had lasted this long. Ty Lee could really get annoying.

“What are we going to do?” Suki asked. It was really a wonder that they'd spent all that time walking and not once had they discussed a plan. They'd been too preoccupied with worry for their children.

“I think we should sneak up on her,” Sokka said. He instantly went into “Plan Guy” mode. “We might be able to get her before she even realizes we're there.”

“That is assuming she's even in the cave,” Katara said, “She might have left and taken them somewhere else.”

“It's possible,” Sokka told his sister, “But we shouldn't count on it. It's not like we should assume that she just went out for a nice stroll and left the children there by themselves.”

“Well,” said Toph with annoyance, “If you two would shut your mouths, we could find out.”

“Right,” said Sokka, “Come on everyone and remember to keep quiet.”

Aang and Zuko hadn't been traveling for long, maybe an hour at the most. They were hurrying through the forest as fast as their legs would carry them. They wanted to get this business at the capital over with so they could go back to what was really important: their children.

“Well, who do we have here. You two have no idea how long I've waited to see you.” The voice seemed to come from no where. They recognized it though. How could they not. The cold tone could only belong to one person.

Suddenly, Azula dropped down in front of them. She'd apparently been up in the trees.

“Zuzu,” Azula addressed Zuko using her childhood nickname for him, “It's been so long. Any luck finding mother?”

“How did you-” But Azula didn't let Zuko finish.

“It's not that difficult to figure out you'd go looking for your mommy,” Azula rolled her eyes, “You always were a mommy's boy. That's probably what made you so weak.”

“You think I'm weak?” Zuko asked his little sister in disbelief. “Remember what happened during our Agni Kai?”

“I remember you having the help of a stupid Water Tribe girl to defeat me.” Azula smirked when she noticed the Avatar clinch his fists when she insulted the girl. “How is she?” She asked, now addressing Aang.

“Like you care,” Aang spat.

“Actually, I do. It's always good to have information on you enemies.”

“Where are our children?” Zuko asked in a menacing voice.

“They're alive,” Azula said casually, “They're also very stubborn. Didn't want to cooperate. I had to use a little torture.”

Zuko and Aang gasped which only caused Azula's smirk to grow larger.

“As I said,” she continued, “They're alive. They still have information though. I'm afraid I'll be needing to keep them for a while.”

She smirked again as Aang and Zuko began to attack at exactly the same time. Finally, she thought, some real fun.