Thursday, November 25, 2010

A:TNG: Chapter 19: Love Isn't a Weakness

Author's Note: So much for this chapter being longer. That didn't happen.

Also, I'd planned on having this chapter up last weekend, but school was crazy last week. Pretty much all I did was go to school, come home and do homework, and then sleep. Then, my whole weekend was focused on Harry Potter (I loved the movie!), and seeing my best friend for the first time since August. So, most of this chapter was written over this week. I hope you guys enjoy it!

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 19: Love Isn't a Weakness

“I have some news,” Aang told his children, “We're all going to the Fire Nation for a visit in a week.”

“All of us?” Sugi asked in excitement.

“Yes,” Katara told her daughter, “All of us. Even Aunt Toph and Uncle Sokka, Suki and Kaimu, and Ty Lee and Haru are coming with their kids.”

“This is awesome!” Kazuna yelled in excitement. She had seen Ichiko and Ayame just a few months earlier, but none of them had seen Ai in over a year now. With so much happening in the Fire Nation, none of their families had been very willing to travel there.

“But I thought you guys said it was too dangerous,” Saki said, “Why are you letting us go now.”

Aang spoke up, “It's been so long since you guys have seen Mai, Zuko, Ai, Akatsuki, and Akiyoshi, and Yuuga can't even remember them,” he motioned to the now two-year-old child that was watching the conversation with interest, “Your mother and I think it's about time we went again.”

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” Kazuna repeated to her parents as she got up to hug them. This was difficult since there were also seven other children trying to do the same thing. She was so excited to see Ai again. She was also looking forward to seeing Akatsuki. They'd been writing to each other a lot over the past year, and she couldn't wait to actually get to talk to him.


Kazuna ran towards Ai as soon as she came into sight. “I'm so glad to see you!” she exclaimed as she wrapped her arms around her friend. Ayame soon joined in the hug, but Ichiko stayed back. After a few moments, Kazuna turned to her, “Come on, Ichiko.” She held out her arm, gesturing for Ichiko to enter the hug as well. Ichiko just shook her head with a look on her face that said, “no way.” Finally, Kazuna was able to pull her into the hug with Ai and Ayame's help.

“You guys are such saps,” Ichiko said when they'd finally broken apart, but she had a smile on her face as she said it.

Kazuna couldn't wait to catch up with Ai, but as soon as Ai had begun telling them the latest about her boyfriend, whom they had yet to meet, Kazuna caught sight of Akatsuki who was currently in a conversation with her younger brother Kuuya. He didn't seem to be paying much attention though. He was looking her way, and smiled as soon as he saw that she was looking at him. She smiled back and waved which caused Akatsuki to blush a little.

Ai leaned over to whisper into Kazuna's ear, “He's been talking about you all the time this past year. He's completely infatuated with you.”

Kazuna found herself blushing at Ai's words. It wasn't anymore than she'd expected. After a exchanging a few letters with Akatsuki, she'd thought that he might have a crush on her. Still, she wasn't exactly sure how to handle it now that they would be staying in the same place. She liked him as a friend and everything, but he was only ten years old after all.


Azula proudly stood as they watched the army marching past them. It had taken over a year, but the time had finally come. A month ago, Ozai had told Azula that he felt that their army was ready to fight Zuko and his army.

It was taking a while to gather their army together since they were so scattered across the nation. They had gradually been gathering troops as they neared the capital. They weren't far now, and they had a fairly substantial number of their troops with them already. It wouldn't take long before they were noticed by one of Zuko's men. It didn't matter. They weren't hiding anymore. Judging from the size and talent of their troops, Zuko would need all the extra time he could get anyway.


“My Lord,” Zuko turned as he heard one of the servants address him, “General Eun Mi wishes to speak to you sir. She's says it can't wait. It's something about Ozai and Azula.”

Zuko hadn't even waited for the guard to finish speaking. He took off towards the room where Eun Mi, one of the top ranking generals in the Fire Nation army, was waiting for him.

“You have information?” Zuko asked her before the door had even swung shut behind him.

General Eun Mi looked at him with a grave look on her face. “Yes,” she began, “Azula and Ozai are leading their army towards us as we speak. I already have troops surrounding the capital, and even more on their way to meet them. If everything goes well, they'll be defeated before they even reach the city.”

“But things never tend to go well when it's war,” Zuko said with sadness in his voice.

“No, they don't,” the general agreed.

“All right then,” Zuko said as he started towards the door, “Continue doing your job. I'm going to have the palace evacuated. We need to get the servants and especially the children out. Then, my friends and I will join you.”

General Eun Mi nodded and replied, “Yes, sir,” but Zuko was already gone. She hurried back to her soldiers as well.


The children were told they had fifteen minutes to gather some of their things to take with them. They were being taken to a bunker underneath the palace. It was the same one Fire Lord Ozai had hidden in during the Day of Black Sun. It wasn't the most ideal place since Ozai and Azula would know where they were, but it was going to be heavily guarded, and they didn't think even Azula and Ozai's strong army would be able to break in. They didn't have any earth or metal benders like Toph.

Hajime was quickly gathering his things when he heard a knock at his open bedroom door. He looked up and was shocked to see Ichiko standing there with a small bag at her feet.

“I need to talk to you,” she said. Hajime could hear the fear in her voice.

“What is it?” he asked her as he sat down on his bed. He patted the space beside him, motioning for her to sit there.

She came over slowly and left a fairly large gap in between them. “I've been thinking,” she began and then continued slowly, “I've been kind of stupid this past year. I didn't want to admit my feelings for you because somehow I thought that would make me weak. Then, Ai said something to me last night that made me realize something. She told me I shouldn't be scared of love. She said that was what caused Azula and Ozai's downfall. They didn't have anyone who loved them enough to help them when they needed it. They only had themselves to rely on. That made me realize that love isn't a weakness. It makes you stronger. Afterward, I wanted to tell you the truth, but I couldn't get the courage to. Then, we find out that Ozai and Azula are coming, and I had to tell you I really did like you before...”

She trailed off and just looked at Hajime. He just looked back just like he had been through her whole speech, just watching her.

After a moment, Hajime leaned over and kissed her. He offered her a small smile once they pulled apart, and he took her hand. “Come on,” he said as he stood up and pulled her up with him, “We need to get going.”

They kept their hands linked together as they went to find the others.


Akatsuki fumbled with the hem of one of his sleeves as he walked toward Kazuna's bedroom door. He couldn't believe he was doing this.

Kazuna glanced up at him as he knocked. She smiled at him, but he could still see the fear in her eyes. “Hi Akatsuki,” she greeted him, “You can come in if you want. I'm almost ready.”

He walked over to her bed as his knees shook. He couldn't believe he was going to go through with this. He decided to get it over with quickly. “Kazuna, I have a crush on you,” he said so quickly that the words were barely distinguishable, but he knew that Kazuna had understood because she froze.

Kazuna turned towards Akatsuki with a look of shock on her face. “What?” she asked in disbelief. She'd never thought that he'd admit his feelings like this. What was she supposed to say?

Akatsuki didn't answer her. He just looked towards the floor and tried to keep from blushing even harder.

After a moment or two, Akatsuki felt the mattress dip down beside him. His blush grew darker when he felt Kazuna's hand on his shoulder.

“Akatsuki,” she began, “You're only ten, and I'm sixteen. That's a big age difference.”

Akatsuki said nothing. He just continued staring at the floor. Kazuna's room had a rather nice carpet.

“Look,” Kazuna continued after an awkward silence, “I'm too old for you right now, but who knows what will happen when we're older.”

Akatsuki finally looked up at Kazuna in surprise. “But I'm not guaranteeing anything either,” she quickly added.

“Still,” Akatsuki spoke with a slight smile, “I can hope.”

Kazuna smiled back at him. “Come on,” she said as she stood up, “We need to hurry. We don't want the others waiting for us. It wouldn't be too great if Azula and Ozai came before we were in the bunker.”

As Akatsuki followed Kazuna out of the room, he marveled over how happy he now felt even though his home was getting ready to be attacked by his own grandfather and aunt. He knew he'd be able to win Kazuna over in time.

Author's Note: So, next chapter will may contain some fighting not much. After that though, the remaining chapters (not including the epilogue) will contain fighting. It'll be interesting to see how those chapters go since my past attempts at writing fighting/battle scenes have been pretty horrible.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A:TNG Chapter 18: A Year of Fear

Author's Note: This chapter takes place over the course of a year. At different points in the chapter you see [number] months later, that means that part of the chapter takes place that many months after the last chapter. Next chapter will pick up a year later, and that's when the rest of the story (excluding the epilogue) will take place. Also, this chapter is extremely short. I'm going to work hard on making the next one an actually decent length. Enjoy!

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 18: A Year of Fear

Posters began appearing all over the Fire Nation. There were all different types. Some were wanted posters for Azula and Ozai. Others warned of the recruiting that the two were doing, telling the people of the lies they were spreading in order to convince others to join them.

Everyone knew now what was happening. Many people lived in fear of the future.

Others grew excited and began searching for Azula and Ozai on their own. They wanted to help return them to power.

The Fire Nation was slowly disintegrating into chaos. Even the other two nations began to fear what would happen. Zuko was doing all he could to keep the nation together, but that was becoming harder and harder. Many members of the military, people with government jobs, and even his palace staff were quitting their jobs. Some supported Azula and Ozai, and some were just scared of them and what would happen if they were associated with Zuko.

The Fire Nation's relations with the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes became worse. The Earth Kingdom especially wanted nothing to do with the Fire Nation. They feared there would be another war and even began to build up their military.

Everything seemed to be falling apart.


Three months later

“Why would you date him?” Ichiko asked Ayame as they left school one day, “I thought you liked Ikuo.”

“I do,” Ayame replied.

Ichiko looked at Ayame in confusion, “You never make any sense.”

They were talking about Ayame's latest boyfriend. He'd asked her out at lunch, and to everyone's surprise, she'd said yes. Ichiko didn't even know the boy's name, and she was pretty sure that Ayame didn't either. None of it made sense. Why did she just randomly decide to date this boy?

Ikuo had been there to see it too. He'd looked shocked at first and then angrily stormed off, saying something about using the restroom.

“Ikuo hasn't said anything to me,” Ayame tried to explain, “I thought that if I got a boyfriend he might finally ask me out.”

Ichiko rolled her eyes, “I can't believe you're using that stupid jealousy thing. It never works. At least not the way you want it too. Either the guy you like isn't brave enough or really doesn't care. If he does get jealous, he's still unlikely to say anything to you.”

“You're not going to get onto me for using the other guy though?” Ayame asked. This also confirmed to Ichiko that Ayame still had no clue who this guy was since she referred to him as “the other guy.”

“Of course not,” Ichiko replied, “I could care less about him.” After all, caring had never been one of Ichiko's strong traits. “I just think this is a stupid idea.”

“You always think my ideas are stupid,” Ayame said a little indignantly.

“Probably because they always are,” Ichiko muttered as the continued toward their homes.

It turned out that Ichiko had been right. Ayame had dated the guy for about a week when she finally dumped him. Ikuo, instead of admitting his feelings, had begun to outright ignore the fact that Ayame even existed. As soon as she announced the break up, things seemed to return to normal. Neither Ayame nor Ikuo had yet to admit their feelings to each other. On that note, neither had Hajime or Ichiko.


Six months later

“He refuses to meet with me,” Zuko told Aang. They were in the same room that meetings about the war had been held about two decades ago. Now, it was being used for somewhat similar reasons.

Aang was in the Fire Nation for about a week to meet with Zuko. Zuko had asked him to come after the Earth King refused to listen to Zuko. Aang's job had become very hard lately since the Earth Kingdom and Northern Water Tribe weren't wanting anything to do with the Fire Nation anymore. Aang felt, that if he didn't live in the Southern Water Tribe and have such a strong influence there, it would probably be siding with it's sister tribe as well.

“I've already tried speaking to the Earth King,” Aang sighed, “He refuses to listen. I'll head to the North Pole tomorrow and see what can be done. I can't say I have much hope though. What little trust the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribes had in the Fire Nation after the war has been all but broken.”

Zuko nodded in agreement, “I can't say I blame them for hating us, but their hate is blinding them to the truth. We're not their enemy anymore. Ozai and Azula are.”

“Hopefully,” Aang said, “They'll see that soon.”


Ten months later

Azula nodded her head in approval as she watched a group of soldiers train. The amount of training they'd had was sparse as they had to be careful that they weren't found. Often, small groups of them would meet in their town and practice together while Azula and Ozai traveled and made sure everything was going well.

Even though they weren't getting formal training, their soldiers were determined and talented. Azula was confident that the odds were in their favor.


Almost twelve months later

Ai smiled contently as she rested her head on her boyfriend's shoulder. It was a week away from their one-year anniversary. She couldn't believe how long it had been!

Even though she still felt fearful every time she thought about Azula and Ozai, this had been an amazing year. Haruki always knew how to make her feel better when she began to feel scared. She'd been surprised when she'd realized that she was in love with him. It was about a month earlier. He'd been teasing her about being a princess (one of his favorite things to do) when it had just suddenly hit her. She hadn't told him yet for fear that he didn't feel the same way.

“What are you thinking about?” Haruki asked her, interrupting her thoughts.

“Just the past year,” she answered. It was basically true. She was just leaving out the part about her realizing her love for him.

He smiled down at her. “It has been an amazing year. Hasn't it?”

“Mm hm,” she murmured in agreement, “The best.” She lifted her head from his shoulder and kissed him. This continued for a while until Haruki eventually pulled away.

“Ai, I need to tell you something,” he said as he took her face in his hands.

“Okay,” she said anxious to hear what he had to say.

“I love you.” He said it quickly, and it took a moment for it to register in Ai's mind. When it did, a huge smile spread across her face.

“I love you too, Haruki.” Haruki seemed both happy and relieved at her words. He pulled her in for another kiss.

Later that night as Ai was lying in bed, she marveled over how the past year had been the best and yet most terrifying year of her life. She had the most amazing boyfriend in the world, but it was only a matter of time before her crazed aunt and grandfather tried to ruin everything.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A:TNG: Chapter 17: I Didn't Expect

Author's Note: I got the chapter done in six days! That being said, this chapter was tough to write, and it ended up being kind of short. I hope you guys enjoy it though!

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 17: I Didn't Expect

Ichiko was tossing and turning in her bed for the fifth night in a row. She couldn't get the conversation she'd had with Hajime on the beach out of her head. Her parents were concerned that she was getting sick because she was so exhausted lately. The truth was that she just couldn't sleep.

Hajime filled her thoughts almost constantly which honestly made her nauseous. She was turning into one of those girls. She hated the girls who did nothing but obsess over their latest crush or boyfriend (prime example: Ayame). She'd promised herself, and her friends, years ago that she wouldn't turn out like that, yet here she was unable to sleep because of Hajime. She almost hated him for it.

She had no choice but to finally admit to herself that she liked him. For the first time in her life, she was interested in a boy romantically. That didn't mean she was ready for a relationship though. There was no way she was going out with him. She may like him, but she wasn't doing that. She was still determined to stay single. She'd get over him eventually.


“What are we going to do about this?” Aang asked Zuko. They were just leaving an important meeting. They'd gained information that Azula and Ozai were recruiting people for an army. The source wasn't aware of exactly how many people they had been able to get, but they felt it was a lot.

“I guess just wait,” Zuko sighed, “Capturing them now won't do much good because there will be other people to deal with now. We'll still search for them of course, but even if we find them, we'll have more work cut out for us. I doubt he people they've recruited will just stand by and do nothing.”

“Don't you think we should tell the Fire Nation people that something's happening as well?” Aang suggested, “We might be able to convince some people who would otherwise join Ozai and Azula to be on our side.”

“It couldn't hurt,” Zuko agreed, “We know Azula and Ozai are using propaganda. I'll see if we can get some flyers or something. We'll have to call another meeting about it.”

“Great,” Aang said sarcastically, “Yet another meeting.”

Zuko smiled at his friend for what felt like the first time in days, “I couldn't agree more.”


Ayame watched as Ichiko paced in front of her. It was a strange sight to see Ichiko so nervous since she usually tried to hide it. Ayame sat patiently. She was beginning to get a little annoyed, but she didn't want Ichiko to snap at her for interrupting her pacing.

Finally, Ichiko turned to her, “Okay, don't laugh,” she demanded of Ayame. Once Ayame had assured her that she wouldn't, Ichiko continued, “I already sent letters to Kazuna and Ai earlier this morning.” Ayame noticed that Ichiko's cheeks had a pinkish hue to them. “I like Hajime.”

Ayame smiled, “Is that it?” She continued when Ichiko nodded, “Ichiko, we've all known that for a long time.”

“I know,” said Ichiko, “But I've finally admitted it to myself. I can't stop thinking about him,” she clenched her fists in frustration, “Gah! It's so frustrating.”

Ayame couldn't help but chuckle a little, and Ichiko glared at her. “Ichiko, there's nothing wrong with that,” Ayame assured her friend as she slipped an arm around her shoulders. “Now, when are you going to tell him?”

“Um,” Ichiko murmured, “I'm not.”

Ayame gasped in an overly theatrical way, “Ichiko! You have to tell him!”

Ichiko rolled her eyes at Ayame's theatrics, “No, I don't. I don't have to date him just because I like him.”

Ayame was giving Ichiko a strange look. She didn't seem to understand what Ichiko was saying. She probably didn't. When Ayame liked a boy, she did everything she could to make that boy like her.

Finally, Ayame seemed to recover. “Fine,” she said, “It's your business, so I can't make you do anything. That doesn't mean I'm not going to bug you about it constantly though.”

Ichiko groaned and laid back on the grass. This was why she couldn't tell her friends anything.


Aang's smile grew larger when the small village came into view. He and Zuko had decided that there wasn't much more Aang could do at the moment, and Aang was finally able to come home to be with his family. He'd sent a letter ahead, so they'd know he was coming. He could see his whole family waiting for him just outside of the village.

The younger children began running towards him, with the exception of Yuuga who was just beginning to walk, while Kazuna and Kuuya came over more slowly.

As soon as Aang's feet were on the ground, he was attacked by a mob of children. He collapsed back in the snow, laughing, as his children began climbing on him. Kazuna and Kuuya even joined the fray when they reached him. Somehow, things led to a snowball fight that even Katara joined in. Of course, the water benders had a very unfair advantage.

Later that evening, the reunited family sat around the fire place. Aang smiled as he looked at his family. He was finally home.


Ai sat with Haruki in front of the pond on the palace grounds. They were feeding the turtle ducks together. They'd been spending most of their free time together since they'd met.

Ai loved spending time with him. She hadn't had a boyfriend in a couple of years. She'd been too busy learning from her father what she'd need to know to rule the nation to focus on boys. Part of her felt it wasn't a good idea to get attached to Haruki. There was too much going on at the moment, but she couldn't help being drawn to him. None of her past crushes had been this strong.

She watched him as he tore off a piece of bread and threw it to the turtle ducks. He'd found her sitting here once he got off duty about fifteen minutes ago and had brought some left over bread from the kitchen with him.

Ai wanted to say something about her feelings for him, but she was scared he wouldn't reciprocate. Maybe he just thought of her as a friend. Her being the next in line for the throne didn't help either. Most guys were usually intimidated by her. If her responsibilities weren't hard enough to deal with, her father being able to lock up or banish them didn't help either.

She was still debating whether to say something to him or not when Haruki himself spoke up, “We've been spending a lot of time together lately.”

Ai just nodded. She wasn't sure what he was getting at.

Haruki continued, “It's just, when I came to work here I didn't expect your family to be like this.”

“What do you mean?” Ai asked in confusion.

“I expected the Fire Lord and his family to be slightly stuck up to be honest. I definitely didn't think Princess Ai would want to spend time with me.”

“My mother and father have always taught me that I'm no better than anyone else, no matter what my birth,” she told him.

“I see that now,” he said before slightly changing the topic, “There's also something else I didn't really expect.” He turned away from her and focused his eyes on the turtle ducks. “I didn't expect I would fall for you.” Ai could tell he was blushing slightly.

Her cheeks colored a little as well. “Really?” she asked. This was too good to be true.

He turned to her and nodded.

Ai smiled and said, “I like you too, Haruki.”

Haruki smiled, “I guess that means you'll be my girlfriend then?”

Ai laughed and nodded, “Yes, I'd be happy to be your girlfriend.”

They smiled at each other, and then Haruki leaned in to kiss Ai for the first time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A:TNG Chapter 16: Crushes and Armies

Author's Note: Guess what!  This blog is now caught up with  That means I won't be posting a new chapter of this story until it's also updated over there.  I'm working on the chapter now, and it will probably be up sometime this weekend.  Also, I already said on that this story has six chapters and an epilogue left.  I'm planning on having it all done in about two months.  Enjoy the chapter!

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 16: Crushes and Armies

It was the late afternoon when Aang saw the Fire Nation capital in the distance. Zuko hadn't known when to expect him, so he was a little surprised to see Aang gliding through the sky as he was taking a walk. Aang was a little unnerved at how tired and aggravated Zuko seemed. In the little time it had been since they'd seen each other, Zuko seemed to have been stretched to the limit.

“How are things here?” Aang asked Zuko as they walked through the palace together.

“I have some bad news actually,” Zuko paused for a moment. He seemed to be thinking about how to break the bad news to Aang. “Ozai broke out of jail the other night. The guard was found knocked out. He's woken up, but he doesn't know who attacked him. The attacker obviously made sure they wouldn't be recognized, but we're almost positive it was Azula.”

Aang sighed, “This isn't good. Who knows what they're up too. Have you gotten any leads to where they might be.”

“Not yet,” Zuko told Aang with regret in his voice. “We're searching though. We think it's only a matter of time before they let us know where they are.”

“You're probably right,” Aang said, “They'll want to fight us eventually. You have what they want at the moment, the throne, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be looking for them now.”

“I agree,” said Zuko, “I have men and women searching for them all over the Fire Nation as we speak.”


“I've found at least twenty people so far that want to help us,” Azula told her father as they sat in the forest under the cover of the trees. “Most of them were high ranking officers when you were Fire Lord and have since been demoted or kicked out the the military all together. They much preferred when you were in power.”

“Excellent,” Ozai smiled, “We'll need to gather more people though if we want to be successful.”

“They told me they had friends that were interested as well,” Azula informed him. “They're bringing them to meet with us. I don't think it will be that hard to get a fairly substantial number of soldiers. There are many in the Fire Nation who want you as their leader again. I wouldn't even put it past many of the current soldiers to turn on Zuko. It won't be that difficult to organize a full-scale rebellion against dear, old Zuzu.” She smiled with evil glee as she spoke.

“Yes,” Ozai smiled too, “We'll have the throne back in no time.”


“Ikuo!” Hajime repeated for what seemed like the millionth time. He hit his friend on the shoulder for good measure.

“What!?” Ikuo snapped finally discovering that his best friend wanted his attention.

“You've been staring at Ayame for an awfully long time,” Hajime smirked at his friend.

“I have not!” Ikuo said indignantly, “I wasn't staring at anyone.”

Hajime rolled his eyes, “Of course you weren't.” He continued after a moment of silence. “I don't understand why you won't admit that you like her. There's nothing wrong with it.”

“I've known her since I was born,” Ikuo answered, “We even used to bathe together as infants. It's weird.”

Hajime considered Ikuo's words for a moment. His face scrunched up in mild disgust before saying, “Ew. Okay, that is a little weird.” There was a moment of silence before Hajime realized something, “Wait! Ichiko and I were in those baths too... I am officially disgusted.”

Ikuo laughed at his best friend, “Sorry to bring it up. Look on the bright side, we, and they, can't remember anything.” He suddenly got serious and said, “But that's not the real problem. Honestly, I don't want to tell her how I feel and have her react the same way Ichiko reacted when you admitted your feelings to her.”

“Thanks for bringing that up,” Hajime said sarcastically.

“You're welcome,” Ikuo smirked.

“I will convince you to tell her someday though,” Hajime told Ikuo.

“Good luck with that,” Ikuo said.

The two boys were oblivious to the conversation that was currently taking place between the two same girls they'd just been discussing. Ayame and Ichiko were sitting in the backyard of Ichiko's house. They had their backs against the stone wall of the house and were occasionally glancing at the two boys they could see under the trees in the distance.

“I just don't understand it,” Ichiko was saying to Ayame, “Out of all the guys in the world, why would you possibly like my brother?”

“I don't think I had much say in the matter to be perfectly honest,” Ayame snapped at Ichiko.

“No say in the matter?” Ichiko asked in disbelief, “Of course you had a say in the matter! No one's making you like him.”

“No, but that doesn't mean I can just make myself not like him,” Ayame said. She paused before saying, “And even if I could, make myself not like him I mean, I don't think I would.”

Ichiko just shook her head in disbelief, “Whatever. If you want to be with my idiot of a brother than go ahead. I just hope you don't regret it.”

“Well, in order to be with him,” Ayame said, “He's going to have to ask me out.”

“If you like him so much, why don't you just ask him out?” Ichiko asked.

Ayame's eyes moved downwards, and she spoke in a soft voice, “I'm too scared to tell him.”

Ichiko looked at Ayame in shock. Ayame never got nervous around boys. She was always flirting and seemed to know exactly what to say to them. Ichiko never thought she'd see the day where Ayame would be scared to ask a boy out. “Wow, I never thought I'd hear you say that,” she said in surprise.

“Neither did I,” Ayame said.

“Well,” said Ichiko, “If you're waiting for the idiot to make the first move, you're going to be waiting a long time.”


Mai found her son Akatsuki sitting in the library reading a book.

“Akatsuki,” she called to him. Once she had his attention, she continued, “Two letters came for you today. They're both from the Southern Water Tribe.” She smiled at her son when he jumped up in excitement and ran towards her.

“Really!?” he asked excitedly as he took the letters from his mother.

Mai smiled at her son one last time before leaving him to read the letters on his own.

Akatsuki looked between the two letters. He couldn't decide which to read first. He figured the one with the messier handwriting was his best friend, Kuuya, and the one with the neater handwriting was from Kazuna. He wanted to open his best friend's first, but he couldn't help himself when he set Kuuya's on the desk and opened Kazuna's first instead.

He read it eagerly. She wanted him to write back! He hadn't actually thought she'd write him back. He'd figured that she'd just consider it weird that he'd sent her a letter and just throw it away.

He wasn't sure when exactly he'd begun liking Kazuna. When she'd first shown up in the Fire Nation after Azula's escape, he hadn't noticed anything different about his feelings for her. She was just a family friend, but by the time she returned to the Southern Water Tribe, he'd begun to feel differently. She had always been nice to him, and he thought she was the prettiest girl he'd ever seen.

He'd always thought that she just saw him as Ai's little brother and didn't really pay much attention to him. Her letter gave him a little hope. Maybe someday she'd see him in a different way.


Azula and Ozai were able to gather many people who were willing to fight for them. There were a lot of Fire Nation citizens who had preferred Ozai's rule and were more than willing to help him get the throne back.

Many of these people were soldiers who'd lost their jobs after the war. Fire Lord Zuko had greatly downsized the military. He said it wasn't necessary to have such a large military when there was peace.

This had left many people without jobs. Many people who had once been soldiers were now homeless and living in the streets. They were undernourished but still good fighters from their years of training in what had been the largest and most powerful military in the world.

Ozai and Azula were confident that they could build up a larger army than Zuko currently had at his disposal. In addition to the past soldiers, they were able to find a great many more Fire Nation citizens willing to help.

It wasn't hard for them to travel through the Fire Nation and meet with people without being caught by anyone loyal to Zuko. Zuko probably wasn't even aware at just how fragile his hold on the nation was.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A:TNG Chapter 15: Don't Let Her

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 15: Don't Let Her

Ichiko sat on the beach watching the giant koi fish in the distance. Her head rested on her knees as she got lost in her thoughts. She didn't notice at first that Hajime had sat down beside her. He nudged her after he'd been ignored for a few minutes. She literally jumped to her feet as soon as he touched her. He'd probably have been attacked if she hadn't noticed it was him so quickly.

“Don't ever sneak up on me like that!” she yelled in rage. Her voice shook as she spoke and Hajime could tell he'd frightened her. Truthfully, she had frightened him too. Azula had all of them more scared than any of them would admit.

For a minute, Ichiko looked as if she was debating storming off and sitting back down where she'd been before Hajime had scared her. Hajime didn't say anything. He watched Ichiko for a moment before turning to look to where she'd been staring before being interrupted, the giant koi.

Suddenly, Hajime spoke up, “Sometimes, I wish I wasn't human. It seems like it would be so easy being an animal. Sure, they have emotions, but they're no where near as complicated as our emotions are. Take dogs for example, they either hate you or love you. It's as simple as that. They don't judge people so easily. If you're kind to them, they're kind to you. Dogs don't set out to make each others lives miserable. They don't want power. They help each other, work as a team. It's so simple.”

Ichiko just stared at Hajime. She had no idea where this was coming from. She slowly sank down in the sand behind him. After his little speech, neither one of them said anything. Hajime watched the koi, and Ichiko watched Hajime. He seemed different to her somehow, right at this moment.

Finally, Ichiko broke the silence, “I understand. I was thinking about what it would be like to be a fish before you came.” She turned to look at the koi again as she spoke. “It doesn't know who Azula is or why everyone's so scared of her. I thought it would be great to be so carefree. Then, I realized that there's problems with being a koi too. They have to worry about predators and always finding food sure, but the biggest problem is that they don't love like we do. I mean, who knows if they even love at all. Dogs are loyal to their owners, more so than most humans would ever be to anybody, but is it really love? I think that's what's so special about being human. We have to deal with a lot of crap, but there are so many great things that make up for that.” Ichiko had never considered herself to be good with words. She had no idea where this was coming from. It just came to her as she spoke.

Ichiko looked back at Hajime. “I won't lie. I'm terrified of Azula. But I realized today that she can never win. She's after power. Even if she wins and gets what she wants, we'll still have each other.” She paused before continuing in a tight voice. “Even if someone we love dies because of her, we'll still have won. Azula's life will always be miserable, and although this may make me a horrible person, that makes me feel better.”

Neither one said anything more after that. They watched the sunset together before walking home in silence. As they walked, Hajime wrapped his hand around Ichiko's, and she surprised herself by not pulling hers away. Then, in front of Ichiko's door, Hajime kissed her on the cheek, smiled, and left without saying a word.


Kazuna frowned at the letter her mother handed her. She was used to getting letters. It was how she stayed in touch with Ichiko, Ai, and Ayame when they were apart, but the handwriting on this letter wasn't any of theirs.

She opened the envelope, curious to see who had written her. Before reading the letter, she glanced at the signature at the bottom. Akatsuki. Why had Ai's nine year old brother written her? She began to read his slightly messy handwriting.

Dear Kazuna,

I know it may seem a little weird that I'm writing to you. We don't usually talk to each other when you're not here. We don't even talk that much when you're here. I saw Ai writing a letter the other day and wanted to write one too. Dad has to help me since I don't know how to spell all of the words yet.

He asked me who I wanted to write to first, and I said you. I hope that's okay. I guess I could have written to Kuuya since he's my best friend and all, but I'm writing to him next. I hope he gets his letter when you get yours. I'm going to try writing to everybody!

I'm running out of things to talk about. Writing a letter is hard.

I can't stop thinking about Azula. Dad's reading over my shoulder and frowning as I write. It's true though. I'm scared.

My hand hurts. Writing can be hard.

I hope you write back.



Kazuna smiled as she read the letter. She had no idea why Akatsuki had chosen her to write to first, but she thought it was cute. Her smile faltered a little at the part about Azula though. It wasn't right that a little nine year old was so terrified of something like this. It was even his own aunt! When Kazuna had been nine her biggest worry had been what she was having for snack that day.

She sat down to write Akatsuki back.

Dear Akatsuki,

I'm touched that you decided to write your first letter to me.

Kuuya did get a letter today. I didn't talk to him, but it was probably yours. We'll send our replies together, so you may have even read his already.

Azula's been on my mind too. I understand why you're scared, but I'm sure everything will be fine. If they beat Azula once, they can do it again.

I can't wait to get your next letter.




Ayame stepped into the building where she practiced fighting every day. She wasn't surprised to see Ikuo there. He liked to practice his sword fighting in here when the Kiyoshi Warriors weren't all using this place to train. She did find it a little odd that Ikuo was just sitting on the floor with his sword on the ground beside him. He didn't look as if he'd done much practicing at all.

“Ikuo,” she said to get his attention.

He looked up at her and said, “Hey.”

“Hi,” Ayame said a little slowly. She could tell that there was something off with Ikuo. “What's wrong?”

“Nothing,” Ikuo sighed, “I'm just thinking.”

“About Azula,” Ayame finished for him.

Ikuo just nodded and Ayame went and at sat beside him.

“Isn't she what everyone's thinking about?” he asked.

“Of course she is,” Ayame said, “How can we not?”

“I hate that she's pretty much taken over our lives,” Ikuo said.

“Then don't let her,” Ayame smirked.

“What?” Ikuo asked in confusion.

“Spar with me,” Ayame said as she stood up. “You and your sword against me and my hand to hand combat and chi blocking.”

Ikuo smirked, “You're on.”

Ikuo was back to his normal self in no time. As they spared, he began to taunt and tease Ayame. Normally this would have bugged her as she hated being picked on, but considering the circumstance, she decided to just put up with it and even toss a few teasing insults back.


Kuuya was honestly a little frightened when he saw the tears on his mother's face. He'd seen her cry on a few occasions, but this seemed different somehow. Maybe it was because it was just the two of them in the room and his dad wasn't there to comfort her like he usually was. Kuuya felt that it was his responsibility to cheer her up, and he wasn't sure if he could do that.

“Mom?” he whispered quietly. He'd needed to ask her something and had found her in her room. She was sitting on the bed and had no candles lit. The light from the other room was just bright enough for him to see the tears.

She hadn't noticed him come in. She shifted her gaze from the window to him. “Kuuya,” she said, “Come here.” She held her arms out, and he walked into them. He hadn't been held in a while. He was too old for it really, but he let her just this once. She hugged him for a few minutes until the tears had stopped falling. Then, she loosened her grip on him and smiled. “Come on,” she said, “Let's go and see what your brothers and sisters are doing.”

Kuuya followed Katara out of the room. He was surprised at how easy that had been.


Ai was wandering around the palace aimlessly when she came across a boy she had never seen before coming down the hallway. She could tell he was a servant, but he looked so much younger than the other servants. She must have been staring because he grinned a little before bowing and addressing her as Princess Ai. Almost everyone had bowed to her for her whole life, but it never got any less annoying to her. She didn't ever stop them though since it was tradition.

“If never met you before,” she said to him before we could walk away.

“Probably not, Princess,” he said, “I just began working here a few days ago.” As he talked, Ai noticed that he was actually rather cute.

“How old are you?” she asked him.

“Seventeen. My birthday was a few months ago,” he seemed curious as to why she was so interested in him. Ai knew these were rather odd questions to be asking of a servant, but she was very interested in this new boy.

“My name is Haruki by the way,” he informed her.

She held out her hand for him to shake, not exactly the most proper thing for a princess to do to a servant. He was hesitant to take it, but eventually did.

“Just call me Ai,” she smiled at him.

He smiled back, “All right then.”


Zuko sighed and let himself fall back onto the bed. For the past week, night had become Zuko's favorite part of the day. It was the only time he got to forget about Azula.

Mai laid down on the bed beside him and put her head on his shoulder. They laid next to each other for a while without either of them saying a word. They both tried to empty their heads of everything that was happening. It didn't work.

“It'll all be over soon,” Mai said in a slightly hopeful voice.

“I hope so,” was all Zuko said before they went back to the silence.


Aang sat down on the steps leading into the teashop. His family had been on his mind for days. The sun was setting, and he was leaving for the Fire Nation in the morning. He sat there for a couple of hours just thinking. He wondered what Katara and their children were doing. He hoped they were safe and nothing too big was happening while he was gone. His mind couldn't help but drift to Azula. The sooner she was taken care of, the better.


Every time Azula had sneaked into the prison to see her father she'd marveled at just how stupid the guards seemed to be. She'd been able to sneak passed them without them ever suspecting a thing. Today, she'd succeeded in knocking out the current guard before he even knew what was happening. She'd made sure he hadn't seen her either, so they'd never have proof that it had been her, even if she was the prime suspect.

She smiled when she laid eyes on her father. “It's time,” she said.

Ozai smiled evilly as Azula held up the keys that she'd stolen from the guard. Yes, this had been too easy really. She hadn't gotten to seriously hurt anyone, and breaking someone out of a prison cell with just the keys was a little boring. Even her pathetic uncle had smashed his way out of a cell. Unfortunately, they needed to escape unnoticed, so they needed to stay as quiet as possible.

Ozai followed Azula into the woods, free for the first time in twenty years. Now the time had come to take back what was rightfully theirs.

A:TNG Chapter 14: On Their Own

Author's Note: Sorry there was no chapter yesterday.  I was really busy with this video I had to upload to Youtube.  If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably know what I'm talking about.  Anyway, there's another chapter coming up after this!

Avatar: The Next Generation

Chapter 14: On Their Own

“We're doing all we can, Fire Lord Zuko,” Zuko's top ranking general informed him.

“I know,” Zuko said, “But it's obviously not working. We need a different plan. Does anyone have any ideas?”

No one said a word. They just looked around the room waiting for someone else to volunteer. Zuko sighed. The stress was really beginning to get to him. Mai, who was sitting at his side, rested her hand on his in an effort to calm him.

Finally, someone spoke up, “We're already doing everything we can.”

“You're telling me that the Fire Nation was able to almost take over the world, but they can't find one crazy woman?” Zuko's frustration was beginning to show.

“Sir,” spoke up another general, “I know it sounds bad, but it's the truth. Azula clearly knows what she's doing. She knows all of the Fire Nation's weaknesses.”

“We're obviously not looking in the right places,” Zuko told those assembled. “She has to be hiding somewhere we're not considering.”

Suddenly, Zuko felt Mai stiffen beside him. He looked over at her with a worried look on his face. “Mai, what is it?”

Mai slowly turned to look at him and then spoke in a whisper, “Your father.”

Zuko's expression turned into one of confusion. “What about my fath-” He stopped, suddenly realizing what Mai meant. He turned back toward the assembled officers who were looking at him and Mai with interest, “Place extra guards around my father's cell. I think Mai might have figured out one place Azula's been visiting.”


Ozai looked up from the floor when he heard foot steps coming toward his cell. It wasn't the normal time for the guards to come by which meant it had to be someone else. He had a pretty good idea who. A cruel smile made its way across his face as she entered, “Azula, good to see you again.”

He saw his smile mirrored on her face. “You too, father. I'm sorry I haven't been able to visit the past few days. I've been getting everything ready for our plan.”

“Of course you have,” Ozai said, “I'm sure everything will go perfectly. It's only a matter of time before I'm out of this rotten place. How is everything going?”

“The Avatar left yesterday and his family and many of his friends went with them,” as Azula spoke Ozai nodded his head in pleasure, “I think the Avatar is heading to the Earth Kingdom. From what I've been able to gather, the Earth King isn't happy with Zuko or the Fire Nation right now. Not that they have been for over a hundred years.”

“That's one less obstacle then,” Ozai said, “We'll have to deal with the Avatar, but we'll get Zuko out of the way first. Now, when am I getting out of here?”

Azula smiled, “Soon, father. Very soon.”


“I can't believe that even the Southern Water Tribe has heard about Azula escaping,” Kuuya muttered as he walked to school with three of his sisters. They had returned to the village on Saturday and it was their first day back at school. School had begun while they were in the Fire Nation. They hadn't even been to the Southern Water Tribe in about a month because they'd been staying the the Southern Air Temple, where they spent every summer.

“It's not really surprising, Kuuya,” Kazuna told her younger brother, “It's huge news. It makes since that they found out before we got back.”

“Everyone's going to be bothering me at school though,” Kuuya complained, “They'll want to know exactly what happened, and I don't want to talk about it.”

“Then don't talk about it,” Kazuna told him.

“That's easier said then done,” Kuuya rolled his eyes, “They'll bug me all day.”

“Why's that bad?” Misoka asked, looking up at Kuuya.

“Because it's annoying,” said Kuuya.

“We think it's cool,” said Nori, “It's cool when everyone wants to talk to you.”

“You're only eight,” Kuuya said dismissively.

“You're only ten,” Misoka and Nori said simultaneously in indignation.


Kazuna looked around as she entered the classroom. Her eyes roamed the room until she found Zhuang, Ching Lan, and Feng huddled in a group in the back of the room. They were her three closest friends in the Southern Water Tribe.

Ching Lan saw Kazuna first. She was always in excitable person, maybe even more so than Ayame which was saying something.

“Kazuna!” she yelled when she saw Kazuna coming towards them. She ran towards Kazuna and wrapped her arms tightly around her yelling, “I haven't seen you in months! It's been so long!”

Kazuna kind of laughed at Ching Lan's exorbitance. “Yeah, I know. We had to visit the Fire Nation because of the whole Azula thing.”

“Duh,” laughed Feng, “We already know that. Everyone knows that. We want to hear the whole story.”

“Everyone's saying that you guys actually fought Azula,” Zhuang said with awe in his voice.

“Yeah, we did,” Kazuna's eyes tilted downward, and she blushed lightly as she spoke.

“Well,” said Ching Lan sensing Kazuna's reluctance to discuss Azula, “As exciting as that sounds, I can't believe you made me put up with these two on my own for a month.” She pointed at Feng and Zhuang as she spoke. “A girl can only put up with two guys for so long before she goes insane. You have no idea how badly I need girl time.”

Kazuna laughed as Zhuang and Feng pretended to be offended. “I missed you too, Ching Lan,” she told her friend, “And you guys too,” she added when Feng and Zhuang both yelled, “Hey!”

“Okay,” Ching Lan began, “We have a lot of catching up to do. Let's start with this whole Azula thing.”

Kazuna sighed as she sat down with her friends and began telling them the whole story. She couldn't help but wonder if the others were having similar first days back.


“I don't think it's that difficult to understand,” Aang said through clenched teeth. He'd been talking to the Earth King for half an hour now, and the Earth King was being very stubborn.

According to the Earth King, it was completely unacceptable that the Fire Nation, more specifically Zuko, hadn't been able to capture Azula.

“And,” the Earth King continued, ignoring Aang, “I'm appalled that the Fire Lord couldn't come speak to me himself.”

“He's busy trying to find Azula,” Aang said exasperated, “Or is that not the whole reason we're having this meeting. If you want to speak directly to him, travel to the Fire Nation.”

“Why would I do that when I'm so busy here?” the king said a little haughtily.

Aang put his face in his hands. This was not going well.


Aang wearily made his way up the steps of the teashop. Once inside, his eyes roamed around the room searching for the owner. He spotted Iroh at one of the tables conversing with some customers. He always enjoyed asking the customers if they enjoyed the tea. Their answer was almost always yes.

Iroh saw Aang coming towards him and excused himself from the customers. “You look tired,” he told Aang once they had sat down at a vacant table.

“I talked to him for hours, and he still won't see reason,” Aang sighed.

Iroh had a sympathetic look on his face, “It may be years from know before the damage from the war fully heals,” he told Aang sadly, “In fact, it may never completely heal. We can only hope that sometime in the future the Earth Kingdom won't be so judgmental of the Fire Nation. Until then, I think the Fire Nation is on its own. The Earth Kingdom is obviously not going to be helpful in this situation.”

“I guess you're right,” Aang slumped in his chair, “I think I'll head back to the Fire Nation tomorrow. As you said, there's no use trying to reason with the Earth King, and I need to help Zuko as much as I can.”

Iroh nodded, “I wish you and Zuko the best of luck in finding Azula. We can only hope she doesn't cause to much damage before she's found.”