Origin of firebending mural Zuko, something happened to Avatar: What If...? in the last hundred years.

This fanon has been discontinued, but is still available to read for your enjoyment.

"It starts with a question..."
— Tagline in Avatar: What If...?

What If...? (officially entitled Avatar: What If...?) is a fanon project conceived by SuperFlash101, which explores the "what would happen" in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The series is set to be released as a story on sites FanFiction and Avatar: The Lost Age later in 2009 and a Comic adaption on DeviantArt and Avatar: The Lost Age at an unknown time.

What if Aang never ran away?

The Betrayer

"Aang, you must know though, if we do this, we will be branded as traitors and outsiders by the nomads."
"Oh, not you, Gyatso; that'd be
me, ha-ha."
— Gyatso and Afiko in What If...? Issue #1
Aang depressed

Aang lies in his room.

After hearing of the monks plans to relocate him in order to separate him from his master, Aang angrily flew off from the temple, and slammed into his room on the verge of tears. He flopped on his bed, and lied there until Monk Gyatso entered the room. He informed him that the monks were planning on taking him away, which Aang interrupted in mid-sentence, informing him he knew already. Gyatso sat on Aang's bed, who leaned back up. Gyatso hugged the boy, and told him "Do not worry, Aang. I won't let them take you away from me. We're going to escape." Aang smiled and shot up, happy, and excitingly told him he would come with him.

As Aang began hurriedly packing his things, Gyatso told the boy that if this happened, then they would be branded as traitors and outsiders. As he said that, Afiko appeared at the door frame with two Fire Nation soldiers behind him, stating, "Oh, not you, Gyatso; that'd be me." The two men then fired at the two, Afiko laughing, and they both Airbended a spiral of air to block it.

Massacre and Genocide

"Burn it down, men! Burn it all down!! Burn them all down!!!"
— A Fire Nation soldier, rallying his troops in What If...? Issue #1

Gyatso blasted the two men away and out of the door, knocking Afiko with them. Gyatso told Aang to leave by flying out of the window, pushing his glider on his torso, and shoving him towards the window. More men encircled the area, large blasts booming around them in different corners of the temples, fire blazing around every corner, and Aang was at ready to leave at his master's orders, but turning around and seeing Gyatso being brutally attacked by the men, he spun around and violently spun a vicious wave at the soldiers, sending them flying backward far. He then went to the falling Gyatso's side, who looked at him and said, "Very well; I guess it's your destiny to fight for our people." He then picked himself up, and began to exit the room.


Afiko fights his fellow Air Nomads.

Afiko had run out of the hallway and outside to the outer temple, where he was addressed by a soldier to help fight the west wing, as it was showing great restraint. He then bended several hard rock pebbles from the ground, and wiped them into a funnel of air, shooting them out at intense speeds as they slowly marched into the west wing. After running out, he violently blasted a large rush of air, destroying the center of a hallway, crushing a few monks. He then slowed, as Fire Soldiers charged in, burning the walls and killing monks with blasts.

Aang and Gyatso darted through the hallway. Thoughts surged through Aang's head, jumbled, stating words like "Insane" and "Betrayal." The two were confronted by a pack of Fire Soldiers, and Aang grabbed his master and the two soured around them and through the two turns out of the hallway on an Air Scooter. They slid off of it as it evaporated, and were horrified to see the grievous sight of the vicious genocide before them. There were fires, falling debris, dead bodies, burned and bleeding. As Aang stood frozen in horror, Gyatso shouted at him as a fire blast was nearing him at great speeds. He gasped and Gyatso hurled himself in front of him, attempted to blow it away but missing, sending him burned and dead backwards. Aang saw horrified, and screamed. As Aang stood, world spinning, a monk blew away the soldier, and he dropped to his knees as everything fell apart around him.

"Young Avatar, you must leave here. You will die, and the world will far to dar-AHHHHHH!!!"
— Monk Kino to Aang, right before dying in What If...? Issue 1

He rolled (tears in eyes) speedily towards Gyatso to avoid another blast, and quickly shot a powerful blast at a balcony, causing it to fall and crush several soldiers. He then spun around fast and created a tornado, then spun and shot it backwards, spinning wooden rovers off the mountain. Monk Kino confronted the boy, and turned him around, telling him to leave or he would be killed in this wake, but was killed in the midst of speaking by a soldier, who broke his spine with a Fire Skive into the tail bone. Aang leaped above him, then slammed him into the ground, before twisting and darting away. As he ran through the falling temples, he saw as more and more monks died. He defended himself as he dashed on, trying to aid every monk he saw being killed or attacked. But as he tried, all the monks around him were killed in the hour, burned or stabbed. Aang stopped running, out of breath and in tears, in the center of the temple, and passed to his knees in tears. He was now the last true Airbender, and he knew it.

The Last Airbender

"Quick! There he is! There's the Avatar! Now kill him!"
— Afiko shouts to his soldiers in What If...? Issue 1

Afiko and several soldiers marched from the hallway and into the center. Afiko told them to kill Aang, and were still, looking at each other for a few moments. Afiko urged them, asking "Well? What are you waiting for?! Burn him!!!" But instead, they grabbed his arms, and informed him that the Fire Lord "thanks [him], but [didn't] require [his] services anymore." Outraged, Afiko shouted out in disgust, stating that they never would have gotten here if it weren't for him, and that he would not leave; not without a fight. He spun out of their grasp, and blew them to the ground, knocking off their helmets. The two soldiers eyed each other, then both shot a large fire blast at the traitor in unison, killing him.

Aang, seeing this, darted away, dashing up the walls, before flipping to enter the Bison sanctum, where Appa sat, grunting, soldier's and monk's dead bodies lying around him. Aang hopped on top of him, and calmed him down, telling him "It's just you and me now, Appa. We have to leave." He then mounted him, and charged him with a loud "Yip-yip!" He wiped off the blood on his nose, tears of determination forming in his eyes. A rain drop dripped in front of him, and more and more came as it started raining. He looked down at the temple below him, where rain poured down on dead bodies. He then saw the burned corpse of Monk Gyatso, and looked at it with content. He then turned to the other side, eyes squinted, and breathed air of resolution. Aang turned Appa downward, landing him in a small sanctum. He jumped off of him, and walked away, Appa grunting. He walked over to the doorway, and stopped, resting his hand there. He then told Appa of his plans and determination, and then strode out.

"I'm sorry, buddy. I can't leave; I won't be an Avatar who runs away. I don't care if I don't come back, I won't leave the legacy of the Monks to be burned. I'm gonna defend my people's honor. Goodbye, Appa."
— Aang's parting words to Appa. in What If...? Issue 1

Aang then sped down the hall, empowered by the force of his fellow Monks, and stormed through a hallway, where he quickly air-sliced a group of Soldiers to the ground. He charged through the rest, bending a large spinning-blast at another group. More soldiers came after him, firing at him, singing his foot, and then flipping over them. Once on the ground, he blasted them to the floor. He continued this until he reached the roof, where he jumped off and spun into another temple, where he struck at the soldiers more. But more kept coming, and he dispatched most, but some still hit him, not only with bending, but with bombs, weapons, and fists. He made a swoop with his leg on the ground, where he was kicked in the side.

Grabbing his side on the ground, the soldiers struck down at him, but he rolled and bended himself up and around him, kicking him in his back. Another soldier grabbed him and slammed him into the wall. Gritting in pain, another soldier pounded his head into it, causing it to bleed, and Aang cried in pain. He then tried to pull out, but was kicked in the stomach, and feel against the wall, bleeding. They cornered him, and Aang frantically looked around, and saw a bleeding dead body of a monk. Seeing this, he angrily unleashed his Avatar State and powerfully blew them through the other walls. More soldiers filled in, and he struck them away as well, a huge spear forming around him, debris spinning around that as well.

As he left the room, it imploded by the force of his power, and he fell to the ground, the state ending. He shivered and picked himself up, and ducked as another blast came shooting his way. He slid along, blowing that soldier and others backward, then sprinting up the staircase, where he jumped onto another roof, and looked around. Swarms of more soldiers were all around him, and he shivered with fear. He didn't know what to do. Just then, a pack of them attack him, and he blocked them off, before being pushed off of the roof. He caught himself with an air scooter, while the soldiers fell and died. He then fell down, catching himself. He sighed, and thought to himself that this is his last stand, and posed to fight.

"This is it. There's so many. I guess this is....this is my last stand."
— Aang's thoughts as more soldiers surrounded him in What If...? Issue 1
Angry Aang in Avatar State

Aang's last stand.

The soldiers poured everything they had on him, burning him in his arm, his thigh, and his chest. He blew so many of them away, crushing some under ruble, and others he slammed against walls. In the midst of the chaos, one soldier kneed him, another shot him in the arm with fire, and another pushed him off of the side of the area stumbling. As he fell, thoughts zoomed around him, images of his fellow monks, images of his past lives, and the faces of the soldiers. Finally, he opened his eyes, burning with glow, and shot upward, the full power of the Avatar State unleashing on the soldiers. He burned them, struck them with Earth, and blew them away with air. The state began to fade as the men poured it on on him, and it flickered back and forth. His depleting burned arm stung, and he continued to stand, unleashing every ounce of power he could as he surged. But it took to much to do this, and Aang fell to the ground, dead.


"Merciless war; it all has engulfed us. But maybe you are hope, my son. Maybe you'll save us all in The new Avatar's mother"
— What If...? Issue 1

That week, as the Fire Lord's armies spread throughout the world like fire, the Earth Kingdom's land was burned. Sozin's lust for power was strong, and caused his empire to spread. By the end of the month, Sozin's son, Azulon, age 15, had turned against him, and killed him in his sleep. Ascending to the thrown, he decided to use the armies to immediately attack Ba Sing Se, and succeeded after 300 days. The Earth Kingdom had fallen, and by the end of the year, the world had lost hope. Through all this, the Avatar had still been reborn in the Water Tribe, and the small baby had a glimmer of hope. Perhaps the world could survive after all.

What if Jet survived?

What if Ozai won?

What if Zuko made the right choice in the Catacombs?

Behind the Scenes

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For the collective works of the author, go here.