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|More from PSUAvatar14||Adventure/Some action||PG (Small violence)||Positive|
|Journey and Worries|
(Section: End of the Night)
16 July 2011
None; Series starts here
Journey and Worries is chapter one of Reunion.
"Well, look at you, buster! Now that your Firebending's gone, I guess we should call you the Loser Lord!" Sokka mocked the defeated Ozai, his arm around Suki trying to support himself. "I am the Phoenix King!" Ozai declared, although he was clearly beaten. He reached up off his shoulders, but quickly dropped to the ground, signaling his obvious defeat.
"Oh, sorry, didn't mean to offend you, Phoenix King of Getting His Butt Whooped!" Toph added to the trash talk.
Suki decided to add in her own words. "Yeah, or how about, King of the Guys...who...don't Win?" her words failed to come together, as they dropped awkwardly from her.
"Leave the nicknames to us, honey," Toph commanded her.
The former Phoenix King was down on the ground, unable to bend. Drool dropped from his mouth, as he lay there, dazed and confused in his loss. Now that he was defeated, the Gaang controlled the playing field.
"So, what do we do now?" Aang asked, his eyes wandering.
"Well, Katara and Zuko went to the Capital to deal with Azula. Our best bet would be to travel there," Suki answered.
The Avatar's thought process quickly changed. Suddenly, he was forgetting all about his victory over Ozai. It was his biggest accomplishment to date. He realized though, if Katara wasn't safe, or if by chance he had hurt their possible relationship with what he did before he ran off, this victory would mean nothing.
"Hey, the Capital is what, two to three days that way?" Toph yelled out, pointing in the wrong direction, her failure to see clearly impacting her. She pointed east, although the capital is west. Sokka quickly turned her arm in the proper direction and said, "Yes, it is. However, we have people who can help us. We took out the entirety of Ozai's Airship fleet, Aang, and it looks like some of the crew of the ships survived. We could use them to help us get to the Fire Nation Capital. We're at an advantage since we have the Fire Lord as our prisoner."
"Also, we piloted this airship, Twinkle Toes. So we've got one to get us back there," Toph assured him.
"Well, let's not wait. Aang, Toph, how about using your Earthbending so we can approach the surviving crew," Sokka suggested, wanting to get this journey started. They had several bits of news to find out, Aang especially, since he missed some key details.
The present Gaang members made their way to the forest floor. There, several members of crews were scattered, including engineers and pilots. "All right, listen up, everyone!" Sokka yelled out. "We have the Phoenix King! This battle is over. We need any qualified crew to step up and pilot us to the Fire Nation Capital!"
Toph assumed an Earthbending stance. "Don't try anything funny, either! This isn't your position to try anything. We can take him out right here. Also, we have the Avatar with us!"
Aang was concerned about the threat on Ozai's life, but he quickly regained his focus and prepared for any resistance.
A soldier stepped up and removed his helmet, humbled upon seeing that Ozai had been defeated. However, either he followed orders, or Ozai wound up dead. "My name is Commander Zhito. I flew one of these airships. I will personally fly you to the Capital, for the sake of the Phoenix King. However, you must be prepared for a long journey."
"We're quite aware, flyboy," Toph pointed out.
A small set of engineers stepped up. However, other crew refused. "We will not escort the enemies to the Capital! We must protect the Fire Nation!" one engineer roared out, and tried to attack. However, Toph lifted up an earth wall, stopping his attack. Aang then bended out a small portion of earth and bonded his hands and feet. He used his own Firebending, also enhanced by the departing Comet, to offset further resistance from soldiers. Suki used her warrior skills to ward off other detractors, leaving enough time for Toph and Aang to capture them.
After about a ten-minute confrontation, the battle had ended. Sozin's Comet exited the atmosphere, effectively destroying any last hopes for the soldiers to rebel. They were clearly outmatched by the members of Team Avatar. The orange sky now returned to its night time black, the stars and the moon apparent once more. Aang, Sokka, Suki saw the comet depart. "We have done it. It's amazing how far we came," the Avatar said to his friends. "I know, what an amazing ride," Suki said. "A few months ago, I never expected to be in this position," Toph said, recalling that she still hadn't been free from her estate until then. "Looks like we've got something to talk about for our long journey," Sokka smiled as he led all the members together.
The crew and the Gaang boarded the remaining intact airship. The detractor crew were left in a small hold, still bonded.
"Wait. What will we do about Ozai?" Aang wondered.
"Don't worry, I've got a special place for him," Toph grew a mischievous smile on her face. Cracking her knuckles, she bended out a hunk of metal. She then placed Ozai in this bended out hunk, and closed it, trapping the former Fire Lord. Zhito took to the ship's wheel, and announced to the submitted engineers. "Gentlemen, prepare for depature! We are going to the Fire Nation Capital!"
The airship fired up one more time, and took to the air. Zhito directed it to the west.
The journey had begun.
Katara bonded Azula to the ground, using the chains she had found just moments earlier. She then unfroze the water around her and the to-be-Fire Lord. She stood up and tightened the chains, effectively defeating Azula.
She then saw Zuko down on the ground, still shaken from the lightning blast taken from Azula. Katara took out some of her water, and bended it over her hand. She placed her water-covered hands to Zuko's stomach. He stirred in some pain, then got his strength back. "Thank you, Katara."
Her eyes watered up quickly, remembering the sacrifice he made for her moments earlier. "I think I should be the one thanking you," she spoke as her tears poured down her cheeks. She helped him off the ground.
Azula's sanity plummeted quickly, as she descended into a severe rage. She roared as fire flew from her mouth. Within seconds, she dropped into a crazed depression, tears flying from her eyes, realizing that she now had nothing. No friends, no title, and no victory.
Katara put her arm on Zuko's shoulder as the two watched his sister lose her final pieces of sanity. Katara dropped her head in a show of some sympathy for the Princess.
"I can't believe it..." Zuko tried to gain his words, somewhat disturbed at the sight of his sister falling apart. "I will say this, that was a great fight, Katara. Against my sister, enhanced by the Comet, you fought well...and it all paid off."
"Thanks, Zuko. Without what you did though, I wouldn't even have the chance." She smiled and hugged him. After she pulled back, she wondered, "What will we do about Azula now?"
"I don't know, but---erch!" he hunched over in pain, still hurting from Azula's attack. "You should go sit down. You're in no shape to be doing much else," Katara told him. It was pretty obvious Zuko had no business being on his feet at that moment. He made his way towards the steps of the palace and took a seat, exhausted from the battle and pain.
"So, what do we do now?" Zuko asked.
"We just...wait...I guess." It was all Katara could muster. The rest of the Gaang's whereabouts were still unknown, and there was still no news from Ba Sing Se, and there likely would not be for a couple of days at the earliest.
About fifteen minutes later, two men arrived at the Capital. They saw the chained Azula. "What has happened here?" one of the men asked of the banished Prince and Waterbending master. "Is this not the to-be Fire Lord?"
"Well, we...uhhh...kind of defeated her in a battle for the throne," Zuko told them hesitantly.
"You...what?" the other man asked. "Get word to the Fire Sages immediately! What else do we have here?" he saw the defeated Azula, still in heavy depression, chained to the floor.
"GET AWAY FROM ME! You'll hurt me, just like everyone else!" the Princess yelled at the man as he approached her. "YOU'RE BANISHED!"
"I don't think you have that power anymore," the man said. He removed the chains from the metal floor but kept them around her hands. He then added shackles around her feet, and placed an ice pack over her mouth to stop her Firebending. He also placed a cold solution in her nose to temper her bending. "Let's go."
Azula yelled something incoherent as she was led away towards prison, effectively ending her fall from grace.
Zuko and Katara watched Sozin's Comet leave the atmosphere. It was time to let Time be the teller of the tale. All that was left was to hope for Aang, Sokka, Suki, and Toph to return.
In the face of her great victory, Katara quickly re-focused her thoughts to the remaining Gaang members, as did Zuko. "Do you think Aang pulled it off? Did he take my Father's life?" Zuko queried her.
Katara's look changed to one of sadness and fear.
Aang...I...oh my gosh, what did I say to him...I chased him away...and if he doesn't return...
Katara quickly snapped back to reality. "We don't know for sure, Zuko. I guess we'll find out. I would think he did." He had to...
"We can't also forget about the rest of the team. Sokka, Suki, and Toph. They went at my Father's airships. That couldn't be easy," Zuko reminded her.
"Right, right. I have faith in them, too. Sokka's my brother, I know he came up with a good plan," Katara was clearly distracted by the fear for just one person. Aang...I'm sorry... she thought as she looked to the night sky, her dress and hair flowing in a small breeze. "How long do you think it will take?"
"It could be a long time for them. Don't forget, we have Appa. However, if they got an airship, it may be just a couple of days. I would give them no more than three days before we search ourselves," Zuko said to her.
"How do you know they'll have an airship though, Zuko?" Katara wondered.
"Well, they all just can't fly on Aang's glider, can't they? Plus, for the other three individually, to pull off a take down of the fleet, they would need to hijack an airship themselves. It makes the most sense," Zuko reminded her of the possibilities.
"All right. You do know more about this stuff than I do."
"So, anything on your mind, Katara?" Zuko asked her.
On the airship
Katara...I'm sorry I didn't understand what you were going through...I love you... Aang stood in the cockpit, looking out the window at the vast ocean, whose waves were calm.
Zhito continued to steer the large ship towards the Capital.
"I still can't believe it's all over. I mean, we're going to wake up tomorrow, not having a war to fight at all. For the first time in so long..." Sokka broke up the silence. "Who would have thought we would be here, right now, as heroes..."
"A few months ago, I was still trapped in my house. I couldn't do anything. Now yeah, here I am. I feel like I've changed a lot, and I'm really glad I was able to make this journey with all of you," Toph smiled, beginning to reminisce on the last few months.
"I was still imprisoned a couple of weeks ago. Until this man was brave enough to get me out," Suki hugged and kissed Sokka on the cheek.
"We've all changed, haven't we?" Sokka asked. "Especially Aang."
"Huh?" Aang was snapped out of his Katara-centered thoughts, having not followed any of the conversation.
"We were just talking about how much we've changed, Aang. I can't believe that when I first saw you, I thought you were a spy, someone to not be trusted at all. Not that you did yourself any favors," reminding Aang of when he mistakenly released that flare on the Fire Nation ship back at the Southern Water Tribe. "However, I think you've changed too, for the better. I think you've become more of a man, ready to take on the world. I think Gyatso would be proud of you."
"Thanks, Sokka. This whole time has changed us a lot. I think we all needed to grow up fast. We all did. We have seen a lot, we saw just how much of an impact war has had on the world---" Aang was cut off by Toph. "Hey Twinkle Toes, not everyone exactly saw..."
"Oh yeah, I'm sorry Toph. Anyhow, we've learned a lot from one another. Sokka, you showed me just how much we care for the people we love. Toph, through the Earthbending training, you showed me I can't always run and I have to face my problems head-on. Zuko taught me that everyone can make amends for their mistakes. He taught me not to fear. Katara...well..." his line of dialogue ended as his thoughts took over, a larger smile appearing on his face.
He loves her...he's not exactly doing a good job at hiding it, Sokka thought to himself quietly. However, he decided that now wasn't the time to bring this up, fresh off their major victory. He was still unsure if he could quite give up his reservations.
"I have to admit, Aang. You and Katara did help me show that, sometimes, we all need to give someone more compassion and care than just yelling at them. I mean, as an Earthbender, it's not usually my style, but you helped me develop such a sense," Toph told him.
Suki took over the flow of the conversation. "I owe you all a lot too. Aang, if you, Sokka and Katara didn't come to Kyoshi Island, I would have never been here. You guys really changed me a lot. You showed that I too had to make an impact in this war. At first, we were just meant to protect home. However, we had to expand our horizons. Our fight didn't go so well, but we did do our own duty to the world. Now here, I got the chance to be with you all. I can't wait to see all the Kyoshi Warriors again. Still, I'm glad to have been a part. Also, I wouldn't have met you, Sokka."
"War is an interesting event," Zhito said. "Having been a member of the Fire Nation Army for sixteen years, I've seen a lot of how war has changed people, myself. I was still sort of a young man, only seventeen years old when I was sent to the Army. It was some tough training, but I found myself more of a man quickly. I learned to be resourceful, to be ready to take care of myself, to be on my own. I've seen many young recruits turn into well-groomed adults. Although you folks aren't Fire Nation, I can tell the war has changed you all as well. Even though I can't rightfully be proud of you, you guys have learned a lot and, as a result, be more prepared for life's hardships. Good luck."
"Thank you Zhito. We also can't thank you enough for taking us to the Capital," Aang replied. "Yeah, and well...we kind of had to do what we did," Sokka followed up. "Hey, I can understand that. We all need to do what is needed to win. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to stay focused on my piloting. You all should get some rest. It's quite late," Zhito recommended of them. "We're still two days away from the Capital."
Toph yawned and stretched. "It has been a long day."
"Go back into the hallway. There is a stairwell that leads to some quarters for all the soldiers." Zhito tossed Sokka a set of keys. "Peel off four of them, and you all can each have one for your own room."
"Thank you. Good night, Zhito. Aang, you missed a lot. I'll tell you more tomorrow." Sokka said.
"I guess so. Obviously, since there's some of us still missing," Aang turned his head back towards the window. Katara...I hope I see you soon... "Good night, Sokka, Suki and Toph."
The four all exchanged their good nights.
"Sleep well. You all have earned a night of rest," Zhito smiled at them.
Katara and Zuko were allowed to stay at the Royal Palace that night, as they had nowhere else to stay. After settling in, Zuko again asks Katara what's on her mind, something he tried to do earlier but was cut off when they were told they could go to the Palace.
"Is there anything else bothering you?" Zuko asked her, looking at a clearly worried face.
"It's Aang, Zuko. A lot happened between us in the past couple of days. I just..." Katara's voice trailed off, becoming more distant from Zuko with each word. "I shouldn't have been so hostile to him..."
"I understand what you mean. However, you had to say something. There's really no other option for Aang besides ending my father's life."
"Zuko...it's just...I've been through so much with him...I've grown so close...I just...I..."
"You love him, don't you?" Zuko asked her.
Katara nodded her head. "Yeah...I do. I love him so much. I want to be together, with him. It's just that..." she crossed her arms, holding her hands on her elbows. "This war's been hard. I've already lost people close to me. My Mom was killed, my Dad has been captured, Aang was already killed once...I didn't want to take a chance on a relationship. I don't want to lose him. We had a misunderstanding...now I just want him back." Tears started to drop from her blue eyes as she sat down.
"I know what it's like to wonder about someone you love. I have someone too. You may have met her, actually," Zuko looked down to her. "Your brother, I guess is familiar with her."
"Ty Lee?" She asked. "I think she had a crush on Sokka," she added with a chuckle.
"Mai? That girl with the knives and that 'I don't care' attitude?"
"Yeah. She's my girlfriend. Or, I think she is. When I left to join you guys, I left her behind. She found me when me and Sokka were at the Boiling Rock. She was really upset at me. However, we got an understanding. The last I saw her, she saved our lives. She kept the gondola me, Sokka, Suki, and your father were on from falling. See, the guards there were trying to cut the line..."
"Zuko...get to the point," Katara looked at him, slightly annoyed.
"Well, that was the last I saw her. I heard she might have been imprisoned there because she betrayed Azula. I hope she's okay...I love her. She always showed her emotions around me...I loved to be with her. She cheered me up a few times as well. You may not have seen her emotional side, but she was always more open around me. I miss her so much, as well..."
Katara placed her hand on Zuko's shoulder. "Well, if we are indeed at peace now, if you become Fire Lord, can't you just release her?"
"Fire Lord! Oh my goodness, I forgot. Uncle wants me to be Fire Lord. I still don't know if I will. The throne should be Uncle's..."
"Zuko, your Uncle's right. You have restored your honor. You came to us, you redeemed yourself to us, and you have made up for your mistakes by coming here and helping me in this battle. You helped Aang get over his fear of Firebending and helped him prepare for his battle. You should become Fire Lord."
"Katara, it's not that easy. It's up to the Fire Sages to decide. Plus, we don't know if Aang defeated my father yet. If my father won, then---"
"Zuko, don't even think about that." Her voice started to break once more, in fear of Aang, her brother, and her friends.
"I'm sorry for upsetting you like that, Katara. Well, unfortunately, it will be a couple of days before we know. It's late. It's been a long night, and I think we should get some rest. I'm exhausted." Zuko yawned mightily.
The two entered to the palace interior. Zuko was allowed his old room to stay in. Wiped out by the battle, he dropped onto his bed and fell asleep within a minute.
Katara, however, found it uneasy to sleep. The people she held closest were still out there, their fates unknown. She feared for her brother. Even though they had their sibling squabbles, they were still close to each other, a true brother-sister relationship.
But no one came into her thoughts more than the one she truly loved.
End of the Night
Guest written by Theavatardemotivator
Aboard the Feng
The suffocating darkness of the airship surrounded him, pressing him into the bed, cornering him from all sides. He covered himself with the blanket, Airbending it on, and buried his face into the pillow. Spirits, he prayed, let Katara be okay. Let her be okay. I don't care what happens to me—but let her be okay. Please. Because if something happens to her, I'll have to cross over to the Spirit World, and I don't think you want an angry Avatar. Despite himself, he smiled slightly as he thought of the bright, bubbling laughter that would be his reward for the-
But the airship was empty.
I can't believe I just abandoned her like that. I didn't tell anyone where I was going; for all she knows, I drowned myself in the ocean to avoid having to face the Phoenix King... she must hate me for that... He wanted to leap out of the window of the airship—wanted to open his glider—wanted to reach her as swiftly as he could—but he remembered that he didn't have his staff with him, and either way, he couldn't let everyone else think he were dead, too.
The darkness choked him.
In the Guest Chambers
The suffocating darkness of the guest chambers surrounded her, pressing her into the bed, cornering her from all sides. She shuddered slightly, her heart racing, as she thought of all of the things that the crazed Phoenix King could have done to Aang. If he hurt so much as a single hair on Aang's head... I... I... I... I'll take his stupid body and throw it to the sharkgators! The guest chambers were so large and foreboding; every shadow seemed to be Azula leaping out at her, every noise the crackle of lightning, every breath her last... and she hated being alone in the darkness... she wished so much that she could have him embrace her, hold her, tell her it was going to be okay...
But she didn't know.
She didn't know whether he were dead or alive or—or—
You already took him away from me once! she screamed inside her mind, directing her anger towards the spirits, to a world unseen, to the destiny that had taken her mother from her and now—
You already took him away once! You can't do it again! Please... please... spirits...
The darkness choked her.
Aboard the Feng
And there she was, beautiful in her dress, as she took his hand and spun him, inviting him to the dance. "I love you," she whispered.
In the Guest Chambers
And there he was, strikingly handsome, as he accepted her invitation and twirled her, answering her prayer.
"I love you, too."
Consider Commander Zhito my first created character. I'm going to make a page for him at some point.
The Feng is the name of the airship, created by TAD. It means "Phoenix". I will refer to it as the Feng for chapter two.
For the collective works of the author, go here.