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The Mechanist's Son

Teo slept fitfully that night, and for the third time he woke up with a start. His nightmares only got worse every time he slept! Always the same dream, always! Why though, why? Why was this dream always like this...

Teo sat on a bed of mist, flying through an otherwise clear sky. Strange shadows seemed to be chasing him, but the mist cloud was faster. Speeding foward, the cloud suddenly dived, and Teo watched as they passed the Northern Air Temple and continued down the mountain. Teo wanted the cloud to stop, to send him to the temple, but his throat closed and he wasn't able to say a word as he sped down the mountain. Reaching the foot of the mountains, the cloud slowed and finally halted at the edge of a field of flooded ruins. Silently Teo slid off of the cloud, and his eyes widened. Looking down, he realized he could stand on his own two feet!

"Yes, I have given you you're mobility back, for a time." a feminine voice echoed over the ruins, making Teo look around for it's source. "Now come to me, so that you may learn of what to do."

Teo suddenly felt a faint tug in his mind. That was beckoning him again! Teo wanted to walk away, but everytime he had, this nightmare only got worse! He decided to finally put an end to the dreams and hear the voice out, for better or worse.

He searched the ruins for what seemed like hours, sloshing through the ankle deep puddles that dotted the ruined town. He found pots, broken picture frames, and even toys little children would play with, but the voice was seemingly nowhere to be found. However, in the back of his mind, Teo felt that he had been here before, somehow. Anyway, Teo suddenly felt the rope in his mind tug him toward the small remains of a house. The roof was caved in, the walls were collapsing, and water surrounded it like a moat. But Teo knew that where the voice was coming from. Stepping carefully over the water, Teo entered the house.

Teo was right. Within the space between the wall and the collapsed roof, the ghostly figure of a woman glowed through the gloom.

"Come, my son. You have finally answered the call." the ghost said with a smile, beckoning Teo to come closer.

"Son?" Teo asked, walking closer to the ghost.

"Yes Teo, don't you remember me? My, I hope you at least remember your original home."

Suddenly, something clicked in Teo's head. That's why this place seemed so familiar! This was the remains of his village after the flood! But if this was the ruins of his village, did that mean....

"Are you Aya?" Teo asked slowly.

The ghost smiled. "You remember my name! Son, I had thought I would have to remind you of that. I should of known though, you were always a smart boy, just like your father."

"Mom." Teo whispered, a tear running down his face.

"Yes, but I have to ask a favor of you. I don't have much time, so listen closly." the spirit of Aya said kindly, shushing her son. "The Avatar will visit the Temple soon, in order to ask your father about something or another that I don't know' about. When he comes, you must use the oppurtunity to hone your powers. Shadows threaten the world my dear, and freedom of the world needs every advantage if it is to sucecced."

"But I don't have any power Mom. None at all. I can't even walk!" Teo protested.

"You may not know what it is now, but believe me, you will know." Aya whispered. She seemed more pale, more..transparent.

"No, don't leave me! I don't know what you mean!" Teo cried, but Aya was already becoming very hard to see.

"Believe, my son. Believe in what you have and nothing, nothing in this world will be able to stop you." Aya whispered even lower, and with those words she vanished completly, leaving Teo alone in the gloomy darkness of the shack.

"No!" Teo screamed, "Don't leave me mom! Don't leave me here! I need you! No!"......

"Teo! Teo!" the Mechanist shouted, shaking his screaming son until finally Teo's eyes fluttered open.

"Dad?" Teo muttered, and the Mechanist hugged him tight.

"Thank goodness!" the Mechanist said with relief, "You were screaming 'no' so loud...I thought something had happened to you."

"There is something I have to tell you" Teo whispered in his father's ear, "but that can wait untill later. The Avatar is coming with his friends. We better set up for his arrival."

The Mechanist only looked down at his smiling son.

Appa flew lazily on the wind as his riders loafed around in the saddle. Aang was lying on Appa's head, Mai and Ty Lee were in a quiet discussion, Sokka and Zuko were arguing about whether the Dragon Dnace was or wasn't simply a pathetic dance move, Katara was asleep, and Jason was trying hard not to look over the edge.

"You're afraid of heights?" Toph questioned meanly.

"Am not!" Jason protested

"Oh yea? Look over the side of the saddle." Toph challenged.

"Fine!" Jason said, and looked over the saddle. He saw a massive temple built into the side of one of the mountains.

"Is that the temple Aang?" Jason asked, looking down again at the giagntic temple.

"Yup, and once we get closer, maybe we'll see Teo or some of the other.."Aang started, suddenly an explosion of slime conclealed Aang for a minute or two.

"Blech!" Aang yelled, pulling gunk out of his hair, "Who did that?!"

"It's Teo!" Sokka said with a laugh, pointing at a boy flying in...a wheelchair?

"Is that..a wheelchair?" Jason asked.

"Who? What? I can't see!" Toph complained.

"That's right, I'm in a wheelchair!" Teo laughed, and chucked slime at Jason "Have some slime for figuring that out!"

Jason blasted the bomb away with some shadow and laughed. But Teo's face had gone pale and frightened.

"You're..a shadowbender! Aang, you got a evil spy right behind you!" Teo yelled.

"Who?" Aang and Jason said at the same time.

"YOU!" Teo roared at Jason and flying over Appa he started lobbing slime bombs at Jason again.

"Hey, hey! You're getting gunk all over us!" everyone in the saddle shouted.

"Teo, stop!" Aang cried, and Teo grumpily stopped. With a groan, Appa landed on the temple ledge and once everyone got off promptly walked away to clean the gunk from his fur.

After Appa left Teo landed, and eyed Jason both dangerously, and with a bit of fear.

"Why are you here, shadowbender?" Teo asked harshly, "What are you trying to do?"

"Teo...what are you doing?" the Mechanist asked. Everyone except for Aang, Katara, and Sokka looked at the man strangly.

"You're...uh, the Mechanist?" Zuko asked.

"He lookes like a madman!" Mai stated bluntly.

"Couldn't agree more." Jason said with a nod.

"What, just because I'm missing three fingers means I'm crazy? It's not as bad as it looks you know." the Mechanist said with a laugh, "Now Teo, what were you yelling about? I could hear you from my workshop."

Teo pointed at Jason. "He's a shadowbender. He's one of the enemies mother told me about in my dream!"

"Dream?" Aang asked.

"Ah, yes Aang. Something that I wanted to talk about with you. But first, is the boy really a shadowbender?" the Mechanist asked nervously.

Jason made darkness engulf his hand, then said softly, "Yes, I'm a shadowbender. But I'm not one to conquer the world. I hate the shadowbenders you speak of as much as you do. They destroyed my....home."

"See Teo? You should never judge anyone by only your assumptions." the Mechanist said.

"I still don't trust him." Teo grumbled.

"Anyway," Aang asked, "You said you wanted to talk to me about a dream you had Teo?"

"Yes, we did." the Mechanist agreed in earnest, "it was something I wish to avoid. That's why we need to talk. Come on Teo, let's go somewhere where we can converse in private."

"Not without the shadowbender." Teo said, "I still don't trust him. I want him to be where I can see him."

Jason rolled his eyes. "Fine."

After Jason, Aang, and the Mechanist and his son left, Zuko looked at the men and women flying on the gliders the Mechanist created. Suddenly, one girl caught his eye.

"Is that...Ty Lee?" Zuko said with a gasp as Ty Lee zoomed through the air above them.

"This is so fun! You guys have to try this!" Ty Lee yelled with glee.

Mai looked up nonchalantly "I'm not surprised acually."

"This is acually fun!" a voice shouted, and they were surprised to see Suki giggling with glee as she flew past Ty Lee.

"Okay, now I'm surprised." Mai said in awe.

Zuko lifted a vacant glider from the ground, and went to the edge of the ledge.

"You are seriously going to do that?" Toph asked.

"Like my Uncle Iroh once said," Zuko said with a small smile, "Sometimes life's about taking risks."

With those words Zuko gripped the glider tightly, ran, and jumped off the ledge.

Practice Makes Perfect

The Mechanist's workshop was an interesting place to Jason as he, Aang, Teo, and the Mechanist walked in. Blueprints filled the shelves and lined the walls, and many prototyes of things Jason didn't even know. The space was thankfully quiet as well, away from the noise of where they had arrived. The Mechanist gave them chairs to sit on, as he brought himself a chair, and once they were all seated, Teo began telling Aang of his dream.

After Teo recounted what he had remembered from the dream, Aang sat quietly in thought. Finally, he said "I don't really know what to think of it Teo. I don't think that the spirit would be anyone but your mother, but what bothers me is about your, uhh, supposed power. I mean no offence Teo, but what power could she have been talking about?"

"I have no idea." Teo moaned, "It was so strange. She said I would know soon, but what can I do? I'm in a wheelchair! Even with a glider, I can't do much more than fly around."

"Maybe what it...." Jason started.

"Shut it!" Teo snapped, "this has nothing to do with you!"

"Teo!" the Mechanist gasped in surprise.

Jason glared at Teo. "Anything that can help get those shadowbenders destroyed is my buisness."

"And why is that? What did they do to you, considering you're one of them yourself!" Teo questioned back.

"They destroyed my home! I told you that!" Jason yelled.

"Oh yeah? Where was this..home of yours, hmm?"

Aang and Jason glanced at each other nervously, and Jason replied "If I told you, you would never believe me."

"And why is that?" the Mechanist asked.

"Becuase he's lying!" Teo urged again.

"Teo!" the Mechanist barked, and Teo became quiet. "Is there any proof of this home of yours?" he asked softly.

"Zuko heard it from the shadowbenders themselves when they attacked us in the capital. He'd tell you." Aang replied.

"Then you should have no fear in telling us of your home."

Jason sighed. "Fine. I come...I come from another world."

Teo stared at him like he had three heads. "You must be joking, right? C'mon, even my dad wouldn't believe that!"

"I wouldn't Teo?" the Mechanist asked him.

"Well..another world dad? How far fetched is that?!"

"Then, in reason, the Spirit World should be false as well, correct?" the Mechanist asked his son, who looked down in defeat. "I think that the possibility of another world, destroyed or not, is fascinating. But if these...shadowbenders you call them? If these shadowbenders are powerful enough to destroy a world...I only fear what they will do to here."

"I know...that's why we needed your help. Maybe we can figure out how to make a weapon to even the odds." Aang explained, "Jason's world was a bit more...ah, advanced, technology wise. He can help us figure something out."

"Indeed?" the Mechanist said with great interest, "Well Jason, you will have to tell me when Sokka and I start planning this...weapon."

"Dad..he'll screw up the weapon! On purpose!" Teo finally yelled, his anger overcoming his senses once again, "How can we trust him?!"

"Why can't you trust me?!" Jason said, getting furious at Teo, "I told you things I wanted to keep to myself! Why do you hate me, damn it!"

"You're a shadowbender! You're the very enemy we face!"

"Fine!" Jason screamed, throwing his hands up in the air and getting out from his seat, "If you want to see 'the enemy', he'll be at the ledge, watching the others fly!" Jason yelled, and stormed out the room.

"I'm going too!" Teo huffed, and he rolled out of the room hastily. The Mechanist and Aang simply stared at the door with downcast eyes.

Later that day, everyone was gathered at the ledge. Most of the group, besides Jason and Toph, were flying on the gliders, and Sokka was asleep in a small room inside the Temple.

"Sure you don't want to fly Jason? I can teach you all sorts of tricks!" Aang cried as he lept off and started to fly.

"Nah, I'm fine. Appa's enough!" Jason laughed back. His good mood had returned.

"Still say you're not afraid of heights?" Toph teased.

"Okay, let's see you fly then."

"Bliiiiiind, remember?" Toph moaned sarcastically, waving her hand over her eyes.

"Right, that excuse." Jason chuckled.

"Excuse?!" Toph gasped with fake sadness and anger, "My blindness is a dementing experience! Don't make fun of it!" but then both she and Jason broke down into howling laughter.

"What's so funny down there?" Zuko yelled, as he swooped down back onto the ledge.

"You're flying well for a begginner." Jason complimented, as Toph catched her breath.

"Well, it took a little run-in with a branch to get it right."

"A little run-in?!" Mai scolded, landing next to Zuko, "You were pratically shot off the mountain when you crashed!"

"Was not!" Zuko protested.

"Was too! Half the villagers had to catch you!" Mai said grumpily.

"Like my Uncle says..." Zuko started.

"If I had a coin for every time you said that," Mai interrupted, "I would be as rich as the Fire Lady herself! Wait, I am. Looks like those coins added up!" she said, but giggled gently as Zuko laughed with her.

"Uh-oh." Jason said, and pointed up. Teo was flying high in the air, but he was glaring right at them.

"If looks could kill...." Zuko murmured.

"Why does he hate you so much Jason?" Mai asked.

"It's because I'm a shadowbender. He doesn't want to trust me...and he doesn't want anyone else to either."

Jason was right. Up in the air, Teo was furious that they all trusted him. Teo was so angry, he wasn't even paying attention to where he was going.

Suddenly, a crossbreeze jerked Teo from his path of flight and slammed him against another flying villager. Usually he would be able to avoid the flyer, but he had been so distracted that the crossbreeze had surprised and disoriented him. With a rip, one of the wings on Teo's wheelchair was torn off, and before he knew it, he was spinning down towards the rocks below.

"Ahh!" Teo cried, and flailed his hands around him. Another crossbreeze hit Teo, and he was blown toward the mountainside. Teo thrust his hands in front of him to brace for the impact, but it never came. Air blasted from his hands and Teo was shot right at the temple. With a slam Teo hit the temple wall and crashed on the ledge, dazed.

"Teo!" the Mechanist cried, running towards his son, "Are you alright?"

"Im..fine." Teo groaned, then looked behind his father, "Why is Aang staring at me like that?"

The Mechanist turned around, and everyone else looked at Aang. He was staring at Teo as if he was his long-lost son.

"Y-you know what you just did up there, right?" Aang stuttered.

"Almost die?" Teo replied.

"No." Aang said, his smile growing by the minute, "You just Airbended."

Everyone grew wide-eyed, and looked at Teo, and Aang's smile was from ear to ear.

"Teo, you're an Airbender."

"Try harder!" yelled the instructor, dodging Amiti's icicles, "Aim for the center of the chest!"

Amiti flung them left and right, but his teacher smoothly dodged each and every one. Finally, Amiti dropped the icicle in his hand.

"I grow tired of these games, and these ships! When will I be put on a real mission?"

"Patience." his teacher said, "Only Eoleo will say when."

"I've grown tired of him too! I can't be a full member of the Heatseekers untill I go on a mission!"

"Amiti!" the teacher scolded angrily.

"Sorry." Amiti muttered.

"If you really want a mission, go to him yourself. Let's see if you can convince him."

"I will Ryu Kou!" Amiti sputtered in anger, and stormed off.

"Fool" Ryo Kou whispered.

Amiti stomped toward the cabin of Eoleo. Men ran past him carring maps, and some others were practicing their waterbending. On the deck, Amiti could see the rest of the small Heatseeker fleet as they sailed the cold Southern Pole waters. Finally, he reached Eoleo's cabin. However, someone else had beaten Amiti to him, so he peeked in curiously.

"You want me to make an alliance with you? Why should I? I have no idea who you or your people are, save for that you can control the shadows as easily as I can with water." Eoleo grumbled.

"For now, your goals and the Twilight King's intrests are on the same line. Our King does not want to treat you like enemies when we know you can help us and vice versa." the mysterious man answered.

"You want the destruction of the Fire Nation?" Eoleo asked.

"We already have forces heading there for a first assault." the man answered again.

"Amazing! However, we must speak more of this later. I don't have time right now to figure you and your people out. You shall stay here, under my watch. You'll be treated as a guest, but any signs of trouble and you'll be dead before you can utter another word. Understand?"

"Understood." the man agreed, and walked out. Amiti straightened stiffly so it look like he had just arrived. After the man passed, Amiti walked in and bowed. Eoleo looked down, "Ah, hello Amiti."

Amiti looked up, "Hello, it is good to see you father."

"Are you sure you want to practice this technique Teo?" Aang asked. An hour or two had passed since the crash, but already Teo wanted Aang to teach him Airbending. Like Teo had said, he had waited long enough. Aang had tried to teach him the basics, but Teo was impatient, and he was having a hard time learning anything.

"Like this." Aang said, showing Teo how to twist air around a stone to make it rise. Teo tried, but the stone spun uncontrollably and shot away from the temple.

"Dang it!" Teo yelled and tried again. The stone once again was thrown off the temple. Teo smacked his forehead in exasperation.

"Don't worry, "Aang said softly, "You'll get better in time."

"I need to get better now!" Teo snapped, and tried to raise the rock again, with the same results. "Damn!"

"Teo, you just learned that you're an Airbender. You don't need to learn every move today." the Mechanist said, "You can try tommorrow."

"I need to learn now!" Teo urged again, "Mom said that when the Avatar came I had to hone my powers. I've already wasted most of the day! I need to learn now, or else I'll never get good enough to fight the shadowbenders!"

"Is this what all this is about?" the Mechanist asked, "You're mother wouldn't want you to overwork yourself either."

"Besides," Aang added, "I told you when I last visited here, you have the spirit of an Airbender. I would bet money that you would win a duel using Airbending. You have the innovation. All you need is the drive, and you could be a better Airbender than me."

"Hmph." Teo huffed, but secrectly he felt proud.

"Besides," the Mechanist said, "I wanted to speak to Aang about why you are an Airbender. It's very intriging to me."

Teo nodded, and he, Aang, and the Mechanist walked to the Mechanist's workshop for the second time that day.

That night, Teo silently rose from his bed, climbed into his wheelchair, and rolled out of his room. The night had thrown the temple into a world of shadows and half-lights, with the occasional torch infront of a room. Teo made a quick turn and rolled into the hallway leading to the courtyard. He wanted to practice his Airbending wothout worrying his father about overtraining. But when he reached the courtyard, he realized someone had already beat him to it.

Jason was practicing his shadowbending in the courtyard, letting the shadow flow around him like mist. Teo was about to yell at Jason to get out, but curiosity got the better of him, and he hid in the hallway and watched.

Jason flowed the shadow around him some more, and tried to shoot an arc of shadow at the wall. But instead the shadow exploded in Jason's hands and he was flung back. Jason got up, shook his head, and tried again. Another explosion followed.

Teo at first was quietly laughing with glee as he watched Jason fail again and again at the move. But as he watched, the more it looked like, to Teo, what he had been doing when he was practicing Airbending. Soon the glee turned into pity for Jason.Teo also remembered how he had treated Jason before, and he finally rolled out of hiding. Jason looked at him suspiciously.

"What do you want?" Jason asked, "Can't you see I have no time for arguing?"

"I don't want to argue." Teo said, "I want to say...i'm sorry, okay?"

"Yeah, of course you do." Jason muttered and sat down on the bench. Teo rolled up next to him.

"Why don't you believe me?" Teo asked.

"After all you did to me? You chucked slime bombs at me, called me names, and basically told me you hate me for something I didn't even want. How am I supposed to believe you?"

"You don't like shadowbending?" Teo said in surprise, "But you're always using it! You practically chewed my head off when I called shadowbending an evil power!"

"That was only because that wasn't true," Jason replied, "I'm not evil. But the shadowbending? I never wanted it. I still don't want it. It's like a constant reminder of why my world was destroyed, and a damn irony that I'm able to control the very power that destroyed my family and friends!"

Teo looked down, "I never thought of it that way."

Jason looked away as well," I'm sorry for ranting, but it just...bothers me at times. I wish sometimes that it would all go away."

"You know, when I was little, I often thought that being a parapeligic meant I could do nothing I never wanted. I couldn't climb and jump like the rest of the kids, it took me a hell of a long time to get out of bed cause I didn't really know how to do it by myself back then. I thought my life had become nothing."

Jason looked up, "And?"

"But my dad told me one thing that changed all that. He told me that even if life sucks at times, you just have to build around it. That's when we got the idea to give my wheelchair wings. From that he got the idea to give everyone wings."

"Oh." Jason said simply, "that's why you're so good at flying?"

"Yeah." Teo said, then his eyes lighted up, "Do you want to see Dawn's Cliff?"

"Dawn's Cliff?" Jason asked.

"It's a cliff at the edge of the mountain top. When the dawn hits there, it's so cool. It was the place I flew to the first day I had wings on my wheelchair."

"How do we get there? I don't exactly have wings, and Appa's not going to wake up for at least an hour."

"I know." Teo said with a sly grin on his face.

A few minutes later Teo was flying to Dawn's Cliff, Jason hanging on to dear life behind him, his feet secured on the bottom of the chair so that he would fall off. The snow-covered cliffs were far blow them as they flew. Reaching Dawn's Cliff, Teo circled until he found a suitable landing space, and once Jason's feet were untied, he leaped off the chair and said a silent prayer.

"Look at the sunrise!" Teo said excitedly, pointing towards the sun. As Jason watched, the sun rose gracefully in the sky, and the sky itself was colored shades of rosy pink.

"Amazing..." Jason whispered. He'd never seen anything like it. Teo looked at it dreamily as well. Sudddenly, a loud crash startled both of them.

"What the hell was that?" Jason asked, looking around, but none save for them were on the cliff. Teo, however, had looked down below the cliff. Jason saw Teo start to shake slowly.

"Teo?" Jason asked, and walked to his side, "What's wrong?"

Teo didn't answer. just pointed to below the cliff. Jason looked down, and he gasped wide-eyed.

" can't be..." Jason murmured.

For below the cliff, Jason and Teo could see the trappings and equipment of the large army of shadowbenders, marching straight towards the temple.

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