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Abbey at night
On the Road Again
Chapter information
Series

Crossfire

Chapter

09

Written by

Omashu Rocks

Release date

30 April 2014

Chronology
Last chapter

Harboring, Part 2

Next chapter

The Factory, Part 1

Rain. Lots of rain. That is all I can remember from the four days after the raid on the Fire Sages' Temple. That utter failure... Well, the raid itself wasn't a failure. Easily a top ten raid in my book. What didn't work out was the hunt for the Avatar, who may have been dead, alive, in the Spirit World, perhaps on some desert island, or possibly watching me and laughing his ass off. I didn't care anymore. The mission was not a success, which meant I wasn't free. In fact, I doubted I'd be able to walk without chains ever again, but doing Sozin's dirty work was the only chance I had, so dwelling on the odds was pointless and futile.

It turns out I didn't leave the temple with nothing. One thing I gained was Jirou's respect, or his fear, or both. For whatever reason, watching me slice a man's fingers, drop him from a cliff, light his body on fire, and let him plummet to a choppy, merciless ocean altered the way my fellow Shepherd looked at me.

He realized that I was just as capable, and just as willing, as he was, and I learned that sometimes you need to defy your superior in order to earn his respect.

I found being Jirou's equal to be much more comfortable than being his underling was. Gone was any paranoia. I was once terrified that he'd do away with me, but from then on I dared him to try. Every glance I fired at him taunted, come and get it.

As it turned out, life can be more fun without the constant fear of imminent death. "Fun" was something that had been remarkably absent from the majority of my career as an assassin, yet it was precisely what filled me with joy five days after the mission, when the downpour finally subsided and our remaining food had vanished.

Unfortunately, one person's fun is another person's misery, an effect Jirou and I astutely named "funisery." Funisery is necessary, however, and for that fact of life I apologize to the unsuspecting family of four.

It was when my stomach growled at me for the umpteenth time that I decided, as a member of the Fire Nation government, it was time to collect an extra tax from the nearest village.

There was a dull, modest home resting at the foot of a lush green hill, with acres of land extending behind it and a dirt road to the rest of the village at the front. Four sides of fencing entrapped a herd of wooly pigs, and we let Nightmare go first to claim his prize. He also served as a beautiful distraction when the man of the house came charging out the back door, screaming at the top of his lungs. As he chased after my vicious pet, Jirou and I made a beeline for the open door, only to barge in on horrified, crying children and their mother. The woman threw her body in front of the two kids, but we weren't there for them.

My eye was instantly caught by a net of fruits hanging in the kitchen, and I heard Jirou pillaging the house, scouring for money and valuable objects.

"Just don't move and you won't get hurt," I ordered the petrified family. "Where do you keep your money?"

The mother was visibly shaking, and her voice trembled as she squeaked, "I'll go get it."

"No." I held out my arm to stop her and pointed out her son. "Make him get it."

The boy hesitated, but upon his mother's urging, he left briefly to retrieve a small box of coins. I snatched it from him and intentionally dropped a few on the floor.

"Jirou, let's go!" I called. The man appeared in the hallway with jewelry and a rooster.

The scene outside the house was hysterical: a grown man hiding on the roof of his house from the cold-blooded lizard below. Nightmare was licking his chops, just waiting for the father to come down. As an act of kindness, I called my pet off, and after Jirou grabbed another wooly pig, we went on our merry little way. A successful outing, we agreed.

When your life- Hell, when everything about you- is on the line, the little things like making a small family cry don't matter. They just don't. Those people will get more fruit, more wooly pigs. They'll move on. There was no 'onward' for me.

I have one sister and one life, and I don't plan on losing either. If I have to disrupt an otherwise pleasant day for four people, if I have to kill four innocent people, I will, and I won't think twice about it.


The "Feast of Tears" was delectable. I hadn't felt such a variety of tastes in my mouth for a long time. The juices of the succulent meat sent my tongue into a frenzy, and the deliciously ripe fruit made me feel as though a waterfall had gushed down my throat.

Of course, later, given the sheer ecstasy both Jirou and I were experiencing, something did gush down my throat.

I always knew Jirou was a dashing man. That wasn't something that just struck me one day. Rather than a feeling that came to me, it was one I was able to let go of that brought me closer to my partner. I wasn't afraid of him anymore, and with that barrier shattered, there was nothing keeping my body, or my lips, from his.

A theme for the day had presented itself: false happiness. The rush from robbing the farming family, the twisted sense of fulfillment from eating food that was not rightfully mine... and then lust. There was nothing more being pumped through my veins then a raw desire for ferocious, red-blooded sex. It came so suddenly, a passion, a longing to be taken, entered, violated by Jirou whose body heat alone was enough to make my breath quiver in ecstasy.

There was a moment, when he stopped talking, leaned in, and looked into my eyes, that I didn't want to give in. I had overcome so much that I refused to be a slave to my desires, but there was something in those beautiful pools. I threw my head back and let him caress my neck with his soft, wet lips. I hated myself for it, but I loved every minute of his gentle touch. His hands knew exactly where to lay themselves on my body, and as we kissed he slowly lowered me onto my back.

He was married, but that just made me want it more. I bit my lower lip as I looked up at him, my eyes begging for him to move his masculine hand up my thigh. When he got there, the man who had been holding back unleashed the wild beast within. His fingers knew what they wanted, and from me they withdrew short hiccups and moans of pleasure.

It never crossed my mind before then that I would surrender to Jirou's whims, willingly let him use my body for his own selfish desires. But, for once, our passions were one in the same. If nothing else can join two enemies, lust can. Even the most complex minds devolve to their primitive, animal-like states under the overwhelming power of sex.

I feel no need to describe in detail what happened next, and I'm not sure I could. All I can remember is a great inner conflict between my mind and my body, both of which were experiencing pain and pleasure at the same time. That sort of battle is exhausting, and for the first time in human history, after the climax, the woman fell asleep before the man.


Somehow, I was back in a familiar room, and I felt the same cold chill run down my spine that I felt when I was first brought there in chains. It was where I received my first mission from Commissioner Long. I shuttered to turn my head, biting my lip and fearing who I would see sitting alone at the other end of a cold, bare table.

There he was, but he didn't look at me. In fact, his eyes didn't seem to be focused on any point in particular, which brought my attention from his face to his body. Long was sitting upright, his head tilted slightly down, with one hand on the table. I studied him quizzically as he lifted his hand tapped the table once, then again, a ring on his finger making an irritating knocking noise.

Tap... tap...

"What are you doing here?" I demanded. "What am I doing here."

He ignored me.

Tap... tap...

I had no patience for his games. "Answer me!"

Refusing to look at me, he continued with his perfect rhythm, never skipping a beat.

Tap... tap...

Infuriated and curious at the same time, I examined his ring for a moment.

"You son of a bitch!"

He transitioned from a light tap to a loud bang.

Bang!

Bang!

It wasn't his ring at all. The stone he wore on his hand was the one that rightfully belonged to my father.

"You dare taunt me with my father's wedding ring?" I started to cry, unsure of why I was still surprised by Long's cruelty.

Bang!

Bang!

Fighting back tears, I leapt over the table to strangle him with my bear hands, and I shook his body like a rag doll, but when he looked back up at me, it wasn't his face I saw. I was looking into the gloomy, depressed eyes of General Kun.

How could I help myself from weeping? I threw my hands away from the man and used them to cover my eyes. It was like I was caught in a whirlwind of torment, unable to break free as I was pulled deeper and deeper, spinning ceaselessly in the ruthless current.

"Dad..." I croaked, tears racing down my cheeks.

He glanced up at me unforgivingly, "You call me your father, but you are not the daughter I raised. You disgrace her by wearing her face, but you are not Nalia."

I was being judged by a dead man. "They have Ming! What am I supposed to do?"

Furious, my father jumped from his chair and unleashed a thunderous roar. "And you think what? That Sozin will give you her back? Does he seem like the kind of man who keeps his oaths? Wake up Nalia! Wake up!"


And I did, screaming. Jolting upright, I screamed and inhaled like I had been underwater for hours. My face dropped sweat on my lap like bombs, and confusion gave me the worst headache of my life. If that was a dream, who was I arguing with? My own conscious? Or did the spirits decide to suddenly become present in my lifelong enough to torture my inner thoughts? I-

"Nalia!" I jerked my head to the left when Jirou startled me.

"Sorry. I had a bad dream." But it wasn't just a nightmare. The horror had taken place even before I went to sleep. Wincing, I brought myself to look my partner in the eyes, but I could only tolerate it for a second. I had let that man ravish my body. The enemy of everything my father stood for had made me is plaything earlier in the night.

Looking out of the tent and into the darkness, I could feel my eyes narrow in disgust, and an icy chill penetrated my heart when Jirou gently touched my cheek with his finger and dared to ask if I was "all right."

"Yes, I'm all right," I replied quietly, envisioning Long's bony face and unforgiving eyes in my mind. I saw flashes of what I did to innocent civilians, Fire Sages, and others who had no part in what Sozin did to my family. My father died a hero, so that I could live long enough to see myself become the villain.

"I'm all right, and I just remembered who the real enemy is."

v - e - dCrossfire Chapters
Prologue - The Wolves and the Shepherds - Commissioning - The Chase and the Letter - A Feast for Wolves - The Social Experiment - Change of Plans - Harboring, Part 1 - Harboring, Part 2 - On the Road Again - The Factory, Part 1 - The Factory, Part 2 - The Confrontation - Childhood Lessons - Fire Lilies - Endure - The Stowaway - The Survivor - The Reassignment - The Lion - The Governess, Part 1: Uma - The Governess, Part 2: The Song - The Governess, Part 3: The Rat

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