Author's Notes

Warning: A little language here. Now; I'm sure none of you will think it's all that much, as it's only the word "ass", but I just thought I would pad that statement in there. The serious warning about this chapter is the extremely harsh overtone it portrays, it's a look into an extremely sad life. There is abuse below. If you have a problem with this, do not read.

There are three fanon characters created here. I might make some pages at some point; though likely for now the only one standing a chance would be Shimi (She - Me). Though for now, I'm refraining from this. The other two characters are her parents, San (Sahn...Sawn? How to spell the pronunciation, I think Sahn says it best) and Kutai (Coo - Tie).

This story centers around Shimi, an eight year old in 111 AG. For reference, Sakira is seven years old for this time-frame. Shimi is a Firebending, quiet girl who lives in the Harbor City at the Fire Nation Capital. Both of her parents can Firebend.

Yes. I think we will be seeing more of Shimi.

This story is actually inspired because of "the 4th of July" - Independence Day, here in America. It's sort of a 'themed' story for that reason. When creating this story; I actually thought of the song Independence Day, by Martina McBride. Please give it a listen for this event.

Character Etc

San - Mother

  • Derived from Wishful (Japanese)
  • Amber eyes
  • Red hair (in a bun)
  • Thin, light-skinned, elegant

Kutai - Father

  • Derived from Abuse (Japanese)
  • Golden eyes
  • Short dark brown hair
  • Stubble
  • Stout, thick-chinned

Shimi - Daughter

  • Derived from Sorrow (Japanese)
  • Hazel eyes
  • Auburn hair (cropped)


At the Fire Nation Capital, somewhere in its Harbor City...

She slid her plate back, sitting upright and lifting her hazel eyes to her mother's light face. They had just finished their dinner, and she was feeling a bit restless. "I'm finished. Can you teach me more firebending please?"

Her mother smiled thoughtfully as her amber eyes lit with love. "Aha, very well, but we have to be extra careful indoors okay?" Her girl beamed joyfully at her mother's agreement, nodding readily to begin.

Her mother, San, lifted her palm above the table and cupped her fingers upward, a gentle flame alighting at her palm's center. "See if you can keep a steady flame burning. Firebending isn't just about kicking and punching fire blasts, it's about balance and self-control. Go on Shimi, show me."

Shimi's eyes glowed with excitement, taking in the sight of her mother's gentle flame lighting her brilliant red hair elegantly tied up in a bun. Obediently, she stretched her hand over the table, palm up, as she willed a flame into existence. It flickered and wavered unsteadily, threatening to go out as she couldn't keep it going well enough.

"Honey, don't be afraid to-" The door slammed as heavy boots struck the wooden floor behind Shimi.

Her eyes widened in dumbstruck terror as her already weak flame snuffed out in a puff of smoke; then came her father's deep, heartless voice. "Shimi – stop that nonsense now! Get your ass to your room!"

San closed her fingers back into her palm, putting out her flame as she instantly rose from her chair to turn to her husband. "Kutai, it's my fault she's doing it inside. I was only showing her how to control her firebending! All you have to do is ask her nicely to go to her room. Please?"

Her stout, muscular father threw his finger toward her mother before replying sternly to her objection. "Sit back down, woman. I wasn't talking to you."

Begrudgingly, San lowered herself to her wooden chair submissively, laying her hands in her lap as she quietly addressed him. "I kept dinner warm for you; your favorite – Smoked Sea Slug."

Kutai narrowed his eyes and turned for the counter, slapping down a heavy bag of coins before seizing a plate. "Would've been better if you'd actually prepared me a plate instead of goofing around with fire."

As he joined them at the table, he dropped his full plate to the side of the table across from Shimi. He fell carelessly into the seat, turning his cold golden eyes upon his little girl. Shimi shook to her core, but not outwardly. She cowered, lowering her eyes submissively, leaning stiffly against the back of her chair with her knuckles whitening to the grip on either side of her chair.

She was terrified, frozen, and unable to move or even lift her eyes to his thick face. His short dark brown hair and accompanying stubble only furthered her fear of him, though these traits alone meant nothing. She had been instilled with self-discipline, knowing all too well not to speak unless spoken to, not to lay her eyes on him as if she were an equal, not to act out or show signs of emotion.

A low guttural snarl sounded in his throat – which was never a good sign. "I said to get your ass to your room!" He bellowed, his harsh voice deafening her.

She sprang from her chair, sliding it hurriedly away from her in the process, and bolted for the hallway. Rounding the corner she charged into her room and thrust the door back with a loud slam, the next moment finding her mid-air to land abruptly on her bed, shaking like a leaf in the wind.

And so it started. "That no-good Fire Lord has done it again. Every blasted nation is here, using up our resources, mocking our good name as if we are some joke to them. He's so stupid he can't see they are all laughing behind their backs at us every chance that they get!"

As was always the case; she never could hear her mother. Whenever her father stopped talking she assumed it was due to her mother's soft voice replying to him. "And what good would that do? That's the same as doing nothing about it! We won the darn war. Why the heck do we have to be catering to them? It's because of that imbecile who declared one hundred years of blood and sweat to be for nothing! We won; and that idiot son waltzes in like he owns the place and screws it all up!"

Shimi shifted, sliding her legs under her covers as she laid her head on her pillow, gazing sadly to the ceiling as she wished to stop hearing his anger pollute the air. "No. This time; something big is going down and I'm going to make a difference."

She pulled her covers up over her chest, her eyebrows pressing upright into her forehead fiercely in fear of what her father may be insinuating. "That's none of your business." His heavy voice resonated from the hallway. His words alone twisted Shimi's gut into a knot, as her mother's soft voice shot back loudly in retaliation.

"Think about Shimi, Kutai! If you intend on starting a revolt; then you can do it alone! I am not-" A loud strike sounded, silencing her words suddenly as the sound of a chair clattering to the wooden floor overtook her attention.

Shimi rooted in her bed, rolling over sharply as she thrust her head under her pillow, seizing its corners to wrap it tightly around her head in prayerful attempt to hear no more.

Her prayer was not answered.

"I told you, it's none of your business woman! Your business is to stay right here and mind your mouth and see to it that nobody gets involved in my business!"

She couldn't help it; tears stung her eyes as she began to hum loudly to herself beneath the pillow, rocking her head side to side in desperate attempt to muffle her hearing. A struggle ensued as she heard glass shatter even over her attempts to silence it. "Stop it, stop it..." She cried out to herself amidst her tears. "Stop hurting mom!" But the night dragged on.

"Morning sweetie. What would you like for breakfast?" Her mother addressed her as Shimi sat by the table with a sullen frown. The weariness in her voice betrayed its kind softness. And for yet another time, dark patches marred her mother's light skin. This was the same old story, just another day. San acted as if nothing had happened the night before.

Shimi couldn't raise her hazel eyes to her mother; she couldn't see her like this. She couldn't see herself like this. Why did her father have to act like that? She sank further into her chair like a stone in water, not answering her mother's request. The only good thing was that her father was gone; as usual, he rarely stayed around.

She was wrong.

This day was different than others. The sound of pure terror, of heavy boot steps, caught her ears so swiftly she bolted back to her ritualistic posture – petrification.

He dropped to the chair opposite of his daughter. His golden eyes settled directly into her eyes of hazel. Again she swiftly – obediently – dropped her gaze to the floor, not daring to insinuate she should do otherwise. Forbid that he would get the idea she was unhappy with him. "Here you go Shimi." Her mother set a bowl of Comet Clusters with milk before her.

Kutai cleared his throat, kicking his feet out beneath the table. "San, I've got three special men coming in an hour. You had better make yourself available to serve them when they arrive, and be the utmost respectful while they are here. We will be discussing very important matters; it would be in your best interest that you not accidentally overhear; you understand me?"

San hesitated, walking back to the counter slowly with her hands clasped before her thighs. "I understand."

With this situation resolved, he turned his attention back to his little girl, leaning forward to settle his upper body's weight atop his arms on the table. "And you." Her mind reeled with horror, restraining herself from trembling or showing fear in her downcast eyes. "You'd better make yourself not known this morning."

"Kutai." Her mother interceded, turning to address him over her shoulder. "She'll be fine, just leave her in her room with the door shut and she won't do anything."

"Does it look like I asked you?" His eyes darted to San before returning to the small girl in front of him. "Just disappear for awhile. Got it?"

"Y-yes, sir." She timidly responded.

He leaned back after this, idly waving his hand toward her without a care. "Well go on – get." In fear of retribution, she leapt from her chair and spun away, leaving the breakfast her mother had set out for her on the table. As she left; her mom tossed a whole grain food bar which Shimi caught on her way out.

On the streets, her thoughts were clouded. Still her eyes lay plastered to the stone path ahead of her; she was so entranced in her turmoil that she found herself unable to so much as glance further along the path. Even being apart from her father, she still could not will herself to consider what she was doing, instead continuing to heed his words to disappear for the morning.

Unaware; her feet had carried her to the Fire Nation Capital; where a Freedom Festival was currently taking place. All around her the streets bustled with activity, a blur of red, white, blue, green, so many colors and yet she remained lost in her thoughts.

Walking idly through the crowd; she overheard multiple conversations. Apparently the Fire Lord was here and had just given a speech of dedication and memory of the day the world had tasted its independence and freedom, when a breath of peace had prevailed.

Or at least, that's what they said.

Her eyelids lowered as she heard her schoolmates nearby whispering about her. "She's here by herself it seems." – "You think she even has parents? Tch...haha..."

"Yeah, though word is her dad's a real winner. My mom works at the palace and I've heard her say she's sick to death of getting his complaints."

"Yeah well he beat my dad up awhile ago; I hate the jerk. He even got thrown in prison for a week."

"Great dad, Shimi!" One boy cried out to purposefully claim her attention. Her eyes remained downtrodden, refusing the attention. "Bet'cha gonna be just like him huh?"

She wanted to cry, but her trained mind denied her. Why does mom defend him? She pressed on, wandering aimlessly through the crowd in hopes of losing her acquaintances. Ducking into an alley, she plodded on through its darkness before emerging on the other side.

A simple fountain with a glowing flame at its top center sat in solitude in the middle of an open stone courtyard, water trickling lazily down its edges. Having taken a moment to observe this, her eyes sadly lowered again, finding that her feet had taken her closer to gaze into the cool water's depths.

Here she stood, staring helplessly at the lonely girl with cropped auburn hair in its reflection. In silence, she found herself unable to decide what she should do with herself to pass time before she could acceptably return to her cage, her 'home'. An old undying thought crossed her mind again; the dull wish that her life would just disappear and she would never have to go home again.

"Hey there!" An eager girl's voice shattered the silence. "What'cha doing over here by yourself?"

Reactively, Shimi's heart froze, swallowing back any expression as her eyes locked on the water below. "I'm fine." Was all she muttered, terrified lest she say something that may come back to haunt her.

"Well alright then." The girl in a silky teal dress threw herself down to sit on the fountain's edge, lifting her eyes of blue with a beaming smile. "I'm Sakira. Pleased to meet you!"

Shimi's lips twitched, betraying her usual senses of hidden emotion. Why is she being so that? She doesn't even know me. Shimi turned away, flat out ignoring the blissful girl. And if she did...

"What's your name?" Sakira pressed further, leaning back to rest her hands on the cool stone beside her.

She hesitated, fear overwhelming her at the decision to say anything at all or to simply walk away. She was unsure she should even be here. But at last, she decided it may not matter. "Shimi."

"Oh. That's a cute name." She playfully kicked her legs forward in succession; swaying her light brown hair braid left to right. "So where's your family? I mean, I just saw you lingering over here and wondered what you were up to."

"Not here." Shimi shrugged, saying absolutely no more than this. The urge to run away steadily grew, clouding her mind as she began wondering if she had actually been gone long enough already. Perhaps she should take a slow walk home.

"You came by yourself?" Sakira questioned in surprise, before smiling excitedly. "Well yeah, I would too except my home is at the South Pole." She couldn't help giggling, rising and following after Shimi as she had taken a few steps away from her. "It sure is hot here."

"Yeah." Shimi replied, now completely uneasy with this situation. This girl seemed to like personal details, and she wasn't comfortable supplying them.

"Honey, I found her." A lady's voice caught Shimi's attention, glancing down the alley to spot a woman in blue with flowing dark brown hair approaching them.

"Mom!" Sakira shouted merrily, leaping ahead of Shimi to spin back and face her. Shimi's stomach knotted once again; being the center of attention was always a grating experience for her. "This is Shimi, I just met her."

"Oh." The lady smiled kindly as a man in ceremonial yellow followed in behind her. "Nice to meet you, Shimi. My name is Katara and this is my husband, Aang. I see you've already met our daughter." Katara smiled welcomingly as she laid her hand on her girl's shoulder.

That's when Shimi realized who the man behind this lady was. The Avatar. She frowned and hung her head, gazing at the soft leather shoes that Katara was wearing instinctively when a third voice, a male's, spoke. "What are you guys doing? This is Independence Day. Come celebrate, enjoy the Freedom Festival and stop hanging out in dark alleys."

The Avatar, Aang, laughed softly as he turned back and replied in his deep, yet kind, voice. Whatever he said though; she had tuned him completely out. Her eyes locked on the other male just beyond the alley, complete with his crown headpiece adorning his hair.

Her heart dropped as her ears outright ceased hearing.

That. Was. The. Firelord.

Her natural defenses returned quickly; terrified that she had committed an irrecoverable sin should her father discover where she was. "Excuse me." Shimi quickly added, stepping past them to break out of the alley and shuffle quickly away from the worst mistake of her life.

Stupid, STUPID! Shimi's gut was so twisted with fear she was sick. Her entire body trembled, with occasional spasms, as she attempted to reclaim control of herself.

What should she say when she gets home? If he asked her, she had to answer. And forget lying. She had learned the hard way that if she lied, she would suffer for it. He always had a certain knack for detecting her lies – and that terrified her.

She carried these stones of regret in her stomach, knowing this night was going to be no better than so many others. Drawing near to her home, his home, she lifted her eyes for once to observe the house she was approaching.

Royal Caldera ablaze
What she saw froze her solid and forced her mouth open in horror.

The entire block of this side of the city was ablaze, her parents' home completely engulfed. "Mom!" She took off like a wild gorilla goat toward her burning home, her only wish that her mother was unharmed.

Drawing near to a mass of men and women who stood by fighting the rampant flames, an outstretched arm caught her advance and held her back. "Whoa! You can't go in there little girl!" The man firmly proclaimed.

"MOM!" Shimi struggled against this man's hold, her emotions roiling within her. This man was the enemy, just like her father, always getting in the way and oppressing her. But this was not her father – her emotional guard fell as a growing wildfire seized her soul.

"LET GO OF ME!" She pivoted back, thrusting her fist directly into the man's face as a burst of fire erupted from her hands.

"WHOA!" He immediately obliged, leaping back just as his eyebrows singed to the small, directed blast. The frantic child then charged her lost home once again, bolting in between the crowd to approach the fallen door.

That's when she was tackled from behind.

"No!" She cried out as she fell to the ground, landing on her stomach. "Mom! Where is she? Where is my mom!" She kicked and fought against her captors, but it was in vain. She couldn't escape the multiple hands holding her down.

"This was your home?" A man questioned as she was lifted to her feet, restrained firmly. "So you are Shimi, San's daughter? Do you know anything about men dressed in black arriving here, why she would be fighting them, or whether or not your father was inside or had some part in this?"

It was all a blur. All she caught was that her mother had been fighting. She had never fought back before, and now that she had...

She heard the men ahead of her discussing a shelter to take her to, but didn't pay them any mind.

Being led away, Shimi glanced over her shoulder, tears finally streaming down her cheeks. Her defenses, her fears, her hopes, her very life, she could see it all in the inferno behind her.

Smoke. Ashes.

Everything she had to live for crumbled with her home.


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