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Feb 18 2012
(Present Day Republic City Construction Site)
A messenger hawk suddenly swooped down and landed on Zuko's arm.
"What is it?" Toph asked.
"No," mumbled Zuko "There's a black ribbon tied to It." he quickly opened the letter and started to read it. The more Zuko read the message, the grimmer his face became.
"What is it Zuko?" Aang asked as the hawk flew off to make it's rounds.
After reading what was on the paper, Zuko's eyes widened. He quickly turned the paper over to make sure there wasn't more of the message. "Aang, can I borrow Appa? I need to get too the Fire Nation really fast."
"What happened?" asked Aang nervously
"No time, Aang! If you want to know, come with me." Zuko responded without turning around
"Zuko, at least tell us something" Katara pleaded. This was obviously affecting her too.
"Azula's back and she is not alone" Zuko responded in the most serious tone any of them had ever heard from him "I'm not going to wait and let her walk in the city like last time."
"Hold on," Sokka said as he placed a hand on Zuko's shoulder.
Which suddenly stopped the nervous Fire Lord.
"You're not going anywhere, at least not without some help." Sokka said with a dopey grin.
Zuko was calmed a little by the gesture. "Thank you but this is not going to be easy."
"When has it ever been easy for us?" Katara asked with a smirk.
"I'm coming, too" Toph said. "Besides, I still owe Azula a few burns from ten years ago."
"We're all going," Aang finally stated.
"Thank you all so much," Zuko responded. "Let's go get Appa."
After a short run and a quick reunion with Appa, Team Avatar quickly saddled up. Appa lifted off towards the Fire Nation.
A few minutes later Team Avatar was out on the open ocean. Zuko was still nervous
"May I see the letter Zuko?" asked Sokka. "I want to know more."
After a few minutes of going of mumbling a few words to himself Sokka got interrupted.
"Could you read it out loud?" Toph asked, annoyed.
"Why?" Sokka asked. "Oh right, the blind thing. Sorry Toph." Toph then punched him in the arm with a slight blush on her cheeks.
"I'd like to hear this to." Aang said from Appa's head
"OkayAY!" Sokka said. He then proceeded to read the letter aloud to them.
Dear Fire Lord Zuko
I have reports that the Blue Fire Army is setting up camp in the area around the city, so I had dispatched several scout teams. However, only one scout has arrived back. According to his report there is a very small army of troops, only numbering 4 or 5 platoons and they are all being led by Azula herself. Due to the scout teams being discovered, their plans to siege the city have probably been accelerated. We need you back at that Fire Nation now.
"It doesn't sound as bad as you put it Zuko," said Toph.
"No, he's just sugar coating this. Tien is a coward, but he is a careful one. He never would have sent this by messenger hawk unless he thought there was little time until the Blue Fire Army attacked" Zuko said, impatient as ever now. "How long will it take to get to the Fire Nation Aang?"
"It'll take at least a day. Maybe more with that storm heading towards us. We'll have to land. Appa is tired anyways ."
Everyone except Toph leaned to get a view of the approaching storm.
"Can't we just fly around it and continue for a while?" Zuko asked impatiently.
"Sorry Zuko, but that would take longer that waiting it out and besides; we can pick up the slack when we start back up. But right now we need to find an island to wait out the storm," Aang replied.
"There is only one island nearby, Aang," Zuko responded again. "It's Avatar Roku's island"
"Then that's where were heading, Appa."
Appa then proceeds to fly towards Roku's Island by the directions of Zuko
(On Roku's island)
As usual, Sokka was the one who took charge. "Okay everyone, we have to find shelter before the storm hits. Toph, could you find a cave for shelter?"
"Katara and Aang, you go and look for fire wood."
"And what will you be doing Sokka?" Katara asked with an annoyed look on her face.
"Me and Zuko will plan out a strategy to defeat the Blue Fire Army that will be put to use when we get to the Fire Nation Capitol," said Sokka without hesitation.
"Also, before that we're going to go with Toph," Sokka stated decisively.
"Wait, why do I have to babysit you two?"
"Because then we can go back for Aang and Katara and lead them here."
"Fine," Toph said with little sign of resistance. Damn you Sokka! Why not save them the trouble of trying to figure it and just tell them? I swear you're as subtle as a stampede of hipporhinos.
"We only have an hour or two before that storm hits," said Aang. "We'd better be ready by then."
With their objectives set out for them, Team Avatar went their separate ways.
(Aang and Katara)
(After the group split up, the couple of Aang and Katara were on their quest for fire wood)
Aang tried to start some casual conversation. "Is there any wood on this island at all?"
Katara's response didn't arrive until a few moments afterwards. "I don't see much. There's barely even a twig."
After a few moments of straight unbroken silence Aang couldn't take it anymore. "What's wrong, Katara? Is it because I've been gone so long? I'm sorry for that. You know, I've been trying to visit more often, but it always seems that whenever I take a break something decides to go horribly wrong." Aang's eyes well up with tears. "You have to know that I'm trying my best to make time for you and Noma. I know I've been a bad husband and a bad father, but I truly am trying my best."
Katara seemed about to cry herself.
"Katara I know I made a commitment to you and to the world. I'm also just one man, even if I am the Avatar. Trust me, if I could somehow make things so that when someone needs me, I could just ask someone else to do it, I would do so. But I'm the only one who can do that job and that's how it is. Katara, I never would want you to feel unappreciated." Aang was about to finish. "Katara I'm so so so sor..."
Katara cutted in with "Aang , I'm pregnant!"
At that exact moment Aang was completely still, not even moving an inch. Minutes passed by without Aang moving at all not even to blink.
All the while Katara is thought "How long is he going to stay like this, the tension is killing me."
"Again?" Aang finally answered.
"Yes, I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner but it never seemed like the ri... "
Katara was cut off by a sudden kiss from Aang. A few moments passed before they had finally parted lips.
"Also I never felt unappreciated and I know you have a very demanding job. Sure it gets lonely sometimes, but I knew that getting in the relationship. So don't blame yourself for not being able to fix everyone's problems at once. I never did, so you shouldn't either."
Aang replied with a smile on his face. "I'll go find some fire wood. We have one more to look after now. You just stay here and rest."
Aang then proceeded to use his airbending to speed up his running capabilities and went to gather wood.
As Aang was off looking for firewood, Katara grined while thinking to herself " Better than when he heard about Noma it looked like Azula hit him with another lightning bolt." Katara then grinned. "Funny he can face down Koh, Azula, and Ozai by himself without even a wince but when it comes to Kids he's as defenseless as a child himself."
Then another thought passed through Katara's head, so alien in origin, that she thought someone was whispering it in her ear. It said something that made her blood chill. " Why can't there be someone as strong as the Avatar?" As that thought passed through her mind Katara suddenly turned around to see no one behind her no one whispering in her ear this grim idea..
And one more question then passed through her mind but this was her own "If that wasn't my voice then whose voice was that?"
(Toph, Sokka, and an ever-so quiet Zuko)
As Toph was trying to figure out where a good cave for shelter for when the storm hit, she couldn't keep concentration in looking for it because Sokka was talking to Zuko about battle strategies a little louder than needed.
"Okay Zuko, well flank the enemy here and here while a third group attacks from behind."
Zuko actually showed signs of life when he replied. "Sokka, your plan is good, but there is one thing that your plan is overlooking. Azula is leading them."
"Yeah, what's your point, Zuko?"
"My point is that when have we ever been able to surprise Azula in these situations? She's had enough time to figure out a plan herself and I bet she also has countermeasures for anything we can think of."
After losing all of her focus for the tenth time Toph finally snapped. "WHO CARES? THIS ISN'T LIKE SHES GOING TO BE SURPRISED TO SEE US. IF THEY CAUGHT A SCOUT TEAM AND KNEW SOMEONE SLIPPED AWAY THEN SHE PROBABLY KNOWS WERE COMING!!!"
Sokka, with a much quieter voice, said, "Toph, calm down we're just trying to think ahead. You don't need to be so angry."
"OH NO, I'M NOT EVEN BEGINNING TO BE ANGRY AT YOU TWO. YOU BOTH HAVE BEEN CONSTANTLY BLABBERING AT EACH OTHER USELESS BATTLE STRATEGIES THE WHOLE TIME WE'VE BEEN GONE. WHY DON'T YOU TWO BOTH SHUT UP AND LET ME FIND US SOME SHELTER." Toph would have proceeded to storm off, but was stopped by something.
"Toph, look out!" Sokka shouted.
Toph, in her blind rage, somehow missed a giant wall of rock and fell flat on her back.
"Toph, are you okay?" Sokka asked sincerely while rushing to pick her up.
As she was picking herself up, Toph responded, "yes I'm fine. Also, I found our cave."
"Really?!? Where?" Sokka asked, looking around.
"Right here" Toph punched the wall of solid rock, just slamming her face into it to have it shatter and reveal a cave entrance.
Sokka froze out of sheer shock of the size of the cave. "This is the perfect size."
Toph, with a smug look on her face (and a bit of a blush) said, "the entrance is definitively big enough to fit Appa, but it gets bigger."
Zuko looked at Toph, puzzled. "It gets bigger?"
"Yes, but the entrance is small enough so that the storm shouldn't affect us directly."
"I'm going set up the supplies we took with us." stated Sokka.
"You guys can go on ahead without me," Toph said.
"Well if you're sure," said Zuko.
"I'm sure." Toph responded
"Okay then." Zuko finished
Zuko and Sokka proceeded to explore the cave on their own. After they were out of sight, Toph thought about what she sensed.
"Okay Toph, it's alright. It was a fluke. That's all, there is no rock you can't see." Then her mind started towards what she was trying to forget. "Who was that I saw in the cave? And why can't I sense them anymore?" It was just like Katara. An alien thought entered Toph's mind as well. "The more important thing is where did they come from?"
Toph suddenly realized that this thought is not her own and shook it from her mind. After trying on her own to forget this thought she went off to find Sokka. "Surely his constant babbling can get my mind off this."
Toph then rejoined the Sokka and Zuko to find they had already set up the supplies they brought with them. Then they headed off to find Aang and Katara.
(The Group where Appa is)
Black storm clouds are on the horizon and Aang and Katara are patiently waiting for the others with a good amount of fire wood. Appa is getting restless due to how close the storm is.
"Aang?" Katara said after a period of waiting.
"It's about the baby..."
"What is it? Is something wrong?"
"No, nothing like that. It's just what should we name him or her?"
"I decided the name of Noma, so it's only fair that you pick the name for him or her this time."
"That seems fair. Also there is the question of how were going to tell Sokka and the others."
"Tell me what?" Sokka said with a sly grin
"SOKKA!!!" Aang and Katara both yelled in surprise. They both jumped ten feet in the air, but in Aang's case it was literal.
"They're trying to guess how you're going to react to being an uncle again," Toph informed him with the accuracy of a Yu Yan Archer.
"How did you know?" Katara had thought she and Aang were the only one who knew so far.
"I knew before we even got to the island when I detected two heart beats in Katara and I recognized that difference when you had Noma, too," Toph said with a smirk.
"Congratulations," Zuko said as he walked around a stone like Sokka, hugged Katara, and patted Aang on the back.
Right after Zuko patted Aang on the back, thunder roared through the sky .
Appa then began to roar himself anxiously.
"Maybe we should go to the shelter you guys found," said Aang.
"I'll try to get the statue to move," Toph said.
As she was about to earthbend some sense back into Sokka he suddenly snapped back in reality. "Uncle?...again?"
"Yep," said Toph.
"Why you..." Sokka said as he headed towards Aang.
Then Sokka stopped dead cold. So did Toph and Katara. There was a chill in the air that only they could feel.
"What's going on?" Aang asked, puzzled.
"Nothing," said the three of them in unison. "Let's just get to the cave" Sokka said in a rushed voice.
And a thought passed his mind "There is a storm coming, but this isn't it.
The group then proceeded to walk Appa over to the cave.
(Outside The Cave)
"Appa just get inside you big lump of fluff," Sokka said, trying to push Appa in
"Let me handle this," said Toph. Toph then proceeded to whisper something into Appa's ear. After the message set in, Appa's pupils dilated and he ran in faster than a heard of chetamas.
"Toph, what have you been doing to my bison while I wasn't paying attention?" Aang asked with an agitated expression.
"What? How could you accuse me of such unladylike actions?" Toph asked. Just then, a sweet roll dropped from her pack. Aang looked at her with one of those "busted" looks. Toph hated those looks since they always felt like her parents eyes always staring at her, mocking her for her disabilities and calling her weak.
"Okay, I have been sneaking him some treats ever since I met him yesterday," Toph said with a guilty look.
"So that's where you where yesterday." Aang concluded.
"Maybe," Toph said with a wide grin. Her grin disappeared as she sensed the storm coming "Now lets go inside." She could always tell when there was a storm. Whether it was the storm of battle or a literal storm, it always seemed the earth itself was trembling.
They set up the fire using a combination of Toph's earthbending to make the fire pit and Zuko's firebending to provide the fire itself.
Then group started to talk around the fire, except for Zuko, who was staring out the entrance. The storm howling outside.
"Whoa, good thing we didn't go out in that," said Sokka.
"Yeah last time I saw a storm like that . . . . . . . well you were in a fishermen's boat," Aang responded.
Toph laughed. "Like Sokka could fish."
Sokka didn't respond right away, being deep in thought. "Isn't it funny how a storm started this all. I wonder if a storm will end this, also."
No one had dared to speak as this question loomed over them, so heavy and dark that it seemed as an eternity passed until the silence was broken by Zuko walking towards something.
"What is it Zuko?" Aang asked.
Zuko didn't pause. Zuko didn't blink as he walked straight through the camp fire using his firebending to keep himself unscathed. Then he walked out of it like it was a stroll through a field continuing towards whatever was beckoning him.
"ZUKO!!!" Sokka was now worried.
Zuko finally snapped out of his trance when Aang put his hand on his shoulder. "What , what happened?"
"You tell us," Toph told him. "You just walked through our camp fire like it was nothing."
"What happened Zuko?" Katara asked, feeling nervous for her old friend.
"I was looking out in the storm when I heard something."
"What was it?" Sokka asked.
"No, you'll just think I'm overreacting..."
"Zuko, you just walked through a campfire. Anything else is something we can handle," Aang said straightly.
"It sounded like a giggle."
"A giggle?" Sokka asked quizzically.
"Yes. So when I heard the giggle I turned around and saw two glowing yellow eyes right there." Zuko pointed to a pitch black area right behind Toph. "After that everything when blank."
The whole group turned to look at the area behind Toph. "I don't 'see' anything there Zuko. And I didn't hear your giggle," said Toph.
"Neither did I," responded Aang
"I also heard nothing," continued Katara.
"Wait maybe it was Avatar Roku's Ghost," Sokka said, completely serious.
Everyone looked at Sokka with a united thought of "really?"
"First of all, my insane brother, that makes no sense," said Katara. "Avatar Roku doesn't have a ghost. And second of all, if he did, Aang could definitively tell if he were here."
"She has a point," Aang said, "Also, why would Roku giggle?"
"Okay, so maybe it wasn't Roku," Sokka said defensively. "But what's your explanation?"
"I'm not finished," Zuko said. "Before it went blank, the eyes looked straight at me, then they looked to the area above me." Everyone gazed at the drop-off that was the above the cave entrance.
"Aang, could you help me get some fire over there?" Zuko asked.
"Sure," Aang responded. Aang and Zuko then proceeded to use a circling formation with their arms to control the fire produced by their chi to make a circle of fire around the wall. And what was revealed was something they never expected.
"What is it?" Toph asked.
"It's writing," Katara responded.
"What's it say?" Toph asked
"I'll read it aloud," said Sokka.
"What was five is now four, and what was same, never more. The voice of the Demons is now gone, every one of them except one. If those who fly highest do fall, then the voices of the Demons will return. And the Fifth Nation will destroy them all."
"Wow, spooky," Toph said sarcastically.
"Well that is ... well...um ... odd." commented Sokka.
"You know what guys, it's late. Let's go to sleep. We'll have a tough battle tomorrow and we need all our strength."
"I'm not tired," said Toph.
"Neither am I." agreed Sokka.
"Then you guys can keep watch for any giggling spirits," stated Aang. Katara then laughed creepily behind them.
"You know what, I am tired let just go to sleep." Sokka chimed in.
"Pft...chickenduck!" Toph then quickly threw up her earth tent.
"Good night, everyone," said Aang.
After everyone else had fallen asleep, Zuko was the only one still up. As he was slowly drifting away he could still hear in the back of his mind that one giggle that teased him.
(The Spirit World)
Aang was having the most wonderful dream of his past days in the Southern Air Temple as a child, when it faded away and everything suddenly went black all around him.
"Huh, where am I?" asked Aang.
"You are in the Spirit World again, Aang," came the voice of Roku.
"Avatar Roku! How nice it is to see you again," Aang bowed to Roku.
"Likewise, Aang," Roku responded as he performed his own bow.
"Wait...why am I here Roku?"
"You are here because of that." Roku pointed to an image of the text written on the cave's wall.
"That's just some cave prophecy. It was probably left by ancient firebenders," said Aang.
"Aang, I have been on this Island for many years and I have never seen this writing or even this cave before," Roku responded in a grim tone.
"Well, Toph said she almost missed it herself," Aang said to reassure Roku.
"That doesn't change the seriousness of this "Fifth Nation," Aang. "I will go counsel the older Avatars to see if they ever had heard or seen this cave or anything else on the subject."
"Older Avatars? I should be able to talk to them, too, right?" Aang butted in.
"No, Aang. I mean beyond even Avatar Ren."
"Avatar who?" Aang asked
"Ren the Fire Nation Avatar before me. Tell me Aang how far back into the past Avatar's lives can you remember."
"Well, to be honest, all I can go into in detail is with you, Roku." Aang said
"And that's why you can't come with me, Aang. If you even tried to go with me you may lose yourself in thousands upon thousands of lifetimes."
"Then what about you, Roku? Won't you be lost, too? And if you were lost wouldn't the research be for naught?"
Roku looked at Aang with a wide eye. "It seems you have grown considerably since we last met, Aang, and your wisdom has improved also."
"Well I am a 132 year-old man."
Roku smiled at this briefly, but then returned to a serious tone. "I'm afraid that even if lost, that it might be too late anyways."
"What are you talking about, Roku?"
"When Firelord Sozin gave me this island, Aang, it wasn't called Roku's Island. It was called something much darker: 'Kindan no shima', The Forbidden Island. This island had a bad reputation for being cursed."
"That's ridiculous, Roku."
"Is it, Aang? This is where I died and because of that this is where the war started. And as I recall you have had some experiences with strange places like this."
"You're being paranoid Roku. But still, shouldn't I join you?"
"No! I will not allow you to join me. This is something that you will understand later, but it's for the best if you don't follow me. Aang, I need your word that you won't follow me." Aang hesitated to respond. "Aang, please trust me. An Avatar Collection" is something that you don't need right now."
"I promise" Aang said finally.
"Good. Now you may return to your dreams."
"Wait...Roku..." Aang said as he sets a hand on Roku's shoulder.
"What is it?"
"Promise me as I promised you, that you will show me everything that we have spoken about when you return."
Roku now hesitated, lost on the one thought "Should he know? . . . he should but later."
"I promise Aang that if I return. I will tell you everything."
"Now I will let you be on your way."
"Goodbye, young Avatar," Roku said with a bow.
"Goodbye Roku," Aang said with his own respectful bow.
When Aang finally looked up, Roku was gone and as he was about to pass through the Spirit World to his dreams, Aang noticed out of the corner of his eye, two yellow glowing orbs, except...
They weren't orbs: "No they were eyes, thought Aang as he woke up. It was morning. His conversation with Roku had taken the whole night. The storm was now over and he was the only one awake, so Aang decided to go for a walk to clear his mind. But Aang didn't even make it out the entrance.
"THE WORDS, THE WORDS ARE GONE!!!"Aang yelled, waking everyone else up immediately.
"What's gone?" Toph asked sleepily.
"The words – they're gone!" Aang said like he was on a repeat function.
As their drowsy eyes were set upon the area where the text should have been, they widened in horror to the fact that Aang was right.
"It is gone, but how?" Sokka was perplexed.
"I don't know how, but we don't have time for this. We need to get to the capital before Azula attacks" Zuko said in a clear tone.
"But..." began Sokka.
"Later," said Zuko in a commanding tone.
"Fine, we'll figure this out later. For now let's focus on the task at hand," said Sokka.
Everyone pitched to get Appa ready – even Katara, who Aang wanted to rest, but was beaten by his wife's reasoning. So Appa was saddled up about five minutes after they started and the group left this island with a sigh of relief.
(15 miles away from Roku's Island)
"I'm surprised to say this, but I'm glad were in the air. That place gave me the creeps," said Toph
"I know, but it was better than being out in the storm," Sokka replied.
Aang instinctively said, "yeah," but he was thinking something completely different. "You know what Sokka, I think the storm is just starting." Aang couldn't help but look back at the tiny speck that was Roku's Island, still feeling those glowing eyes watching him. . . .
(Roku's Island cave)
Five figures are concealed by shadows: four males and one female. The only other noticeable features of them are their glowing sets of eyes. Four of them are yellow, blue, green and red, while one of them is purple. The girl with the blue eyes makes a familiar giggle.
"Hehehe how sad all that time playing with them, only to let them get away."
A bulky Figure with the green glowing eyes said, "Who said they escaped? We'll see them again."
The leanest of the five figures with red eyes spoke next. "And when they return..." He griped his fist and Firebent strange white flames.
"That's quite enough, you three. They have business to do. We will let them have their little battle and once it is over then we will reveal the truth," said the figure with the purple glowing eyes.
All three responded in unison. "Yes, Sir."
When the leader turned his back to them, the girl said, "awwwwe. Keni never lets us have any fun."
The fourth figure with yellow eyes vanished instantly, then reappeared behind her a second later and lifted her up by the throat. "You better be more respectful of him. He may hesitate to kill you , but I won't."
"Ugh... I'm ... gak ... I'm sorry... ack"
"That's enough! Let her go," said the leader with the purple eyes.
The fourth figure released the girl gagging for air. Then he vanished instantly only to reappear again by the leader's side "So what do we do, Sir?"
"What I said we do old friend...we wait. But before they return, I'm going to pay a visit to two other old friends."
- That was no coincidence when Sokka said, "Avatar Roku's Ghost".
- The "Avatar Collection" will be further explained.
- I reference the color of those five figures eyes so much because it will be important later on.
- This chapter brings up many questions for the characters of Avatar these are because when I was watch the entire Avatar series there was one question I always had continually nagging me and I never felt relieved of that question until I started writing this fanon. I'll let you guys figure it out what that question is.
- I use a different writing style from my last chapter and this style will be what I use from now on.
For the collective works of the author, go here.