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January 25, 2014
Chapter 12, Hana: Discord
In my apartment, I was meditating. I just needed some space for my mind to concentrate. I didn't have any lights on in the house.
I started to let my mind wander. In a perfect world, I wouldn't be in this pressure. I would be married, maybe pregnant. Maybe I'd be something bigger than a War Minister. Maybe I'd be on the Republic City Council or some sort of shaman.
Would things had been different if I were a better child? If I was less volatile? Maybe if I focused on making friends instead of relentless training, I'd be different. Maybe if I would have made an effort to invent myself I'd be different.
I stood up, walked to my bedroom and looked in the mirror. I took an eyeliner pencil out and started drawing the outline of my missing scar on my right cheek. Then I grabbed a tube of brown lipstick and colored it in. It wasn't good enough, so I smeared it all over my face. I looked ridiculous, but I didn't care.
I was too frustrated. I punched my mirror and the glass cracked. "Ugh!" I screamed. "This is not working, Hana!" I continued. "Oh great. Now I'm talking to myself!" I threw a punch at my mirror and flames shot out. I just sat there and watched my mirror smolder. I didn't feel bad.
"Hana? Are you in here?" My dad asked. I hadn't heard him come in over my tirade.
"I'm in here," I said quietly. Tears started to roll down my face.
He looked shocked at my appearance for a split second, then his face morphed into an expression of concern. "What happened here?" He asked. With a swift arm motion, he neutralized the flames. Firebender. I reminded myself.
He sat down at my side and took off his shoulder armor so he didn't poke me in the eye. "I'm so confused, Daddy," I cried. He shook a handkerchief out of his shirt pocket and started wiping my face.
"About what?" He asked.
"My life," I tried to clarify.
"For a long time," I answered.
"How long?" He rephrased.
"Since you offered me this job," I answered.
"Why, honey?" Myung Dae asked.
"Because I've been lying to you and I feel guilty."
Myung Dae didn't say anything for a moment. He just kept trying to scrub my face.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked.
"I know where Mom is. I know where the Avatar is. And me being with you is the Avatar's plan to overthrow you. But I can't do it, Dad. I can't."
Myung Dae stopped wiping. "Who has your mother?"
"The Independent Nation," I said. "And they might be coming here."
"To Republic City?"
"Yes. They want to kill Avatar Yukio. They want you to make a mistake first, then come in and do something else so people will assume it's your doing. They know that Yukio will step in to stop you and they can swoop in and kill him in the Avatar State. It's the perfect crime, really," I said.
I hadn't realized the IN's plan until I said it out loud. I had been trying to figure it out, but it was a tough nut to crack. Taylor probably had no idea either. He probably would've called me if he had an idea.
"It is. And I know why you're confused, Hana."
"You do?" I asked.
"Yes, I do. I felt guilty for all the time I spent traveling. I should've brought you with me. I let your mother fill your head with lies, sweetie. She doesn't love you. She's always loved Tae Hun more. And deep in your heart, you know that. That's why she revoked your title. Isn't it obvious?"
"No! Mom loves me. David can't protect himself. That's why-"
"Hana. Your mom doesn't love you. I love you more than anything. That's why I gave you this job."
I thought back to my mom. She didn't really spend a lot of time with me. But she didn't spend a lot of time with Chi-Ji or Caleb either. She wasn't very affectionate, but I never liked that anyway.
As I got out of my teenage years, I began to understand why my mom had stopped spending a lot of time with me. I was mean to her. I told her that I hated her. I was a brat to her. But she never treated me any different.
And then there was my dad. He was my Firebending teacher. He was often disappointed with me, but that made me stronger. He toughened all the kids up that way. He always bought me gifts, though. He brought me flowers and gave me hugs all the time. He gave me whatever I wanted.
But when Myung Dae did all those things, it felt sort of like he was buying my love. I felt shallow for accepting them, but not enough to stop. It worked when I was younger, but I wasn't so sure anymore.
Maybe I was stupid to pick sides. If I picked Dukran, I'd have the real relationship. I could apologize for all that stuff. But I'd never get the throne. And I wanted more than anything to be Firelord Hana.
But if I picked Myung Dae, I'd still get everything I wanted. I'd get the flowers and jewelry and makeup, but no real emotional attachment. But I'd get to be Fire Lord. And I had to admit, I'd look pretty good in the Fire Lord's headpiece.
"Dad? Do you really love me? Did you really say that I'm a mediocre Firebender?" I asked, looking up at my dad's face.
"Hana, I love you so much. You are an excellent Firebender. I just want to push you further. I know you can make lightning, and I want to get you there."
I sighed. "Okay, Dad. I'll keep working with you, if you want. But do me a favor."
"Sure, Hana. What is it?"
"That general, the one who wanted my job?"
"Send him home."
Behind the Scenes
- Myung Dae has been trying to brainwash Hana. It worked.
- This is not Hana's first mental breakdown.
- This chapter displays why Hana is not the Crown Princess.
For the collective works of the author, go here.