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|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action/Adventure, Drama||PG-13||Positive||N/A|
The Light Clan warriors were terrified. Normally they would never show fear in Bai Lung's presence, but how could they be expected to act brave while staring the living incarnation of death in the face?
Jun stared down at his enemies, his masked face hiding any emotion. "Thank you for so graciously deciding to revive me," he said. "Here is your reward."
In a flash, the Dark Avatar unleashed a ring of scorching flame in all directions, scattering the Light Clan warriors' bodies all across the mountain.
Bai Lung managed to raise a light shield in time to defend himself from the attack, but was eventually blown backwards himself, landing on all fours. He gazed into the sky to see Jun shooting down towards him.
With a vicious cry, Bai Lung swung his fist forward, hurling a ball of light at his opponent who deflected it with just a flick of his wrist.
The Dark Avatar landed, putting himself on level ground with his foe.
"I don't know how long I've been dead for, but I intend to make up for every second of it by ensuring every person I kill has the most painful death imaginable," Jun declared. "Starting with you."
"You're not going to slaughter me like you did my ancestors!" Bai Lung shot back.
"No," said Jun. "What I'm going to do to you is much worse." He closed his fist, rendering Bai Lung powerless as he pulled the air from his lungs.
The Light Leader's vision faded and his throat stung with the pain of a hundred buzzard wasp stings as the ancient madman suffocated him. With what little strength he had left, he focused all of his remaining concentration on projecting a light beam directly into Jun's chest, shoving him backwards.
He didn't have long to get his breath back, though, because Jun was right on top of him a few moments later. He formed a fire bomb in his hand and launched it right into Bai Lung's center, tossing him away like a rag doll. He hit the ground with a loud thud and didn't get back up again.
"Now that that's settled," Jun said. "It's time to find the Avatar."
The masked man jet propelled himself away into the sky, leaving Bai Lung to bleed out.
Aang and Katara stood in the ruins where their home had once been. After Ving's attack, the two of them along with little Bumi had been staying with Sokka and Suki. Both he and Katara could only thank their lucky stars they had left Bumi with a sitter the night of the attack or else he would have become a part of the ruins himself.
"So what are you thinking?" asked Katara. "Are we going to get someone to rebuild it or move into the city?"
"Actually," said Aang. "I think I'm going to rebuild it myself."
"Since when are you an architect?" Katara playfully scoffed.
"I know some things about architecture," Aang replied, appreciating his wife's sense of humor. "All Air Nomads do. How do you think we managed to build the Western Air Temple upside down?"
"Good point," Katara conceded. "But it wasn't you who did that."
"It's in my genes," Aang joked. "I can feel it."
There was a silence that interrupted the good vibes flowing through the couple and replaced it with worry and fear. Something they had had too much of recently.
"Should we go back to the hospital?" asked Katara.
"I don't know," said Aang. "Even now after everything we've accomplished, there's still so much to do. Meanwhile, Yukio is still here without any explanation and Suki might not..." The Avatar thought it best not to finish his sentence. He had to stay positive. If there was a chance Suki might pull through, he had to hold on to that glimmer of hope.
"What if Yukio didn't actually finish Bai Lung?" Katara asked. "What if he survived somehow?"
"I can't believe that," Aang replied.
"But it is possible," Katara insisted.
"I just can't," Aang repeated. "I can't, Katara."
"I know you want this to be over so badly," said Katara. "I do too. We all do more than anything. We've been fighting these guys for so long now, it'd be the worst thing in the world if we found out they were still out there even now. But don't forget that false sense of security is what nearly led all of us to our deaths. Ai was the only one who knew they were still out there and because we didn't believe her, we almost paid for it with our lives. If there's a chance they're out there, then for our sake and for the sake of our child, you have to make sure. You have to end it."
Aang nodded in understanding. Then he walked away from the ruins and made his way back to Appa without saying another word.
Downtown Republic City was a madhouse. Looters of all shapes and sizes polluted the streets, smashing their way through store windows and stealing whatever was to their liking.
One of them burst into a jewelry store with a bat, breaking the door off it's hinges. He approached the terrified owner of the store and grinned with his greasy teeth. "Put the money in the register and all of the jewels in the store into this bag," he demanded, brandishing an empty sack.
The owner, who was obviously distressed, had no choice but to comply. He started filling the bag, but was brought to a halt by a metal cable zipping through the doorway and incapacitating the criminal.
Toph approached the defeated looter and grabbed hold of him from behind. "I think this belongs to you," she said, tossing the sack over to the relieved owner.
The police chief dragged the criminal out of the shop and placed him on the curb. "Now you stay right here," she ordered, not that the man had any choice.
She zipped over to another store and repeated the same process with two more criminals while officers all around apprehended even more. Once Toph had caught about ten of them, she stopped for a moment to catch her breath. Never before had the city been so chaotic.
"This is madness," said Wu Li, zipping down next to her. "Thanks to Hong Shu's little surprise attack, you've got less than half the force left to protect the city."
"Yeah, well this is still my town," said Toph. "And if any of you punks think you're gonna get away with this kind of crap in my town, you're dead wrong!" she hollered, addressing all of the looters, who shouted back with their own obscenities that Toph didn't bother to listen to. "Now let's clean this trash off the streets."
Despite not being an earthbender, Bo was caught between a rock and a hard place. He nervously rubbed his hand against the back of his neck as he sat at the dining room table, pleading for forgiveness. "Look, Ai, how many times do you want me to say it? I'm sorry for not believing you."
Ai remained silent as she turned her back away from her boyfriend.
"I mean, would it have even mattered in the long run?" Bo asked. "Even if I had believed you, no one else did! They still wouldn't have acted."
Ai turned around and locked eyes with Bo. "That's not the point, Bo," she replied. "You shot me down in front of everyone. You have no idea how humiliated I was after that. If we can't even believe each other, then how is this going to work out?"
"Ai, I am so unbelievably sorry," said Bo. "I'll make it up to you in any way I can and I promise from now on, I'll believe you no matter what."
There was a pause before anything more was said and while Ai contemplated just how serious he was. "You mean that?" she queried.
"I do," Bo affirmed. "I really do."
"You'll do anything to make it up to me?"
"Then pack your bags," Ai said.
"What?" Bo asked, confused.
"While we were off on our missions, I promised Yukio we would hunt down Bai Lung and finish him off so she can return to her family," Ai explained.
"But she already killed Bai Lung," said Bo, having forgotten that the lightbender was in the other room.
"Then why is she still here?" Ai asked.
Bo felt like such an ignoramus for not putting that together. "Oh, right," he said.
"So will you come with us?"
It wasn't really what Bo wanted, but how could he refuse? He had to make things right and if this was the way to do that, then he was on board. "I'm with you guys," he said.
"That's great!" Ai said, excitedly. "Good news, Yukio," she said, making her way back into her room and opening the door. "Bo says he's gonna-"
The only thing that stopped her from finishing was the sight of Yazdalia with a knife to Yukio's throat.
"Yazdalia!" Ai cried out.
Bo immediately shot up out of his chair and rushed into the room, seeing the darkbender for himself.
"Let go of her!" Ai demanded.
"Or what? You'll kill me?" Yazdalia taunted. "Even if you kill me, he won't be stopped."
"Who's he?" Bo asked.
"My old lover has been resurrected," said Yazdalia. "He is coming to destroy everything that you and your friends hold dear. And once he does, you'll wish the Light Clan had destroyed your city, because their attack was child's play compared to what's coming."
"Your old lover?" asked Ai. As soon as she made the connection, her eyes widened and her arms went limp. She felt a cold wind brush past her as she made the horrifying discovery. "Jun is alive?"
"As alive as he's ever been," said Yazdalia.
"But that's impossible! Aang lightbent him out of existence!" Ai refuted.
"That idiot Bai Lung brought him back by mistake," said Yazdalia. "And now we shall be together again at long last."
"I think there is something you are forgetting," said Yukio.
"What's that, sister dear?" Yazdalia slyly retorted.
"The sun has not set yet," said Yukio. "You have no power here!" She elbowed her sister in the stomach, knocking the wind out of her and causing her to drop the knife.
Having been caught off guard, Yazdalia screamed as she was shoved up against the wall by Ai and encased in ice, sans her head. "You can't win! You won't! He will destroy you all!" were the last words that left her mouth before Bo froze her head as well.
"Shut up," Bo replied.
Yukio bent a light blade and brought it to Yazdalia's throat. "Goodbye, Yazdalia." She slashed the blade clean through the ice, decapitating her only sister.
"We have to warn Aang!" said Ai.
"What about Toph?" asked Bo.
"Toph has enough things to worry about," said Yukio. "Aang is the one who needs to deal with this."
Aang and Katara strode through the corridors of the hospital, taking no notice of the other patients around them. With them was Zuko, having coincidentally met up with them downstairs. They came upon the room they were looking for and entered, seeing Sokka in the same position he had been in since Suki's admittance.
"Hey, Sokka," said Zuko. "How's she doing?"
"She's better than she was yesterday," Sokka said, quietly. "That gives me some hope."
Katara placed her hand on her brother's shoulder and locked eyes with him. "She'll make it, Sokka," was all she needed to say.
"Yeah, I hope so," Sokka replied.
Momo, perched on Katara's shoulder, chirped in agreement.
"See, even Momo thinks so," said Katara.
"Yeah, don't worry, buddy," Aang added. "She'll be-" The sight of his eyes and tattoos glowing alarmed his companions.
"What's wrong?" asked Zuko. "What's he doing?"
"He's probably going into the Spirit World," said Katara.
On the other side, Aang stared in amazement at the gargantuan lion turtle that had contacted him so many times before. He bowed to the great beast and sat down on his palm. "Why have you called me here, great lion turtle?"
"Something has happened," the lion turtle said, his voice booming across the realm. "There has been a disturbance. He has returned."
"Who?" asked Aang. "Who has returned?"
"The man you defeated many years ago. The first in the long line of Dark Avatars. Jun."
Aang could hardly stand. He nearly fell over after hearing his old nemesis' name. It took him a minute to process how serious this was, leaving an uncomfortable silence between him and the lion turtle. Once he finally regained his composure, he looked back up at the lion turtle. "Are you sure?"
"Very sure," the lion turtle replied. "Aang, you must face him and end this madness forever. And when you do, you must remove the dark spirit Vaatu from his soul. If you do this, you will have ended the Dark Avatar cycle for good."
"I'll be ready for him," said Aang. "Once he gets to Republic City, I'll be ready to face him."
"Aang, he is not coming to Republic City," said the lion turtle. "He is attacking the capital of a different nation. The one in which he was born."
Aang decided not to waste any more time. He ended the discussion and pulled out of the Spirit World instantly. He darted his head over to Zuko, in a state of total shock and panic and released the words from his lips. "Jun is back."
Everyone in the room understood just as he did the realness of the threat they faced and got on their feet.
"Then we'll fight to defend the city from him," said Katara.
"He's not coming here," said Aang.
"Then where is he going?" asked Sokka.
"The Fire Nation."
Zuko fell back into the wall, his heart having skipped a beat at the realization.
Aang's eyes and tattoos glowed and he sped out of the hospital at the speed of light, using his lightbending abilities to project himself at near impossible speeds towards the Fire Nation.
Jun loomed over the Fire Nation capital city. The city shone brightly down below, broadcasting the peace and harmony that had been brought to the Fire Nation after the war. Couples strolled, children played, everything was bliss to the citizens. Too bad Jun was about to fuck it up.
It was funny to him how the world was his playground. He could do with it whatever he so desired and he was going to start with the Fire Nation. Unfortunately for the people, there was one weakness about the Fire Nation Capital that none of them had ever thought about, a weakness that Jun was about to exploit fully. It was built right on top of a dormant volcano.
He lifted his arms high above his head, exerting all of his strength as he did so. He could actually see the whole city start to tremble and all of its citizens stop what they were doing.
From the palace, Jin looked into the sky and saw him floating in the distance.
"Who is that?" asked Ursa, Zuko's dearest mother.
"I can't see him from here," Jin said.
With one more motion of his arms, Jun unleashed Armageddon on the Fire Nation. He lavabent the burning hot magma from underneath the volcano and eradicated the entire city in the blink of an eye. The only thing he regretted was not being able to hear the sounds of the people wailing in agony as their meaningless lives were terminated.
His victory was short-lived, however, as he saw a speeding bolt of light approaching. Aang unleashed a raw, brutal display of all five elements on his enemy, shooting him into the sea below.
He shot back up and laid eyes on his old nemesis for the first time in twelve years. "And so we meet again, Avatar Aang," he said. "You've grown."
Too furious for words, Aang turned the very air around them into a weapon by forming a swirling vortex powerful enough to level an entire town.
"The other nations are next!" were the last words audible from Jun before he was sucked into the vortex.
"You have crossed the line, Jun!" Aang roared in the voices of every previous Avatar. "You will pay the ultimate price for your evil deeds!"
"Wrong, Avatar!" Jun retorted, entering the Dark Avatar State. He managed to aim an airbending slice at the Avatar's center, breaking his concentration. He then bent a raging tidal wave at his foe, who countered the blast by transforming the water into snow.
Jun shot five simultaneous fire plumes at his enemy who nullified the attack with five air plumes, dispensing the flames instantly.
Not intending to waste another moment, Aang charged his enemy and pressed his hands into his forehead and chest.
Jun fought back with a water drill aimed at Aang's head.
Aang was catapulted away by the attack, but managed to jet propel himself back into the sky.
Jun lavabent what remained of the Fire Nation Capital at Aang, who ducked out of the way of the lava blast.
Aang whizzed several fire disks at his opponent, but Jun managed to avoid them all.
"It is pointless, Avatar!" Jun declared. "You and your nations and your people will burn! I am going to slowly and agonizingly kill each and every one of your friends. Then I'll nail their deformed bodies to the palace of whatever nation they are in and as the world burns around them. Their bodies, dripping with blood, will stand as a testament to your failure. Then I'll find your lover, Katara, and ravage her body most of all in every single way possible. In the ways you fear and the ways you would never let your mind slip to, even in the darkest of circumstances. Then once I've had my fun, I will erase her disgusting carcass from existence and keep her head in my pocket for whenever I get lonely and Yazdalia is not around to keep me company."
Not intending to waste one more moment, Aang charged at his nemesis and pressed his hands into his forehead and chest.
Jun tried to fight back, but resistance was futile. In moments, Aang had extracted the dark spirit known as Vaatu from inside Jun, stripping him of his Avatar powers and plunging him into the icy cold sea.
Unhinged, Aang bent his body further and further down into the ocean, vanquishing his greatest enemy for all eternity.
Then, in an instant, he was brought back into the Spirit World, Vaatu in tow. He stood before a great tree and heard the voice of a woman say to him, "Put him in the tree."
Aang did as instructed and shoved the dark spirit forward into the tree. As soon as he did this, the tree lit up and a force field surrounded it, imprisoning Vaatu in the tree.
"Here he shall remain forever," said the woman.
Aang didn't even bother to ask who it was and as soon as he was brought there, he left the Spirit World in a flash. His work done, he sped back to Republic City to deliver the horrific news.
Aang entered the hospital room to see a frantic Zuko sitting down waiting for the news. Through the Avatar's inconsolable weeping, all anyone could hear was, "It's gone. It's all gone. Jun destroyed the entire city and everyone in it."
This was the final straw for Zuko. He did not move. He did not speak. Not even as Katara tried to shake him out of it. He was deaf to her pleas as the gravity of the situation kept pressing it's weight on him. His home, his family, all of the people he loved were gone. Jin, his mother, all of the innocent people he had fought so hard to preserve and protect. His eyes widened and he began to drool as anything resembling a healthy mindset fled from him. He was now sadly and in a cruel twist of irony, like his sister. He was gone.
"I wasn't strong enough," Aang sobbed. "I'm sorry, Zuko. I wasn't strong enough."
Katara helped the dormant Zuko out of the room and also escorted her devastated husband out as she cried as well.
It was then that Suki woke up. She sat up straight in her bed just as her friends left and a doctor entered the room. "Are you Sokka and Suki?" he asked.
"Yes," Sokka said, faintly, ravaged by the news himself.
"I'm afraid I have bad news," the doctor said.
Both Sokka and Suki listened intently as the doctor spoke.
"The blast delivered from the cannon had catastrophic results. You have lost the child that was growing within you."
Sokka's knees buckled and he fell to the ground, having been removed from reality. He simply lay there, attempting to process what he had just been told, and weeping softly into the floor.
"I'll let you two have a moment," said the doctor.
Suki laid her head back on the pillow. Hong Shu had managed to take everything from her. He truly had now. He took away her friend, her family, and now her child and motherhood. The barrier that protected her from insanity broke down. There was no such thing as restraint anymore. The only things that still existed in this world were absolute pain and misery and Suki fully felt both as she released every bit of it she had felt for the past ten years by screaming at the top of her lungs, echoing across the entire hospital.
All of the members of Team Avatar released their grief and sorrow in their own ways all throughout Republic City. The destruction of the Fire Nation Capital, the loss of an unborn child, Yukio still not being able to reconnect with her family.
Truly there was never a day darker that anyone could recall.
- Be sure to look out for the conclusion to Avatar: Into the Light, Our Brightest Hour, coming soon.
For the collective works of the author, go here.