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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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DILEMMA OF THE DECADE Edit
Zuko and Mai had a daughter not long before the ten year reunion; she was born an honorary Princess to the Fire Kingdom and the royal couple named her Honora (like Honor---but with an "uh"). She was the perfect example of Fire Nation Royalty, with her dark hair and golden eyes. Honora was the first firstborn female child born to a Fire Lord to be recorded, and when she gets older, Honora would become the very first female Fire Lord in Fire Nation history!
"And---?" Sokka wondered.
"They've been in there for over a decade...I mean Azula tried to help me find my mother a few years back, but it was all just another lie on her part. It just got me thinking...what should we do with them?"
"I guess leaving them in prison forever isn't an option?" Katara grumbled.
"No. My father is a harmless old man now, he has no bending and no drive for world domination anymore... but just to be safe, we need to put him somewhere where he won't cause too much trouble. I had a talk with Uncle and he's agreed to watch him in Ba Sing Se, if he will agree to cooperate?"
"Find a home for your father, noted..." Sokka scoffed.
"Then there's Azula..." Zuko started, "I kind of have a crazy idea..."
"Like?" Toph wondered unenthused.
"Aang, I want you to take away her Firebending."
After Zuko spat that out, they all stared at him like he's asked Aang to do the impossible. Aang was the first one to break the long minute of silence by saying, "It's not that simple Zuko... I mean your father was lucky---I had a lot of power and a lot of pressure, people depending on me---the fate of the world was at stake... I don't know if I can just "do it again"?""Azula causes a prison scene every week---After being demoted to the Homeland prison, my Uncle keeps telling me that Azula has been a pain to deal with for more than a decade---I think if you took out her fire, she would be just another harmless psychopath?" Mai added.
"Like I said---" Zuko interrupted, "It was only a suggestion. Forget I brought it up."
After a moment, Aang reluctantly agreed, saying, "Zuko, if you think that this is the only way to bring your sister peace, then I can try... I'll try for you, but you have to come with me to make sure I don't get struck by lightning along the way."
"I can feel your nervous about this Aang..." Toph snapped, "You're scared that Azula will consume you like Ozai almost did when you took away his bending."
"You never told me that what you did was so dangerous!?" Katara blurted.
"It's true..." Aang sighed, "If I mess up, Azula's chi will consume and destroy me...but if I can take out the Fire Lord, then Azula can't be that much of a difference, right?"
Mai and Zuko exchanged a glance, "Actually...she's a lot worse...maybe this was a bad idea after all?"
"It's better than doing nothing!" Aang stated, "They may be horrible people, but they are still people and they deserve the chance at a normal life!"
"Why?" Sokka huffed, "They deserve what punishment they got. I have an idea---let's remember this conversation and consider it over in oh, about forty years?"
"No Sokka... I'm the Avatar. If I can bring balance to the world, I can bring balance to Zuko's crazy family----no offense."
"None Taken," Zuko shrugged."Then it's settled. I'll send for your uncle and we can get into prison to deal with Azula and Ozai," Mai nodded.
Suki wrapped her arms around her waist and muttered softly, "This is a bad idea."
Katara agreed in haste, "Tell me about it! Aang, they aren't worth risking your life over!"
"It's not open for debate! I'm going to take Azula's bending away---and bring peace to one of my dearest friends."
Everyone smiled guiltily, or began arguing loudly, while Aang escaped out onto the back balcony to think. "Where's a giant Lion-Turtle when I need one?"
Iroh was there in a matter of days and when assembled, Aang, Zuko, Iroh, and Toph made their way to the prison that held Azula and Ozai captive.
"Are you sure you are ready to do this again?" Iroh asked Aang.
"I have no choice... it's either "do this" or let them die behind bars?"
"They have done so much wrong in their lives, but perhaps I can teach them the error of their ways now that they will have no more Firebending?"
"You taught me how to live a better life Uncle, so I guess it's worth a shot."
Toph scoffed, "Yeah, but you aren't a total nutcase like the rest of your family... oh, no offense?"
"None taken?" Iroh and Zuko agreed. After a while of walking through the dark prison tunnels, Zuko stopped and said, "Here we are. You two wait here, Uncle and I can handle this one..." He opened the door to peer into the darkness at his decrepit, frail looking father."I already told you everything I know about Ursa, Zuko. What more do you want from me?" Ozai coughed.
"I want you to learn the error of your ways and come to live with Uncle Iroh so he can teach you how to be good and make peace with your shameful, former life."
"Right... the ways of tea and Pai Sho... how do you expect this old man keep me out of trouble?" Ozai cackled.
"Brother..." Iroh said, "You can either turn over your treacherous path and see the error of your ways---see daylight again, or you can spend the rest of your life, sitting, wallowing away in prison?
Zuko interrupted, "This is not a mercy cry father... whatever you do, it won't sway me one way or the other... but it is your last and only choice."
Ozai was quiet for a moment, then he spit at the two Firebenders and growled, "I would rather rot!!!"
Zuko and Iroh shook their heads shamefully and left the room behind in the dark.
"Well, that was a big waste of time?" Toph said.
"My father is stubborn... but Azula's just crazy---I think she will be easier to sway."
"Yeah... " Aang chuckled solemnly, "right... "They walked through the prison, far across to another wing that stay guarded with twenty Fire Nation Soldiers just by the door to her cell alone. When Zuko and Iroh walked in, they saw Azula for the first time in decades... she was wrapped up in a strait jacket made of frozen metal, the room was freezing temperature that made her skin blue and she had a mask over most of her face to keep her flaming breath concealed. Azula's black hair had grown long and tangled, her golden eyes shook with insanity--- and at the sight of Zuko and Iroh, they could practically see her sinister smile beneath the metal mask.
"Well, well, well... I was beginning to think I'd been forgotten..." Azula said in her psychotic sing-songingly tone of voice.
"Not as much as I would like..." Zuko muttered.
"Well brother... the years have been good to you...I see a nice beard growing---just like our father's---or should I say my father after you tainted him with the Avatar's power and disowned him?"
"Azula, I've come to make you a deal," he halted.
"What could I possibly have that you want...and what's in this for me?"
"Your freedom, and the guilt of you dying alone out of my head."
"Aw, Zuzu, you do care, I'm touched. Fine, I choose freedom, let me out."
"Not so fast..." Zuko stated firmly, and Uncle Iroh continued for him, "Your freedom will come at a price Azula. You will return with me to Ba Sing Se and remain there and out of trouble for the rest of your days, helping me in the tea shop."
"You're joking right? That's it?" she scoffed in amusement.
"No... that's not it..." Zuko added, "because, whether you go with Uncle or decide to spend the rest of your life in prison like Father---the Avatar is going to take away your bending...for good."
"Did you come all this way just to intimidate me into telling you about Mother? Look I'm sorry I tricked you a few years back...sent us on that pointless goose-hunt...but honestly Zuko, I don't know what happened to her...and I won't be frightened by your bluff."
Aang entered her cell followed by Toph and he looked at her and sternly replied, "It isn't a bluff Azula. You have abused your Firebending power and now look at you---you can barely move, barely breathe, and you won't survive in these conditions for much longer. You can't be trusted to live a peaceful existence with others while you still have your bending, and that's why this is the only way to keep you alive and the world at peace."
Azula started shaking, "You---you can't take away my bending... it's all I have!!! Wh-wh-what am I supposed to do without it? YOU CAN'T!"
"We do not wish to see you in such conditions Azula... this is your one chance at a normal life...Take it!" Iroh pleaded strongly."Zuko p-please... d-don't let him take my bending...I'll stay in prison---I'll stop causing trouble, just please!"
"I'm Sorry Azula---but this----this is the only way."
Azula started screaming... "NO!" Blue sparks flew out of her containment suit and she meagerly tried to struggle free, but she couldn't move and couldn't bend anything bigger than a candle flame.
"Toph, keep her in your sight, Zuko, Iroh coax her through it and watch out for fire..." Aang urged. Each step Aang took made Azula grow paler and her eyes get wider. He placed his thumb on the middle part of Azula's forehead and the other at the base of her heart. She whimpered and watched in shaking tears as Aang flashed into the Avatar state and the process had begun.
A quick blast of light blinded the entire cell---everybody waited---and in minutes, the procedure was done. Aang fell back a step and regained his strength...his face seemed to get older for just a brief moment before returning to normal, and breathing heavily, Aang stated, "It's done...Azula has no more lighting, no more blue fire, and no more regular bending abilities...she's a normal woman now."Azula was silent. The guards came in and unshackled her, pulled the mask off her face, and set her to the floor of her cell. They shut off the ice and in minutes, the chamber started melting back to normal. Azula didn't even notice as her skin started to thaw and her tears quickly started melting along her cheeks. She was skinny and frail just like her father and she just sat in the floor starring at her shaking hands with tears and silent gasps echoing through the ice chamber as she kept trying to Firebend---over and over, she pleaded for it, all she longed for was to create one measily burst of fire, but it never came.
Aang and Toph left the cell so Zuko and Iroh could calm Azula down, but when out in the hallway, Aang fell into the wall and Toph quickly caught him. "Whoa there Twinkle Toes... " She tried to sound humorous, "Don't pass out on me yet cuz I am not carrying your butt back to Appa..."
"Sorry Toph---I just...feel like I just got---y-years older---all of the sudden?"
"Alright...." Toph eased gently, "Maybe that's enough defying nature for one lifetime, okay pal? This "taking-away-your-bending" stuff wears you out like one of Sokka's bad jokes."
Toph supported Aang all the way back to Appa and after she got him in the saddle and the bison took off into the night sky, Aang passed out. They flew back to Zuko's palace and left the prison behind, both agreeing not to tell anybody of what just happened after Aang blocked Azula's fire power.
Fanon Trivia Edit
- Honora is not the official name for Zuko's Daughter, but if it isn't Honora, I know a lot of fans who are going to be upset!
- This is the first year where we see the inside of the Fire Nation Royal Palace, and also the first time we see the children of Team Avatar playing together at a Reunion.
- The last time Aang took away someone's bending was in the ATLA season finale "Sozin's Comet Part Four" and it was used to defeat Ozai.
- Azula was placed in a mental institution before being granted access into prison. Both she and Ozai have been in prison for over ten and a half years.
- This is the second time an Illustration has been used that was not made by myself, the first was the map used in the Introduction to Year One.
- This is the second time Iroh has had a speaking role in the Fanon.
- It is also the first time we've seen Azula or Ozai at all in this Fanon. It is the last time we ever see Ozai.
- Toph has a hard time seeing on ice, but she still proves to be a competent body guard.
- This is the first time of many that we discover the Avatar State is draining Aang of his energy.
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