“Your Highness.” Zuko looked up. A guard was standing in front of him. “Miss Mai is nowhere to be found. Shall I order a search party?” “No,” said Zuko. “She does this. She’ll be back.” “Very well, sir,” the guard said, bowing and then leaving. Aang opened the door and yawned sleepily as he came in. “People are still going missing, Aang!” Zuko said, sounding tired. “I’s been a year since the war ended but someone, I don’t know who, is kidnapping the people we love.” Aang yawned again. “Well Appa’s on guard at the gates of the town and Momo hides so he can see everything that’s going on so...” He yawned again. “AANG!” Aang jumped. “How many hours of sleep did you get last night?” Aang smiled sheepishly. “Two?” he said. Zuko groaned. “Aang! Mai hasn’t been seen since last night! I’ll bet you anything Katara will be next.” “No!” Aang growled. “I don’t let Katara out of the town alone!” “You don’t own her Aang! She isn’t always going to follow your rules!” “Your Highness!” Aang and Zuko looked up. The same guard was sprinting into the room. “Your Highness! Avatar Aang! The note! The same note as last time! Mistress Mai is gone! And Ozai has escaped!” Zuko sat in his chair, burying his face in his hands. Aang lightly hopped to his side. “We’ll find her, Zuko,” he said. “I promise.” Zuko looked up. “How?” he asked. “Ozai’s escaped! And man, Ozai’s probably gotten real powerful!” Aang shrugged the comment away. “Who cares? Team Avatar to the rescue!” He punched the air with his fist, a small breeze traveling through the room. Zuko smiled weakly. “Aang! Aang!” Aang and Zuko looked up. Katara was running toward them both, passed the guards into the throne room. “It’s Sokka!” Katara panted. “He’s gone!”


Zuko paced from one side of the room to the other, muttering and groaning. “Calm down, Zuko!” Aang exclaimed. “We’re not going to find them if we stand here and pace!” Zuko stopped. “You’re right. Zhao! Order a full fleet of ships to search the seas!” “No!” Aang said hurriedly. “If we do that...the kidnappers will know that we’re on their tail! We have to put fleets out that look as if they’re looking for Mai and Sokka but then we ourselves go out discreetly!” Zuko frowned. “I though Sokka was the one with the battle tactics,” he said. Aang shrugged modestly. “He taught me some stuff.” “GUYS!” Katara shrieked in exasperation. “Can we start looking already?” “Sure,” Zuko and Aang said in unison. As they headed outside Aang started devising a plan to get the rest of Team Avatar together. “We’ll travel to Toph’s place first,” he decided. “Then we’ll pick up Suki. Ty Lee will be in Ba Sing Se so we can get her from there.” “Um...Aang,” Katara piped up. “You do have a plan of how we’re actually going to get on the kidnapper’s tail, right?” “,” Aang admitted bashfully. “I was hoping one of you had a plan.” Both Katara and Zuko groaned.

Sokka opened his eyes and winced. His head was throbbing painfully and the smells and scents around him were unfamiliar. ‘Oh man!’ he thought. ‘Now would be the best time to be able to bend.’ “Hey, Sokka, you okay?” Thank goodness! Sokka sat up fast and then grabbed his head to stop the spinning. “Mai!” he gasped. “What’s going on?” Mai smiled grimly. “We’ve been kidnapped.” “No!” Sokka screeched. Mai put a restraining hand on Sokka’s bruised shoulder. “Rest assured, I’ll bet my firebending powers that Zuko, Katara and Aang are on our tail right now.” Sokka breathed out but it wasn’t with relief. Actually, it wasn’t with anything. “Oh nut-crackers! Where am I?” “Suki?” Sokka shouted in astonishment. Suki appeared, rubbing her arm which was red. Sokka swallowed and prayed that it wasn’t blood. “Sokka!” Suki cried and she ran up to him. Sokka steadied her with both hands. “You got taken too?” he asked incredulously. Suki nodded. “We’re trapped here for all of eternity!” Mai complained, flopping down on the floor. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” Sokka said. “You just said Zuko would be coming after you! You bet you firebending powers on it!” “Hey, I don’t have firebending powers,” Mai sighed. Sokka frowned. “What if they’re getting Toph too? And Ty Lee?” “Why would they do that?” Mai asked. “Because Fire Lord Ozai has escaped,” Suki said quietly. “WHAT?” the other two yelled. “Yup,” Suki said heavily. “I’ll bet anything he’s trying to capture all of Team Avatar so he can find Aang and face him alone.” “I think he’s after Zuko,” Mai said. Suki looked at her questioningly. “Well, Zuko did lock him up in prison.” “Indeed he did,” said a cold voice. All three spun round. Fire Lord Ozai was standing there and in his hands was a box labeled TORTURE.

Aang squinted through the clouds. “We need to go faster Aang!” Zuko urged. “What if something happens to them?” “Exactly what could happen to them?” Aang sighed. “Oh...let’s see...torture?” Aang rolled his eyes but nevertheless he kicked Appa’s sides and said “Come on Appa! Yip, yip!” The next day they stopped over at Toph’s village and picked her up. “Oh yeah! Some action at last!” she said happily and she jumped on Appa eagerly. Ty Lee was next. By the third day the reached Suki’s village. “Suki?” asked the man. “You want Suki? She was kidnapped two days ago!” Aang’s jaw dropped a mile to the ground. “What?” he gasped. “She’s gone?” Without waiting for a reply he sprinted back to Appa and flew him at top speed into the skies. “I know where Ozai’s taken them,” Zuko said finally. “To the Eclipse Temple. It’s a temple deep in the Earth Kingdom. It’s a fantastic prison. Most people die there.” Katara swallowed anxiously. “Alright then,” Aang said. “Zuko, you lead Appa. I’m going to take a look around.”

Sokka tried to launch at Ozai but he was blasted back with a fireball. “Sokka, stop!” Suki cried. “You’ll only get weakened further!” “Well I can’t just let him torture Mai! For Zuko’s sake!” Sokka argued back. But Ozai just clamped them in chains and dragged Mai away into a room. Sokka fell into a state of unconsciousness when he smelt burning flesh.
Inside the torture chamber, Mai was screaming at the top of her lungs. “Stop!” she gasped as the flames zoomed past her arm again. “Tell me everything you know about Zuko’s plans!” Ozai demanded. “No!” Mai said defiantly. Ozai gave a snarl of fury and shot a fireball directly at Mai’s face. Mai felt it getting closer and closer and the pain was starting to sting her eyes. A small ball hit her cheek but the rest of it disappeared in a ball of water. Just before fainting, Mai saw the familiar figure of a boy with an arrow gleaming on his head...

“Fine,” she said when Zuko caught her by the collar. “Aang, can you please occupy her with Johan in some kind of duel?” the king asked angrily. Toph blushed furiously (she fancied Johan) but Aang smirked and said “Sure dad.” He slapped his hand to his mouth. Katara gasped. So did Sokka. “Aang!” Toph hissed. Aang took a step backwards, and then another and another, then he around and started to run.

“Aang! Wait!” Zuko shouted desperately. “I’ll go-” Katara started but Zuko raised his hand. “No,” he said. “I will.” He started to walk through the town and then broke into a run. “Poor Aang,” Suki sighed. Sokka smirked. “Just embarrassed himself like...” Next thing Sokka knew he was on the ground, soaked in water and his sister was storming off.

Zuko found Aang destroying the rocks in the cove. “Aang,” he said. “Get lost!” Aang growled. “Aang, I’m not mad,” Zuko said gently. “Why?” Aang asked bitterly. “You should be. I called you dad! We’re not even related!” Zuko gazed at him. “Actually, we are.” Aang stopped throwing all types of bending at the cove. “What do you mean?” Zuko sat down on a rock and then jumped up. “I sort of burnt that one,” Aang said sheepishly. Zuko ignored him. “When I had betrayed Uncle Iroh to father, I would visit him in secret. He told me to learn my family history. That was when I read my great grandfather’s will. Sozin’s will.” Aang was watching with interest. Zuko continued. “And then, afterwards, I realised that this had nothing to do with me. It was interesting, but irrelevant. I went back to Uncle and he admitted that my great grandfather from my mother’s side was Avatar Roku.” Aang’s mouth dropped. “You mean...we? You and me are...cousins?”
“Technically we’re brother in laws...sorta.”
Aang stared. “Oh,” he said after a while. Then he lifted up his palms and threw a fireball at a rock. It exploded in flames. “No!” he shouted. “No! No, no! I’m not related to you! I’m from the air kingdom, you’re from fire! Your family is evil! I’m not related to you!”
Zuko stayed calm. “Only partly. Part of you belongs to your real parents but 3/4 of you belongs to the Avatar line.”
“NO!!” Aang screamed. He smashed a rock with his fists. “Aang!” Katara yelled in panic when she came down the hill. “Don’t!” Zuko called. “He’s upset! You’ll get hurt!” Aang was still shouting. “Aang,” Zuko said gently. “Listen to me. I know you don’t want to be related to me. But you are. You can’t win against the facts. Trust me.”
“It’s not that.”
“What is it, then?”
“It’s the fact that...I’m betraying my mum and dad.”
“Who were they?”
“I don’t know. You, Katara, Sokka, Toph, Suki, Mai, Ty Lee, the monks, they were the ones raising me. But I’m betraying my mum and dad if I feel like you’re my family not them!”
Zuko put a hand on Aang’s shoulder. “You’re not betraying them. You’re showing them that it wasn’t their fault that they died. That they weren’t leaving you for the worst. That you’re okay.”
“But..but...I!” Aang’s stammers were hoarse. Katara pulled him to his feet. “The others are really worried. Come on,” she said, putting her arm around him. Aang walked silently to the house. Zuko trailed behind. The welcome home party was ignored.

“I remember a guard from the fire nation,” Aang said quietly as Iroh served tea to all of them. “My parents knew I was the Avatar. Of course I didn’t. They told the guards not to harm their son. They pushed me away to the monks. “‘ What are you doing?’” I called. But before they could answer they were burned. In front of my eyes. I saw it all.” Aang heard his voice break in the last sentence and tears welled in his eyes. Katara gently put her arm around him.. Ozai sipped his tea and then put his glass down. “I guess I should tell you what happened to your mother, Zuko,” he said. Zuko’s head jerked up. Iroh also looked to the side. “Ozai, what did happen?” he asked. “I never knew.” Ozai closed his eyes. “I had gone away on a business trip. I knew of Limanti trying to take over my kingdom so I left it in Ursa’s hands. But...while I was away, Limanti came, impersonating me. He banished Ursa and warned all of the nation never to speak of this day again. She even changed her name. I think she changed it to Tania.” “So that you’d never know why she was gone!” Iroh exclaimed. Ozai nodded. “But I thought she’d just left. Zuko and Azula was so small. I remember Azula coming up to me and asking where she’d gone. I changed after that day.” Aang noticed Zuko clench his fist. “Everyone knows what happened to Sokka and Katara’s mother,” Toph said. “And for the rest of us, our parents are still alive.” Aang looked up and saw Mai grit her teeth. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Nothing,” Mai said quickly. “I just don’t feel very well. Maybe I’m coming down with something.” She got up and hurried out of the room. “We’re going to stop our quest for Limanti for a while,” Aang said, putting down his cup of tea. “What?” Sokka choked. “What are you on about, twinkle toes?” Toph grumbled. Aang met his cousin’s eye. “We’re going to look for Tania first.”


Mai’s condition got worse. She became moody, sick and was close to tears all the time. “What is wrong? We can’t go looking for Limanti or mum with her in this state!” Zuko burst out, a week after she’d first gotten sick. Katara looked down, busying herself with practicing her healing. “You know something,” Aang accused, after Zuko had left. Katara nodded. “What do you know?” Zuko asked from the door. Katara jumped. “Nothing,” she said defensively. “Mai doesn’t even know!” Zuko growled. “You have to tell me! I’m worried about her!” He was pleading now. Katara sat down. “Moodiness, sickness, always crying and sleeping. It’s obvious. She should know.” She took a deep breath and then looked up to face Zuko. “I think Mai’s pregnant.”

Zuko’s enraged howl echoed round the entire mansion. “WHAT?” he wailed. “She’s pregnant???!!! This can’t be happening to me!!!!!!!!!!” Aang stared at Katara. “Are you sure?” he stammered. “I mean...there might be other things...” Katara shook her head. “I’m sure.” Mai, Iroh, Ozai, Ty Lee, Sokka, Toph and Suki raced in, expecting an ambush. They raised their eyebrows at Zuko who was wailing on the ground. “What’s with him?” Toph asked, covering her ears. Katara looked straight at Mai. “I know what’s wrong with you. I just told him,” She gestured to Zuko who was now destroying the parchments in the room. “What is it?” Mai asked urgently. “If it’s so bad...I have to know!” Katara told her. Her scream was so terrifying that Aang was sure he would go into the avatar state. It took a great deal of self control not to. When he opened his eyes again Mai had fainted.
Zuko looked over the balcony. He was going to be a father. Oh no. He considered it. Aang already thought of him as a father. Sokka was nowhere near it and Aang loved Katara too much to think of her as a mother. What if he adopted Aang?, no and no! What was he thinking? He was eighteen! He couldn’t do this. He’d have to get Katara, or Suki or maybe Iroh and Ozai...and his mother if they found her... to look after the baby. Until he got old enough. “Thinking?” came a playful voice and Aang flew up to the balcony. “Yeah,” Zuko said heavily. “Hey, check this out!” Aang grinned and he flew over to the sea. Zuko watched and he couldn’t help smiling as Aang skimmed the water in glee...until a huge wave rose and washed him into the sea. “Aang!” Zuko shouted hoarsely. He jumped down from the balcony and sprinted down to the beach. The current was smashing Aang against the rocks and his head had a huge bloody graze. Zuko slipped off his shirt and swam into the sea. He reached the rocks and put his arm around Aang’s shoulders. “Come on, Aang!” he urged. By now he could see a crowd assembling on the beach. “Sokka, come and help!” he shouted. Sokka heard and charged into the water, ignoring Suki’s protests. But Sokka was washed ashore by the tide. Zuko kicked off from the rocks riskily and went into the open water. He turned around and saw a wave rising higher, and higher, and higher until it crashed down upon them and pushed them under water. Zuko felt a rippling water tornado lift him up until a hand grabbed his wrist. Avatar Aang held his wrist but Zuko frowned. Aang’s eyes were lit but his arrows weren’t. Why? The tornado was getting smaller. It disappeared and Zuko stood in water up to his chest, Aang in front of him. Another wave crashed closer but the two boys were protected by an air shield. When Zuko opened his eyes, Aang’s body was wavering. Zuko caught him quickly. His eye glow vanished his body went limp in his cousin’s shaking arms.

“Why was he so weak after he did that?” Suki whispered as Katara put a hot towel on Aang’s freezing forehead. “Because,” Zuko said, shrugging off his blanket. “The skill he was using was from the avatar state. The energy was from his usual state. He didn’t fully get into the state so his normal energy was being used.” Mai looked at Zuko worriedly. “I’m fine,” he assured her. “Am I interrupting something here?” came a soft voice from the door. Ozai froze. “Tania,” Iroh acknowledged. “I didn’t banish you,” Ozai said immediately. “I know,” Tania said. “I know.” “Mum?” Zuko said lowly. “I heard what happened,” Tania said, moving swiftly to her son’s side. “Are you alright?” “WHY IS EVERYONE WORRYING ABOUT ME?” Zuko roared. “Aang’s the one that’s hurt! Aang is the one who hasn’t woken up!” “You needn’t worry about the second factor,” Iroh said. “Look!” Aang’s eyes fluttered. “Aang?” Katara whispered. “Please wake up!” “Mum?” Aang mumbled. “Please don’t go! What’s going on? Mum??”
“Aang, it’s Katara, please wake up!”
“He’ll wake. Don’t worry.”
“But Iroh...”
“He will wake. Let him rest.”
Mai sat down with a sigh. “You should rest too,” she said to Zuko, taking his hand. “I’m staying until he wakes up,” Zuko said firmly. Tania opened her mouth but then closed it again. “Where is Azula?” she asked. “I’ll take you to her. I was going to see her anyway,” Ozai said, a tear rolling down his cheek at the mention of his daughter. Zuko turned away, as did Katara. Mai put her head on Zuko’s shoulder and closed her eyes. Toph sat on a sofa as well and drifted to sleep. Another bed was taken to the room and Sokka lay there, Suki curled up in his arms. Katara slept by Aang...always.

“Zuko?” Aang croaked. He opened his eyes and saw an empty room. Sighing, he felt his head. Of course. He had hair. Long hair too. It was almost as long as Sokka’s had been a while before the final invasion. But as for why he was in this bed... all he remembered was a rock hitting his head. Then everything was blurry. “Azula is coming back?” came an outraged howl. Zuko was overreacting about everything as usual. “Calm down,” came Katara’s voice. “I think she’ll be under control. Anyway, I’m going to check on Aang.”
“Tell me if he’s awake.”
“Will do.”
The door opened and Aang hurriedly closed his eyes. “Oh, Aang,” Katara sighed, brushing a strand of hair off Aang’s face, making his heart speed up. “If only you could be awake. Things are spinning out of control. Azula is coming back, Mai changing so much, Sokka- actually Sokka hasn’t changed much but...if only you could be awake. We all miss you. And we can’t start hunting Limanti until you wake and get better.”
She kissed him. ‘That’s it!” Aang thought. ‘I’m outta this bed!” His eyes sprung open. “Aang!” Katara cried, flinging her arms around him. The door burst open and Zuko ran in. “Aang! You’re! Look at your hair!” “Oh shut up,” Aang grumbled.
“Aang, you’re never going to believe this! Azula is going to be visiting! She’ll burn this whole mansion down! As for Mai! I don’t know what to do! I’m eighteen!”
“Whoa...hold up there Zuko. I’m an avatar...not a counsellor.”
“Sorry, but you are the one that gives good advice.”
“Hey twinkle toes!”
“Hey Toph!”
“Aang! You’re awake!”
“Hey Suki! Where’s your boyfriend?”
“He’s telling the worst jokes in the world to the rest of the nation.”
“Hmm. Amusing Suki.”
“Hey Sokka!”
“Hi, Aang.”
“I’m so glad I’m awake. And this time...I’m not cutting my hair!”

“Leave me here,” Mai said, shaking her head. “You go on. You have to find Limanti.” “What about you?” Zuko asked. “What will happen?”
“I’ll have your mother and your uncle. And my parents are coming over from Ba Sing Se. Please Zuko. The world is depending on you!”
Zuko closed his eyes and groaned. “But I promised,” he said. “I promised when the first war ended.”
“You promised you wouldn’t break up with me again. You’re not. You’re doing the right thing.” Without even saying goodbye, Mai turned and walked back into the mansion. Zuko gave a roar of fury and destroyed everything within a metre of range. “Zuko?” Zuko turned. Aang stood there. He had tied his hair up and he had a cloak on, his staff in his palm. He had bandages over his chest, shoulder and forehead. “You okay, Zuko? Where’s Mai? Isn’t she coming?” “No,” Zuko said bitterly. “She’s staying here.” Aang slipped his staff into the belt on his back, almost identical to the one Sokka had for his sword. “Come on. We got Appa geared up and ready to leave.” Zuko spun round. “You don’t understand! I can’t just leave Mai here! You wouldn’t get it! You’re just a kid!” He pushed Aang out of the way and stormed off. Aang looked at the ground. “I do understand,” he mumbled to himself. “Katara isn’t coming either.”

At midnight, Aang left the scroll on the table for Katara, Sokka and Toph. He picked up his satchel and ran quietly to the courtyard. Zuko was waiting for him there. “Where are the others?” he asked, hatred still in his voice. “They’re meeting us later,” Aang lied. “They told me to go on with you.” Zuko shrugged aimlessly and climbed onto Appa. Aang heard a movement from Katara’s room. Oh no! She had woken up! She was going to see the scroll! He clambered onto Appa. “Yip, yip!” he shouted and Appa lifted off. “Aang, wait!” Katara cried from the courtyard. “Katara’s calling you,” Zuko frowned. “I just left some money behind,” Aang muttered. “It doesn’t matter.” They flew higher into the night and Aang knew that sooner or later he’d have to tell Zuko the truth.

Katara fell to her knees on the courtyard, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Katara!” her father exclaimed, running out. “What’s wrong?” Katara miserably handed him the scroll. Her father read it out to Sokka, Toph, Mai, Ty Lee, Suki, Iroh and Ozai.
Dear everyone,
I can’t risk everyone’s lives again. Zuko and I are the ones destined for bringing balance to the world. We will go alone. He doesn’t know yet but I will tell him.
Toph, Ty Lee, Suki, look, I know you wanted an adventure but maybe you should go home.
Mai, Zuko loves you. More than anything. I know it.
Katara: Katara I’m sorry. I’d do anything for you to come but I can’t let you. That’s how much I love you. I can’t let you risk your life for me.
Katara buried her face in her hands and wept. Suki put her arms around her and Mai’s knees trembled as tears welled in her eyes too. “Go home?” Toph shouted. “Go home?” Suki looked at the ground. “I’m not going,” she said. “I’m staying with Mai. And Sokka.” “Me too,” Ty Lee added. “Zuko has no idea,” Mai whispered. She fainted. Iroh caught her. “He loves you Katara, that’s why he didn’t want you to come,” Suki whispered to Katara. Katara nodded. “I know,” she sighed. “But he said he’d rather I come.” Ozai kicked a stone angrily. “Aang has no idea how powerful Limanti is! Someone must go after them!” “Why?” Sokka asked. Ozai grimaced. “Because when they catch up with Limanti there will be no fighting. Limanti will kill them on the spot.”

“YOU WHAT?” Zuko roared. “YOU LET US GO ALONE?????” Aang nodded. “UGH!” “Sorry.”
“Hi Zuzu,” Both boys spun round. Standing there, in a fire nation balloon, was Azula.

“You!” Zuko growled. “Wait,” Aang said suddenly, putting a restraining hand on Zuko’s arm. “If she was here for her old purposes we’d be dead by now,” he said. “Tell us why you’re here, Azula.” Azula bowed her head. “Thank-you for giving me the time to speak. Zuko, I realise you cannot forgive me straight away. Obviously. But I need to regain my forgiveness for this simple reason.” She took a deep breath and Aang and Zuko looked at her puzzlingly. “Zuko, I’m in love. He lives in an island called Haraku and his name is Gatori.” She met her brother’s eye. “You know what it means to be in love, Zuko! That’s why you’re here! So please...please help me!”

Zuko closed his eyes. This was it. They were finally going to face Limanti. Aang stood beside him, stronger and more determined than Zuko had ever seen him. Zuko breathed out and remembered all the people he was about to fight for. Aang, Ozai, Iroh, Suki, Sokka, Katara, Ty Lee, maybe Azula, his mother, definitely Mai and then there was...his son. He knew Tachiri was born because of the fact that his Uncle Iroh had sent a message specifically to tell him so. Zuko had sent a letter back giving both Mai and Tachiri his love and telling them that he and Aang would be home soon. If they survived this one battle.


Eight Months Earlier:
After Azula had joined their team, Zuko learnt that her love had been taken by Limanti for his skill in wood bending. “They took him away,” Azula said as she kept the fire going on the beach on Omashu. “I knew him because I fell in love with him a month and a half after you locked me away in that institution. He told me of the new world. All the things you had done to make it such a good place. And then my anger slowly faded. He taught me how to wood bend but he made me promise not to use it to break out. I promised. I wasn’t very good anyway.” Her face broke into a smile. “He said he loved me the night he was taken away. He had taken me to the courtyard of the institution and shown me the full moon. That was when they came. He shouted “Limanti!” but then he was gone.” Azula wiped the tears from her eyes and Zuko looked down. “We have many reasons to hunt Limanti,” he said. “1- For taking mother,” Azula nodded in agreement. “2- For what he did to Gatori. 3- For torturing Mai, Suki and Sokka. And 4- He tried to frame my father for the criminal life he had to lead.” He looked up. “We’re going to find him. And fight him. And we’re not going to rest until it’s over.”

A month later, they reached Ba Sing Se. It had taken so long because Aang wanted to stop at many places along the way to master the four elements he had learnt. “I may be able to freely go in and out of the avatar state, but I want to be able to fight even without being in it,” he explained to Zuko and Azula. At the south pole, a warrior named Joshami who had been in hiding for 20 years, taught him the art of soul bending. “That is what Limanti is gathering,” Joshami told Aang, Zuko and Azula. “He is gathering an army of soul benders. When you are bended, you are possessed. You have no idea what is going on. If Limanti has soul benders on his side, we need some on ours as well.”
Aang didn’t master soul bending, but Azula became an expert. “It’s difficult because I don’t know air bending but I think I’m getting good,” she announced when they were flying to Ba Sing Se. “Hmpf,” Zuko scoffed but Aang grinned.
At Ba Sing Se, Azula met up with an old friend who put her in disguise. “I think I’ll wait to rescue Gatori,” she admitted on the day Aang and Zuko said they were going to the temple of doom. “I want to live a bit before I love. I want to experience life properly.” Zuko said quickly that it was fine and they’d manage but Aang looked quite crestfallen.

But now...they were there. They were at the Temple of Doom. And this was it. The battle they’d been waiting, training and leaving for. Aang took a deep breath beside him. “This is it,” the young airbender said, his voice hoarse. “Yes,” Zuko agreed. “This is it.”
Together, they pushed open the doors and awaited their destiny.

Previously on AVATAR
But now...they were there. They were at the Temple of Doom. And this was it. The battle they’d been waiting, training and leaving for. Aang took a deep breath beside him. “This is it,” the young airbender said, his voice hoarse. “Yes,” Zuko agreed. “This is it.”
Together, they pushed open the doors and awaited their destiny.


“I’ve been expecting you, boys. Please, have a seat.” Zuko and Aang stared. “What...wha...what did you say?” Aang stammered. “Please,” Limanti said cheerfully. “Have a seat. Drink some tea. I’m not here to fight you.” Zuko and Aang exchanged mystified glances. They apprehensively sat down. “Now,” Limanti said, putting down his cup of tea. “Bring out the prisoner.” A man was brought out. He was in chains and he was bleeding in the corner of his left eye. Zuko shuddered. “Fire lord Zuko!” the man shouted. “My name is Gatori! I’m in love with your sister, Azula!” Zuko opened his eyes with such force he fell onto his back. “I know you hate Azula!” Gatori yelled. “But please! She’s my life!” Zuko turned away. “Take him away,” Limanti ordered harshly. Aang put a hand on Zuko’s quivering shoulder. “Horrid, wasn’t that Zuko,” Limanti said Zuko nodded. “Now boys, I have a proposition. I shall let you, and Gatori go on one condition.” “Anything!” Aang said eagerly.
“You must give me the title of Fire lord.”
“Anything but that.”
“Get them!”
Aang and Zuko jumped up, ready to fight but they were trapped inside a boulder. “I can’t break it!” Aang said through ground teeth. “It’s covered in metal.” “How did we get in here?” Zuko asked. “You should never say no to me,” Limanti growled. Aang closed his eyes. “Stand back, Zuko,” he warned. Zuko flattened himself as far away from Aang as possible. The boy lit up. The Avatar was about to fight.

Aang closed everything out of his mind. He cleared it of all his friends, of Katara, of Zuko. Avatar State. He stamped the ground and the boulder broke with a crash. He could see Limanti’s astounded and then angry face. “Zuko, north east!” he called. Zuko disappeared. Aang could feel him hovering up top of the building. Aang bent the water from the tea and curled in into a whip, molding it with the fire. The earth built onto him and he made an air shield to protect himself. He threw all his might at Limanti but the next thing he knew he was out of the avatar state and in chains beside Zuko. “I am a time racer. I can do things very fast,” Limanti said, explaining lightly. He gazed at them, and then undid the chains. “I will let you go. Do not fight me, you will lose. Let this be a warning to you. Do not do as I say, you must pay the price. You may have Gatori. He is no use to me.” Gatori stumbled over to them. “Now. Zuko, Aang. Pass on my message. You are never welcome here again. GO!” He spoke so loud and frightening that all three of them ran out of the temple, scrambled onto Appa and flew off.

“He’s as mad as a hatter!” Aang gasped as they flew in to Ba Sing Se. “No, he just wants power. Like the rest of our family.” Zuko said bitterly. They landed outside where Azula was staying. She squealed and ran to Gatori. “Thank-you Zuko,” she sniffed. “I’ll never forget this.” She and Gatori disappeared inside the inn. Zuko and Aang stood there awkwardly. “I know where we can go,” Zuko began but a man came up to them and punched Zuko in the stomach. “Oof!” Zuko gasped. “What was that for?” The man did not reply. He grabbed their satchels of money and food. “Limanti!” he growled and he ran off. “That traitor!” Zuko snarled, rubbing his stomach. “Come on,” Aang sighed.
They headed to the Yacata Hot Springs and stayed there for two months. It had plenty of food on the trees and bushes and it was a perfect place to sleep during the summer. But then the winter started. Aang started to get sick and Zuko started to rethink his options. “We could go back to Limanti,” he said to himself. “Or we could return to Ba Sing Se and stay with Gatori and Azula. I guess if we don’t do that we could...go home.”
Aang got worse. His voice went hoarse and his body got hot and feverish. “I’m taking you home,” Zuko announced by the third month they’d stayed in Yacata. Aang opened his eyes in worry. Zuko shook his head. “No,” he said. “You’re getting very ill.” He lifted Aang onto Appa and kicked the great animal’s sides. The journey was long and tiring. If they ever managed to get any food, Zuko gave them to Aang. By September 13th, they reached the fire nation. “Fire lord Zuko!” the guard at the gates exclaimed. “Yes,” Zuko said, helping Aang off Appa. “Oh my!” the guard gasped. “Avatar Aang!”

Aang got worse. His voice went hoarse and his body got hot and feverish. “I’m taking you home,” Zuko announced by the third month they’d stayed in Yacata. Aang opened his eyes in worry. Zuko shook his head. “No,” he said. “You’re getting very ill.” He lifted Aang onto Appa and kicked the great animal’s sides. The journey was long and tiring. If they ever managed to get any food, Zuko gave them to Aang. By September 13th, they reached the fire nation. “Fire lord Zuko!” the guard at the gates exclaimed. “Yes,” Zuko said, helping Aang off Appa. “Oh my!” the guard gasped. “Avatar Aang!”


Zuko kicked open the doors. There was a silence from the room. And then Zuko and Aang were engulfed in hugs and cheers. “Calm down!” Zuko shouted. “I need to get Aang in a bed.” “What?” Ty Lee asked. She stared at Aang. Katara put her hand on Aang’s forehead. She recoiled. “You’re as hot as a dragon!” she choked. Aang nodded. “I’ll take him to a room,” Iroh offered. “Thank-you Uncle,” Zuko said. Iroh and Katara took Aang away. Zuko scanned the faces of the crowd. “Where’s Mai?” he asked.
“Who’s asking for me?”
Everyone’s heads turned. “Mai, they’re back,” Ozai said.
“Who else?”
Mai spun round. “Where in the world have you been?” she shrieked. Zuko smiled grimly. “Trying to escape my uncle.” “For heaven’s sake, Zuko!” Ozai exclaimed. “You should have waited! Limanti is one of the most powerful men in the world!” “He’s rising a soul bending army,” Zuko informed. Ozai went pale. “We’re dead,” he muttered and he stalked off. Zuko glanced at a small crib beside the throne but then looked away. He’d see Tachiri later. For now, he had to make sure Aang was okay. “Well?” he asked expectantly when Katara came out of the room. “He’s bad,” she said. “Very ill. He needs to eat.” She eyed him up and down. “So do you.” Mai frowned. “When was the last time you had a proper meal?” she asked. Zuko grinned bashfully. “June?” he shrugged. Mai and Katara gave shouts of astonishment. “Aang had one a couple of days ago though,” Zuko said quickly. “Limanti sent men to take all our money and food. We went traveling but whenever we found food I gave it to Aang. He got sick because when winter came everything started drying up in Yacata.” “Sokka, ask the cook to get a bowl of soup out please,” Katara said. Sokka nodded, looking forlorn. “What’s with him?” Zuko asked. “Suki was taken two months ago to the prison of Shamanta,” Mai explained. “Shamanta?!” Zuko yelped. “Aang and I were there in August!!” “Pity you didn’t know,” Katara sighed. “Most people die in Shamanta. Guards have gone to search but they never returned.” Zuko groaned and buried his face in his hands. Katara went back to see Aang. Mai walked up to the crib. “I’ll see him later,” Zuko mumbled. “At the moment I’ve got a lot of things on my mind.” The cook brought out the soup. “Your favourite since you were a boy King Zuko,” she said. “Thank-you,” Zuko smiled weakly. She went back to her kitchen. Mai sighed and put her hand on Zuko’s shoulder. “Eat,” she ordered. Zuko had a spoon of soup and then looked down. “Tomorrow is Aang’s fourteenth birthday,” he said. “Really?” Mai cried. Zuko nodded. “I just...I think he’s going to be spending it in a bed.” Mai sat down beside him. “Listen to me,” she said. “He is going to be fine. So are you. You’re home now.” Zuko met her eye. “Yes,” he agreed. “I guess I am home.”

Zuko and Aang settled back down easily. Aang recovered when Katara healed him with ease and he was back to his goofy self. One day, Mai was searching for a parchment when Zuko crept up and flung his hands over her eyes. “Zuko!” Mai squealed. “Stop it!” Katara sat up on the bench and giggled. Even Sokka smiled. Aang glided along and caught Zuko by the collar, lifting him up to the air. “Aang!” Zuko protested which caused Katara and Sokka to collapse into hysterical laughter. “Fire lord Zuko! Mistress Mai!” a guard shouted, running in. Aang landed on the ground, letting go of Zuko. The guard caught his breath. “It’s Prince Tachiri! You’re son sir!” “I know who he is!” Zuko snapped. “What about him?”
“He’s gone sir! He’s been kidnapped!”


Previously on AVATAR
Zuko and Aang settled back down easily. Aang recovered when Katara healed him with ease and he was back to his goofy self. One day, Mai was searching for a parchment when Zuko crept up and flung his hands over her eyes. “Zuko!” Mai squealed. “Stop it!” Katara sat up on the bench and giggled. Even Sokka smiled. Aang glided along and caught Zuko by the collar, lifting him up to the air. “Aang!” Zuko protested which caused Katara and Sokka to collapse into hysterical laughter. “Fire lord Zuko! Mistress Mai!” a guard shouted, running in. Aang landed on the ground, letting go of Zuko. The guard caught his breath. “It’s Prince Tachiri! You’re son sir!” “I know who he is!” Zuko snapped. “What about him?”
“He’s gone sir! He’s been kidnapped!”


Zuko did not pace nor did he think. He grabbed Aang’s spare glider from the war-room. And took off, Aang at his side. Sokka launched a fleet of ships in search, Mai not even shedding a tear as she changed into her battle clothes and went with Ty Lee, Katara and Sokka to Ba Sing Se to see Azula as Iroh had recommended. Ozai had sailed off with the warriors to find Limanti. After reaching Ba Sing Se however, Sokka built himself a glider and flew off to meet up with Aang and Zuko, trying to hope that there might be a small piece of truth that Suki might be alive. Zuko kicked open the door of Limanti’s cave and stormed in. “Where. Is. My. SON?” he roared. Aang shuddered at the echoing sound. “Sokka, Shamanta is west from here!” he hissed. “Are you looking for dear little Suki?” Limanti asked idly. Sokka nodded hesitantly. “Oh dear my young man, I took care of her many days ago. She is long gone.” Sokka went white with rage. His fists were clenched so tightly Aang thought they’d burst. “Sokka!” he hissed. “I need you to distract Limanti for me to get into the avatar state. That way we can find Tachiri before anything happens to him.” “It’ll be a pleasure,” Sokka growled. He launched at Limanti while Aang sprinted to outside the cave. He exhaled deeply and closed his eyes, blocking out his surroundings. “Forget it all,” he said to himself. Katara floated out of his mind. He opened his bright blue, gleaming eyes and felt the heat of the power flow through his body. “Time to fight,” he said, the voices of all the avatars before him echoing through his own speech.

He set and spinning air ball around him so he could move without his glider. “Go!” he shouted to Zuko. “Find Tachiri!” Zuko didn’t need telling twice. He ran off into a tunnel while Sokka killed off Limanti’s guards, slowly getting to him. Aang stomped the ground with his foot, a rock rising from either side of him. Clicking, he summoned the fire and using the water from the sea, he spun it into a whip. “You will never terrorise the people of this world again!” he said. He raised his hand but Limanti’s face had formed into a strange, distorted smirk. “Aang, stop!” yelled a voice. Aang and Sokka turned. Ozai was standing there. “This is my battle.”

Zuko could feel the blood pounding through his body as he desperately kicked open the doors to all the prison cells that were built into the cave. He heard a crying in the one next to him. He slammed open the cell door and found Tachiri in a metal crib, half frozen in the cold. Beside him, asleep or perhaps unconscious, for how long Zuko did not know, was Suki.
Zuko took Tachiri in one arm and shook Suki urgently. “Suki!” he whispered. “Suki! Wake up!” “Father, what are you doing?” shrieked a voice. ‘Azula!’ Zuko thought. The cell door flew open and Mai, Ty Lee and Katara ran in. “Quick, Mai, take Tachiri,” Zuko said, handing the baby to Mai. He picked Suki up in his arms and ran out. “Katara, help Aang!” Zuko panted. Ty Lee shook her head. “Aang doesn’t need helping. Ozai is the one fighting Limanti.” “What?” Zuko asked, startled and skidding to a halt. He looked at the raging battle before him. Fire was scooting through the hair, burning Zuko’s skin even though he was meters away from it. “Suki!” Sokka screamed in astonishment. He broke into a chain of swear words directed at Limanti. Limanti tried to shoot a fireball at him but Sokka dodged skillfully. “How dare you!” he howled in rage. “How dare you, you, you-” As for the rest of the sentence, I shall not say. Meanwhile, Aang was watching the battle, biting his nails anxiously. “Come on!” he muttered. “Left...east...he’s weak at the shoulder. He can’t use his right back...NO!” Ozai had been rocketed off the ledge of the cliff. Aang snatched his glider and flew down, grabbing his old enemy’s arm. They flew up to the cave and Ozai glared at Limanti with flaring eyes. “What do you want?” he shouted. Limanti’s nostrils flared. “I want my rightful kingdom. I was better than you were. Always. You married that fool of Ursa and I did well banishing her. I thought you were going marvelously until the Avatar defeated you! And then! He let you back as a friend! Treachery. As for this. Do not fight me. You will lose. Now...” He disappeared. “He has a mode of traveling,” Ozai explained as they stood in the cave, blinking. “He has a ring with a certain type of dust in it which will transport him to a fire with the same dust sprinkled in it at that moment. He must have thousands set up around the world.” Aang nodded. “I know. Roku told me about those...though he never did tell me how to use them.” Katara put a healing hand over Suki’s heart. The small bit of colour left in Suki’s cheeks grew faintly brighter. Sokka bit his lip anxiously. Katara put her hand on her brother’s shoulder. “She’s alive,” she said. “She’s isn’t in a coma like Aang was. We just need to get her to safety where she can be cared for.” Sokka nodded silently. Aang whistled and Appa came flying up to the cliff cave. Zuko helped Sokka lift Suki onto the saddle and then put a blanket round her. “Come on,” Zuko said, pulling Toph up. “It’ll take a while to get back. Apparently the weather’s bad. We could drop in and see Gatori in Ba Sing Se and stay there till the storm passes...” He was cut off by a frying glare from Katara. “How about we stop in Kyoshi?” Aang suggested. “The other warriors will be there and Suki will probably recover better if we’re in her home island. It’s only a couple of days away so we’ll get there before the storm hits.” “That’s a better idea,” Katara said, kicking Zuko as she got up to steer Appa north. “Ouch,” Zuko grumbled, rubbing his leg. Aang grinned but then stopped when he saw Tachiri. The young prince wasn’t shivering, he was only three months old and he’d been in a metal crib locked up in a freezing cell. “I don’t get it!” Mai said in astonishment. “How can he not be cold?” Then suddenly she carefully placed Tachiri on the saddle and gave a yell and started rubbing her hands on her dress. “What?” Zuko asked. “He’s boiling!” Mai shrieked. “He’s probably at 5000 degrees or something!” She blew on her hands. Zuko touched the boy lightly and then shouted something very rude and sucked on his finger. “Maybe he can firebend?” Sokka said. “While doing that can’t you heat yourself up?” Zuko stopped. He drew a flame out of his hand and pointed it at Tachiri. The prince laughed and pointed back. Zuko’s clothes caught on fire. “OW!” Zuko screamed, jumping up and down. Aang sniggered but he picked up the bucket of water and threw it over Zuko’s head. Then he ran round and round his cousin to dry him off. When he stopped, puffed, he realised that Zuko’s clothes were cindered. “What has that little monster done?” Zuko howled in rage. “Monster?” Mai snickered. “You mean your son?” “Oh shut up!” Zuko wailed. Aang laughed.

A few days later, Aang opened his eyes one morning to see large, colourful fish came shooting out of the water. “Awesome! Remember these fish? We’re nearing Kyoshi!” he exclaimed. “Appa must’ve been going quicker than usual!” Katara crawled up beside him. “You’re right!” she said. “I can see the top of Avatar Kyoshi’s head.” “What?” Mai asked, startled. “Oh, they have a huge statue of Avatar Kyoshi in their village,” Sokka explained. The other Kyoshi warriors ran to the beach as they saw Appa approaching. “Aang!” Ty Lee cried. “What’s going on?” She gave a shriek when she saw Suki. “I’ll get Chief Amaratu,” she said, racing off. Aang anxiously looked at Suki. Her head lolled against Sokka’s chest, her long brown hair falling onto her face. “Come on,” Katara said, gently pulling her brother’s arm. “We should get her to safety.” Zuko glared at Tachiri, swearing. He pulled his short sleeve down. “Aang, when can I get some clothes that fit me?” he complained as Sokka’s shirt ripped. “Zuko!” Sokka shouted, spinning round, Suki jerking in his arms. “Careful!” Katara said, grabbing Suki’s arm. A sound escaped Suki’s lips. Sokka jumped and lay her down on the ground. “Suki?” he asked, shaking her lightly. “Get lost you infantile nut,” Suki mumbled, opening her eyes. “I knew Kyoshi would revive her!” Aang yelled, jumping up and spinning round on an airball. “We’re in Kyoshi?” Suki screeched, jumping up and then falling down again. “Careful,” Katara said again. She looked up at Aang who was descending slowly. His eyes were empty and he looked hollow. “Aang?” she asked anxiously. Aang looked up. “Sorry,” he lied. “Daydreaming...”


Previously on AVATAR...
“Careful,” Katara said again. She looked up at Aang who was descending slowly. His eyes were empty and he looked hollow. “Aang?” she asked anxiously. Aang looked up. “Sorry,” he lied. “Daydreaming...”

Aang gazed at the twins as they hurled a wave at Limanti. The fully grown man was being beaten by two twin ten year olds. Suddenly their eyes glowed. “No!” Aang shouted. “You haven’t mastered the avatar state!” He woke up, sweating and shaking.


Aang yawned as he bit into his bread. “Aang, you look terrible,” Zuko commented, noticing the huge circles under Aang’s eyes. “Thanks,” Aang grumbled. “I’ll take that as a compliment.” “What’s with you, grumpy?” Toph asked. “Nothing,” Aang lied. Katara glared at him. Aang looked away. “You’re lying,” Toph said. “Argh!” Aang groaned. Zuko grinned. “So. What’s wrong?” Aang looked up. “Can there be two avatars alive at once?” he asked. “I suppose so,” Sokka said. “Why?” Aang shook his head. “I keep having dreams about two twins who are the next avatars and I have to train them to kill Limanti.” “Twins?” Toph asked, surprised. “Double avatars?” Aang nodded. “I guess that’s what it means. They were waterbenders. But it’s just a dream. Doesn’t mean anything.” Katara put a hand on Aang’s arm. “Your dreams always mean something Aang.”
“Well we can’t just go around looking for two ten year waterbenders!” Mai said. “There must be loads!” “Well there’s none in the southern water tribe,” Katara said. “None in the northern either,” Aang added. “Well there’s still the other two!” Zuko said. “I couldn’t help overhearing,” began a boy. “Bet you could,” muttered Zuko. The boy ignored him. “...that you were looking for twin waterbenders. There are two in the tribe I come from. It’s the eastern tribe. They’re names are Koda and Mara. They’re 9 and a ½.” “Thanks,” Aang said. “We’ll go look. Well...I will.” “So will I!” Toph insisted. “Me too,” Katara added. “And me,” said Zuko. “But you have to stay for Suki!” “Only Sokka does,” Mai said. “I’ll stay too to take care of her. But to train those twins you’ll need a bender from each element plus you Aang. You-air. Katara-water. Toph-earth. Zuko-fire. Plus Aang you’ll need to teach them about the avatar state and the chakras.” Aang swallowed nervously, remembering his dream. “It’s settled then,” Toph said. “We’ll set off tomorrow.”

Koda shot a wave at his sister. She dodged skillfully. “You’ll never get me Kod...” She stopped in half sentence. “What?” Koda asked. “It’s him!” Mara gasped. “The avatar! He’s here with the firelord!” “What?” Koda asked, stopping. He spun round and saw a tall man with a red burn over his eye. Another girl had long plaited hair, infront of her an earthbender with short black hair and then...the avatar. He had long hair but Koda would know him anywhere. “You’re Koda?” Zuko asked sharply. Koda nodded, out of words. “And this must be Mara,” Katara said in a kinder voice. Mara nodded. “You are the next avatars,” Toph said. “We’re here to train you.”

“No! Us? But” Koda couldn’t form a sentence. He was too shocked. Mara sat beside him in their house. Aang sat opposite them. “I know it’s a shock,” he said kindly. “But answer this. Have you or Mara ever been in danger?” Koda nodded. “We almost drowned when we were eight. The current pulled us out to sea and we were too weak to bend.” Aang thought about it. “How did you survive?” Mara frowned. All I remember is watching everything go bright and watching Koda sort of...light up and then I woke up on a block of ice,” she shrugged. “That’s what should happen,” Aang said. “If you’re ever in danger, the avatar state will take over your body or bodies in your case and protect you.” “Really?” Mara asked, interested. Aang nodded. “We want you to come back with us to the palace in the Fire Nation for us to train you.” “What does training consist of?” asked Mara and Koda’s father suspiciously. “Well, they’ll have seven lessons a day,” Zuko explained. “1st lesson will be Fire with me. The 2nd will be Earth with Toph. The 3rd will be water with Katara. The 4th will be Air with Aang. The 5th will be opening of the chakras. 6th lesson will be controlling the avatar state. 7th will be fighting.” “Makes sense,” Koda said. “It’s logical, Dad!” His father smiled. “Okay. You two go get your things packed.” The two grinned and ran off. “I can’t tell you how honored I am that you came all the way here just to find them,” their dad said. Aang smiled. “Well it’s an honourary job,” he shrugged. Koda and Mara ran out from the hallway, a bag overflowing with stuff. Suddenly a hawk flew through the air. “Hawkie?” Aang asked. The hawk crowed once, then turned to Zuko. A letter was attached to it. Zuko opened it, read it and then shouted a very rude exclamation. “What?” Aang asked. Zuko shook his head. “Nothing.” Aang frowned. After the discussion with Koda and Mara’s father, Zuko gestured to Aang. Aang jumped up and followed him hurriedly out of the room. “What was the letter about?” Aang asked. Zuko handed the letter to him wordlessly. Aang unrolled the parchment and read it and shouted out. It said:

She’s pregnant...again.

“No way!” Aang cried. “Yes way,” Zuko said heavily. “Can we get back home as soon as possible?” Aang nodded. “‘Course! I’ll go tell the twins that we need to go back home quick.”


  As soon as they arrived back home, Aang showed Koda and Mara to their rooms, and the gang joined Mai, Suki, Sokka, Iroh and Ozai in the court room. Zuko moved swiftly to Mai’s side. “Are you okay?” he asked in worry. Mai grinned. “Fine, stop being a worry wart,” she laughed. Zuko smiled lightly. Aang guessed Zuko was glad that she was smiling.



Sokka glanced at his reflection in the mirror. “I need something to tie up my hair!” he complained. Zuko grinned and passed him a hair crown. “Thanks,” Sokka said, and he sat on the bed, carefully placing the needle through the pin slot. Mai sighed. “Tachiri, please!” she said in exasperation. “Stop burning your clothes!” Tachiri looked at his mother in annoyance and put his hands down. Suki sat, cross legged on the sofa, looking out the window. Mai closed her eyes. “Are you okay?” Zuko asked. “Headache,” she said. “I’ll be fine.”


Zuko groaned and buried his face in his arms. “I should’ve noticed!” he said in annoyance. “Don’t worry,” Aang said. “We were all preoccupied.” Zuko collapsed on the sofa, swearing at himself. “Don’t beat yourself,” Mai said, leaning back to put her head on his shoulder. “We were going to have to bring you back soon anyway. It’s Tachiri’s fifth birthday next week.” “It is?” Zuko said blankly. “Yes!” Suki and Mai said at the same time.

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