Title: GamesSpoilers: The Western Air TempleInitial word count: 1,800Summary: The group plays Truth or Dare. There's truths, and there's dares, and sometimes it's hard to tell which is which. For the prompt: We were all in love, and we all got hurt. [Other people's responses to the prompt]Games ...... (( does this title suck? ))we were all in love, and we all got hurt"This is for Toph, then."The ceramic flask twirled under Teo's hand (none of the benders were allowed to spin the flask themselves, to minimize the cheating) and after an agonizing final circle, stopped in front of Katara. Zuko called on all his royal training not to wilt as he saw it. Toph had been waiting three times now and the prince knew the oncoming scene would be either hilarious or devastating, given the frequent rivalry between the girls. No punches would be pulled, especially with what Katara had made Toph go through two turns before. The black-haired earthbender turned her face to where she knew Katara was sitting, and said in a sing-song voice straight from the depths of some forsaken spirit-hell, "Ka-ta-raaaaaa. Truth or dare?"( unedited 1st draftCollapse )
write later: FUTURE CHAPTERS, BABY CHAPTERS---You're Thinking Too HardZuko was having an even worse week than the one before (which had included such memorable highlights as exploding food gifts and multiple progressively worse romantic rejections.) The reality of his complete failure in this mission and in his personal goal of getting the girl of his dreams to notice his existence hung over him like a black miasma of undigested devotion.He'd tried everything: he'd proposed a formal peace treaty between their two nations, he'd stalked her to learn more about the things she liked, he'd fought her brother for her honor, he'd brought her flowers, his socially well-respected uncle had talked to her on his behalf, he'd openly declared his true and noble feelings, he'd saved her at the last minute from potentially lethal culinary choices, he'd been unfailingly honest, and just the other day he'd sat through an entire dinner with her family and friends.He couldn't figure what else was left to do."You've got to pounce on her," said the crotchety old woman."What?" yelped Zuko, as he helped her across the street."Or get 'er to pounce on you, that's even better," said the old woman. "You carry that grocery bag all the way to my house and I'll tell you a trick guaranteed to make your little lady-girl all a'twix in her nethers at the very thought of you. Come along, staring is very unattractive in a person your age."-----Conflict of InterestThe Avatar decided that the best way to advance his education in dual bending styles was to include his earthbending sifu in more aspects of his regular day. Get her feeling like she was part of the gang, and all that. They were doing lunch.Toph, happily chewing on a free piece of fireflake bread, felt a bundle of vibrations drift into her periphery. "Who's that?" "Oh, that's Sokka. He's Katara's older brother," said Aang, "and my other best friend. He's a warrior! He's better at jokes, though, if I'm being honest. Um, don't tell him I said that."Toph was very good at keeping secrets, and said as much. But what she was really focused on was the boy-shaped resonance named Sokka, and how neat it was that his heart beat in iambic tetrameter."Does he like collectables?"----------Good Help Is Hard To FindThis was the right port. Azula was sure this was the right port--and if it wasn't someone was going to end up with a new respect for conductivity."What did you say this ratslug hole was called again, Lieftenant?""Visitor's Rue, Princess.""Aah. I'm experiencing that already. Are we sure the Avatar is here?""No, Princess.""Are we sure my traitorous relatives are here?""No, Princess.""Then why are we here, Lieftenant?""Your Highness will recall the directive your venerable and ever-living father the glorious Fire Lord Ozai, Son of a Thousand Sacred Fires, Guardian of Flame of Truth, Bearer of the Torch of the Spirits, sent to your Highness with the last seagull...""Hnn. Yes. Something about a recent shortage of trained officers and unacceptable turnover rates.""Your Highness will recall that we are now shorthanded, and needs must--""Lieftenant.""Yes, Princess?""I don't care who we pick up but if we're not at the right port within four days you're going to personally discover what being 'short-handed' means.""...Yes, Princess."---------------------Consumer Youth"That's my action figure collection." She added, "Cool, isn't it?" with full expectation that the person she was addressing would be suitably impressed. Toph was new to the idea of wanting to impress anyone; it was something she'd never been required to do as a shut-in."Those... aren't action figures," Sokka said, voice trembling. "Those are... those are hand-carved rock sculptures by Zhan Wang, the greatest sculptor in the Earth Kingdom! I saw a copy of one for sale when I bought my amazing new bag. Each figurine is worth more than a small house and only available through mail-order pre-purchase!""Really?"Toph wiggled her fingers, and one statue repeatedly punched another in the face. To Sokka's horror, while that was happening, two of the other figurines, with little paper tags stuck to their heads with the kanji for "K" and "Z" scribbled in shockingly poor handwriting, began necking like there was no tomorrow."They look like action figures to me."********************Toph knows the alphabet because her grandmother made her write 200 sentences in the sand whenever she tried to trick the village children into bending lewd rock sculptures. The labelled tags are purely for the benefit of Sokka's horror. *******************Future Zuko: MudfightsLil Katara: Take A RideLil Aang: Not Inside The TempleLil Zuko: ButtonsLil Toph: Eat DirtLil Sokka: Wild AnimalsLil Iroh: Be A ManLil Azula: Do What I SayLil Suki: Nice Girls
Some are AU, some fit with canon. You can sort out which is which.Title: Five Buildings Zuko Didn't Burn Down1 - The island house in summer, age 4, when he had his first fire dream and woke up with his bed in flames. He didn't stop the fire, he didn't call for help-- he hid, terrified, and when his father walked through the burning wreckage to pluck his son's shaken body out of a kitchen cabinet, Zuko knew he would always be safe in his father's arms. The estate burned, the royal family left, and the prince didn't step foot on that beach again in this lifetime.brave witha mothers love2 - the Fire Temple's capitol library, geological and geographical studies wing, when he was 7. Zuko as a child unintentionally did more damage to the rebel movement than his sister could ever hope to, no matter how many cities she's silently captured. Because Zuko's mistake, which only truly amounted to a few charred rooms and mild smoke-sickness for the librarians (hardly a destroyed building), gave Lord Azulon the idea to censor the cartographers and the navigators, the intellectuals and the traders and the sea captains. Across the world, maps of the Fire Nation disappeared.3 - the hideout in the forests of the Northern Earth Kingdom, occupied territory, age 16, when a squad of children tried to rob his retinue and make a hostage of his first lieutenant. He tracked them through the night, he rescued his officer, he burned their thatch tree houses to ash on the wind, and he buried three men the next morning, the poisoned arrows from dug their chests snapping between his fingers.citadel4 - the Palace of Ba Sing Se, age 16, when he deliberately started a conflagration in the catacombs that became too hot and too pervasive to stop, devouring from beneath the second-oldest palace in the world. Zuko's face was whole and now that he could see clearly again, all he he wanted to see was Azula and fire. ((who knew healing him would make him crazy? Katara didn't!))5 - the Western Air Temple, age 17, when his great-grandfather's spirit, age 12, had his first fire dream and nearly suffocated in the fumes. Zuko walked down the hallways and into the boys room, hands passing over walls and floor, furniture and door frames. Every fire Zuko passed quivered and sank, hiccuping itself into nothing as he absorbed the energy and sang the flames to sleep. When the flames settled the waterbender pulled the blackness from the Avatar's lungs, and they could all breathe easily for one more night without disaster.
alternate mermaid story idea:Katara as a younger girl stumbles upon a man battling a spirit in the snow. She instinctively saves the man from a hiding place above and out of sight, though he is a firebender, he is all alone. He escapes while she battles the snow spirit, and the man never quite realizes who saves him, though he suspects someone had intervened. This man later turns out to be Iroh, then prince. (he returns to the fire nation immediately with a treasure he stole from the spirit, and just in time to take the throne) However, the spirit is too strong for her untrained waterbending, and it seeks her out and overpowers her. Now that its quarry is gone, the spirit wants to take its revenge on someone, so it curses Katara to live in the ocean, and only walk as a human one night of every moon cycle.Katara eats shellfish and seaweed, usually raw. When she's human she eats fruits and if she can get it, bread.Now Katara is a mermaid, and the only thing that might convince the spirit that cursed her to remove the curse is in the palace, for who knows what reason. (truth-seeing bowl?) She has no idea, though.see the rest of the notes regarding zuko, aang, and sokka here:http://community.livejournal.com/rashaka_fiction/26018.htmlAfter losing his son, Iroh goes to the South looking for the bowl, looking for purpose. When he escapes, Iroh looks into the bowl and sees future events: he knows the war must end and he knows that his brother will try to kill the fire lord. He gets home, just in time to find that Ozai burned Zuko and had intended to kill him when Ursa killed Ozai instead, stopping him mid-act. Azulon orders Ursa to be put to death, but Iroh helps her escape. Only weeks later Iroh shows his father the bowl. Azulon looks into it, and what he sees makes his heart stop. He dies, and Iroh takes the throne, with only his niece and nephew remaining as family.
Summary: "There is no greater ally, no force more powerful, no enemy more resolved, than a son who chooses to step from his father's shadow." post- 3x12 fanfic “For Keeps”different chapters from different perspectives?Haru feeling awkward and formal around Katara, sensing Aang's feeling and also being aware of the weird history vibe with Zuko.EVENTS:Zuko and aang's first lesson. Katara rushes in a few minutes after its started, followed by sokka and then everyone else except Toph, who can't see anyway. Aang is serious, Zuko is nervous.Aang begins with breathing exercises.Zuko brings forward four candles, thick and heavy wax slabs retrieved from the inner temple storage rooms, melted slightly at the bottom so they are affixed to earthenware dishes. He sets three to the side, then sets one in front of Aang. He tells Aang to light it with his breath of fire, and no hand or feet gestures. Rather than producing fire in punches or kicks, this will give Aang a clear grasp on the connection of breath and fire, a relationship he absolutely must understand. Aang's experience with airbending will also make the transition easier. Aang must light the candle, then extinguish it. Multiple times. Next Zuko making aang put out fires. he makes aang create a giant circular slab, not unlike an altar about three feet wide, and puts flamable things on it, plus heated stones. The slab is to protect the temple floor from being scortched. Zuko heats rocks, sets the items on fire, and tells Aang to put it out as a lesson in firebending control. Zuko keeps adding things to the fire to keep it going until Aang can put it out, and Sokka keeps wanting to cook things over it but isn't allowed to. Zuko teaches Aang how to access his breath of fire, but refuses to teach Aang any kata forms until Aang can put out an already-burning fire with nothing but firebending. Aang has to learn how to deal with the fires that other people make before he can properly learn to produce his own-- the control he learns in stopping fires will teach him how to handle the fire he creates. This is somewhat backward as a method-- usually FN children learn to put out fires as a natural process of learning to make fire, but Aang is rushed for time and Zuko feels that control is what Aang really needs first, because once the boy knows how to access the fire then power won't be a problem and the forms will come easily enough. Control is the most vital thing Zuko can teach first.----------------Lamplight"Starting tonight, you're not allowed to sleep within ten feet of anyone, including Appa and Momo." ... "When they first learn to bend, it is very common for children to start fires in their sleep. When I was little I woke up with my bed on fire several times. This is why I had you spend most of today learning to put the fire out. Usually the family is prepared for this, but right now I'm the only other firebender so we have to be careful.""You woke up with your BED on fire?""Don't be overly concerned about it, these incidences rarely harm the child themselves, and are usually over in seconds. It's everything nearby that gets singed, which is why you can't sleep with anyone too close. Once I decide your bending is under control, I'll release you from the limit. The whole phase rarely lasts more than a few weeks.""What makes kids start the fires in their sleep?""Nightmares are the most common agent, though not the only factors. Fire is driven by emotion, and fear and anger make powerful triggers for emotional release. But once you are comfortable with the basics, the problem will cease to be an issue, as your control will extend even to your subconscious."------------Wolf callZuko at night on the cliff above the terracesdragonsfire nation as a wholesnake-wolves, distant cousins to the dragons, look like a long dragon body but with a wolf/dog like skull, nout like a dragon, fur on the face near the cheeks and ears, wings, tail tip, and feet. Four short legs, very long wings, body is three feet long, tail another two feet.---------------Second star to the rightToph sitting on Zuko's shoulders, tapping on his head. reduced to a nonverbal, nonvisual communications, two creatures for whom speech had eventually become unnecessary. Toph told him to go right or left by tapping him on the sides of his head. It was freaky, because it was like they were becoming one person, a Toph-Zuko bending snarko monster. Toph liked to boss him around because he was an easy target and he had enough of a sense of rebelious fun mixed with gullability that made him game for pretty much anything. Zuko didn't mind playing with her because Toph was the only one paying attention to him and willing to be his friend, and she made him nostalgic for the kind of childhood friendships he never got to have once Azula got to be a certain age. -----------------AllocationSokka or Katara critize the time Zuko spends carrying Toph around, and Zuko says they're just playing. Aang is nearby and he reacts very weirdly to the comment-- unexplainably jealous, frustrated, irked, and deeply sad. It's not because he wants to play with Zuko or carry Toph around on his shoulders, or that he begrudges them their fun. He is jealous that they GET to play, because he is hit with a profound sense of his place and his purpose in the world. He knows he can't take time to play anymore, he can't joke around with Toph for hours like she's the queen of the universe, because he has to think about the world and Ozai and firebending and training. He can't play anymore, and it hurts. --------Fortress:When they're on their own Zuko reads wall inscriptions to Toph (and sometimes with The Duke) from inside the temple, using character voices to make the kids laugh. Zuko is discovering that the younger someone is (except in Aang's understandable case) the better they seem to take to him. Zuko finds a family of kittens in the temple, and gets adopted:The Duke (a bundle of questions about the things that don't matter, a silent stone about the things that do), "How do they live down here?""They must feed on the mice.""What do the mice feed on?"The cat is soft gray with white stripes on its back, a front left white sock, and a white patch on/under its chin. The fur around its face resembles a linx, and when it grows it will be larger than a normal housecat, though not a lot larger. For now, it's a kitten, and one of many.----------------Under fingernailsHaru remains amiable but watches Zuko like a hawk. But at least he's discreet about it, unlike the water siblings. He knows of Zuko but he doesn't know Zuko, so good manners (the kind reserved for strangers) vie with suspicion in all his interactions with the prince. Haru is at times haughty and cold, at times good-natured and sympathetic. There's anger in him-- the same anger that burns in Sokka and Jet and Katara and even The Duke-- but Haru has conquered that anger, has channeled and beaten it. He's grown to accept it and live unhindered by it. It took Zuko three years to reach kind of peace, and he's had for less than a month, so Zuko admires Haru even though they're not friends, and will never be brothers.--------------------The knight of cupsTeo is fun, and tries to bring Zuko into the fun when he can, because Teo understands both disfigurement and feeling left-out. His kindness and his empathy are deep and sincere, but there is an edge, something which flashes to the surface at the mention of weapons, Zuko's war balloon, or the FN's industry that warns Zuko, in body language more than words, "I'm choosing to trust you, because I know where you come from. But you better not screw this up, you better not spit on the chance we're giving you." Teo is much like Toph, but less bold and less cutting-- a little older and it showed. ----------------------Reservoir Zuko does morning push-ups with The Duke sitting on his back. At first The Duke spent this time poking Zuko with his stubby young fingers trying to find a pressure point to make the fire prince instantly collapse and land on his face (maybe fall down dead-- The Duke kind of liked Zuko but he had lost things in the war too) or just annoy the young man into reacting. Zuko kept doing push-ups and considered it part of his training, thankful that the little boy had no idea how actual pressure points worked. Even this was an act of welcoming, in its own way.-----------------Gray sky morningkatara's death threatKatara starts to watch aang and zuko practice, so Zuko wakes Aang up before dawn and drags him above the canyon to get at least an hour's training in before Katara can interfere with negative judgements about zuko's methods and safety. When Katara realizes it, she is furious.-----------------------In acres, leagues, milesHe dreamed of his uncle, and of his own guilt and unworthy behavior. He knew his uncle had escaped, he knew and fiercely believed that his uncle was strong enough to endure, no matter how many times he'd ungraciously called him fat or lazy. Iroh was strong, Iroh would survive, had to survive, because Zuko's own penchant for surviving any obstacle (not whole or unmarked, perhaps, but still surviving) was in no small part a product of the three years with his uncle. But still Zuko dreamed of him, of his trials and possible glories. He had no idea where Iroh might have gone (of course, he'd done nothing to deserve such privileged information), but he needed to believe that wherever Uncle was, he was well.Zuko's mother is a firebender.---------Summer sonZuko starts trying to make tea to remind himself of Iroh, and to give himself something to do since Katara won't let him near the food preparations. But he still makes it badly (he only served it in ba sing se, Uncle always made it). Katara watches him, sees his mistakes, and interrupts him out of pure frustration with seeing it done incorrectly, not out of sympathy. She orders him to watch, and so teaches him how to make tea that tastes good. She doesn't explain, she just expects him to mimic her actions. He does, later, and it tastes very good-- but different from his uncle's style. Katara has taught him how to make tea as a watertribesman would, little additives and tricks to change the flavor, and now he knows the process if not the entire purpose of each ingredient. Ironic, that he can make the tea of her people but not his own, he can make tea that Iroh cannot. It's weird and it doesn't feel right-- to do something better in a water tribe way than a Fire Nation way, he's a son of the FN. but the tea tastes better than what he was making before, and no argument Zuko dreams up can oppress that fact. He tried to think of how Uncle Iroh would look at it, and hoped it would make Iroh happy for him.-------Devil in the throne roomZuko finds Sokka asleep at the base of a huge statue, a female airbender under a gigantic moon. Across the inner pantheon is the statue's twin-- a nother woman under a massive sun. There are clouds on the ceiling above, and the floor is a mural of the earth. Sokka confesses, in a biting callous attack, that Suki is probably dead, just like Yue, and that he wishes Zuko's country would stop killing the women he loves. Zuko has no answer for him.----------------Form and dignityZuko's mother, granddaughter of the Avatar, had trained to be a YuYan Archer. The Archers swore fealty to the royal family and were regarded with prestige, a special elite faction of the Fire Nation's military. At 11 she'd been sent to Royal Academy For Girls and at 12 had requested transfer to be a novice archer. She was talented and they accepted her. Her family moved into the capital city and she lived and trained to serve the Fire Lord Azulon. She was a competent firebender, but would never be called a master. While at the academy and later at the archery house, which was situated just outside the palace, Ursa was encouraged to socialize with the other youth of nobility. She met the cousins of the royal family, the great-grand-nieces and great-grand-nephews of Fire Lords that had lived 300 years before, the children of generals and ministers.When she was 15, mere weeks before the ceremony where Ursa would swear into service and receive her tattoos, her father (a cool, stern man that Ursa respected but had never felt close to), revoked her scholarship, pulled her out of the Archery House, and informed her that the youngest prince had commented to a manservant that he found her pleasing to look at. The prince was 14.After that conversation, Ursa, the daughter of Ry Len, daugher of Roku, was never inducted into the Yuyan Archers. Her face remained unmarked, unspoiled, as beautiful and pale as the bell-drop lillies woven into her hair. She married the prince, she bore the children who inherit the throne, and every day that she looked in a mirror she imagined how her life might have been if the boy-- too young then to be a monster-- had never seen her face as a novice. She imagined ink and pain and art carved into skin. She loved and hated her children, but couldn't grant her husband anything but the latter. She longed for a life of skill and sweat and service, of glory and honor, and she knew that a prince looked at an archer and saw only ink, he never looked to beauty beneath. The marks would have saved her from her father's ambition and the prince's wandering eye. The marks would have saved her from politicks and motherhood, from obligations to family and name. No man or woman of standing would marry a YuuYan archer and tie themselves to an assassin, a silent soldier of the war who's skill at death was painted on their face for all to see. If she had only made it through, she might never have killed her Fire Lord (or learned that he was a man deserving of murder.) She might never have left her children with a monster, and she might never have cried while she watched her daughter become one. She would never have put Ozai on the throne.Years later when she saw the posters, her the tales, she wanted to tell her son that his father had injured him terribly, but the mark was nothing to shame. A mark, a tattoo, a scar: it stripped away the lies of beauty or charm, and because of that a mark could set him free."What scar? You have a scar?" looking around, honest curiosity "Do we care that he has a scar?" silence, even from the other newcomers. even now they were reluctant to answer or explain, because it just wasn't something that you talked about publicly. It was so obvious, so horrifically visible upon first sight of the prince, that it had never occurred to any of them-- water tribe, earth citizen, or air nomad--to tell the blind Toph that Zuko had a huge disfiguring mark on his face. For a moment that sudden difference congested in the air: when they looked at the prince-- even when The Duke and Haru who didn't know him looked-- they saw the scar before they saw anything else. They saw his heritage painted across his eye in a brutal and viceral symbol. But Toph-- blind, rude, callous Toph-- had never once looked at him that way.-------------The clod and the pebbleKatara againBlood-bending, used to stop an attacking animal?----------------------------------------NightblindnessAnother side effect of betraying the FN and becoming a rebel (besides losing his stuff) is that Zuko starts sleepwalking. One night Sokka is woken up just in time to stop Zuko from accidentally falling off a terrace. Zuko ends up hanging over the side and Sokka has to pull him up by hand (yay work those arms Sokka!). It makes for awkward enemy-friend male bonding time, much cool dialogue, and Sokka almost starts being Zuko's friend. For a night. Traumatic circumstances, and all! It is during Zuko's sleepy mumblings that Sokka is the first person to discern how Zuko got his scar, though Sokka doesn't ask about it when Zuko's awake so Zuko doesn't know he talked.They're still not friends in the morning, but when the group sleeps Sokka always puts himself somewhere between where Zuko sleeps and the balcony side. Not cause they're friends! Because Aang needs a firebending teacher. And because Sokka doesn't like carrying all the food back to camp by himself after they go hunting. And he still has to learn how Zuko disarmed him when Sokka clearly has the superior weapon and greater natural sword-wielding talent.--------------Salvage"---Just because you're looking for 'redemption' now that you've gotten over your evil ways.""No! I--no. It's not like that.""Then what is it like?""I'm not trying to 'redeem' myself', at least, not the way you're talking about. I didn't get over my evil ways. I wasn't evil."Katara's face had transformed into the cold, stony expression of a temple statue, and she looked on the verge of leaping to her feet, surely to argue that last statement in as violent a way possible. Zuko put his hands out placatingly, jumping forward to finish his thought before she could argue with him. He hadn't spoken this much since he'd arrived, but unlike all the times before the right words were with him now. He could feel them bubbling up: all the things he'd been trying to say to Aang, to Mei, to Uncle."My unlce said that good and evil are at war inside me, and he was right-- but he was also wrong. My feelings were at war for the last three years-- no, longer than that. Ever since my mother disappeared. But it was ignorance and selfishness I battled, not evil. I don't eat foxpuppies for dinner or spend my waking hours plotting how to murder goddesses. I'm not Zhao, and I'm not my sister. I don't enjoy the pain of others." The former prince began to pace without realizing it. Katara had settled down, silenced either by the sincerity of his words or her own curiosity, Zuko couldn't say. But he seized the moment she was giving him."For a long time, I believed serving my father and becoming his heir was the right thing to do. I thought I was protecting my country, and being the person my family wanted me to be. That was the good course, the honorable course. And that meant acts of war: trying to take Aang prisoner, infiltrating the North. I even thought my Uncle was betraying our cause." This last admission was delivered with shame written on Zuko's face. A lot of betrayal had occurred that night, something the girl across from him was all too aware of. He swallowed his shame and pressed on."I was sure that if I could please my father everything would be okay again. I'd have my family, we'd win the war. It was selfish of me, and foolish. I've realize since that I was wrong, that Uncle was right, and that the right and good thing to do is to help you--because Aang knows what's best for the world, not the Fire Lord. I know this is not an excuse. I'm aware of every wrong thing I did, and I know that saying "It seemed right at the time" doesn't change the people I hurt or the damage I did. That's why I'm here. Not because I'm recovering from some kind of...of.... evilness condition. But because here is where I can do the most to fix the damage I've caused." ----------------------------------------
Potential tag line for future ZK story:He was a prince. She was a mermaid. And there's nothing Disney about it.ideas: shapechanging? maybe? --need something more unique and original here, something that constantly ties Katara to water yet allows her to be on land. Something physical. Also, tie it somehow to timing. Like she has to be in the water at some point or she will die. for an hour? the whole day? the night?a curse? a blessing? some kind of spell?the avatar alone can make her human / affect the spell. but does the spell make her a mermaid, or make her human? does she want it broken? at what price?someone loses their voice at one point-- but not her Katara as a young girl (12?), fresh from the horrors of a FN attack, tells an ocean spirit (not THE ocean spirit, a minor one) that she wishes she could escape her home for a little while and live on the sea. the spirit grants her wish, and suggests that she leave behind a replacement, almost like a golem, so that when Katara returns no one will know she left, and no one will worry. Katara picks out a sea-creature, but doesn't really realize the full implications of her choice.Then, she spends three days and three nights as a mermaid, playing with sea animals and being guided by the sea spirit to all sorts of wonderous sights. Unfortunately, this has a time limit. The spirit warns her that if she doesn't return to the location of the change in time, that it will be permanent. Katara gets delayed, and no matter how much she bargains, the spirit won't budge. Katara becomes a creature of the sea, and the starfish/seahorse/animal that replaced her goes on living her life, at least for a time. The new girl's personality is very different, and within the year she runs away from the water tribe completely. Katara's tribe never understands what made "her" change, and thought she might have died before even making it to the Earht Kingdom.Fast forward again: Katara has lived four years as a mermaid. She's travelled the entire ocean, but the nature of the spell on her means she can't explain her situation to her family, though she can talk to other humans if she wants to. The other Katara, the waterborn Katara, has lived four years as a human and has her own name now, living at large in the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom. Katara, now 17, meets meets Prince Zuko (the world is at peace, the war ended when Iroh took the throne after Azulon's death), and somehow finds out that the Avatar can make her human again. Her natural desire to be human is compounded with her strange attraction to the FN prince (whom she still blames for the attack on her village that killed her mother, 2 years before Iroh took the throne.) Zuko investigates her situation, fascinated by the mystery of it, and wants to take on the challenge of finding the Avatar with her.But wind of this travels to the waterborn creature who stole Katara's life (she was told by the same sea spirit, wanting mischief?). With humanity comes self-awareness, and the replacement, who now has a personality and a name, doesn't want to give up her very existence and go back to being a mindless animal... yet that's what'll happen if Katara becomes fully human again. She embarks on a campaign to protect her own existence by stopping Katara from breaking the spell that binds them both. What should her human name be? Something pretty.What I can't decide is if Aang should be still frozen, or if he should be alive and about. I think that maybe, if Iroh took the throne when Zuko was 9 and Katara 7, and ended the war, then maybe some years later, a year after Katara was trapped in the Sea, relations began again between th water tribes, and Pakku came down to the South Pole like in the series. He could have found the Avatar with Sokka, and become Aang's waterbending Master. It's pure circumstance that the war ended without Aang, and allows him to have a brief but good childhood with the water tribes. When he masters waterbending, the same year that Katara meets Zuko, Aang sets out with Sokka to learn the other elements. At this point Sokka is 18 and Aang is 15. Aang never met Katara, real or fake, because she had run away the year before Pakku and Sokka woke Aang up from his ice shell. With Katara mysteriously gone from their tribe, and no idea if she was alive or dead, Sokka latched onto Aang like a new younger sibling, and later demanded that he go with Aang to find earthbending and firebending masters because he didn't want anything to happen to Aang when he wasn't there. (like he wasn't there when "Katara" decided to run away).Now Aang is wandering the world with Sokka, Katara has just realized she needs to find him, and Zuko has discovered her mermaid existence, and may either try to cage her or help her, who knows.Should Lu Ten be alive? Should Ozai?Zuko and KAtara meet:I think that a mermaid wouldn't be able to survive in the sea near the poles, because she hasn't got a pelt like seals do, and she's not cold-blooded like a fish. So I'm going to say that Katara likes to hang around the Fire Nation's warmer waters, which are hotter from both the sun and the volcanic activity beneath the sea bed.More thoughts:Katara can take human form for one night every lunar cycle, during the full moon. Kinda like when Inuyasha turns fully human. Katara becomes human again, and the doppleganger becomes a seahorse. This reminds them both of their origins.Katara is in the FN when she learns of the painted lady. She begins masquerading as the Painted Lady to help people and keep connected with humanity. She's probably the best waterbender alive given her time as a mermaid, and she can use waterbending to heal or manipulate blood.Zuko discovers Katara when he goes to investigate the Painted Lady rumors. He hopes she can cure him of his curse?Zuko gets cursed. Maybe loses his voice?
write later: FUTURE CHAPTERS, BABY CHAPTERS28. Toph Bei Fong and Mr. Iroh"I think it's time you held up your end of the deal."Iroh smiled. "You're certainly direct for a person your age. I find it refreshing."Toph Bei Fong did not smile, much the same way that close-circling squid-sharks do not smile. "Iroh, I want my money."Two months ago Miss Toph, by the prodigious combination of fast talking and flow charts she'd earth-drawn into her mother's rock garden, had merrily escaped the Bei Fong estate to be apprenticed out to her earthbending relatives. It was brilliant! It was grand! To practice her art and go anywhere she wanted was every bit as freeing and transcendent an experience as she'd imagined it would be!Unfortunately, a month later she realized she was now stuck in a shanty little port town with no allowance, unable to gamble for her pocket money after being caught by the constable the last six times and nearly sent home. More creative measures were required if she wanted to expand her mail-order action figure collection.Iroh had provided the opportunity she needed, but evidently he had now taken into his head to play chicken. "Why are children so hasty?" he asked. "Have some tea."Toph drank the tea, because she was thirsty, and incidentally had no qualms beating up someone after drinking their tea."Miss Toph, I have something you might like even better."------Harsh Light of DayThe morning after the dinner party Sokka was feeling good. The Fire Nation were a bunch of chauvinist windbags, worse than even the grouchiest, ancientest Water Tribe warrior—who was just set in his ways and misunderstood, poor old guy—and surely hearing Katara's extravagant plans for fixing the planet would cure Ass Prince of any notion of marriage.He turned a corner, heard something suspicious, and dove behind a pile of baskets to hide while the voices got progressively louder."Not good enough! You arranged for me to teach the Avatar earthbending and keep him occupied. If you want my services to continue—" "I most certainly do, Miss Toph." General Iroh! Sokka knew firebenders were dastardly liars, but this was low. Sokka felt so betrayed!"—then pay. Or I might get upset."Sokka heard the general sigh, then the clink and chink of coins. He jumped from the basket pile, pointed at the old man and the young girl, and shouted: "Our fishing trip this weekend is so canceled!"-----------Yes, time. It's time for Toph, and it's time for Princess Azula. No One Likes A Know-It-AllPrincess Azula leapt from the bowsprit of her birthday ship, somersaulted twice mid-air, and landed on the dock in a perfect en-pointe plié.A village sailor sitting nearby whistled, then screamed when a bolt of lightning destroyed the wooden beams holding him above the water. The sound of his pathetic splashes brought extra sparkle to Princess Azula's glamorous golden eyes. "Earth Kingdom citizens," she shouted, "Your new princess has arrived! At my word the wrath of Ozai will fall upon you, and as your new ruler I declare that this city, formerly known as Pau Ying, will be named New Azulon, after my merciless grand—"Someone on her ship coughed. Azula spun around and glared."WHAT IS IT CAPTAIN?""Um, my lady...""SPIT IT OUT!""This is not Pau Ying. This is Sozinville, which Commander Zhao conquered eight yea—"There was a magnificent crack, a fizzle, a plop not unlike the one a corpse might make falling into the water, and then silence."Lieftenant, where do you think we are?"------------It's A Small Town After All, It's A Small..."Katara, this is Toph, my earthbending teacher. Toph, this is Katara!"When Katara looked at Toph, her jaw fell off her chin. Nearly. "You?" she gasped.Toph grinned: shiny white teeth and empty white stare. "Hey.""But... you live right on the other side of the clearing. We can see your backyard from our camp!""Yeah?" she said with affected curiosity. "I've never looked.""I helped you carry your groceries last week!" Katara sputtered. "And... you convinced me to buy you an entire basket of fruit! She pointed her finger in accusation, a gesture wholly lost on its intended audience. "You...you scammed me.""You walked into it, Pumpkin. The mangos were delicious.""Aang, you," Katara snarled, "cannot let someone like this teach you. She's an amoral conwoman!"It was the earthbender's turn to bristle. "Conwoman? I'm twelve, I'm undersized for my age, and I'm blind. Have some sympathy for crippled children!""Katara, Toph, I don't want anyone to fight——""SHUT UP AANG!" both girls shouted.
Zuko going around randomly saying the key phrases of the White Lotus, much to Sokka's amusement as the one phrase is particularly suggestive. People wonder if Zuko has to keep saying that because he lost a bet or something. Finally when he's at the door to the club, he keeps fumbling the password.The white lotus opens wide to those who know her secrets.Order of the White Lotus, Iroh is a GrandmasterWho knocks at the garden gate?One who has eaten the fruit, and tasted its mysteries.
About a month ago I tried to think of a way to meld a Z/K fic with the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. My brainstorms were not very rewarding, however. Tonight I had the idea of doing it instead as a fusion with The Princess Bride. Primarily the film plot, since it's been too long since I read the book.Basic plot points of The Princess Bride:-boy & girl separated while in love, boy "dead"-5 years later, girl is engaged to evil prince, becomes princess bride-boy is dread pirate-princess is kidnapped, supposed to be murdered to start a war-pirate chases down her kidnappers-pirate fights the sword duel-pirate beats the giant-wine/poison battle of wits-pirate reveals his identity as boy, lovers are reuinited and brave the fire swamp-lovers are captured, boy is taken to be tortured and princess beliefs him safe, now engaged again to evil prince-boy is tortured to point of death, bride bargains with prince-giant and swordsman rescue the pirate's body, take him to magical max for revival-giant, swordsman, and pirate break into castle to rescue the princess the night of the wedding-many battles, they escape and live happily ever afterA pure fusion with ATLA would probably have Zuko as the hunting-obsessed evil prince, but the problem with that is that Zuko (or under a stretch, maybe Sokka) is also the best person to be the Man In Black. And since I do love Bluetara fics, I've decided that I'm going to have Zuko as the Man In Black and someone else as the evil prince.I also would be changing a lot to give the princess a more active role, less of a damsel in distress.Tentative cast outline:Princess Bride/Buttercup: KataraWestley/Pirate Roberts/Man In Black: Zuko/Blue SpiritFezzik: Zhao? someone else?Evil Prince Humperdink: Fire Lord OzaiBrother to Fire Lord: IrohIroh's son: Lu TenSix-fingered man: Princess Azula (thoughSwordsman/Inigo: SokkaGiant: TophMiracle Max: Aang & Spirit WorldDread Pirate Roberts: June, under disguise as a manZuko disappeared when he was young, lived in the earth king with his mother who ran away and took him as a toddler after Fire Lord Azulon was murdered. They go to the Southern Water Tribe when Zuko is 16, and he leaves when he's 18. He doesn't realize he's the prince until he goes to the castle to rescue Katara.Ozai decides he wants a war, and at the same time his advisors tell him he needs to choose a new wife so that he can have a male heir. He wants his daughter to be heir, but he decides he can do both: get married, kill his pretty young wife, then blame her murder on the Earth Kingdom, counting on the Water Tribes to be his war allies once their valued healer and daughter of the chief is murdered after she is married to the Fire Lord as part of a treaty.Sokka is the swordsman role, and he learns rumors about men being hired to kidnap the princess, so he pretends to be a kidnapper so he can get to her and protect her, as well as keeping her from marrying the evil monarch, whom he never liked. He intends to help them kidnap her, then double-cross them and run off with everyone thinking she's dead. She recognizes his voice, though, and he secretly tells her of his plan. Unfortunately, before the plan can be put into action he realizes they're being followed, and the other kidnappers run off with Katara while he's fighting the blue spirit, who he thinks wants to kidnap Katara too (he was off being a warrior and never around much during the ). It's all a huge misunderstanding, but the BS lets him live after knocking him out.The other kidnapper is __? toph? She puts up a half-hearted attempt to stop him, more because she's competitive than out of any loyalty to her employer.When Zuko rescues katara, then they are both captured, Zuko still doesn't know who he is, nor does Ozai. Zuko is tortured by Azula, who finds a portrait of their mother in his bag, and recognizes the face. She puts the pieces together, realizes he's actually her brother who could threaten her as heir, and makes sure he "dies" in the torture process....Possible ending:Ozai and Azula are killed, Iroh offers to recognize Zuko as Fire Lord, but Zuko, who was never raised as a prince, turns him down. Iroh becomes Fire Lord and Lu Ten his heir, and Zuko runs off with Katara.Or... Zuko becomes the prince/heir and*******************************************Basically, I can potentially figure out or work out the entire plot (not exactly what you see here, but something similar) except one annoying thing: whether or not Zuko should be a prince.In the basic storyline, Westley is not a prince. He's a farm boy, then a pirate/swordsman/adventurer. More to the point, at the end Westley and Buttercup run off together... Westley certain doesn't become king in Humperdink's place. I could make Zuko all those things, but that means to strip him of his princehood. And it PAINS me to think about writing him that way, because so much of Zuko's identity is wound up in his idea of being Prince of the Fire Nation. It's his strongest motivation in the show.I could have what I've got theorized above, which is like having Zuko as a secret prince who doesn't even realize his identity until the end of the story, but then what's the point of that? He'd still be raised to believe himself a commoner, so it would still be like denying that part of his character.When I first thought of this tonight, it seemed such an easy parallel... Zuko as the Blue Spirit fighting against the odds to rescue his true love: "Death cannot stop true love; it can only delay it a little while." There was the added appeal of doing many of Westley's scenes with a Zuko personality twist.But Zuko's personality wouldn't be what it is if he weren't a prince. See the problem? Ideas welcome.
I was waching old school Fairie Tale Theater today, and it was this really old episode with a young Christopher Reeve as an overly enthusiastic, if not very intelligent, prince charming. The ep? Sleeping Beauty. One of the good fairies, on speculating about future princes battling past briars and monsters, muttered, "It'll take one with more courage than brains." And I thought... what if it were Avatar characters? And thus the idea was born.Title: Sleeping Beauty ...(very tentative working title)Timeline: AUSummary: A prince sets out to find a lost castle with a sleeping princess. Along the way he picks up a ostrich-horse that won't run, a pair of swords that won't cut, and a waterbender that won't shut up.Zuko and Katara, off to wake Sleeping Beauty. Right now it's mostly just a cool summary, but who knows, if I get interested in writing it. I already know that the princess is going to be Toph, and it might not be the prince's kiss that wakes her up. :D More scraps..."Looks like you're in need of a new medic.""The man just got his leg broken, and you're trying to steal his job?""I saved him from bleeding to death; it's the least he could do."