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  1. 7

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    Sokka goes exploring and things...don't go as well as they could have.

     

    or, wherein Sokka is saved by Tui and La.

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  2. 34

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    “Hey,” Sokka’s voice is soft. “Come with me. I’ve missed you.”

    Distantly, Toph supposes that even the earth moves unsteadily at times; after all, isn’t that how earthquakes are caused?

    [Tokka, as foretold by Aunt Wu. Oneshot. Minor AU from LOK.]

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    • 15 Dec 2020

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      Now, sitting next to Toph, he can’t help but wonder what life has in store for him. Her presence next to him is comforting; she has always been his constant. Even as his feelings towards her had grown, he’d known that regardless of what was felt, she would be there. Through fire and ice and storm, there was Toph.

  3. *

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    There is a ghost on the Wani. But the crew have grown used to - even fond of - Prince Zuko. And no matter how many times General Iroh tries to gently explain the boy’s predicament, tries to suggest that he might attempt to move on, Prince Zuko can always be found watching the sea.

    -

    There is a prisoner in the palace.

    Language:
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  4. *

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    "Twice Iroh goes to the Spirit World. The first time he is lost. The second time he is found."—After the War, Azula eventually comes to live in Ba Sing Se with Iroh. On Iroh, Azula, Zuko, and the ties that bind them.

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    • 19 Oct 2020

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      Perhaps he was wrong, Iroh muses while watching Azula correct Izumi’s stance, when he described Zuko and Azula so long ago.

      Zuko is more than candlelight. Rather, he is a bastion of sanity in a Fire Nation obsessed with supremacy and domination. And Azula—she is no longer lightning, but akin to a slow-burning and controlled brushfire. For her, sparks still smolder beneath the surface, little spots of chaos that could spiral out of control at any moment. Or that could go out forever.

      But what is light without darkness?

      Nothing. Nothing at all.

  5. *

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    “You must know the pain of losing a favored child. By sacrificing your own!”
     
    Slowly, Father bows, until his forehead is touching the ground in respect. In obedience.

    "If the Fire Lord commands it,” Father says, his voice ringing in her ears, “it will be done."

    Or: Azulon asks Ozai to kill his daughter instead of his son. Ozai is loyal and obedient. His children, faced with a murderous father, are not.

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    3/?
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    • 12 Oct 2020

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      “You're my sister; I'm honor-bound to protect you. And if we're running away–” he fumbles along his belt, where the sword Lu Ten gave him is strapped, and pulls out Uncle Iroh’s knife “–you're going to need a weapon.”

      Never give up without a fight. Azula stares at the knife, stares at Zuko, and swallows. “Alright.”

  6. *

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    Ursa adored the boy. Iroh doted on him. Azulon would coo at the child when he thought others weren’t watching. Even Lu Ten, who often declared the baby boring, would play with Zuko near the turtleduck pond. No, it seemed Ozai was the only one who saw what a disappointment his son was.

     

    No matter. His problem would be dealt with by morning.

     

    A Water Tribe Zuko AU.

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    Chapters:
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    Comments:
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    • 12 Oct 2020

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      “Kallik!” Katara shouted, wriggling out of her sleeping bag. Her feet were still tangled in the furs as she stood up, making her stumble. Kallik caught her and pulled her into a tight hug. Sokka got up as well and wrapped his arms around both of them. Eventually, Aang was pulled in too. Kallik pressed his face against Sokka’s shoulder to hide his tears. Sokka saw anyway and teased him for his delicate sensibilities, despite the wet trails on his own face. Momo flew overhead, chittering with excitement.

      They were alive. They were here.

      Kallik wondered if this was what good luck felt like. He wasn’t sure he could call it anything else.

  7. *

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    Zuko suddenly realized with bone-deep certainty that he was going to die out here on this spirits-cursed raft in the middle of the ocean.

    Or... Zuko stops eating on the raft he was on with Uncle Iroh after the failed Invasion of the North, and no one notices because intuitive master firebenders can supplement a carnivorous diet with photosynthesis almost exclusively.

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    Chapters:
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    • 07 Oct 2020

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      He took a deep breath, as deep as he could, and breathed into his stomach as much as he could. He held it for a second and then breathed out, holding back the flames for once. He resolutely did it again and imagined the breath filling him with strength, imagined water filling him with fresh coolness and not salted and bloodied nightmares, imagined earth stable beneath his feet, imagined warmth in his chest and cheeks and limbs, imagined a lightness to his movements, imagined peace and custard tarts and music and turtle duck ponds and the end of a kata perfectly executed… he breathed in again and imagined the air gliding not just into his lungs but into his blood, into his bone, throughout each of his fingers and toes and teeth, and then breathed out, the feeling rushing out. He breathed in again and imagined the air entering him glided from the crown of his head, over his forehead, down his throat, encircling his heart, filling his stomach, over his sacrum behind his genitals and then settling at the base of his spine for a moment before spreading out like a sun glare throughout his whole body.

      The stomach chakra, the fire chakra, was the source of willpower and blocked by shame.

      He breathed in again and for a second remembered everything he was afraid of (red moon, no moon, full moon; glowing eyes and tattoos in the middle of winds as fast as any typhoon; a man behind a curtain of fire glaring at him), everything he regretted (a prayer shawl fluttering behind him; a bison flying out of a storm above a still ship; swords crossed at a twelve year old’s neck; an old woman’s shoulder shaking under his fist; a convent flooded with perfume full of noncombatants) or was ashamed of (“Take my hand!”), everything he grieved (“Always remember who you are.”), everything that had misled him (“Dad’s going to kill you. Really, he is.”) or deluded him (“Finding the Avatar is far more important than any individual's safety!”), and let it go. He breathed out and opened his eyes.

      The sun was still there, steady in the sky, like always.

  8. 33

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    One year after she's been shut away in Imperial Jade Serenity Healing House, her arms semi-permanently chi-blocked to prevent her from bending, Azula contemplates her bleak future.

    Or: Team Avatar aren't the only ones tasked with making drastic and potentially lethal choices.

    Language:
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    Chapters:
    2/?
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    33
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    • 06 Oct 2020

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      Azula knows who Koh is. Everybody in the Three Nations, even those who don’t believe in the Spirit World (and Azula had counted herself in that category up until a ago), knows about Koh the Face-stealer. His glistening many-legged black-and-white visage has crawled into countless children’s dreams. Water Tribe and Fire Nation alike are united in the screams of their youngest citizens as they awake from a nightmare about Koh, their hands pressed frantically into their cheeks, searching for reassurance that their faces have not been lost to the monstrous creature.

      Azula had only screamed once, after the very first Koh dream she’d had as a young child. Ursa had come running, and for a scant shí Azula had lain in her mother’s soft arms, lulled to sleep by her false voice and false warmth. The next day, at breakfast, her father had fixed upon her a look of such vitriolic disgust that Azula had nearly vomited, her belly pierced by shame. After that, whenever Koh crept into her mind at night, she had resolutely clamped her mouth shut, allowing herself only the quietest whimpers into her pillow. Zuko, of course, had shrieked for Ursa until he was nine, the weak little duckling.

      “You are not the Avatar,” Koh says, coiling up and regarding Azula with terribly serene eyes. “And yet you look… familiar.”

      Azula schools her face into perfect neutrality. It comes easily to her, a talent born from a lifetime spent at the knees of a father who would not hesitate to burn her for the smallest show of disrespect. “Perhaps you have had nightmares about me,” she says conversationally.

  9. *

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    It starts small. How something sweet twists into cruelty. How she learns to turn her weaknesses, scarce as they are to begin with, into Zuko's. Until they become her strengths. Until there are no weaknesses, no flaws, left in her.

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    • 01 Oct 2020

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      “...so what do you think, girls? Maybe we could play hide and find with Zuzu?” she says, loudly enough, just as Zuko passes by.

      Ty Lee giggles, and Mai makes a face somewhere between amused and mortified at mocking Zuko, what with her oh-so-obvious crush that Azula still doesn't understand. Zuko fumes – literally – and hurries past.

      Azula realizes that her brother is not good at this game.

  10. *

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    “Sparky,” Toph announces, “it’s field-trip time. Pack your bags.” She pauses and considers Azula. “You want to come, Princess?”

    Azula eyes her up and down. “With you?”

    Toph’s grin is full of teeth. “You know I’m more fun than anyone else at the palace, don’t try and pretend otherwise.”

    Unfortunately, she has a point.

     

    Or: the beginning of Azula's redemption.

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    • 01 Oct 2020

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      They visit an orphanage one morning. There are no government officials to threaten or impress, no troops to win over. Just several dozen little faces staring up at them with big eyes.

      Azula bats away their sticky fingers. She’s a princess. Even a disgraced princess shouldn’t have to deal with grabby orphans.

      But then, Zuko is the Fire Lord now, and he crouches down to their level, getting his fine robes dusty. He laughs when they try and climb onto him, and gently moves their hands whenever one of the little ones reaches for his crown, glittering in the early sun.

      He’s gentle, but he’s not good with the kids. He falters and tells the kids to eat their vegetables twice, desperate to impart a lesson. The kids pull faces. Zuko flushes pink.

      But no matter how uncomfortable he seems, no matter what thoughtless thing the kids say to him, flames never lick at Zuko’s fingers. He doesn’t yell. Zuko—impatient and tackless Zuko—never loses his patience.

      If he wasn’t her brother, she never would have guessed he was Ozai’s son.

  11. *

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    • 29 Sep 2020

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      Somehow, in some inexplicable and incomprehensible way, the former Fire Prince, a powerful, vicious, and determined beta, was actually a powerful, vicious, and determined omega.

      Sokka didn’t know which one, but somewhere, somehow, a spirit was laughing at him. Perhaps alongside some of its stupid spirit friends.

  12. *

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    Inspired by Muffinlance's Salvage, Hakoda not only picks up a surly traumatized teenager but his sarcastic, angry sister as well. Ozai may not want his son back, but his daughter on the other hand... well, Hakoda is ready and willing to fight for custody of the daughter that isn't his, and the son that's safer among enemies than with his own father.

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    Chapters:
    5/13
    Collections:
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    Comments:
    408
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    2206
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    661
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    32658
    • 28 Sep 2020

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      “Look, just, leave the negotiating to us, and stop trying to escape. You’re safe here as long as you obey the rules.”

      Safe. Wasn’t that a concept. Azula couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt safe, whether it was eleven years spent keeping the delicate balance of Father’s blessings and trying to earn Mothers, and then Uncle’s, attentions, or two and a half years trying to keep her idiot brother from killing himself chasing a Spirits tale in the middle of the Ocean when they weren’t on anybody’s side at the end of a century-long war, she knew better than letting her guard down.

      She might have been Father’s favorite, but that didn’t mean his ire didn’t burn just as strong as it did with ZuZu.

      It doesn’t mean that returning to the Palace without the Avatar would be any less of a death sentence.

      The Chief didn’t know Father, he didn’t understand him. That meant that these… negotiations were going to crash and burn, but it also meant that he wasn’t like Father either. She couldn’t earn his favor then hide behind the nearest target as they took his wrath and punishment.

      But it was fine. She’d just do what she always did: agree, then do what she had to do, consequences be damned.

  13. *

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    Katara kills Zuko at the North Pole. It is not the first time he has died.

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    Chapters:
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    199
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    490
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    • 28 Sep 2020

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      Zuko wasn't sure why he flinched from fire but he tried hard not to, because his father wanted him to be a good firebender; he was an embarrassment if he was worse than his three-year-old sister. Zuko tried extra hard to love his mother, because he was sorry that he couldn't remember her. It seemed like she knew how sorry he was and loved him back a little extra, too, so he wouldn't be worried about it. Trying extra hard to love his mother became strongly loving her for real, but sometimes Zuko still caught himself watching the servant women and wondering who he was looking for.

  14. *

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    Toph does not need anyone, certainly not the whiny Avatar or his bossy friend. Thank you very much, she's totally fine on her own. Zuko is sick of the Earth Kingdom and he just wants to go home. He really shouldn't stop when he witnesses some thugs threatening another stray kid, but he does. The chance encounter changes everything.

    S2 AU - where Toph and Zuko run into each other mid-Chase and end up going on a field trip together. (I upped the rating to T for some mild cussing - just to be on the safe side).

    WARNING: VERY SLOW UPDATES

    Language:
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    • 26 Sep 2020

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      “For what it’s worth, I think it makes you look badass.”

      Zuko was relieved that she didn’t offer pity. Pity always made things worse. But she probably knew that from personal experience.

      “You got it in a fight?” she asked.

      Zuko swallowed. Most people didn’t dare ask him outright. Then again he always assumed that everyone in the whole world knew. Agni knew, there were plenty of spectators there. Father made sure of that.

      “I got it because I didn’t fight,” he spat out bitterly.

      “Why?”

      Zuko had asked himself the question a million times. Why didn’t he? Azula would have. She wouldn’t have begged with tears in her eyes in front of the entire fucking court. But how could he? How could he risk hurting Father? He would have broken off his own arms first than do that. But then how could he not care that he was hurting Zuko?

      The familiar angry tears gathered in his throat, threatening to come out.

      “I don’t want to talk about it,” he hissed.

      “Is this why you aren’t at home?” Toph asked quietly.

      “I said I don’t want to talk about it.” he shouted angrily. A thin flame escaped his nostrils and a single tear started travelling down his unscarred cheek. It was mortifying. He gritted his teeth and fought the emotion. He had better control than this.

      She just didn’t know when to stop pushing, did she?

      “It’s fine if you don’t want to.” Toph held up her hands. “I just think it’s kind of weird that you can’t go home because you didn’t want to fight and I can’t go home because I wanted to fight. Families are hard.” she sighed. There was no judgement in her voice.

      “No kidding.”

      “So this is why you are so careful with your bending - you don’t want to hurt anyone.” It wasn’t a question.

      Zuko didn’t want to think about the months after the Agni kai, when seeing the smallest flame made him flinch and freeze in panic. The endless control training with Uncle before he was ready to throw his first fireball and how his hands were shaking terrified that he would hurt someone. That terror never quite left him.

      “It makes me weak.”

      “No, it makes you decent.”

      “Decent gets no points where I come from.” At least not since Mother disappeared into the night without an explanation. “I’d take strong over decent.”

      “No, you wouldn’t,” Toph said with conviction.

      She was probably right. After all, she was the living lie detector. Maybe she could tell not only the lies he was telling her, but also those he was telling himself.

  15. *

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    "I hate your dad so much,” Sokka considers for a second. He tries to mix it up as often as he can when they play this game. “That I have considered starting an official petition begging Aang to reconsider his commitment to nonviolence.”

    It’s quiet for a beat. He’s afraid he’s miscalculated, but Zuko laughs, broken and sincere.

    (Or: 5, 8, 15 years after the war, Sokka talks shit about Ozai.)

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    • 26 Sep 2020

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      “You deserved a better father,” he says. It might not be the right thing to say, but it is true. Even if it does make Zuko’s entire face squeeze up. “I’m sorry you didn’t get one.”

  16. *

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    • 24 Sep 2020

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      So being twins means being lucky, and sometimes it means being spirit-touched, except neither of them’s really lucky and Tuikka’s not spirit-touched, just Lanook is. Lanook who can freeze water with a breath, Lanook who never gets stuck in the snow no matter how deep it is, Lanook who can still make Katara feel better even when he’s sad or hurt himself, Lanook who’s the waterbender and is the white of glacier ice and the black of caulking tar and the one the women of the tribe all fawn over. Lanook who’s stronger and faster and who’s always been just that little bit taller and broader even though he’s the younger one, all their lives.

      Lanook who wakes up crying from nightmare visions that Tuikka doesn’t even want to think about.

      “S’okay,” Tuikka mumbles gruffly, reaching out sleepily for his brother in the dark of the tent, because he can feel Lanook awake beside him, hear the stifled almost-sobs that are all the other will let his dreams tear out of him ever since Mom died. Lanook stiffens in his furs, but Tuikka’s hand clamps down on his shoulder and squeezes, hard, and then the other throws himself against him. Tuikka drags his blankets around them both, tight like the way Mom used to tuck them in, and lets Lanook hide his face and his tears and his fears against him.

      He’s not the bigger one. He’s not the waterbender. He’s not special or lucky or spirit-touched or strong or fast or nice or handsome or any of those things.

      But he’s the big brother, and Lanook needs him.

      And he’s not the one who dreamed of black snow the night before Mom died.

      That’s all that matters.

  17. *

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    It took a second of non-hungover thought for Hakoda to realize just how bad the situation was. He was stuck on a raft. In the open ocean. With no one but the Prince of the Fire Nation for company.

    With no food or water, or tools to acquire either. They broke his spear and ruined his boomerang.

     

    Hakoda and Zuko end up on a raft AU. Inspired by an ask by Muffinlance which said that this was apparently the OG premise for Salvage.

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    1/1
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    144
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    350
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    • 21 Sep 2020

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      “Hypothetically, what’s the punishment in the Water Tribes for disrespect?”

      In the back of his mind, Hakoda registered, the rasp was not unlike that of the occasional smoker they ran across. It felt like all the smooth edges had been roughened and raked over the coals for good measure. Hakoda stopped thinking about that. There was a more important thing to focus on, and answer.

      “You didn’t do anything to deserve that, Zuko.”

      “You didn’t answer my question.” Maybe Hakoda didn’t, but he answered the something that was unsaid. It seemed like no one has so far. He was the first.

      Why was Hakoda the first in what seemed like everything related to being a Reasonable Adult?

      Spirits. He’s Sokka’s age. The Firelord was no father, and being a callous imperialist with no regard for other people’s lives was no excuse for poor parenting, given the way the boy talks about his uncle. Then again, apparently his Uncle left him lost and alone with only the vaguest proverbs for advice. Not necessarily the best example of fatherly guidance, now. Especially not when the esteemed General seemed above giving his nephew assistance on being a captain, instead leaving Zuko yelling at everything, chasing ghosts with a crew that doesn't understand, doing so much mental gymnastics he could compete with that one acrobat friend he mentioned once.

      Maybe he also hated General Iroh, for hiding his viper jaws behind tea, bawdy jokes, and proverbs. Then again, Zuko was a bad judge of character. And stubborn. Maybe General Iroh tried to do more beyond being jovial?

      Hakoda threw out the benefit of the doubt for the General the second he reminded himself of Ba Sing Se.

      Zuko looked impatient. It might have been because it was the second time he’d repeated the statement. “Just humor me.”

      He did. Tui, Hakoda did. He explained in depth how the Tribes viewed disrespect, the different history of their social customs, standard punishments by the Councils like ice floes… He was only paying half attention to his words. His unvoiced thoughts tasted like ash in his mouth, but by La he did. Anything to keep those thoughts from making their way out.

      Anything to keep his mind off of the boy knowing the smell of burning flesh, and the fact that he still wanted to crawl back to the one who did it to him.

      It was all he could do, and Hakoda knew it wasn’t enough.

  18. *

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    In the weeks following the war, Zuko faces a gauntlet of Agni Kai challengers. Sokka worries.

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    • 20 Sep 2020

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      The first challenge is due to a difference in opinion regarding their withdrawal from the Earth Kingdom. General Uzu, who has been organizing their campaign on the southern border for the last two and a half years, does not see any issues with the orders he’d sent to his men, and Zuko cannot explain to him that he can’t just give his men free reign to loot everything in their path on the way home in any fewer words without coming to blows.

      So it does. Come to blows.

      General Uzu challenges him to Agni Kai.

      “I accept,” Zuko says, and it takes every ounce of his self control to keep his voice level. Behind him, the servants shift nervously, and Zuko can only feel vaguely surprised that they hadn’t seen this coming.

  19. 21

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    Ozai is born first - he is Azulon's heir, the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation, the Dragon of the West, the most feared general in their army and is a firebending prodigy like none in his generation. It still isn't enough.

     

    An abridged AU where Ozai is Azulon's heir instead of Iroh, and its ramifications.

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    • 20 Sep 2020

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      Ozai is away for months, sometimes years at a time — setting up colonies, defending their borders, and conquering new territories. Each time he comes home, his brother, his wife, and his son become more stranger than family to him. Iroh gains a wife, gains a son, and loses a wife in the space of one campaign. The weeks that he spends with Ursa in between trips to the Earth Kingdom are fleeting, but soon enough he has a daughter as well, Azula, just as strange to him as his son. One day, he comes back to the capital, and realizes that Zuko is twelve, more proficient with the dao than with fire, and more interested in playing with his baby sister and cousin than in the Crown Prince's lessons.

      Baby sister. When was the last time that Ozai had come home again? He counts back, and the dates line up. But he looks at Azula, who has laughing, golden eyes and Ursa’s beautiful face, and sees nothing of himself in her.

  20. 91

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    Five things Zuko will never tell his sister, and five things Azula will never tell her brother.

    [Set in the timeskip of the heat that drives the light, the fire it ignites]

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    • 20 Sep 2020

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      She thought her father loved her, but he traded her life for the throne like a copper coin. Azula will never forget that the price of her survival was Zuko’s crown, Zuko’s home, Zuko’s mother, and half of Zuko’s face. And she will never forget that after days of delirium, when her brother finally fought his way to consciousness, he had smiled as much as he could and told her she was worth it all.

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