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I snapped out of a bad dream in the middle of the night, but it turned out the real nightmare was just about to begin.

It was like looking through some kind of slits; something weird covered my face. A mask? I was trying to make sense of what I saw and felt, but the world — the world just went crazy. My body didn't obey me. Not any more. I couldn't bend; I couldn't change the movement of my limbs' own creation; I couldn't even speak. All I could was just scream, trapped inside my head while my body was rushing around a place that looked like a Fire Nation fortress. I could feel cold damp air in my lungs and the fabric rubbing my skin. I could feel pretty much everything, yet I could do nothing. A helpless weak observer. Panic clutched my heart in ice-cold fingers. I hadn't been as pathetic since… Oh, enough! Just drop it!

I didn't remember how I got there in the first place and if such things had ever happened to me before. Was there anything wrong about me lately? What if yes? What if the crew could notice?

I was not a control freak like Azula, I was nothing like her. Not in the slightest, but right now I desperately wished I could gain a glimpse of control she always had over herself. Everything was so easy for her — the bending, the way she won the recognition of the fa… Stop!

Blending into the shadows, I sneaked around the fortress — silent and invisible. Stupid speeches came in handy thanks to an ambitious fool of a Zhao. How could Father even promote him?

In horror, I witnessed the Fire Nation soldiers fallen at my own hands. No, no, no, I am not a traitor to my people. I could only imagine what I'd face if somebody in control — something in control? — made a mistake and I ended up in the hands of Zhao. At least he had the wisdom to use water instead of fire against the last guard's bending.

I saw my body breaking the chains and freeing the Avatar, retrieving the dao-blades in an elegant yet intimidating move. The move I was not familiar with. Was I good with swords? Was it even my skill I was so proud of all along?

"Who are you? What's going on? Are you here to save me?" the airbender exclaimed.

"I wish I knew!" Not a single word escaped my lips, of course.

I was never lucky. So much for hoping it would be different that single time. And so, I was fighting alongside with the Avatar to escape the Pohuai Stronghold, dodging blades and spears. I could not reveal my identity — the Avatar captured or not — there was no way to get away with this, not even for the Fire Nation prince.

Hot flames flied my way; the time seemed to slow down but I stand still. Frozen. Could I even — could he even bend fire? Not that agai— The airbender blew that fire away.

What an irony — to hold the Avatar hostage, with the hands one could not control.

Something heavy hit me in the head and the world was swallowed by the darkness.

оОо

You know what the worst part of being born over a hundred years ago is? I miss all the friends who I used to hang out with. Before the war started, I used to always visit my friend Kuzon. He was one of the best friends I ever had and he was from the Fire Nation, just like you.

The voice — distant and familiar — echoed in my head. The Avatar. I snapped my eyes open to find out myself lying under a tree and the airbender sitting just above me. There was no mask covering my face. He knew.

"If we knew each other back then, do you think we could have been friends, too?" the boy asked.

Rage boiling in my chest, I wished I could just shut the airbender up. I wished I could just curl my hand into a fist and jump back on my feet releasing a stream of fire the Avatar's way. Suddenly, happened just that. I had my body back.

In an instant, he was gone, but I was still there, memories of the previous night swirling in my head like a fierce ocean. It was real. Agni, help me.