Edit Changed a few things to make it more clear / make more sense x) /Edit

Just a few things before we start:
1) This is just a little something for me all those rabid Avatar fans out there so we can amuse ourselves while waiting for the season finale. Making us wait two whole weeks? Now that's just cruel.
2) On the other hand, if you are not amused by my writing / style / grammar / whatever, feel free to give me constructive criticism and/or suggestions. I won't turn down chance to improve my writing.
3) Anything wr1tn lyk th1s wi11 B ign)reD!!!1!!111!1one

Caution: Contains spoilers from "The Earth King".

Disclaimer: Not mine. Am a poor, humble student. Don't sue. x)

---Toph---

(This picks up right after Toph's last scene in "The Earth King" in which she has been captured in a steel cage, suspended from the ceiling, by Xin Fu and her former earth-bending teacher, both of whom intend to drag her back home.)

That voice. That voice: harsh, greedy and familiar. Toph struggled within the foul metal contraption, searching for a flaw in its design, while the voice outside continued to berate her for her travels with the Avatar, the occasional word, "too far" or "home" resounding within the metal. I know that voice, she realized, reaching backwards into her memory banks for an ID. Some guy with too much hair and not enough soap. Well, I suppose there are a lot of those …wait…That's it! It's Xin Fu! But what is he doing here?...

"You better pray that I won't find a way out! 'Cause when I do, you'll be more than sorry!" she bellowed, as much out of anger as curiosity. Surely he wasn't still peeved about the earth-bending tournament scrimmage? After all, her father had, agreed to pay him. Laughter from the outside. Then silence. Annoyed, Toph slumped against the steel walls. Steel, steel, always steel. Why did it have to be steel? She despised the alien surface with a fiery passion. Yes, she could still feel vibrations through it, but they were strangely amplified, making the world look as though it were in a state of constant, quaking chaos. Not only that, but it also damped her bending abilities. Sure, she could probably make the Xin Fu fall on his face, even this far above ground, but it would do her a fat lot of good.

Still, all that added up to an inconvenience, an annoyance. She would escape as soon as they opened the slightest crack in the steel. After all, they had to feed her sometime if they planned on getting her hom alive. What really hurt was realization that her mother hadn't changed. Her mother did not understand her after all, had not written the letter. Would not understand her. Couldnot understand her, and that was the greatest pain of all. The pain of shattered illusions.

---Zuko--

A low moan of anguish vibrated through Zuko's chest as the fever raged on, unyielding. His hands clenched and unclenched, the muscles of his arm rippling beneath the skin in his state of hallucination, his own personal hell. Sweat plastered his hair to his scalp and coated every last inch of skin. Another weak struggle and he succumbed to the hungry dreams.

The hallways of his childhood home spread before him like the many paths of a tree's roots. There was so little light. Shadows flicker along walls, yet he felt strangely lucid. Compelled by some strange force, he runs down the halls, making arbitrary turns until he arrives at a single, long hallway stretching into the distance. The dull, stone walls were lifeless, trying to absorb the feeble light in an attempt to replenish their own. Even as his instincts cry out, his feet pace over the floor towards a single door at its end.

"Fire Lord Zuko," murmured the voice of the blue dragon, echoing within the confines of the hall, "Come. Come. The Fire Lady awaits you. She will be angry. Come…"

"No!" counters the voice of the red dragon just as Zuko's hand hit the door, "Turn away!"

For an instant, the blue dragon, bearing Azula's face, appeared before him and incinerated the door with a satisfied smirk and filled the hall with smoke. Sweet, clear laughter, somewhat young, most definitely feminine, drifted through the flames. So familiar was the sound that he felt his fingers twitch, as though he could reach through the haze and grasp her hand. His gaze caught the barest flash of dark hair and blood-stained lips before the laughter turned changed, tumbling down an octave or two to become harsh and spiteful. You coward, all those dead, and it's all your fault…the voiced crooned. Zuko felt his body recoil in disgust as the smoke thickened. So dense was the smoke that even the frame of the ruined door was hidden in darkness, but he could not retreat. His feet would not obey his mind. No longer the master of his own body, he stood helpless as cool fingers closed around his throat with an awful pressure.

"Sleep…" came the voice of the hated blue dragon once more, "Sleep…:

"No--!" Zuko's eyes flashed open then squeezed shut again as sweat stung his eyes. He swiped an impatient hand across his eyes as he rolled on to his side. Long shadows stretched across what meager possessions he and his uncle had accumulated. There was ridiculous pot of flowers his uncle had purchased from the market, and there was that wooden chest, holding a few sets of clothing. From the window streamed the dusky light of early evening, giving everything a dream-like quality. Propped up on one elbow now, he surveyed the room with his critical but fever-clouded gaze. Watching without seeing. Listening without hearing. The last street vendors were packing up for the day, and soon, streets were nearly empty. Then silence.

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Author's Note: Please review and let me know of any changes you would like to see.
Much love,
Virtu