Hey everyone, thanks for lookin at this little fic. just wanted to say that this is my first foreay into the world of Avatar (not the show, love that.) but writing it. this first chapter is a little angsty huh? sorry about that, im not a big fan of angst, but im not the funniest guy around either. I'll do my best to keep the characters canon and such, but i will be, of course, diveating from the shows next episodes. I hope that you review and let me know what you think, and if you have any jokes for funnie ideas, let me know, cause im always ready to accept help from anyone who offer's it.

Ok, Lets Roll.

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Fire

By Matthew

It was a cold, foggy morning as Katara awoke, the water in the air calling to her as it floated silently through the quiet valley that they hid in. Appa's and Sokka's snores competed for volume, while Toph and Aang huddled together unconsciously, the chill seeping into even their sleeping bags.

A small smile broke out on her mocha colored face, her ice blue eyes striking out beneath her light brown hair. Bending a small bit of water from the fog, she washed her face and started breakfast. No matter how much Sokka irritated her with his occasional remarks about 'Women's Place,' no one wanted to gag their way through the abomination of his cooking ever again.

And to think, he's now a swordsman! Just days ago he had completed his training with a legendary master of the blade, forged his own personal weapon from a fallen meteor, and gained an ally. Turning to look ay her brother, Katara couldn't be more proud to call him such.

A yawn/growl came from her left, Toph waking up. Her green eyes would have been gorgeous, coming from her pale skin and raven black hair, but for the film they lay over them. As she looked like she was about to stretch, she noticed that another warm body was next to hers. The breathing vibrations sketched an image in her mind, that of Aang sleeping peacefully next to her.

"Katara," Toph spoke softly, so unlike her normally brash, loud tones. "Was he...?"

"Don't worry, you guys never touched." She replied smoothly, knowing Toph wouldn't enjoy a teasing this early.

"Whew!" Now that her image had been preserved, the tomboy Toph reemerged. Slapping the ground, twin blunt pillars sprang up under Sokka and Aang, skyrocketing them into the air. Twin screams of surprise shattered the calm tranquility that had pervaded the valley, and the thumps of their landing woke Momo, sending the tiny black-and-white flying lemur into the air.

The girls laughter intermingled with Sokka's annoyed mumbles/shouts, and Aang's own laugh quickly joined as he realized what had happened. For a moment, the war was a distant thing, the Day of Black Sun only a appointment that they needed to make.

Aang laughed through his soup, his short dark hair covering all but the forehead portion of his long blue arrow tattoos, his stormy grey eyes dancing with light and love, and his buoyant persona more then made up for his shortness.

Sokka on the other hand, while sharing his sisters icy eyes, dark skin and brown hair, stood taller then her, was built leaner, harder, and carried a look of goofiness about him. But underneath that silly exterior, the heart of a warrior and the mind of an inventor lay hidden.

But it lasted a long time, that moment. It lasted through breakfast, the packing, and the afternoon. It only vanished when they flew across a cloud covered mountaintop, the sound of clanging metal and stone, the stink of coal and sweat wafting up even across the vast difference in height.

The town came from the smoke and dust like a diseased growth, the smokestacks pumping out thick chocking gas, the long lines of crates and barrels being loaded onto carts and disappearing into the massive building. Soldiers stood guard, Benders from the armor, watching the hundreds of prisoners of war toiling away gathering more ore and coal from the mountain's depths.

Eye's wide, they looked upon the first real example of the Fire Nations cruelty. Almost to a man, the prisoners were skeletal, wan, and walked with the slouched posture of one who's spirit has been broken. As they looked down, one guard slammed his fist into a passing POW's head, sending him crashing to the ground where he lay motionless.

Sokka looked away from the scene below, and instantly saw his sisters face.

Katara was livid. Rage grew in her eye's, her fists clenched so tight she drew blood. "How can they do this!? Treating them as slaves, hitting them for the fun of it?"

"Katara..." Sokka said, wary of what he was sure to come.

"Sokka." Katara said, her voice tight as a bow string.

Sokka could have listed a dozen reasons for why they should just keep moving on. The Black sun was growing closer, the camp was huge and fully armed, the prisoners weak and would probably not want to fight back, and of course, where would they go? They were smack dab in the middle of the Fire Nation. They would have to fight across miles of open country against a fully armed populace, and would most likely die before they even saw the ocean. But a single glance at his sisters resolute features, at Aang's shocked and hurt expression, and even Toph's wrinkled brow, all told him that it would only be a waste of time.

"All right all right." He said, ignoring the confused look's he was getting. "If we're gonna do this, we're gonna do it my way, ok?"

The anxiety was almost eclipsed by the feeling of contentment he got from doing the right thing.

Almost.

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Far away, in a tall tower, The Dragon of the West looked out his tiny window, pausing in his exercises as a feeling crept up on him. Like the lightning that he channeled, Iroh watched the storm clouds, a restlessness overtaking him, the need to move, to act boiling across his senses. But the experience of old age told him to wait, to remain still, holding back until the right time. And so he mearly resumed his workout, the sweat running down his now powerful frame, the grey of his beard and the bald crown a testimony to the years he had weathered. And even as he did his pushups, the feeling remained, the spirits whisper's echoing in his ears. "The time nears, the storm grows, and the age shall have an end."

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And inside a palace the like of which even Ba Sing Se could not compare, a scarred prince sat in a worn chair, looking out across the vast expanse of his home, the silken sheets tossed and singed from his troubled dreams.

Like his uncle, Zuko looked on the grey storm clouds, laden with a heavy load of fresh rain. The twin golden eyes blazed with in intensity that reflected the turmoil of his mind, the shaggy black locks swaying with his movement. His lean and powerful frame was still as stone, showing the iron will that had aided him all his life.

The scar started at the point where the left eye began its ascent to the nose, and extended back to engulf his ear, now shrunken from the burn. Radiating up from it highest peak, it reached a little above his eyebrow, and went back to his hairline, and came to a stop just behind the ear. The bottommost portion was an inch below his high cheekbone, brushing and curving back to below the ear. It was a pale, rough pink all over the affected skin, save for the eyelid, where it was a darker brown. The entire scar was tough, a harder skin coated over the sensitive flesh that it had once been.

His eyes closed, he remembered what he had defiantly shouted to the world as he tried to channel the lightning. "Come on! Strike me! You've never held back before! But I've taken it, and now I can give it back!!" The rain pounding against his body, the chill flushing his face, and eventually, a lone tear escaped, the only testimony he let slip to his inner torment.

All flashed before his minds eye in a second, and he wished that he could repeat that time, let all his rage and anger and pain free into the crying sky, and purge his soul of the infection that resided within.

And so it begins...