I looked around uncomfortably, hoping not everyone was staring at me in anger. Not everyone was – Azula was playing with a ball of fire in her hands, making it grow and shrink, twirling it between her fingers. That wasn't exactly what I'd been hoping for.
"I'm sure you all know why we're here," the Therapist said loudly, looking around at everyone but giving me an extra look of loathing. "To recap what has happened so far and go over where our next steps will take us."
Everyone was looking at her now, which made me feel slightly better until she continued to speak. "While the rest of us have dutifully put in our time here, one of us has not been pulling her weight." There was the if-I-were-the-author-I'd-kill-you-in-a-gruesome-way look again. "I think that after the progress we made at first, it has been quite disruptive to have such a long break without so much as a short dialogue."
"Aren't you not supposed to take sides?" I asked her.
"Shut it, you," she said. I wished fervently that I'd been nicer to her. I made a mental note to write her a lock for the individual session room door. I also made a mental note to write myself a key for it. "This is a time for everyone to explain to you how your complete disregard for their fanfic has made them feel. Who wants to start?"
There was a burst of sound as everyone started talking at once. "Okay, okay!" the Therapist said, trying to quiet everyone down. "Let's just go around the circle and one at a time tell the author how we feel. Aang, you may start."
I turned to my immediate left, where Aang was sitting.
"Well, I don't want to be too harsh or judgmental," he said reluctantly, "but come on, it's been almost two years! I could have mastered all four elements and saved the world twice in that time!"
"Yeah, but you didn't have to –"
"This is no time for excuses!" the Therapist exclaimed, cutting me off. "Aang, please continue."
"That's about all I have to say," Aang said quietly.
"Oh. Very well, then," the Therapist said, clearly disappointed. "Katara?"
Katara was sitting beside Aang and she, too, looked like she wasn't sure what to say. "Well, I mean, I wish you hadn't stopped. I didn't even get my own individual session yet."
"Poor you," Toph mumbled.
"I just don't know where to start with you!" I said earnestly. "You've got so many ships . . . you're probably the most frequently shipped character."
The Therapist, looking worried that I wasn't about to get beaten up by anyone yet, said. "What about you, Sokka? How does the gap in time make you feel?"
"Well, I for one find it very annoying!" he said pompously.
"Good, go with that!" The Therapist said, smiling and leaning in closer to him.
"Do you know what it's like to be in fanfiction limbo? Well, now I do, and let me tell you, it's no walk in the park! You kept us waiting for two years!"
"I didn't know you were stuck there . . ." I murmured.
"Well, what were we supposed to do? Just mosey on into another one of your fanfics?"
"I think that's the only place worse than fanfic limbo," I said. "I'm sorry, Sokka. You really are one of my favorite characters." I smiled at him and I saw him soften. Of course – he's too much of a ladies' man to resist.
"Well, as long as it doesn't happen again, I guess I can forgive you this one time."
"Thanks, you're the best!" I said, shamelessly smiling flirtatiously at him.
Suki crossed her arms with a disbelieving laugh. "Some Sukka shipper!"
"Suki? What are your thoughts?"
"Two years is a very long time to just not get around to something. I mean, it's a fanfic, not the next great American novel."
"Maybe I've been working on that, too!" I said defensively. Suki raised an eyebrow skeptically. "Okay, you're right."
"As usual," she said proudly.
"You seem rather forgiving with this author," the Therapist said, a hint of annoyance in her voice. "Why is that?"
"Do you know how much page time she's given me?" Suki asked. "I'll cut her some slack." She looked back at me. "But I want that other Suki fic you've been thinking about to come out."
"Yep! Don't worry, it will!"
Smellerbee burst into the room.
"Not until you finish mine!" she shouted. "You're behind on that, too!"
"Oh, yeah . . ." I said. "Sorry about that."
"Just as long as you don't forget," she said before leaving.
"Sorry to interrupt your shameless self-promotion," Toph said loudly, "but why does she get to go while I'm stuck here?"
"She's not exactly a frequently shipped character," I explained. "I only gave her an individual section because I like her and it worked so well with Longshot's."
"Fine," Toph said, crossing her arms.
"How do you feel about the gap, Toph?" the Therapist asked.
"It's better than being here, especially since I know she was working on another one with me in it."
"Zuko!" the Therapist said desperately. "Does it make you angry that she forgot you for so long? I mean, she's just like your father!"
"She's nothing like my father," Zuko said, staring at the Therapist like she was crazy. "I'm learning to be more patient and less angry anyways. It took me three years to get everything right, so as far as I'm concerned, this taking two years just makes her faster than me."
The Therapist let out a strange, strangled sound of frustration.
"Mai?" she asked.
"Don't look at me," she said. "I know the author started on my chapter at one point, but it was awful. Maybe she should wait until she gets it right."
"Thanks, Mai!" I said, surprised by this uncharacteristic kindness.
"I was going to say, but if it takes you this long, maybe you should just give it up."
"Oh . . ."
"That was excellent, Mai. Excellent." The Therapist said. Then she looked at Azula.
"I think that if you lack the self-discipline to write on a regular schedule, you shouldn't be posting at all," Azula said.
"Good, go with that," the Therapist said.
"And I also think that if you're going to spend so much time thinking about the fanfic about me, you should at least decide on the major plot points and start really writing it already."
"I'm feeling left out," Ty Lee said sadly. "I want my own fanfic, too!"
"Uh, sure," I said. What about?"
"This is not the time!" the Therapist said. "Ty Lee, tell her how you feel about the break between chapters."
"Oh, I don't really mind that," Ty Lee said, and the Therapist looked like she was about to cry. "I just want my own fanfic."
"So you're . . . you're not angry?" the Therapist asked. "You don't want to pressure point her to death?"
"Not at all!" Ty Lee said brightly. "Though it sounds like you might be a little angry. Your aura's not a very appealing color right now . . ."
"OF COURSE IT'S NOT AN APPEALING COLOR! THIS AUTHOR HAS DONE NOTHING BUT HARASS ME SINCE THE START OF THE FIC, MAKING IT SO DIFFICULT TO DO MY JOB! I JUST WANT TO TO END SO I CAN RETIRE!" I thought she was too young to be thinking about retirement, but I also thought I was too young to die, so I didn't tell her this. "THEN SHE STOPS WRITING ALTOGETHER, SO I CAN'T EVEN TRY TO DO MY JOB!" the Therapist shouted. "She never even gave me a name . . ." She collapsed of the floor in the fetal position, crying.
"I think you're going to be the next individual section," I said.
There was a collective "What?" from everyone in the the room (except for the Therapist).
"Hey, it's my fanfic," I said.
AN: Yeah, it's been nearly two years. Sorry about that. I have some good excuses, but you guys probably don't want to hear all that. If you've been with this fanfic since the beginning, thanks for sticking with me! If you're new, welcome aboard and thanks for reading!