Author's Note: I was able to scrap a dozen few ideas together to make this story. I doubt it will stand to scrutiny and most of the details could be easily dismissed by a number of fans. But this (and many others) is a tribute to Avatar, the Last Airbender. The story has ended quite well and I doubt any other cartoon in the near future could possibly surpass it. My story is simply a continuation and not the real story of the Avatar franchise.

~Another thing: this story is a lot more serious than my last fanfic. It's set approximately 30 to 40 years after the canonical end of Avatar

Disclaimer: I own no part of Avatar, the Last Airbender. But this story and this plot is entirely of my own creation. Any similarities to the official Avatar plotline are mere coincidences or are used for necessary events in the story. The same goes with the characters and settings.

.

.

The Airbender Legacy

(Oneshot)

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

South Pole, Southern Water Tribe, Tribal Hall, (few hours till midnight)

.

.

.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING? LET ME GO! THAT WAS MY JOB BACK THERE! A BATTLE COULD START ANY MINUTE!"

The older warriors that dragged him away only laughed. One was pulling on each arm as he tried to resist them. He didn't even seem to loose energy after being dragged from the city wall. It was late in the evening and the air was thick with frost. People who had seen the disturbance would not dare interfere either out of fear or common sense. And many people had indeed seen the scene. The boy had whined for quite some time and it only added to everyone's long list of irritations. The boy whined like a kid—which should be a compliment, considering he was one.

"Look, boy," said one of the warriors. "We're doing you a favor… We're in an extremely delicate state of affairs… The world is on edge and all the men and women alive out there are turning to the North Pole for news… Tension's rising and if things go horribly wrong right now, we could see war in the horizon… That's why we're pulling you out… You can't mess up tonight, kid… You can't mess it up for the whole world…"

"What are you talking about?" the boy retorted in anger. They were now climbing the steps that led to the tribal hall. "I'm supposed to guard the wall in case someone goes against the ceasefire! That was my duty!"

The second warrior was a lot more apprehensive to speak so bluntly, as compared to his partner. He tried his best to sugarcoat his words.

"Kid… Right now, we don't want to argue… But everyone here doesn't think you're capable enough for this task… With you out of the way, people would be more assured that things tonight would go a lot smoother…"

The boy suddenly stopped struggling the moment he heard this. He believed he understood what was happening. He believed he wasn't just pulled out because it had been an order. He had been pulled out because there had been some sort of public vote. But he should have expected this to happen. Ever since he was younger, people treated him as if he was weak. He had never risen up to their expectations.

And there were reasons why people expected so many things from him.

"I can handle it!" he screeched, trying to prove a point. "I'm strong enough! I'm stronger than both of you!"

The first warrior shook him violently in the arms. He was doing his rational way of placing sense back into people.

"No offense, kid," he started, "but you spend more time in the tribal hall with the chief than you do in training! You don't even know the proper way to handle the spear! Well, kid, you have to know that being a patron of the Water Tribe won't be enough to convince the people that you can protect them."

"He's right," the second warrior agreed. "Your status and your history isn't enough. You may think that you're powerful enough to take these kinds of responsibilities because the chief took you in as his son and that your father was the Avatar, but you don't know a thing about the world. You don't see the injustice that's happening everywhere. People all over the world are already hopeless…"

"Those with the power to do anything about it are either not enough or are making things worse instead," added the first.

"I can take them on!" shouted the boy in rage. "I'm stronger than anything! I'm stronger than my father!"

Both soldiers suddenly stopped pulling him halfway up the stairway.

The second warrior stared at him.

And he slapped him across the face.

"Your father was an amazing person," said the second warrior quietly—seriously. "You speak of him like he's not your father—that you've disowned him. And don't think we haven't heard this talk from you before. We've seen you throwing snowballs at his statues. We know what you've been doing behind our backs…"

The first warrior looked at him sourly. "The world's at a loss without the Avatar, kid… Everyday, someone out there is crying out for help and no one's there to answer. This stalemate between benders and non-benders is taking the best out of people and turning them into brutes. Your father could have stood against this. But the Avatar is dead."

With that followed the silent statement, 'And all that's left is you…'

The boy could do nothing but listen. And just like the red mark on his cheek, the truth stung him very much. Silence ensued and all three people were allowed to take in the coolness of the air, the bright shining of the stars that lay overhead, and the noise of the warriors marching about below. After another few minutes of silence between the three, the warriors resumed their duties and began to pull him up.

They finally entered the tribal hall.

Inside the tribal hall, the commotion here was far worse than outside. Soldiers carrying all sorts of weapons circled within the hall. Some were carrying spears, while most were carrying shot-sticks. They were here to guard many of the Water Tribe patriarchs that lived in the city. Many of them were so scared of what was going to happen that they appeared paler than a full moon.

Many of the patriarchs that had seen him enter stared at him with angry looks. Some were already whispering with one another, pointing at him. Others were shaking their heads. And most were in tears as they were thinking of the future. It was safe to say that the boy was glad to be taken away from their sight as they climbed to the upper levels of the structure.

After leaving that awful sight, the boy was both furious and heartbroken.

He turned to the two warriors who were dragging him off and looking ahead.

"What did I do to deserve this…?" he silently questioned. Already, his voice began to crack.

The two warriors that dragged him silently looked at each other. For a second, there was pity in both of their expressions. But that was quickly removed with a feeling of bitterness and contempt.

"You were supposed to be his son," said the first. He said it in such a way that it made the boy feel like he really wasn't.

.

~o0o~

.

That single sentence summarized everything—his anger, everyone's hatred toward him, and his entire life. The moment he was born, he was never given any chance. With his father dead since his birth, he grew up with only his mother by his side. Nowadays, they would say that his birth had effectively killed his father in some way because he had been born the same time his father died.

People expected him to take his father's place, but it was clear that the boy was nothing like his old man.

The man had never influenced him in his upbringing. His mother died a few years later from natural causes. He was then taken into the chief's care and he was treated like a prince with everything at his disposal. In this time, he tried to live up to his reputation but failed considerably.

How could he possibly save the world like his father?

How could he possibly live up to a legend?

That's why he gave up on his reputation.

That's why he despised his father.

.

~o0o~

.

"We're here," said the second warrior as they reached the top floor of the structure and happened upon a wooden door. Only the highest of authorities lived on this level of the hall. This was the chieftain's room.

"I'm not going in," said the boy. He said it like an order.

Both warriors looked angrily at him and tugged him twice on the arms. The boy, however, was not giving in. He was adding all his strength in this last effort to break free. He hoped that this time, he was strong enough to escape from them.

"I have a duty to my tribe!" said the boy. "I'm trying to make up for past mistakes! I need to do this! This is my only chance to prove that I'm stronger than my father ever was! My father was weak! That's why he's gone! I can be better than him! The whole world will know it!"

And with that said, the boy kicked the air in front of him.

His movements were clumsy and inexperienced, but it worked. He forced himself back and out of the two warriors' grips. With another move, he used his open right palm to smack some air into the face of the second warrior. A strong gust of cold wind blasted him on the face and he was easily distraught.

And he was free.

.

~o0o~

.

A rope that had been tied around his foot instantly caught him by surprise. The rope reached its limit and forced the boy to stop. His halt was so abrupt that the extra momentum forced him to land face-first into the icy floor.

.

~o0o~

.

"Nice try, kid," said the first. "But your Airbending won't get you out of this predicament. You're going to be detained in this room whether you like it or not. You can't interfere with these events."

The boy aimed his fist at the man, ready to Airbend him all over the wall.

But the first man smiled and tapped the side of his hip. On his belt were assortments of weapons. The boy spotted a mean-looking club that appeared to have been used too many times, a machete that was slightly chipped, and a small shot-stick hidden in the shadows. The boy's attempt to attack him was subdued at the sight of all this.

The first warrior couldn't help but laugh in mockery.

"I'm glad you know your place, kid," said he in a joking tone. "All you benders know more than enough that we non-benders stand more than a chance at defeating you now. That's why all of you people are on edge. For thirteen long years, you and the other benders have been fearful of our weaponry—both sides evenly matched. Tonight, the score will be settled and you won't be there to mess it up."

Both warriors pulled him back to his feet and led him back to the wooden door.

"And for your information," said the second warrior, "we didn't pull you out because everyone didn't want you to mess things up. That's what we all wanted. In truth, we pulled you out because we had been ordered to."

The boy was stunned.

"What?"

But before either warrior could answer, they opened the door and threw him inside the room, untying the rope on his feet as he went. And before the boy could get up to his feet, they had shut the door and sealed him in.

.

~o0o~

.

He pounded the wooden door with his fist, furiously yelling to be released. And even if the lock was on the inside of the door, the two warriors outside were strong enough to keep him in.

"YOU CAN'T KEEP ME HERE! I HAVE A DUTY!"

Once his rage subsided, he looked around the room and realized that a lot had changed since he left. The ice chute for trash was still there, and a wall dedicated for ceremonial items were still on the left side. But new additions of weaponry were placed on the adjacent wall. Spears, swords, shot-sticks, and clubs decorated that portion of the room. And there were other things too.

"Finally, you're here… I'm almost finished with the tea…"

He turned around to find a frail old man smiling at him. He had these broad shoulders and large physique. The only problem with him was the fact that not an inch of his skin was left untouched by burn scars—that except the man's hands.

"My son," he spoke. The voice was gentle and kind. He extended a hand to the table in front of him and motioned him to sit on an opposite chair. "We have much to talk about… Sit and take some tea…"

The boy watched as the old man poured the final drops of warm tea into the two cups on the small table. Out of better judgment, the boy decided to follow the man and sit down.

"What's this all about, Chief Kohaku?" the boy questioned urgently. "This isn't the right time for a discussion and some tea. The ceasefire outside must be maintained and I have to stay with the other warriors in case war breaks out and—"

The old man stopped his rambling with a raised hand and a soft smile.

"My child… you can stop talking about politics… Your quest to surpass your legacy is fine, but not when you're around me… In here, you and I can talk because we share the same sentiments… You know as well as I do that we both hate your father…"

Silence

The boy nodded quietly.

This was how the two got along. Though there were major differences between the two, both shared the same likings. He knew he could trust the chieftain and believe in his words because the man hated his father as much as he did. Very little people knew this of the old man, of course. But the man trusted this secret to only his closest of allies.

"Then why did you bring me here?" he asked.

The old man touched a scorched and poorly soft part of his face. Then, he stood up, taking his cup of tea with him, and faced the other way.

"Tell me about your father…" said the old man.

There was a pause in between the conversation and it took a moment before the question actually registered in the boy's mind. The moment it did, a surge of anger and hatred flooded every feeling in his body.

"That man…" the boy hissed. "That man… took everything from me… He took away all the chances for me to have a normal life… He took away the chance for me to have a real father to look up to… He made mom delusional with love and hope that it could have driven her crazy! He passed down this stupid Airbending ability from him and now I'm the only one left! I'm alone and with mom gone, there's no one else to turn to! That man left me the day I was born so I could rot! He was a coward and a selfish man!"

He was screaming so hard that some of the tea in his cup spilled from the rattling.

Chief Kohaku, with his back still turned away from the child, said, "Your father was indeed a selfish man… But more generally, your father was a hated and feared man despite him being on the good side. Since his childhood, your father had many enemies that sought out to kill him. Even after the Great War, these enemies were still there, still fighting back."

The boy crossed his arms and grunted. "At least they finally got to him."

The chieftain nodded. "We all know the story…"

.

~o0o~

.

It was a story shared upon many on nights of cold winds, at the dinner tables of many alehouses, or on the grass surrounding a bonfire. What mother, father or official would not speak of the Avatar's death to their people? Who in their right mind would keep such a story silent? That was a day remembered by all and mourned by most.

That was the day the Avatar disappeared forever.

That was the day the Avatar Cycle was broken.

"On the night of the Avatar's death," the boy narrated, recalling memories of storytelling. "Hundreds of women had already been captured from the Water Tribes. It had been a ploy by the enemy to scare off the Avatar and threaten him into submission. Also, the taking of women threatened the safety of my mother—who, at the time, was about to give birth to me and my twin. It was decided that the Avatar go into hiding to protect my mother and the rest of the family."

"Yes," agreed the chieftain. "In the end, it had been decided that your father, your mother, I, and two midwives would stay in an underground cavern deep within the heart of the Northern Water Tribe—sealed off from the prying hands of the enemy. Our group would be enough to help your mother during labor."

The boy continued.

"But nothing went according to plan. The enemies had sources that found my father's hide-out and decided to attack them and make their final attempt on the Avatar's life and family. My father stupidly left mother and everyone else just to act as the hero and save the day… blah, blah, blah…

"He was eventually caught by surprise and ambushed—killed. The enemies ventured further and made an attempt to kill my mother and the others, but you saved them."

Chief Kohaku nodded as he turned around. "Standing up to your father's enemies was a difficult task and I wasn't able to protect everyone. I was able to keep you, your mother, and the two midwives safe, but your twin sister died in their hands. In the end, even their attacks took a toll on my body." To finish this statement, the chieftain wiped his burned face with his clean hand.

The man had been burned off trying to protect the Avatar's family. The boy sighed and ended his story by punctuating his last words with a sip from the old man's tea.

"But sadly," the old man concluded, "your father's death marked the end of the Avatar Cycle. With most of the women in the Water Tribes kidnapped and taken, none of them would bear any child the moment the Avatar died. No other women from the Water Tribes gave birth that day. And since Avatar Aang died after you and your twin were born, there was no way the spirit could transfer to either of you.

"In the end, the cycle was abruptly and inexplicably broken. And once news of the Avatar's end spread like wildfire, people began to lose hope and everybody could feel that the world was out of balance."

"And you started the campaign against the benders that took away the Avatar," the boy added. "And that campaign continues on today as the stalemate between benders and non-benders…"

"But that doesn't matter," Chief Kohaku reasoned. "Ever since the death of the Avatar, people found nothing to hope for."

"That isn't necessarily true," the boy interrupted angrily. "Everyone tried to find hope in what remained of my father—me… For so long, everyone thought I was going to be the Avatar, but after a few years, it became clear to everyone that I wasn't. They ask too much of me… Being alive and an Airbender wasn't enough for the people… THEY EXPECTED ME TO SAVE THE WORLD!"

It was at that moment that tears started to form on both of his eyes. They trickled down his cheeks and landed into his tea. A silent sobbing overcame him despite his anger. He couldn't help himself. The emotions were always so strong.

"He's a selfish man!" the boy hissed. "He's selfish! Selfish!"

And the boy covered his face with his hands and the chieftain allowed him to weep.

.

~o0o~

.

Chief Kohaku finally returned to his seat. He sat in a firm-looking posture—one that suited his stature and hierarchy. He placed his cup of tea down. And despite him holding it, it appeared that the old man had not even touched it. There were no marks that his lips touched the cup. The chieftain was certainly a firm yet peculiar man.

"The reason why I brought you here is because I've had a clearing of conscience. With midnight approaching and the stalemate between benders and non-benders coming to a close, I've realized that there are a few things to tell you before the difficulties of war prevent us from discussing."

"War?" the boy questioned suddenly. "There's no war… War isn't going to happen after tonight… I won't let it happen and neither will everyone else… Everyone's turning to peace… You don't need to be so pessimistic about things."

"Listen first," the old man spoke. "There isn't much time to explain things to you… You must know the details of your father's death…"

"I already know them. We just talked about it"

Chief Kohaku shook his head. "There is a difference in truth. I should know… I had just been elected chieftain and it was my duty to watch over the land and maintain peace to keep hope for the future… But it seemed like your father wasn't cooperating at the time…"

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The Northern Water Tribe, a month before the end of the Avatar Cycle

"I'm sorry, sir… But as appointed chieftain of the Northern Water Tribe, it is my duty to affirm all of my people's concerns… And it isn't just their concern… I've been concerned about this whole thing as well… People need to know that the Avatar is doing something about it…"

Aang turned around, smiled at the young man, blinked, and scratched his head.

"What were we talking about again…?" Aang asked, too embarrassed for anything more.

Chief Kohaku sighed. He wasn't getting through to the most powerful person on the planet. "Please, sir… I need your full attention…" he pleaded.

Aang smiled and nodded. This wasn't time for him to goof off. "I'm sorry, chief… It's just the news… I can already hear the sounds of the babies… It's the only thing I can be concerned with right now…"

"Yes, well…" said the chieftain, apparently not concerned about such news. He just continued on, nonplussed. "We're all happy for Katara and the fact that she bears the child of the Avatar, but right now…"

Chief Kohaku trailed off as he recalled Aang's last statement. He turned to him the moment he caught on to it.

"Did you say 'babies'…? More than one?" the chieftain asked, actually raising a brow of concern. "You don't have any other child… How can Katara have—?"

"Twins," Aang interjected with a broad and proud fatherly smile. "I was so surprised—and excited! I didn't know I was going to father two children! I'm so, so excited! A blind friend of mine confirmed it because she heard two heartbeats! TWO!"

The chieftain expressed as much excitement as a fresh bowl of warm sea prunes. The young man sighed and tried to bring his thoughts back. "Sir, please… I'm thankful for the twins, but we have more important concerns… Your enemies have made a number of attempts on your life. Now, they're going too far! They've kidnapped women from the three water tribes!"

"They're intimidating me," Aang added. "It's nothing more than a plan to make me worry for Katara's sake… With Katara giving birth in months to come, they want to make sure that I'm not ready for it. And when my guard's down, they'll come in and strike."

"So you won't do anything?" Chief Kohaku turned, absolutely shocked.

Aang shook his head. "Don't look at me like that, Chief Kohaku… My allies from the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom are doing their best to track down my enemies… They've been doing the best they could… You can tell your people that."

The chieftain looked particularly displeased and irritated. "But YOU'RE not doing anything!"

The Avatar raised a hand to stop him.

"Listen to me, Chief Kohaku… For now, my family is all that matters and my duties are to Katara and the children… I love them too much to leave them behind…" And then, Aang added more for humor. "Maybe if you took the time to find a girlfriend, you'd understand…"

Chief Kohaku was too angry to return the insult. "But this is too big for you not to participate! Didn't you receive the latest news? Your enemies have sent you another even worse threat!"

Aang went serious and nodded.

"And this isn't one of their usual threats either!" the chieftain spoke, raising his voice with alarm. "They're organizing your assassination! This plan of theirs to make you concerned for your wife by taking other women is working because you fell right into their thinking! And now… Now! Now they have plans to assassinate you on the day Katara gives birth! And you're not the least bit worried!"

"I'm worried enough as it is," Aang answered seriously.

"Worrying about it isn't enough!" Chief Kohaku retorted, visibly furious. "These people won't stop until you and your family disappears! And if you die, the whole world would be out of balance! Everyone knows you're the last Airbender! If you die, the Avatar Cycle can't continue because all the Airbenders are gone!"

"The Airbenders won't be gone," Aang reasoned out. "Remember, I'm going to have kids…"

"But who's going to say they'll end up being Airbenders?!" the chieftain shouted back. "We don't know how these things happen! Bending doesn't necessarily pass down to everyone's descendants! For all we know, both of your children won't be benders at all!"

"But we don't know!" Aang shouted, flailing his hands. "We shouldn't concern ourselves with things that happen naturally and spiritually!"

"Somebody has to be concerned!" the chieftain spat. "If it isn't going to be the Avatar, then I will!"

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The boy chuckled and sipped some of his tea. "I have to hand it to you… Showing my father the error of his ways just brightened up my day. I would love to see the look of the Avatar's face when you stormed off."

Chief Kohaku didn't seem as jubilant. He could not bring himself to smile. Everything was business here, so he averted his eyes away and coughed to clear his throat.

"My words did alarm him and bring him to his senses, but your father was too stubborn and selfish to act. He concerned himself more with your family then anything else… And as the Avatar plotted on helping his family, his enemies plotted his death. The time would come when your father would eat his own words…

"On the day your mother was to give birth to you and your twin, things had gone too far. A third of the women population of the Water Tribes had been taken to special holding facilities in the enemy's camp. Your mother would be the only person from all of the Water Tribes to give birth that day.

"That was the time your father's enemies would make their final attempt to assassinate him. And since your father was too busy, I decided to take action and make sure peace remained in the world…"

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Northern Water Tribe, the day the Avatar Cycle ended

"Are you sure this is strong enough?" questioned Chief Kohaku.

Sokka smiled with enough pride to glitter the entirety of his eyes. "That cup of liquid you're holding in your hands is potent stuff… A friend of mine extracted that much venom from the barbs of the Buzzard Wasps of the Si Wong desert. I use some of it to enhance explosives. To the human body, it works really fast. Paralysis can happen in a few seconds before unconsciousness… Give it a few moments and a full grown man would be lying on the ground without a word."

"Can you give me a decent timeline for this?" asked the chieftain. "I need to know how fast is 'fast'…"

Sokka shrugged. "It depends on the concentration… What are you going to use it for, anyway? Are you going to kill someone?"

Though Sokka's question did sound like a serious one, it was rhetoric in every sense. He laughed at the end to signify that he was merely joking around. Chief Kohaku laughed too.

"No," answered the chieftain. "I'm planning to pour this into the enemy's water supply."

Sokka smiled and nodded. "Very practical and advisable… Despite being less concentrated as it mixes with the water, the poison is still strong enough to cause nausea, stomach pains, and even loose bowel movement… That would make any battle easy… It's a much better tactic than feeding the whole cup. That thing can take down a man in mere moments."

Chief Kohaku nodded, keeping all his words in a small memory in his mind. "Thank you for your help… The enemy is planning to strike today and your sister's been very edgy… Your sister's already having repeated pains… They're rhythmic… The nurturers and healers say this is a sign of giving birth…"

Sokka laughed. "Well, it's a relief for both of them… They've been patiently waiting for the babies to come, and since a battle's starting, it would be best if Aang got his head back in the game."

Chief Kohaku nodded nonchalantly. "But the enemy frightens me more. As far as I and everyone else can see it, Katara is probably the only woman in the entire Water Tribe that would give birth soon thanks to the abductions of the other women. If Aang dies somehow, at least we know that the Avatar Spirit can move to his children…"

Sokka raised a brow, stunned.

"That's really nothing to hope about, chief," Sokka stated, his eyes wide with shock. "That's not even something worth thinking about…"

"Well," spoke the chieftain, "somebody has to think of the negative side… And at least we know there's still something there to hope about… To me, this attack from the enemy might actually get to Aang. The most likely thing that will happen is that Aang is caught off guard… The Avatar might not stand a chance… That's all I'm saying…"

Sokka shook his head. "Even if everything is pointing to Aang's ultimate demise today, you have to give the guy some credit, Chief Kohaku. That man saved the world! He's the Avatar! Everyone knows that when it comes to problems and difficult situations, Aang's always going to do the right thing. We have to give the kid some faith…"

Chief Kohaku took the cup of venom but didn't respond. He just left the place and headed for the tribal hall.

.

~o0o~

.

By the time Chief Kohaku reached the tribal hall, Katara was already in pain. She felt nudges in her womb—contractions. The woman was already going into labor. Aang held her hand all the way and it was time they moved into the safe room. People all around were worsening the situation by hovering over her.

"Everybody, clear the way!" announced the tribal chief. "Give the woman space and help her into the lower safe room! We have to secure them in case the enemy commits to their threat on the attack! Nothing must happen to the children! Move! Move!"

Aang turned to the man and smiled. There was a great deal of appreciation in his face. 'Thank you' he whispered.

Chief Kohaku nodded in return.

The safe-houses were a new part in the lower section of the tribal hall that was designed to act as an infirmary in case the ones outside were destroyed by war. They were designed to be completely sealed off in case the upper levels were attacked. Today, they were used to house the other invalid that could not fit in the infirmaries outside and Katara.

"IT'S COMING!" Katara shrieked. The sound of her rapid breathing added a pace to their steps, creating a need for even more urgency.

"Breathe…" Aang whispered, comforting her. "Just breathe… Everything's going to be okay… All we need is for you to breathe…"

Behind them, Waterbenders sealed off the entrance to the lower safe houses. They melted the surrounding walls and manipulated the cold water to cover and close the entire opening of the ice shaft. The tunnel instantly became dark, but one of the midwives brought a small torch to light their path.

Now, the darkness would slow their path and the icy stepping made each step slippery. Right now, Katara couldn't afford to trip.

"Secure her in the third chamber," said the chieftain to the midwives the moment they landed on the lower floor. "I'll clear off the surrounding chambers around that one to allow privacy."

Aang looked around and realized that privacy was actually a good thing. The invalid and injured in this chamber just kept looking at them with their wide and big eyes. Even children began to surround them. Aang didn't exactly want everyone to see this. After all, this was his first time being a father. He didn't want any mistakes.

"So, did you decide on a name…?"

Aang turned his attention back on Katara. One look at her and you couldn't help but love her more. Despite the obvious pain she was in, she just held that smile up in everyone's faces and asked about things that didn't deal with the immediate situation.

Aang squeezed her hand. There was so much strength there.

The young man scratched his bald head and gave her an awkward yet goofy smile. "We haven't thought about that yet… But whatever you decide on, I'll agree with you…"

Katara smiled wider as she placed one hand on her belly and one hand on Aang's cheek. "How about we'll just name her the moment she comes out…?"

Aang raised a brow. "Her? It's going to be a guy…"

Katara laughed and shrug. "Well, there are two of them… There's a lot of chance for both…"

Aang smiled. "I don't see why not…"

"Close the curtains," said Chief Kohaku the moment he stepped in. Both midwives took on the request and soon after that, they prepared water for everyone. Water here was a necessity. It looked like it was going to be one tough job delivering a baby into the world—much more if there were two.

Katara took her place on an inclined cushion set by the wall. Special footrests set on the ground allowed Katara to spread her legs. For discreetness, a warm, fuzzy blanket was draped over her to keep her warm. It would also give her the pleasure of ripping it in case she would ever have the need to.

"It's coming!" said one of the midwives with a smile. She was the one who was going to deliver the baby. Chief Kohaku, Aang, and the second midwife would be there for psychological help and medical needs. Katara was just happy that Aang was there holding her hand.

"Push!" said the midwife.

Katara cringed and a massive feeling of pain came over her. Tears of pain streamed down her cheeks. Her face was so red that everyone could tell even under the poor light setting.

And yet, Katara couldn't help but speak one statement of unnecessary cynicism.

"I must look really ridiculous right now…" she gasped. She even tried her best to laugh, but that was thrown out with another wave of pain.

"Push!"

Unfortunately, Katara was the only calm person between her and Aang. The young man had released his grip on her hand when he saw what was happening. His face went paler than usual and he began to hyperventilate, breathing in horrible gasps with rapid intervals. Aang looked like he was the one giving birth.

Chief Kohaku had to laugh at this.

And honestly, it was the first sincere sign of happiness the man had ever expressed. Aang couldn't help but be amazed a bit—even though the joke was on him.

"You need to calm down," said Chief Kohaku with a smile. He then turned to the other midwife and said, "Bring that tray of water here… The Avatar looks like he needs some refreshments…"

Amidst Katara's screaming, Aang couldn't help but smile with relief as the beverages were being passed down. Chief Kohaku personally handed down his glass and Aang downed the entire thing in one gulp.

Aang wiped his mouth. "Thanks again, chief…"

The chieftain nodded seriously. "It's been an honor…"

Aang smiled.

Then, the torchlight the other midwife was holding suddenly sputtered and died. Whatever light had brightened the room disappeared in a matter of seconds and the entire chamber was blanketed in darkness. But Chief Kohaku was able to see the immediate surrounding due to the lights that lit the hallway to the safe houses. He saw every detail of what was going on.

Amidst Katara's screaming, no one else was able to see what was going on when Aang grabbed his neck in pure surprise. His eyes rolled to the top most and a soft moan escaped his throat.

Aang then collapsed onto the icy ground.

The last Airbender was gone.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The boy's eyes widened with horror.

"You killed him…" he whispered, with much surprise as it was to himself. "You used the poison and placed it into his drink… That was the poison my uncle gave… You were the one who killed the Avatar…"

Chief Kohaku straightened his posture, looking like he came out of a political meeting. He looked so apathetic and emotionless at that point that the boy couldn't recognize who he was looking at.

"It was my duty, you see…" said the chieftain politically. "My duty was to secure the welfare and peacefulness of our land—and to a greater extent, the whole world… Don't look at me like that… If you understood the logic behind it, then you would have done the same thing…"

The boy was too speechless to say anything.

"You see, the enemy was going to win that day," the chieftain deliberated. "It was an obvious fact your father had missed because the Avatar had selfishly preoccupied himself with his love for his family. It was going to happen and your father didn't understand that on the day of his children's birth, he would die."

The boy raised a brow over his frightened eyes.

"So you decided to kill him before his enemies would?" the boy shrieked.

Chief Kohaku shook his head. "No. I killed the Avatar because I wanted to preserve the Avatar Cycle. I wanted to preserve the Avatar. Because your father didn't acknowledge that the Avatar Spirit's existence was being threatened, I decided that since I had the knowledge to do it, I also had the responsibility to save it.

"Now, knowing Avatar Aang was going to die because of his enemies, I had to see if the Avatar Spirit had any chance of passing on to a child from the Water Tribe. The problem was that the enemy had abducted women from all over the tribe—some were even pregnant at the time. Because of this, they had indirectly limited the Avatar Spirit's chance to pass through the Water Tribe.

"By the time I realized that your father was going to die, your mother was the only one left who would give birth that day.

"With only one last chance for the Avatar Spirit to pass on, I had to secure it. Your father was not supposed to die. But upon further speculation, I realized that if the Avatar was killed after your mother gave birth, then there would be no chance. The Avatar Spirit can only pass on to an unborn child…

"So, I decided that if the Avatar was to be preserved, I had to kill your father before your mother gave birth to you and your twin—allowing it pass on to his children and ultimately saving the world.

"Bur things were never that simple…"

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

In the darkness, the baby was crying.

"WAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!"

Chief Kohaku immediately turned away from Aang's lifeless body and knelt down before the midwife that assisted Katara give birth. It had been so dark and she had been in so much pain that Katara didn't even notice Aang had fallen onto the floor. She would never know of what had happened that day.

"Quickly!" hissed Chief Kohaku to the second midwife. "Come over here and tell me if the baby is the one…"

The second midwife, already accustomed to the plan and what had happened, sat down beside the first and placed a healer's hand on the baby. From the look of things, the baby was definitely a boy—a beautiful baby boy. But none of them cared about that. All they did was wrap it in cloth and stared at it.

The second midwife sighed in dismay.

"There's nothing…" she whispered in silent defeat—a whisper silent enough for them to hear and one that Katara couldn't due to her screaming. "I can't feel anything spiritual about it… This boy won't grow up to be a bender… This child isn't any kind of bender… It can't possibly have the Avatar spirit…"

Chief Kohaku cringed. He didn't like where this was going. The plan was to see if the Avatar Spirit had reincarnated to either of the twins. Chief Kohaku was forcing destiny to bend into his own will. But the fact that this boy would not even be a bender meant that destiny had yet to be fooled.

And time was running out. Within minutes, he knew, the enemies would be here to attack them.

Sweat trickled down the side of his face.

One of these children had to be the Avatar. There was no other way. The spirit had no choice since there was no other pregnant woman around for it to pass on to. But with the first child down, there was an even lesser chance for the next to be it. The chieftain could only hope that his efforts were not in vain.

It had to be the next child.

There was no other way.

Otherwise, the Avatar Cycle would end on his watch.

"It's coming…" the first midwife spoke. She turned to Katara and raised her voice. "PUSH! PUSH!"

Katara cringed and the battle to deliver the second baby was on. She felt defeated and tired and she was cross because Aang had stopped holding her hand. But she knew that Aang was there somehow and that gave her enough strength to push on. She shrieked and screamed with more tears and spit. She gave it all she had.

And when the time came, the first midwife held the baby in her hands.

It was a girl.

And in the darkness, the second baby was crying.

.

~o0o~

.

It was a small baby girl, no bigger than of the chieftain's bigger hats. It was there—and that in itself was something special. A moment ago, there had only been five people alive in the room. Now, there were six. The baby just cried and cried. Katara just smiled as she heard that sweet sound. She was able to relax now. The ordeal was over.

"Can I hold them…" she cried.

The second midwife handed the baby boy to her, but the second one was not given. Katara netted her eyebrows when she was only handed one of them.

She turned to them and asked, "What about the other one…? I want to hold them both… And Aang, come here and see both your children…"

Aang couldn't answer.

Chief Kohaku, knowing that their plan was being compromised, decided to break out of all his rules and jurisdictions. He came over her in the darkness. And since Katara could not see, the chieftain caught her by surprise, jabbing her on a pressure point that was exactly on the neck. Katara slipped into unconsciousness without another word.

The chieftain was getting agitated. He had done so many things that went against his own nature today. All he wanted was the answer he was looking for.

"Is it her?" asked the chieftain. He spoke angrily and forcefully. "Is she the Avatar…?"

The second midwife placed a hand on the second child. She traced the chi paths that crossed the child. There was a feeling there somewhere. This child seemed special, but she couldn't tell exactly what that was.

"She's a bender…" the second midwife confirmed. "But I can't tell if she's the Avatar… She feels special—unique in some way, but I'm not really sure… Everything's all fuzzy…"

Chief Kohaku grabbed the little girl greedily, cradling her in his arms.

"That's good enough for me," he said with a smile.

And the chieftain carried the little baby girl in his hands as he walked out of the chamber. The man felt like he had just won a prize. He had the deepest feeling that the new Avatar was in his hands. He felt that he had preserved the Avatar Cycle.

As he walked out, Chief Kohaku believed he had saved the world.

.

~o0o~

.

BOOOOOOM!!!

An explosion took place at the opening to the safe houses. A fiery inferno raced down the hallways.

The enemy was here.

.

~o0o~

.

An old man with a long silvery beard was leading the charge. He was endowed with all forms of weaponry and his shirt was a mean-looking black. Behind him stood five or more men, each holding all sorts of bladed weapons. Some were Firebenders, so they took the time to wear the old uniforms to match their ferocity.

The leader caught sight of the chieftain—who was too shocked to move out of the way.

"That's a pretty child you're holding, Chief Kohaku…" said the leader with a malevolent smile. His voice was more of a cough than an actual conversation, but anyone could feel the underlying layers of menace beneath it. "I wonder who it might be from and why do you have it?"

Chief Kohaku raised his right hand in the air, taking a defensive stance.

"Stay back!" hissed the tribal leader. "I will strike you unless you back away! If you do anything stupid, I will be forced to attack you!"

For a minute the attacking rebels looked at one another, trying to make sense of the chieftain's demands. At some point, all of them shrugged and took their positions while others lifted their blades of their sheaths.

"You're in no position to make demands," said the old leader with a cruel smile. "We outnumber you and you have no place to run."

Chief Kohaku smiled. His brilliant teeth twinkled under the low light of the underground chambers. "Nowhere to run, but somewhere to hide."

With that said, Chief Kohaku closed his open hand into a tight fist. The tightening strain of muscles in his fingers was exaggeratingly loud due to the hollowness of the hall, but the effect was still the same. To the enemy, the attack was immediately upon them. The ice walls suddenly cracked under pressure, releasing jets of hot steam that filled the entire hallway and blocked everyone's vision.

Chief Kohaku stepped back from his distraction and made his escape.

.

~o0o~

.

Suddenly, the baby in his hands began to cry.

.

~o0o~

.

Startled, Chief Kohaku hesitated. He never knew that such a small and frail living thing could be so unhelpful and so disturbing. Every initial instinct told him to drop the child and make a run for it. But he was the chieftain and it was his duty to preserve the safety of the world. That meant keeping the Avatar alive.

"I can hear that child…" whispered the enemy leader within the fog.

Chief Kohaku shook off the paranoia. He shouldn't let the leader's words get to him. He knew that despite the child's bawling, none of them could find him or the baby as long as the chieftain maintained the fog that prevented them from seeing.

But even that idea failed instantly.

In a sudden "whoosh", the steam that filled the hallway was suddenly gone—blasted away by some awesome force. It had taken the chieftain by surprise and when it moved away to condense back into water, a dry and cold feeling came over him. He stopped completely in his tracks when he realized that he was out in the open once again.

"Nice trick, Chief Kohaku," said the leader. "But you forget that we were able to come here and ambush you—meaning we had people from your tribe who helped us, people who were benders."

Chief Kohaku turned around and spotted two of them within the enemy group, both holding their twisted hands above their heads in a stance that allowed them to control the fog. Upon seeing them, the chieftain felt sore and betrayed. The benders had not only showed them in, but they had fought against him and betrayed him too.

Now, all that was left was to stand and fight.

Chief Koahku made his announcement in the form of a battle cry.

"I'LL TAKE ALL OF YOU OUT—!"

But the chieftain's words were cut as his motions came only midway. His attack was stopped by another one—one coming from the leader. The leader had taken advantage of the chieftain's confusion and disorientation to attack him when he was least expecting it. Now, he had his two fists pulled back, then thrust forward. A blazing pulse of superheated air compressed into a ferocious fireball that sped across the space between the leader and the chieftain in no time flat.

The chieftain watched as everything slowed down.

The fireball was going to kill him.

Tears leaked out of his eyes.

And in one last attempt to save himself, Chief Kohaku raised the newborn baby girl in front of him, hoping that either of the two would happen: first, if she was the Avatar, the Avatar Spirit could kick in and save them both. Or, the baby could be offered as a sacrifice that would spare his life.

The first stray blasts of fire touched his skin.

A bloodcurdling scream rose from his throat and out of his lips.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

The boy was more horrified than ever. His eyes were red and he wouldn't stop shaking. The nature of his origin—the whole overwhelming truth—was being revealed to him in a compressed amount of seconds. There was too much to take in and very little time to reflect and breathe. The emotions swirling inside him began to choke out his mind.

"You killed my twin sister…" he cried.

Chief Kohaku continued on without answering directly.

"I felt every blasting inch of that fire…" narrated the elder. "Living in the North Pole for so long makes you forget the heat. But that fire… It felt like I was nestled in a furnace… It burned me and the little baby in my hands… She cried in agony as I held her out as a shield to protect me… She was so small in my hands… The fire burned both of us alive… Not an inch of our bodies were spared…"

Chief Kohaku raised his non-burned hands to the boy so he could see.

"But the fire left out my hands… Your sister saved them…"

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

By the time Chief Kohaku woke up, the little baby girl was no longer in his hands. The young man realized that he had been lying in a puddle of fresh melted ice. In the darkness, the sounds of hoarse laughter and crying were everywhere. And in a sudden moment of recognition, Chief Kohaku realized what was going on and what he should do.

The baby!

With all his strength, the chieftain planned to buckle his elbows and lift himself to his knees. But before he could even move, an overwhelming blast of pain rocketed through his nerves and fizzled down his skin.

The man was burned—badly.

There was no blood, but every inch of the man's skin was covered in small yellow blisters. Some of them were pulsating while others popped with pus. His protective coat and clothes were blackened and scorched—most had fallen off. And the searing heat had not left him. His body was so hot that there seamed to be smoke rising from the charred remains of his body. The only consolation was the fact that he was surrounded in comforting ice.

And in all that suffering, the man began to cry.

Kohaku cried and wept and bawled and howled. His pathetic state magnified his pain, his weaknesses, his errors, and his faults. He could only feel the sound of his own heart beating and the distant noises of the enemy and other bystanders that had seen the horrific commotion.

He had failed the whole world.

"In this chamber! I found the Avatar! He's reaching out for his son!"

For a moment, the words didn't reach the chieftain's ears to make any sense. But because the rebels kept screaming and screaming about it, Chief Kohaku finally got the full blow of what they had just said. Though none of the enemies knew it at the time, they didn't realize the effect on the entire plan.

In a sudden burst of energy, anger, and all-out rage, the chieftain took to his feet in one motion, ignoring all the signals of pain that fired at the end of his nerves, and rushed down the hall and into the chamber he came out of. Inside, the gathering of enemies had already formed and they encircled around the young man's body that was struggling on the ground.

"Look at him go… He looks too pathetic to be the Avatar…"

"Someone got to him before we did… He looks halfway dead already…"

"This ruins all the fun… It looks like we came all the way here for nothing… We might as well kick him for the fun of it while we're here… Look at him now… He's reaching out for the baby… How sweet…"

Chief Kohaku but kept his moaning to himself. No one had spotted him through the darkness and commotion. But the same things were working against him too. Although he could hear what they were talking about, the chieftain could not see the Avatar's body or match the voices to their respective persons due to the low lighting and compactness.

Everyone stopped for a second.

Suddenly there was this blinding white light that seemed to blossom from the middle of the chamber outwards, down the hall, and through the ice. The light was so strong that it seemed to have a force of its own. And despite the silence, the entire situation seemed deafening.

Everything to see was completely white.

"Hey!"

Then, when the lightshow was over, a huge wall of ice suddenly appeared right in front of them, blocking their view of the Avatar. The light had been so blinding that none of them had seen the ice move into place. Immediately, everyone thought that the Avatar had done it somehow and had tried to escape. The invaders couldn't possibly have that.

"Waterbenders!" barked the leader. "Get that ice wall out of the way and stop the Avatar.

In response, the Waterbenders began to speak. But for some reason, their voices came out muffled.

Everyone turned around to face them.

To their surprise, both Waterbenders were frozen in solid ice.

.

~o0o~

.

Chief Kohaku had been equally surprised to see the white bright light—but it didn't stop him from analyzing the situation. What he needed to do was to get to the Avatar and get to him fast. But he knew that no one would let him near. The benders would stop him in his path and if he tried to close off half of the chamber with ice, he knew the Waterbenders would melt it completely.

So, using the Avatar's lightshow as a cover, Chief Kohaku neared the two traitorous Waterbenders and began Waterbending. Without them knowing, water began climbing the Waterbenders' legs. And when they finally realized the cold and wet crawling water on their chests, Chief Kohaku silenced them with ice before they could even utter a word.

As soon as he was done with that, Chief Kohaku walked over, unnoticed, towards the glowing Avatar and used large sections of the icy cavern to create a wall of ice that sealed them off from the enemy.

When the light disappeared suddenly, the enemies began to howl and scream in frustration, beating the ice with their bare fists, and blaming the entire thing on Avatar Aang.

"Oh, sir! Thank you!" said the one of the midwives who caught sight of the ice wall Chief Kohaku placed up. They had nowhere to go when the enemies had entered the chamber. They were genuinely frightened. "We thought we were doomed!"

The chieftain was strictly all about business so he didn't want anything to do with their sentiments. He quickly went over to Aang, who was still struggling very slowly and clearly in pain. Aang had one hand on his child's head, with the thumb on its small little chest.

Aang, the father, seemed to be holding onto the life of his little child.

Chief Kohaku walked over to him and powerfully kicked the Avatar as hard as he could.

.

~o0o~

.

"YOU IDIOT!" Kohaku screamed. "YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD! DEAD! NOW THE WHOLE PLAN IS PUT TO WASTE! BECAUSE OF YOUR STUPID NEED TO STAY ALIVE, THE AVATAR WILL BE LOST FOREVER ONCE YOU'RE ENEMIES COME THROUGH AND KILL YOU!"

Chief Kohaku kicked him once more, rabid spit flying everywhere.

"There won't be another woman who'll give birth today!" Kohaku screamed. His eyes were a sickening red. "Once you're dead, the Avatar Spirit will have nowhere to go! And it's all because of you! I tried to save the Avatar, but you resisted! You killed him! You killed the Avatar!"

.

~o0o~

.

Aang tilted his head to the side and looked up to see the face of Chief Kohaku.

"Please…" Aang whispered, his voice softer than the lightest of breezes. "Same him… Save my son…"

Kohaku formed a pout and his lip wobbled. Tears began to form on his eyes and he tried to shift into another emotion, but he couldn't. The young official could not depart from his feelings.

Aang pushed the small little baby boy to the feet of Chief Kohaku.

"Save my son… Save Katara… Please, Kohaku… Save my family…"

Aang smiled warmly at the young man before his eyes finally closed and the last breath escaped his lips. Chief Kohaku and the two midwives watched as the Avatar's chest fell out of exhalation—for the last time. One of the midwives cracked and began to weep, covering her face in tears. The other could only looked away.

Chief Kohaku looked at Aang's peaceful face.

And he spat at him.

.

~o0o~

.

By the time the enemies had breached the ice wall with Firebending and some Waterbending, the midwives were already gone. The unconscious body of Katara was already gone. The baby that Aang had been holding was already gone. And Chief Kohaku had left with all of them.

The only thing left was the peaceful remains of the Avatar and the spit that was on his face.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

"My plan was simple," Kohaku repeated. "Kill the Avatar before his wife gives birth to the twins. Since Katara was the only one bearing children that day, the spirit would have no choice but to inhabit one of the babies. Then, hopefully, the other one would turn out to be an Airbender so your father's people could live on.

"But the Avatar died that day and so did the spirit. The immediate consequences were dire. All of a sudden, the entire world wanted to help rid the enemies. There was so much hatred all around and in their anger and the Avatar's death, everyone united together to throw out the enemy."

The boy was in disbelief. "You kept it all a secret…?"

Chief Kohaku clasped his hands together and rolled his head to the side.

"It wasn't hard. Your mother was unconscious, the enemies got there too late, and the only witnesses to the even were the two midwives and your father. The two midwives were taken care of in a few months and the Avatar is dead."

"You killed the two midwives?" asked the boy.

"The point is," said Kohaku, "the secret, though big, was fairly easy to keep silent. Everyone who knew would not speak of it."

The boy shook his head. "Except one other person, you mean… There's still one more witness… You… And even if you've kept it a secret for so long, you decided that tonight, you would tell me what really happened on that day… And now, you've added me to your dreaded list of people in the 'know'. Is that why you're telling me this? Are you going to kill me tonight like everyone else? Is that what's going to happen?"

Chief Kohaku finally took his cup of tea and took his first sip.

"There's a reason why I saved you, son… There's a reason why I took you in as my own and sheltered you and kept you safe and protected you and cared for you and fought for you. There's reason why I'm telling you all this. And I didn't come this far only to kill you on this night of all nights."

"And what is that?" asked the boy hysterically.

"There's going to be a war," answered the chieftain bluntly. "You see, when everyone thought your father had been assassinated by his enemies, they ironically turned to me—because I had been there when his life ended. And the burn scars supported their belief that I hated these men. And I did hate them for burning me. So, in effect, I decided to launch a campaign against them. Over time, that campaign became more specific and detailed, turning into today's ceasefire between benders and non-benders."

This came as another shock to the boy.

"You mean this whole conflict between the two sides is nothing but a fake war? You told me that my father was never killed by my enemies! And now, you're telling me that because you wanted to make everyone believe in your innocence, you blamed the whole thing on the enemy—even if they had nothing to do with it!

"For so long, this tense conflict between the two sides had been everything to me! But you're telling me that the whole thing was just some stupid idea to make sure the truth wasn't revealed! I can't believe you! People have died over this thing! You made innocent people participate in a fake war!"

Chief Kohaku took the second sip of his tea.

"Once again, the conflict was an easy thing to pull off," he began. "With fear, loss, and despair looming over the world, everyone needed someone to look up to. They turned to me. They trusted me to do the right thing—to drive away the people that 'killed' your father and restore peace. With their confidence in me, I took action and made the first attempts to blame the enemy.

"Your father's enemies were too guilty. But most of them felt innocent and tried to rebel that they did not kill the Avatar. But who would believe them? All the evidence pointed to them. In the end conflict ensued and politics was thrown out the window.

"But by the time of the second year, people were growing too desperate. Spiritual experts would comment that there would be no peace or balance without the Avatar—that his phenomenal bending powers were the ones that kept the world in check. But I was not one to agree with them. I and a few like-minded friends believed that the world can be in peace without the Avatar. I believed that, since the Avatar was dead, people could finally step up and change the world."

The boy leaned back. "What did you do?"

"Long metal barrel, some spark powder, a wooden grip or handle, a small fuse-spot, and a triggering mechanism," answered Kohaku.

The boy scratched his chin. "What's that?"

Chief Kohaku smiled with pride. "They're all the necessary parts for a shot-stick. Your uncle was so willing to help that he invented and commissioned these projectile weapons in a few weeks to deal with the enemies. They were powerful stuff. Their bullets were faster than wind, sharper than water, more powerful than earth, and more lethal than fire. The shot-stick did all the things a Waterbender, Earthbender, Firebender, and Airbender could do and more. The shot-stick gave us an edge over the ordinary bender that was never anticipated in years.

"By the fifth year of the war, the shot-stick worked so well that it had effectively made bending obsolete."

.

~o0o~

.

"With the creation of the shot-stick, the conflict created a rift between the two thinkers. One side believed that the Avatar was no longer needed because anyone could make things that would take the jobs of a dozen Avatars. These people were mostly composed of non-benders who felt the sense of power the shot-stick provided. The other half consisted of people who rightfully believed that the Avatar was the sole decider of peace and war. These people consisted mainly of benders and other like-minded spiritual thinkers."

Chief Kohaku sipped a third time.

"Those of the non-benders thought that since machines and inventions could take the place of any bender, why would there need to be an Avatar when a similar machine could take that place? They reasoned that a machine, with its cogs and gears, would be more efficient than the Avatar and were less prone to make mistakes.

"On the other side, the benders believed that a machine had no heart, no soul, and no mind. Though there would be people controlling it, a machine would not be good in finishing a decision. And these people believed that the fight for the Avatar's existence was not over. They believed that there was still hope for the Avatar—that he was still alive somewhere…"

The boy wiped his face and growled. He knew where this conversation was going.

"With you being a descendant of Avatar Aang," continued Chief Kohaku, "the benders placed all their bets on you. They firmly believed that you were going to be the next Avatar—that you were going to restore balance once and for all. When you displayed signs of Airbending, it only made them believe in you more. But over time, they understood and were disappointed when you didn't turn out to be one. Most of their hopes vanished overnight."

.

~o0o~

.

"So everyone's expectations about me weren't even real?" the boy questioned hysterically. "This is all your fault! Everything! Because of you, I ended up being a disappointment! You went that far just to keep a secret! You ruined my life and my family!"

Chief Kohaku nodded, rubbing his throat. "Yes."

The boy slammed his fist on his knee in anger and gritted his teeth. "But you didn't answer my question… Why did you save my life…? And why do you think there's going to be a war…?"

Tears started trickling down the cheeks of the old man. He tried to stop himself from sobbing, but in effect, worsened it instead.

"At times, I lie around in my chamber, thinking of all the mistakes that have compounded my mind. Guilt has caught up with me. Reality has too. This single lie has touched everyone and now, the web is too thick and I'm at the center of it all. The reason why I called you—the reason why I'm telling you now and why I saved your life was because you deserved the truth…

"You deserved to know what really happened that day…

"And it's also for your father…

"Your father never deserved your hatred… He deserves your love… I fabricated your hatred for him so you would be determined to show the world that you can surpass your father. But I see now that my method was wrong… Your father needs to know you love him… He needs to know…"

The boy looked away in anger and hissed. "I don't care what you say… I have to hate that man… I have to hate somebody… I need to… I suffered on the end of everyone's expectations for so long that I need to hate someone… For so long, my father deserved my hatred… I can't let that go so easily… I can't!"

Chief Kohaku stood up firmly.

"I'm sorry, son… You have to love him… I can't bear the thought of you not loving him… I'm taking the choice out of your hands…"

The boy looked at him with rage and tears in his eyes.

"You can't expect me to love him so easily! This is too much information to process so quickly! I'm not even sure if you're telling the truth about all of this! For all I know, you're lying!" he shouted.

Chief Kohaku walked over and shook the boy on the shoulders as he helped him to stand up. The boy could not look at him as he wept. The old man pulled him into a warm embrace.

"I understand now that placing all this expectation on you was wrong," spoke Chief Kohaku. "But you deserve it… You're his son… You're practically a hero…"

"I'm a failure…" the boy whispered as he planted his face on the chieftain's furry coat.

"No," said Kohaku firmly. "You're not. You're a hero. And it's not because you're the son of the Avatar. It's not because your father did many great things. It's because you're here right now, in the mix of all this talk of fate and destiny. You're the symbol of hope the world needs. You don't know it. They don't know it. But it's true. In reality, everyone's been hoping for a person like you… You just never realized it.

"You're hope because you're the son of an extraordinary man. He belonged to a group that I hated. It was people like your father—people like you—that brought hope to a doomed world. No matter how hard the world tried to kill them, people like your father just wouldn't die. That persistence is hateful, but at the same time commendable.

"And your father was the last of his culture. In the moment of his poisoning, he reached out to you and used the last ounces of his energy to bend his spirit into you—giving you the power to bend air. He's keeping himself alive in you

"You say your Airbending was a curse—that it only made you lonelier. But you forget that your father was the same, and yet, your father used it to save the world. He gave life and hope with it.

"At the time, your father was labeled 'the last Airbender'. It was both a sign of uniqueness and solitude. Now, he has passed this legacy on to you—not as a curse—but as hope. You're the hope the world is waiting for.

"And now, you're going to use it to give hope in light of the upcoming war…"

.

~o0o~

.

"But there won't be a war!" the boy protested. "We can end it now! You can tell the whole world the truth! Nobody has to get hurt!"

Chief Kohaku shook his head as he sat on the floor, scratching his throat. "Like I said, I'm already in too deep. Even with the revelation of the truth, it's hardly possible that everything will be reversed. Everyone will still be faced with the same problems. The conflict will go on."

"But we can't go to war!" the boy wept. "Everyone needs to know the truth!"

Chief Kohaku smiled at the boy. "I'm taking the choice out of your hands…"

"What will you do…?"

"Listen to me carefully," said the chieftain slowly. "Tonight, you will assassinate me. The guards from outside will walk in and they will find my dead body, but you will have escaped."

"Assassinate!" the boy proclaimed. "I won't do anything like that!"

Chief Kohaku shook his head. "It's already done. In my tea, I had placed in a smaller, but still fatal amount of poison—the same venom I had used on your father. The effects will kick in later, but I will still die. I've already taken in three sips, so that means I'll have two minutes before I fall into unconsciousness. When they find my body, you will be blamed for the assassination and the act of my murder will break the ceasefire and force the world into war!"

"You can't!" the boy shouted. "I didn't do anything!"

"Listen to me!" shouted the chief angrily, grabbing his wrist. "I don't have much time! This has to happen! I deserve this punishment! I've gone too far to deserve anything less! And this war needs to happen! The world has to fall into despair and darkness! It's the only way anyone can ever see the light!

"You will listen to me! You have to get out of here when we're through! Use the ice chute to escape. When you're out of the Northern Water Tribe and safe in the land of the Earth Kingdom, you will join forces with the benders and bring hope to the world. You will do what you were supposed to do. You will save the world."

"You can't just ask me to save the world!" the boy shrieked. "I'm just one guy! That's a job for the Avatar!"

Suddenly, the man keeled and fell to the ground, clutching his chest in surprise.

"KOHAKU!"

The boy moved to the chieftain's side and held his head up, urging the man to sit up. To his surprise, the man took his hand instead and smiled at the boy.

"I can see now that you're going to be greater than your father… You're story will be bigger than his… the last Airbender… People will be telling your story alongside your father's—a story that's true and right and where everything works out… I believe in it… I believe in you… And your father would so too…"

The boy was sobbing hysterically now.

"You can't go yet… I can't handle this all alone…"

Chief Kohaku smiled wider. "You won't be alone because there's one more secret I kept from the world… It may mean nothing, but it's another thing to hope for…"

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Chief Kohaku could tell that the leader of the enemy was using Firebending to break through the ice wall for a faster entrance. That meant that he had to speed up making his escape tunnel. The two midwives beside him were both anxious. The one holding the little baby boy was the most anxious.

"We can't leave the Avatar here!" said the midwife holding the baby. "He'll die!"

Chief Kohaku lowered his hands as he stared at the entrance of his new ice tunnel. "He's already dead."

Chief Kohaku waited until the two midwives crossed the length of the tunnel. Once they went through, Kohaku stepped into the tunnel and began to seal up its entrance with Waterbending.

Then, his hearing caught the faint sound of something unexpected.

To his surprise, it was the sound of a baby that had been brought into the world.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Northern Water Tribe, Tribal Hall, (midnight)

Although the details had been very sketchy, it was on a midnight that the new war had started. The ceasefire folded up completely on the discovery of Chief Kohaku's body. It was speculated that the young Airbender he had taken in was the one committed the murder. The death of Chief Kohaku, a man who acted as the voice of reason for both sides of the conflict, stunned the world into concluding that the Airbender's act was a sign of rebellion and had therefore instigated a war.

It happened on midnight when two warriors guarding the hall, stumbled upon the room. And after several calls to find out who was inside, decided to break the door down and come in.

On the floor, they found Chief Kohaku, still alive but nearing his end.

The man was so close to death that he whispered short delirious sentences.

One of the warriors caught him saying these words before falling into his death:

"The Avatar's alive… The Avatar's alive…"

"The Avatar's alive…"

Rumor began to spread.

Somehow, out of the dying breath of the chieftain, the Avatar was alive.

A new story was about to begin. It would begin with war, assassinations, hope, and struggle. And like all new stories, it would be one that would be more legendary and more epic than the one before it.

.

.

.

.

.

Ending Author's Notes

The main idea here was that this was a world without the Avatar. I've decided to write on a specific way Aang died. His assassination by a high ranking official was based on the idea that usually, it's the authorities that want the Avatar out of the way for their own personal gain. (ex. Chin the Conqueror and Avatar Kyoshi, the past Earth King and Avatar Kyoshi, Firelord Sozin and Avatar Roku). I decided to stick with that idea here.

This oneshot was supposed to be an entire series that came after my last fanfiction. But instead, I decided to condense it into a shorter story with the same idea. Now, this oneshot serves as my epilogue to my last fanfic. But reading it wouldn't be necessary since this story is separate (although, the enemies here come from my last story, but it's also unnecessary).

For the characters, I've decided to keep the name of Aang's son anonymous so the reader can fill it in with a name of his or her own (but it has to be a boy's name). Chief Kohaku was created to be a very calculative villain that had a softened heart after a few years. His name comes from one of the main characters in "Spirited Away" by Hayao Miyazaki. Aang's characterization had to be intact, which meant that Aang should care more for his family even as an adult.

The world here is a more industrialized world. Because of the advances in technology that took place in the century-long war, this world became one that is quite similar to the era of the steam engine.

And finally, for those of you who didn't get what a "shot-stick" was, it's a gun.

For those who have comments on the passing on of the Avatar Spirit, please do so. I'm basing my information on a collective of interviews and that of Avatar Wiki. If I've made an error, please tell. And review constructively please.

Review. Flame. Comment. And read my last fanfic for a more adventurous series. Thank you

~Kojab8890