Disclaimer: I do not own the intellectual properties depicted herein. I do not own the characters portrayed. I make no claim to own any part of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'. All intellectual properties depicted herein belong to the creators of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender.' and Nickelodeon.
World Tour Prequel Tie-In.
Before Ozai's defeat…
"You sure this is alright?"
Frosted jade eyes seemed to sparkle, as their owner cracked her knuckles. To her left, the graceful water bender did a few warm up twists, drawing two lengthy streams of water from the ruined fountain in the center of their makeshift training arena.
"Are you really sure this is fine?"
Zuko rubbed his forearm nervously, rather uncharacteristic for him to do so, as he watched the water coil and eventually settle in a slow orbit around Katara's arms.
"Please stop calling me that."
Toph tilted her head in the prince's general direction, pasting a pondering look on her face,
"Hmmm…let me think…Nah."
A silver flash streaked past Zuko's face, just barely preventing a sliced nose. Toph remained nonplussed. Katara began tapping her foot impatiently,
"Are you two done? Aang's waiting." She stretched out an arm, her element hovering mere inches from her skin, in the grinning and waving Avatar's direction.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Keep your arrows on Twinkles. We're coming."
Zuko was still hesitant about the whole thing,
"I don't know if we should be doing this. The Ava..I mean, Aang's just started Firebending. I don't think it's wise to push him this hard yet. He hasn't learnt to control the flames fully. It's not safe."
"For crying out loud! Did you and Sweetness switch brains or something? Usually she's the one who tries to keep Twinkles out of harms way and YOU make MY training with him look like a walk in the park."
A snort and a growl rose from Zuko's throat, "I wasn't worried about Aang's safety. I was worried about ours."
"Guys! Are we doing this or not?!" Aang thumped the end of his staff against the tiled floor of the temple.
Katara nodded to him then turned to Zuko,
"We won't go all out unless Aang asks for it. We stop the moment someone gets a bad injury."
"Define bad." Prompted Zuko.
"Well, it's not like that birthmark on your face." Laughed Toph, getting into her familiar Mantis stance.
Ignoring the little earthbender's comments, Katara continued, "Bad as in I can't heal it with water. Cuts and bruises, fine. Broken bones…try to avoid those will you…Toph?"
"What?! Why is it always me?!"
A gust of wind tossed their clothes and hair about. Toph clutched the sides of her hair bun to keep it from undoing,
"Well, you certainly taught Aang the meaning of impatience, Princess. I swear if you undo all that Patience training I did with him…"
Without warning, Toph's foot slid across the floor, a wedge of stone, mortar and earth spiking out, aimed at Aang's forehead, forcing the Avatar to swerve to avoid having his skull fractured.
Twin water columns rushed Aang's position, capitalizing on the advantage Toph had given, prompting the Avatar to create a minor cyclone to cover himself. The furious winds managing to splash the water away from him. The water bender freed up one arm to draw the water back while the other remained in position, keeping up the pressure.
"I still think this won't end well…" muttered Zuko before running into the scuffle and up Toph's earth wedge, using it as a ramp to take a flying leap over the miniature tornado Aang had created around himself.
Too focused on defending against Katara's water cannon, Aang failed to notice that he was now under a shadow.
A gout of flame that narrowly missed his feet, soon brought the Avatar's attention skyward.
"Now there's something new." He mused, as he watched Zuko pull back a flaming fist. The whole sequence seemed to move in slow motion as the prince dropped like a missile right into the calm eye of the storm.
Aang's tornado shield turned a fiery red before exploding, sending wind, debris and small bursts of flame everywhere.
Katara pulled her efforts back to form an ice wall along with Toph who sent out vibrations to sense where Aang would be.
Almost like a drop of water falling into a pond.
But it was still there.
"Gotcha." Toph kicked up two boulders, letting them hang into mid air for a moment before sending them into the explosive fall out.
The first one never made it into the dust cloud as a disc of razor sharp air cleaved it in half. The rocky halves falling and crumbling uselessly. The second mortar missile struck it's target.
The wrong target.
Toph winced as she felt Zuko get struck in the gut and get sent tumbling out of the settling cloud of debris.
"You used me as a shield!" Zuko grunted rolling on his side, clutching his abdomen.
"Duh. Toph hits hard." Aang said as a matter of fact.
Two shark like fins went screaming along the ground in front and behind him. Zuko's good eye went wide as he barely back flipped over the two deadly water projectiles.
"Hey! Watch it!"
"You watch it! Stop lying on the job!" Grunting with effort, Katara drew up all the water in the fountain, attempting to re-create a move she'd done before.
Or so Aang thought.
Expecting a shower of ice daggers, He bent a shell like dome of earth over his head with both arms, whilst kicking at the ground towards Katara, sending a weaponized version of his air scooter at her legs, hoping to trip her.
The ball was smashed out of existence when the ground it was on flipped over.
"Stop being so defensive Twinkle Toes."
A thump against his shield alerted Aang to the real danger.
The blind earthbender had landed on it and was preparing to shatter the, in her opinion, flimsy shield.
A pair of small hands punched through the shield and tore it in two before jumping away.
Toph darted out of the way just as Katara let loose her towering pillar of water. The azure column of water surged upwards, arcing downwards as it began to crystallize into diamond like ice.
Unable to deflect the water now that it had become a massive ice hammer, Aang dug his heels in like an earthbender. Drawing back his fist to his waist, he moved slowly, almost waterbender like and thrust out, meeting ice hammer with earth anvil.
Crystals of ice showered the arena. It was hauntingly beautiful as the sunlight refracted from each glittering shard.
So mesmerized by the beauty of it, Katara failed to notice that a particularly large sliver of her own ice was hurtling towards her.
What she did notice was the splash of water against her face as the deadly missile was melted by a former prince.
"Now who has to watch it?" Teased the prince, smiling at her shocked expression, before turning back to jump into the fray.
Toph wasn't as impressed by the pretty ice show and had renewed her pummeling of Aang.
Having heard descriptions of Zuko's and Katara's fire and water whips, the little earthbender was now twirling long lengths of flooring tiles around her like massive ribbons. The technique serving both defensive and offensive purposes as she edged towards Aang.
"Heh. Come on Twinkles!" She smirked, sending tiles flying out of the whirling mass. If the Dai Li could do it with their tiny earth gloves, she'd go one better.
Aang dodged, jumped, skipped, he dang near tried everything he could, not to end up diced. The best he could come up with was to send the tiles that came close to him back at Toph. Not that it did much good as they shattered uselessly against her spinning shield.
Snapping her wrists tight, Toph let fly both whips INTO the ground, only to have them erupt from underneath Aang, wrapping themselves around the Avatar's left wrist and right ankle, causing him to drop his staff in surprise.
"Come on Princess! I can't hold him forever!"
The increase in temperature was a warning. Zuko always raised the temperature before demonstrating a powerful move, just to tell folks to move out of the way.
Instead of moving off this time, Toph pulled back on her whips, dragging them out of the ground and dropping Aang on his back. A twist later, the poor monk was sent flying in the Fire Prince's direction and right into the line of fire, so to speak.
Channeling his abilities to his calves and forearms, the Fire Prince charged them with fiery energy, creating gauntlets and greaves of flame.
Just as Aang was swung into range, Zuko aimed straight for the younger boy's shoulder, not wanting to truly hurt him. Using his free hand, Aang created a small gust of wind aimed right at Zuko's inner elbow, causing the prince's arm to bend just before landing the punch.
Following through and using Zuko's own momentum, Aang kicked out, catching the older boy in the lower jaw with the flat of his foot.
"You stink at this teamwork thing Princess!"
An uppercut to Aang's midsection was Zuko's reply, this time impacting true and hard. Still dragging Aang along with the upward direction of the blow, Zuko then slammed the Avatar against the ground.
Aang was about to cough out to Toph something about not making Zuko angry but those words would have to wait as he missed getting his head crushed by a burning booted heel as it crashed into the ground, moments after he rolled away.
Flipping to his hands, Aang stretched out his legs and spun, kicking up a dust storm and several wind funnels. Not to hurt, but to distract and most importantly break Toph's whips.
Forced to release her grip on Aang, Toph stomped her foot several times, coinciding with where she approximated the wind funnels where. The spikes of earth spearing the miniature tornados right from underneath them, effectively destroying them.
Zuko spun around with his arm out, sending an arc of fire, almost liquid in state, hoping to catch Aang unawares.
To his surprise, the arc of flame was captured around the Air Bender's staff, where it twirled in synch with the Avatars manipulations of the rod. Striking the flaming tip across the ground, Aang blasted a wave of fire back at Zuko.
The wave of power tore up the ground but didn't reach Zuko as like before it was encased in ice, smothering it. Globes of ice formed in a ring around Aang, who managed to see them coming, ducking down as they crashed into each other.
Katara stepped up next to Zuko as the older boy rubbed his jaw, still smarting from Aang's kick.
"Now we're even."
Zuko arched a brow, "I didn't know we were keeping count."
Deciding enough was enough and that he had exploring to do, Aang twirled his staff over his head and fell into his usual battle stance.
Smirking, he gestured to them,
"Come and get it."
"Oh I will!" Yelled Toph jamming her hands into the ground and pulling them back out, this time each of her seemingly dainty hands where equipped with tonfas made of stone
Zuko re-ignited his flame gauntlets and greaves. He gave them an extra boost, making the air around them explode. Now each gauntlet head resembled that of a roaring dragon.
Katara pulled the moisture from the air around her, the water flowing elegantly towards her hand and forming an ice sword. Taking a few practice swings and stances, she turned to address her friends' wondering expressions,
"I had Sokka teach me a few things."
"Can we just beat him to the ground now?" piped Toph, scraping her tonfas across the ground.
A burst of wind and Toph lost 'sight' of Aang on the ground.
"Where'd he go?"
A second burst of wind and Katara cried out as she fell on her butt after having her legs swept out from under her.
Reacting swiftly, Zuko spun around lasing out with a vicious kick, the flames on his legs trailing. Aang responded by grabbing Zuko and doing a handstand on his shoulders, evading the searing flames.
Aang grinned and stuck out his tongue…only to feel a dull ache in his back as he found himself airborne…and not of his own volition.
"Cocky, Twinkles." Toph pounced on him, intent on making her point felt.
Using waterbending philosophies, Aang redirected the force of Toph's attacks; subtly guiding the direction the powerful hits took by tapping and leading them with his staff. Undaunted, Toph kept up her barrage as Aang slowly stepped backwards…right into Katara's line of sight.
An ice sword cut between a wooden staff and earth tonfa, re-directing the staff outwards, leaving Aang vulnerable for a moment. Capitalizing on the situation Toph wound back to land one right on Aang's kisser.
And it connected.
Stunned, Aang couldn't help but allow Toph her little victory, rolling with the punch as he skidded across the ground.
"Sorry Twinkles!" She laughed, "Keep your left up next time!"
Shaking the loose cobwebs out of his head, Aang felt his jaw, even if she was just playing around, Toph still hit hard.
"I think you knocked out one of my teeth."
"If you're lucky, it might be one of your baby teeth." A statement punctuated by a bolt of flame blasted from a flaming fist.
"Baby teeth?" A shimmer blade of ice sang through the air deflecting Aang's staff from catching Toph on the head.
"My mother told me that."
"I AM NOT A BABY!"
"Now you've done it," Toph crossed her tonfas together, "Let's go Twinkle Toes."
Zuko and Katara rushed the Avatar from opposite directions. Expecting another ice sword attack, Aang spun his staff attempting to smack the deadly blade out of his waterbending master's hand.
Imagine his surprise when Katara skidded to a halt and let fly the blade, bending it back into its liquid state. The sliver of water zipped past his face, a minor cut.
But it did its job.
Distracted him long enough for Zuko to close in. Altered by a sound of roaring fury, Aang turned around just in time to see a blast of flame with the likeness of a dragon's maw. Bending water from the fountain, Aang countered with his own icy version of the flame dragon, impacting Zuko's flames from the side.
Scalding steam blew everywhere, forcing Toph to create a rolling earth shield to close in on Aang's vibrations.
Biting her cheek, she rammed full force into Aang. The deadlock broken, Zuko collapsed to his knees, tired and wasted.
"Finally…' He wheezed, his words caught in his throat as he felt himself being lifted off the ground. Aang had jabbed his staff point in Zuko's midsection and was hauling him up and over his bald head.
With a mighty yell, he tossed the Fire Prince into Katara, sending the both of them tumbling into a wall.
"Get off me you lummox!"
"Get your hair out of my eyes, water wench!"
"What did you call me?!"
Meanwhile the two younger benders where locked together, with Aang's staff jammed in between Toph's earth tonfas.
"I…win...Twinkles. You know I'm…stronger than you." She grunted past gritted teeth.
Despite his entire body screaming fatigue, Aang just grinned,
"I know. But I'm faster."
With that he broke the lock and jumped to the side. Toph's own momentum sent her stumbling forward, her tonfas wound up stuck into the ground.
Before she could bend or pull them out, Aang shattered them with a sweep of his staff.
"Hey! No fair!" Cried Toph, holding up her ruined weapons.
Aang brought the whole session to a close by hitting Toph on the head lightly,
Dusting her hands off, Toph harrumphed, leaving Aang rolling on the ground in a pain only males could feel.
"No it's not. It's a real handy fighting technique. Who knows? Maybe it's how you beat the Fire Lord."
"Oh yeah. Like he's going to let Aang lay one on him like that." Laughed Katara, who was, surprisingly, supporting a dead tired Zuko.
"It's still an option." Toph huffed indignantly.
"Yeah well, help Aang up. I need to heal his cuts."
Zuko smirked despite his fatigue, "You know, Toph…I think you're the first girl to touch the Avatar in such an…intimate…way." He jerked his head towards Aang still wincing in pain. Katara couldn't help but join in on the teasing,
"Oh, Toph. You should be gentler with Aang. Maybe you should tend to his cuts. I'm sure he'd appreciate a kinder touch from you. Just keep your hands above the waist."
Flaming red in the face, the little earth bender was about to let her embarrassed fury be known when,
"Sweet Yue in a wedding dress! What happened here?! I leave for just one second and THIS happens! Since when have Katara and Zuko been so close? Did I miss the announcement about that? Why's Aang on the floor?! AND OH SWEET LA! THE FOOD STORES! MY MEAT!"
Katara rolled her eyes and set about bending the water needed to heal their injuries. Toph sighed, her anger momentarily subsided, "Come on Twinkles." Grabbing his hand, she yanked up, chuckling as she sensed his pained vibrations,
"Foul." He repeated, though this time a more playfully.
"You know you did put on a good show just now. I'm impressed."
"Really?" Aang slid his arm around her shoulder using her as a support.
"Really. Honest." She beamed, patting him on the back…hard.
"But you've still got a long ways to go before I'll call you an Earthbending master."
"Hey! You two! Stop flirting and help me clean up this mess YOU made! Oh my poor meat….ACK!"
Zuko winced as a blunt spike of earth jabbed Sokka in a very sensitive place. Katara sighed, nonchalantly saying that was one injury she'd never heal.
"Nice one, Twinkles. You're learning."
Aang grinned as she did, tightening his arm around her shoulders, for better support, he told himself,
"Yeah well…who knows? Maybe I'll beat the Fire Lord with that."
Yes, I am aware that it's uncharacteristic for them to use weapons.
It's just an exercise in action sequencing.
This fic was posted and taken down and now posted again. Because being the whore that I am, I decided to make it part of the World Tour meta-universe.
This is a Michael Bay fic. All action and not much else. That said: I loved Revenge of the Fallen.