Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar.
A/N: HEY YOU GUYS! I'm now officially the new beta of minnichi's story! You should check it out! Enjoy and Review please. MasterFirebender, you're pumping stories aren't you :P I'll make sure I review soon…stupid bio and English project….
Suri's heart thumped faster and faster as the self-eating emotion called Remorse swooped through her veins. She'd always been too harsh on herself; whether in earthbending practice, or in cases like she was experiencing at the moment. Time ticked away under the lake as she sat, brooding. It's become such a strict routine that the concept of brooding had lost its sense of a hobby and had become more of a job. Images of her parent turning into toast flashed through her blue eyes. Shadows of the Empress's soldiers, the murderers of her village, literally flew through her mind, hauntingly.
Myra and she had never been good friends in their past. In fact, they had been the complete opposite. Any child of their now dead village would have agreed. Myra was the epitome of perfectness. Her eyes gleamed with innocence and her sweet smelling hair had its way of attracting anyone she wanted. Stray boys approached her in hopes of getting the beautiful woman as their own. But she always rejected politely for there was already another that had stolen her heart. And that boy, strangely, wasn't affected by her aura of perfection.
Jaden was an orphan, taken in by the village orphanage at only a tender age of four. No one ever knew how he came or who his parents were. But it didn't matter to Suri. Jaden and Suri had been the best of friends before they could even walk. Suri was the only one who could see through his terrible past, which he refused to tell anyone but her. She was his secret keeper and had taken it upon herself to protect him like her own younger brother.
And that was the exact reason Suri hated Myra with deep passion. Suri, unlike every other girl in the village, didn't bow down to the queen of girly girls. She, on the other hand, enjoyed playing in the mud with the boys and pranking unsuspecting villagers. Earthbending took a major part of her heart later on, despite the fact that her parents always tried to hide it. The Empress would murder any bender unless they were part of her personal army.
"Have you ever wondered what the future will be like?" Jaden's green irises seemed to glow from the moonlight. Stargazing had always been one of his favorite hobbies. Strangely, Suri didn't mind it either. These cheesy activities had never attracted her. But she loved Jaden enough to keep her mouth shut.
"Yeah. Sometimes," She paused thoughtfully, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
A broad grin spread on the six year old's face. "I want to be the Avatar! So I can bend ALL the elements and beat up the Empress so we wouldn't have to starve every day!"
"Keep dreaming, buddy!" Suri scoffed, "You don't want to be the Avatar. Too much work. Anyway, there already IS an Avatar! He killed the Phoenix King. And soon, he'll kill the Empress too. You just wait and see."
"Whatever you say, Suri." The dirt previously caked on his face was now drying up into a nasty mask. Silence draped itself over the two friends for a while. Neither knew why, but they still enjoyed the peace for it was an element scarce at times of War. It shouldn't even be called War really. More like a complete Invasion and Massacre. Millions of people had been killed thanks to Empress Azula's rampage. Including Jaden's parents…
Jaden's a firebender. He always kept it as a secret since he never wanted to be part of the nation the Empress had tainted. But secrets are hard to keep when you're young. Kids don't have the ability to burden hardships like these. So he let it all out to Suri; all the anger, frustration, shame, and hope. He thought that she would turn him in and his life had ended the same time the secret escaped. But instead, she told him that she was an earthbender and that the two of them had to keep their gifts hidden to stay alive. Since then, an attachment had been made; an invisible bond connected their hands.
They swore to each other that they wouldn't let themselves die until they completed the tasks they were given: Find Avatar Aang. Kill the Empress. And help save the world…
"Kill the Empress." Suri whispered slowly, reminiscing in the memory. Everything will turn back normal then…
"Aren't you a little too young to be thinking about murder?" Footsteps clattered behind her. They were light, almost like they were floating. And the voice was deep and hoarse. But she would recognize the shame in his tone any day.
She turned around abruptly, cracking her neck in the process. "What do you want?" She sneered as she glared daggers at Aang.
"Forgiveness. You were right. And I'm sorry." He didn't get a reply. Instead of an expected "Suri-insult", he got a crying girl. And he had no idea what to do. Fighting crazy Kings, he could handle, but sobbing children wasn't his specialty.
"I…just… wanted….normal….life!" Tears streamed out of the tips of her eyes. Her lips twisted and her throat choked up. "Why didn't you come earlier? Why'd you leave? We needed you! And you left again?"
She was screaming now.
"Please, Suri. I'll tell you. But now is not the time to share my past. I can't tell you just yet. Please." The strong man was driven to tears from the sight of his 'daughter' in such a state.
"Fine! Don't tell me! Just save Jaden. Myra can save herself, she's strong! But I couldn't live with myself if he died when I couldn't protect him! He doesn't deserve this! He can do so much for the world! I couldn't live with myself if he-,"
"Suri! I would never let him die! You know that." His fatherly side took over as he slid his arm comfortingly over the crying bundle.
"Just save him. Promise me that no matter what happens, if I die or I'm not around, keep him alive. He needs to be alive."
He didn't reply.
"PROMISE ME!" Her cries echoed through the empty cave.
"I promise." He kissed her forehead tentatively. "Jaden will stay alive…I promise."
She slept a dreamless night for the first time in months.
"I have no idea what I'm doing." Katara whispered to herself as her paint brush sweeped over the paper. She was writing a journal to 'keep herself sane' in her exact words. The years of exhaustion and emotional turmoil were doing nothing better to her already aching mind. Perhaps a few words would ease the pain.
But she had so many thoughts, she didn't know where to start. The disappearance of Aang? Hakoda's or Sokka's death? What about the death of herself? Is it coming soon? Or has she already died inside?
Nodding, she made up her mind.
These past few years have forced me to mature a little too fast for my taste. Everyone around me is dying. Azula, or should I call her the Empress, is becoming even crazier than she was before. She's turned into a clever, sneaky, frightful creature. But what have I become? A rabid monster seeking for the blood of revenge…And I'm disgusted.
A dreamer. That's what I always was. I dreamed of a world in peace, back in the South Pole. I remember the days Gran Gran would shake her head, amused at all my wild anticipations. But the times I treasure the most are the ones I shared with my friends. Not friends anymore, though. More like family, if you see what we've all been through together…
I dream. Where Aang, Sokka, Toph, Zuko, Suki and I could live normally with our own families. I've always wanted a daughter. Maybe name her Akalea. It's a pretty name. And then she could have a little brother. A mischievous one he would've been. Pulling pranks worthy of Toph and Sokka.
Toph…I'm starting to think I'm scaring her. Suicide has come into my mind more than often. And it's starting to scare me too…How can I even think of suicide now? This is the time when I'm most needed! Toph needs me now! Aang needs me too, even if he's not here! I have to live. Just to put the Fire Empire down. I have to live, for Sokka and Dad.
Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation never had a good reputation with his fellow people. He was the traitor in their eyes. These people, brainwashed into believing that their race was higher than any other, are mere victims of the tyrannical Royalty Family. With their king dead, partial responsibility to Zuko who had helped Avatar Aang achieve this deed, they grew enraged and deadly.
The Phoenix King would've turned the Fire Nation into a glory land. It would've turned the world into a sanctuary of fire where its flames licked at every human being on the planet. The greatest day in history, where all the unworthy elements fell to their deserved place.
But Zuko would have none of it.
With sheer ferocity, he and Aang battled bravely against the King all those years back. Every memory of their "father-son" relationship had vanished leaving behind a deep hatred and shame between the two. This was ages back, though. And even though his father now lay dead somewhere in the Fire Empire's land, the world was still not saved.
The mighty Earth Kingdom; home of the brave benders and the scenic peaceful land has now turned into a wasteland of hopeless people. The once bountiful land was now being destroyed for oil. The Fire Empire, with its crazy machines invented by specialized assistants of the Empress, required gallons of the oil. Men of the Earth Kingdom were forced into working day to night to meet these conditions. If not, they were mercilessly murdered by the Empress's soldiers.
The chivalrous Water Tribes have now transformed into an icy den. Prisons dotted the chilly wasteland. Rebels were tortured in the snow. The stench of blood and death filled the holy tribal land; the innocent ice, now shaved of all its dignity and sacredness by the savage drops of blood.
Despite their failed attempts to stop Azula and Ozai, Aang couldn't help but thank Zuko to the bottom of his heart. Without the scarred Prince, Ozai wouldn't have been killed. The two of them, Avatar and Prince, worked in harmony together, proving that even the once worst enemies could make wonders together. Each kick of fire from Zuko's agile feet was shielded by Aang's determined fists. With one on offense and the other on defense, Ozai had no chance of living. When the time came, Zuko graciously allowed Aang to finish the job. No hesitating. And Ozai was killed.
But in the Fire Palace, Katara, Toph, Sokka, and Suki weren't having a great time with Azula. Dai Li agents swarmed the area. The earthbenders formed a circle around the Princess, turning every attack thrown at her into dust.
"What a disgrace!" Toph screamed over the crackling Palace, "Oh so great Princess Azula can't even defend herself! She needs five whack-jobs to do her nasty work for her. Shame, I was looking forward to seeing if those rumors about your so called 'skills' were actually true."
Azula sneered. Thank God the blind girl couldn't see the glare the Princess was sending her, or else she would be scarred for life. "Aren't you a little too young to be here? Last time I checked, battles weren't for weak, little blind girls."
Katara, Suki, Sokka's mouths gaped at the Princess's audacity. She was going to get it now…
"How DARE you!" The earthbender's lips twisted with unimaginable fury. "I'll show you WEAK!" With a sudden jerk, boulders shot at the Dai Li agents from the floor. The green robes swarmed gracefully out of the way, sending rock fists back at the enraged girl. Dust flew into the air, taking out all visibility.
"Katara!" Suki called out to the waterbender, who was now fighting off a few Dai Li as well as getting pecks at Azula.
"Not now, Suki! Kinda busy here!" With a flick of the wrist, a water spike (that turned into ice mid-air) smashed itself into the chest of an agent; his blood splattering onto Katara's forehead.
"Katara! Azula's going somewhere!" Her brown eyes widened as she found the Princess running.
"Go on!" Sokka screamed from behind them. "Toph and I got the Dai Li. Don't let Azula get away!"
Nodding, the two girls set out behind the Princess.
Read and review please!