Disclaimer – I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender

"Why does it take so long to find one boy" Ozai snaps at his daughter.

"Because he's just one boy and he can fly anywhere he wants at a moment's notice" Azula grumbles.

"You dare take that tone with me?"

"Sorry father"

Ozai has tasked her with finding the Avatar after he fled when he wasn't able to bend the energy of the Phoenix King. It has been 5 years since he was last seen at the encounter. Azula is growing bored; there would be reports of him in a village but the next day he would be long gone.

Ozai is growing impatient as he will never admit to anyone that is living in fear that the avatar will show up in his room at night to take his life like he could have years ago.

"And why didn't you kill your brother, Zuko, when you had the chance"

"When I finally got a hold on the water tribe peasant, I looked up and he was gone. I had no idea Zuko would run, but be foolish enough to try and help her try and break out from the Boiling Rock."

"I suppose that is a reasonable excuse," Ozai proclaims.

"Trust me father, it shall not be one I make again," Azula says with confidence.

"Good, now go continue your search for the Avatar. I have received reports of him in cave system not too far from Bae Sing Sae"

"Yes father," Azula exits the room and boards a ship.


Aang has taken refuge in a cave system with Toph who he has found along his travels in Ba Sing Sae, with her; he has been able to navigate tunnels and stay hidden from the fire nation. He tries to formulate a plan on how he can free his friends from the prisons in which they were sent. He knows that Suki has escaped and went into hiding with Ty Lee, still loyal to the Kyoshi Warriors, near the fire nation colonies. He wants to try and find them but he knows it is too risky to make an attempt.

"Hey, Twinkletoes" Toph says ignoring the unusual silence of Aang.

"What Toph, can't you see I'm meditating," Aang snaps

"Actually, no I can't" she says with a thought of stupidity toward her companion.

"Sometimes I forget that you are blind, you know; you being able to see down here and all"

"Yeah, yeah, get over it"

"What was it you needed?"

"I'm starving" she states as her stomach groans.

'Ok, I will see if I can find something out in the jungle"

Aang heads toward a light that takes him out of the caves, but he immediately ducks as he sees his pursuer, Azula, scouting the jungle with troops. Aang couldn't deny how beautiful she had grown to be, she was now a women with easily identifiable curves. He stares just a moment before running back into the cave to find Toph whistling the usual tune indicating that she is bored.

"We have to go now!" Aang says with a frightened look.

"What did the spirits tell you something?" She says sarcastically

"Azula is outside and I suspect that she just might and came have a look down here, so I'll say it again; we have to go now."

Just as he suspected, Azula came running down the cave with a sapphire flame in hand. He tries to hide but it is of no use. When she finds him, she just stares.

Finally come out of her mouth," My my, what do we have here."

The years have done him well, he has is grown tall and his muscles are very exercised thanks to the practice in bending, She thinks to herself.

"Princess, I was not expecting you" Aang says as he can't help but stare at her.

Azula smirks, "Like what you see?"

Aang's face grows red with embarrassment.

"We need to stay and fight, we can take em'"

"Sometimes your natural instinct will lead you into circumstances that you can't handle Toph" Aang says with urgency.

"You should listen to her, Avatar, she has the heart of a warrior. All you have ever done is run."

Aang is filled with anger, but before he can think of anything to do a sapphire fireball goes whizzing by his head. He jumps and Toph tries to help by bumping the back of Azula's foot, but hits Aang's instead. Aang stumbles toward Azula, falling on top of her; they both stare for a moment catching their breath and then Aang disappears into the darkness.

"Which way should we go?" Toph asks hurryingly

"Take us toward Nozomi no Nai" Aang feels cold as he names the city that was formerly called Bae Sing Sae.

"Are you sure we should head towards the city occupied by a nation that wants you dead?"

"Trust me, Toph; I know what I have to do"

"Why did they give Bae Sing Sae that name anyway?"

"Because it means 'No Hope'"

Toph leads them down a maze of caverns until they exit the caves and they then start making their way toward the colonies as Aang thinks he has a plan.


Zuko stares at the ceiling and wonders just why he wasn't killed that day, Katara sees this and tries comfort him. It is a coincidence that their cells are next to each other.

"The more you think about it, the more you are going to wonder" Katara's motherly side kicks in.

"Its not like we have anything else to do you know" Zuko says with a depressed voice.

"Just trying to help" Katara says with a sigh.

Suddenly the alarm sounds and the prisoners are allowed into the prison yard. As the prisoners exit their cells they torment the guards who sit and react to nothing said. Once outside, Zuko walks around and finds no other than Sokka.

"Sokka, is that you?" Zuko confused as he walks towards him

It has been so long since they had seen him. He is bloody and scarred from beatings by the guards and can barely stand up. He sees Zuko and breathes a sigh of relief. Zuko calls for Katara and brings her to his brother.

"Sokka, what happened to you?" She has a look of horror on her face.

She quickly pulls water out of thin air to heal her brother of the wounds, He aches in pain and tense up when she hits a sore spot, after a while the pain eases and he is able to breathe without pain. Having not seen Sokka in a while, Katara has feared the worst of his fate.

"Nice seeing you two again" His voice still hoarse.

"Where were you?" Katara asked with concern for her brother.

"I hid in the fire nation colonies; I figured that would be the last place that they would check for any of us."

"How is that working for you now," Zuko says sarcastically.

"It was working, Suki and Ty Lee crossed paths with me and we camped around for a few months, they said that they had broken out of prison and figured that they would go where that thought nobody would look, but they had no idea that they had been followed and watched. I stalled while they got away."

Katara looks at the ground imagining the scene.

"Did you ever see Aang" Katara asks worried about her friend.

"Not a trace, he is either dead, or in a fantastic hiding spot."

"What about Toph"


"Could things get any worse?" Zuko asked as the alarm rings signaling the call back to their cells.

The war has given the gang a bond that they thought meant that nothing could every separate them; losing it has taken its toll. Not only has the gang been split, but there is now no way for them to find each other unless rumor travels and they hear of them, which is a rare case.


Aang and Toph decide to stop and get something to eat mostly because Aang can't travel in pure darkness around him in labyrinth of caves. They stop at a market, get some food and travel a little ways off the village and Aang blows into his sky bison whistle; calling Appa. When Appa sets down they load the food into the saddle and eat a little while taking a break from the stress of running

"Do you think that we can ever actually defeat Ozai" Aang asks sincerely

"To be honest, no, but I think that we can keep the Fire Nation busy enough so that someone else can" Toph was always one to be honest

"Who would dare defy the Fire Nation while they have everybody in their grip?"

"Twinkletoes, you may be the Avatar, but others in this world are willing to fight for their freedom, whether they think you exist or not."

When they finish eating, Aang sends Appa up into the air for him to find a hiding place on a cliffside until he blows the whistle once more. Retreating back to the caves didn't seem like such a good idea so Aang decided that they make their way to the colonies through the jungle for a while until they figure it safe to back inside of the caves.

"Why don't we just use Appa?" Toph questions

"He is too easy to spot, the fire nation has outpost everywhere looking for him," Aang answers respectively

"Besides I thought you didn't like flying on Appa, you know where you can't see anything?"

I don't, but it is faster than walking all the way around Nozomi ai blah"

"Nozomi no nai" Aang correted.

Toph wouldn't admit that her feet were getting sore, because she had always had a sort of reputation for having feel of steel.


Azula retreats back to her quarters aboard her ship, she changes into her night gown and lays down tired from looking for the Avatar relentlessly, but she did have one thing to look to; she had actually found him, after 5 years, she found him.

"Would you like me to get anything for you, Princess" one of the guards asked.

"No, now get of here before I incinerate you" she snapped.

And with that, the royal guard exited her quarters.

While thinking about this, she can't help but remember how muscular the Avatar looked, how coiled his muscles had gotten from the constant bending, she looked back at the moment of when he had collapsed onto her; She could feel something inside of her that made her tingly at the thought. She called it anxiety and rolled over into her bed for a good night's rest that never came.

Author's Note – This is my first story, I hope you like it. Special thanks to sablefalls and LavenderHillLove for the help you guys gave me I really appreciate it, you guys are my inspiration.