attackfish: Jet and Zuko fighting in the teashop, text "Obviously this is the place to come if you want to get murdered by lunatics" (Jet Juko TDL quote)
[personal profile] attackfish
These were written for the [ profile] atlaland lottery, where I got a random list of seven prompts and had to fill them by the end of January.  Since I posted three of my fills as graphics (and my art is just not good enough to post here) and one of my fills I'm in the process of turning into a proper fic, here are three of my fills.  One of the prompts below is actually a piece of fanart, and the link beside the fill's title will take you to the artist's post on deviantArt.  All fics are between 750 and 1000 words.

Past Avatar: Times Best Forgotten

Taan raised an arm and the vines around it leapt forward to slap the arrows out of the air.  They splashed down into the river as the archers drew their bows again.  Winds lashed around her, tearing the vines away from her as fast as she could gather them tight again.  Down the river, her tribe’s reed boats sailed under the trees further and further out of sight.

Her eyes glowed.  A hundred hundred voices spoke with her, inside her voice.  “Temujin.”

For a moment, the arrows didn’t fly.  The archers held their bowstrings ready, pointed into the belly of her vine monster, but they didn’t loose them.  General Temujin stood up in his bison’s saddle and wove his way through the men and women facing her down.  “Ready to parlay?” he asked, face settling into strange, and unnatural solemnity.  It wasn’t really asking.  He knew she wasn’t there for that.  But he had to say it.

Her vines didn’t fall away.  The water around her feet lashed back and forth under her power.  “Tell your Khan to stop sniveling and hiding like a coward and fight me herself.”

Temujin laughed.  He raised his arms and the wind drove at her, piercing the vines like thorns and bone needles.

The earth under her surged up to grab him and the warm muddy water pulled back and reared up like a wave on the ocean to engulf his troops and their sky bison.  They rolled with the water, a tangle of flailing hands and roaring bison, until Taan lowered her arms and the river resumed its course.  The glow in Taan’s eyes faded, and she fought to ignore the creeping weakness it left in its place as Taan stopped being a force of nature, and returned to being just an old woman again.

A powerful old woman.  The vines fell away from her body, and she limped to stand over the general.  “Tell her that if she wants to conquer the world, she will have to face me at some point.”

Temujin coughed, river slime bubbling out of his mouth.  He smiled up at her unhappily from the flat of his back.  “That’s what she has me for.”

His hair fanned out on the water.  The unhappy smile stayed frozen on his face, and lying there, just for a moment, he looked too old and too young for it all, all at once. There he was, a year younger than his own niece, the Khan, sent to harry her, to attack her people and push at her and push at her, and push at her, and keep her distracted while the Khan busied herself conquering the Earth Kingdoms piece by piece.  Taan almost, but not quite, could bring herself to hate him.

She probably should hate him with all the bodies rotting unburied in Earth kingdom fields.

Instead, she stepped back and let him scramble into the saddle of his bison.  The vines wrapped themselves around her arms, and on her skin she could feel the water, pulsing, ready for her to take it back up.

He wasn’t that young.  By the time she had been his age, she had already mastered three of the elements.  She’d had her first child.  But when he looked down at her, hair plastered to his head, armor slick and shining with the wet and held up his hands, the bison’s reigns hanging on his thumbs, and whispered, “Truce?” he sounded so so very young, like a little boy.

She glanced down the wide, warm tropical river, to the thick choking blackness of the trees, where the reed boats of her tribe had disappeared into.  The waters around her were still, except for the bugs, the bird-fish, and the cat-gators drifting lazily upriver to the writhing heap of sky bison and nomad soldiers.  There was blood in the water, and the tangy taste of it permeated the air.  Soon the piranha-bats and blood beetles would swoop down to feed.  She inclined her head.  “Truce.”

Maybe she shouldn’t.  Maybe one day, he would be the one to kill her.  Her riverbenders were still in danger, her tribe, her people.  And she had let him distract her for too long.

He nodded, and flashed her a smile.  “I’ll be seeing you, I guess.”

She closed her eyes and tried to think of some way to beat him without killing him, a way to capture and hold him, and a way to do the same thing to his people, but nothing came.


Two sides- Aang: Blast Radius
Katara can’t see Aang as he is when he’s in the Avatar state.  She can’t see him as the cold, eternal spirit of the balance, who kills without even noticing, and speaks with the voices of people she doesn’t know, but she knows aren’t Aang.

She has to think of him as Aang, who is just a kid, who wouldn’t hurt anyone, and still doesn’t quite believe there’s a war going on.  She’s supposed to see him as someone who can save the world, who can protect her and her people, but she keeps seeing him as someone she should be protecting.

He’s her student.  She just learned all of this herself, and she’s supposed to teach it to the Ava- no, she can’t think of him that way.

He’s Aang.

Just Aang.

The deck of the ship shifts under her feet as she walks over to him and puts an arm around his shoulder.  She says something soothing to him, and he tells her what it’s like to wield that- be wielded by that kind of power.  The revulsion and the fear on his face makes something inside of her stop working, for just a second.

She takes him back to the cabin and gets him to lie back down.  And he’s so scared, and so upset, and Katara just hides it better.

It makes her so relieved that he’s scared and upset, that the Avatar State is hard on him.  If it weren’t, she wouldn’t know what to think.  And she feels guilty, and just a little sick.  She-

She doesn’t want him to be unhappy.

She doesn’t.

His eyes close, and he pretends to sleep.  Her eyes don’t.  She doesn’t.  This shouldn’t happen to him.  This should happen to some other kid, some grown up, someone she isn’t taking care of, who doesn’t need her.  He’s just some kid who ran away from home because they tried to take him away from his friend.

She has to keep seeing him as the laughing, happy kid he is when he forgets about being the Avatar for a little while.  She has to keep seeing him that way, because if she doesn’t, she’ll stop seeing Aang.  And someone has to see Aang.  If she doesn’t see him, he could just disappear.

She believes he can save the world.  She just doesn’t want him to have to.

Her eyes close.


Zuko can’t see the Avatar as he is when he isn’t fighting Zuko.  He can’t see him as a little kid, who jokes with his friends, and bends just because it’s fun, who isn’t as old as bending itself, but is instead younger than Zuko was when he got his scar.

He has to think of him as the Avatar, who is an ancient menace, and a cowardly spirit who disappeared for a hundred years.  He’s supposed to see him as a tyrant who would keep the world in perpetual backwardness in the name of tradition, and would put the Fire Nation at the mercy of the rest of the world in the name of balance.

He’s Zuko’s quarry.  The price for him to return home is to put a little kid in a cage.  No, he can’t think of him that way.

He’s the Avatar.

Just the Avatar.

The waterfall’s roar and mist fills the empty room as Zuko inhales the damp air.  His uncle mutters in his sleep, and Zuko catches Lu Ten’s name.  The longing and fragility in his voice makes something inside of Zuko stop working for just a second.

Zuko holds himself as still as possible, and his uncle settles back down.  Zhao’s face when the Ocean Spirit had dragged him down was so scared and so surprised, and maybe it’s easier thinking about Uncle and Lu Ten than about the boy inside the Ocean Spirit.

He has to think about him as the Avatar.  It’s not as hard as it could be.  He and his uncle floated south with the bodies and the smell and the scavengers.  He watched the faces bloat up and stop being faces, and watched the bodies stop being people.  He-

He doesn’t want the kid to die.

He doesn’t.

He’s not supposed to be a child.  He’s supposed to be an old man, a great warrior, who Zuko wouldn’t have to look at and feel sorry for.

He has to keep seeing him as the fearsome, cold-eyed, cruel, inhuman Avatar who knocked his men into the polar ocean, who slaughtered thousands of his people without stopping.  If he’s going to bring the Avatar home (without his ship, without his crew, without anything) he has to keep seeing him as a monster.

He believes the Avatar could destroy the world. Zuko just doesn’t think he wants to.

His eyes open.

Future Avatar: Songs in the Static

Akari switched the little transistor radio off and guiltily shoved it further under the covers as the door creaked open and her mother poked her head in.  “You going to be okay?”

“I was asleep.”

Her mother didn’t even bother to lift an eyebrow.  The radio dug into Akari’s back, and she yanked the covers up over her head.

Her mother came in and sat down on the edge of the bed, fire licking at her fingers.  “You haven’t even started packing!” She pulled the covers off her daughter’s face.  “You’re supposed to leave tomorrow!  The fire sages-”

“They told me I shouldn’t take any worldly possessions.”  Akari snatched the blanket out of her mother’s hands and dragged them back over her head.  All her friends said the Air Temples didn’t even have electricity.  They probably didn’t have batteries either.  She would have to bring her own if they let her.  She couldn’t sleep without music.  Or she could learn to make lightning to power the stupid radio.  She’d heard that some firebenders used to be able to make lightning.

Bending was just supposed to be something she did after class instead of learning to play the pipa or painting lessons, a nice, pleasant little hobby where she could run, and jump, and didn’t have to work with a team.  She liked it.  It was good, and she could set anyone who tried to give her a hard time about it on fire.  But it wasn’t supposed to be what she was about.

She’d wanted to be a microbiologist.  Like that was ever going to happen now.

The Avatar was just one great big symbol of the weight of the past, of history, and tradition, and a world that didn’t exist or need it anymore.  They were going to stifle her, and put her away like a history book, and tell her how much they needed her.

Her mom pinched her lips together, and glanced awkwardly at her daughter.  “If you want, I can spend the night here.  Or you can come in stay with your dad and me.”

Akari shot upright, knocking her pillow off the bed by mistake.  “I’m sixteen!” she tried to hiss, but it came out more like a yelp.  She was supposed to be excited about leaving, like a normal girl would be getting out of school, moving away from home...

Spending the next few years with a bunch of nuns.

She wasn’t sure what she was supposed to be feeling, but she was pretty sure that whatever it was, it wasn’t a horrible sort of desire to never leave her room again.  Crawling into her parents’ bed and curling up between them like a little kid with a nightmare wasn’t supposed to sound appealing.

The radio dug into her shoulder blades.  Akari squirmed off, and her mother spotted it through the covers.  “What’s this?”

Akari looked up sulkily.  “Come on, it’s just a stupid radio.  I’m not going to be allowed to do anything ever again.”  She lay back on the bed.  “Just let me listen to it tonight.”

“People are going to listen to you,” her mom eyed the little radio reproachfully, but she handed it back to Akari anyway.  “I thought you always wanted that.”

“I just-”  She swallowed.  “I just wish I could tell them no.”

Her mom patted her arm.  “You’re the Avatar.  telling them no doesn’t change that.”

“I know.  I just want-”  Akari stared at the blinds over her window.  “I could pretend I’m not.  No one would know, right?”

Everybody already knew.


Her black look deepened.

“I’ll save every newspaper clipping with you in it,” her mom promised.

She shot her mom a look from under her bangs and curled her hand around the radio.  “Don’t.  Just... don’t.”

“It’s going to be alright, you know.”  Her mother’s nose wrinkled as she smiled wryly.  “You’ll make the best of it after you stop moping.”

“I want to mope.”  Her hand tightened around the covers as she pressed the radio into her chest.  “Actually, I want to go to college and get a job like a normal person, but I’ll settle for moping.”

Her mom stood up.  “Uh huh.”

“Hey.”  Akari let a wide, devious smile spread slowly across her face, even though her stomach twisted.  “You think I could at least convince them to put me with the monks instead?”

Her mother sighed with exasperation.

“All those boys and no girls anywhere except little old me-”

“Good night!” Her mother almost sprinted for the door and yanked it open.  It clicked closed behind her.  “Don’t even ask the Fire Sages that.”  Her voice came muffled through the door.

Akari didn’t answer, but she kept her eyes open until the sliver of light under the door switched off.


attackfish: Yshre girl wearing a kippah, text "Attackfish" (Default)

October 2017


Avatar: the Last Airbender

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