Tag Archives: AU

Sands of Time chapter 12

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Author’s note: Bit of a flashback today, mostly because I’m full-time writing my dissertation and I needed something cute to tide me over. It’s probably cliche and toot-rottingly fluffy and I hope you enjoy it! 😉

Oh! About that thing Akefia says about hieroglyphics: from what I could find out there were two or three different ways you could write using them, Hieratic being (obviously) the most complex. I figured, what with all the tomb robbing, he’d at least know enough to figure out hints about the traps inside the pyramids/tombs…

And no lyrics on the title. This one came completely out of nowhere…

***Chapter 12***

Akefia was woken by the sound of coughing, coughing loud enough to make his ears ring (no thanks to his soulroom’s acoustics) and the Millennium Ring tremble. Confused he materialised outside the Ring, hovering in his host’s bedroom. The sun was peeking through the curtains, signifying mid-morning, but other than the hum of the several appliances the house was silent. So the Caretaker had taken the day off again…

 

Another round of coughing drew the Thief’s attention from faulty parenting models to the child still wrapped up in bed. Ryou’s face was flushed and his breath came out wheezing as the coughing subsided. Still, he seemed to sense the Spirit because his eyes cracked open and he tried to say something around his sore throat. It came out garbled and Ryou winced. Akefia rolled his eyes, because he was not concerned, and tapped in their mindlink.

Are you…he paused, searching for the right word, ill? Ryou nodded, before adding silently:

I think it’s the flu. It hurts! he added, in a tone just shy of whining.

 

Akefia was not sure how serious a “floo” is but he remembered the box that Ryou had explained contained medicine. For a moment he toyed with the idea of taking over their shared body and fetching it, but if his Landlord was truly sick that might make him worse. Their link wavered slightly, breaking Akefia from his thoughts, and he turned his attention to the boy in alarm before breathing a sigh of relief. Ryou had simply fallen asleep again.

 

With nothing better to do the Spirit wandered the apartment, entering the bathroom and glaring at one of the closed cabinets. Sure his non-corporeal form could phase through anything blocking his way, but that was of little help when he actually needed to interact with his surroundings. Still glaring he placed a careful hand on the cabinet door, willing it to not phase through. He needed to open it, dammit! Ryou needed medicine and he was not about to let something as trivial as his lack of a corporeal body stop him from doing right by his Landlord!

 

Let it not be said that the Millennium Items didn’t do their best to obey his wishes. The irate thought had just enough time to form when he felt a strange weight surrounded him, starting from the centre of his chest and moving outward. Surprised by the sensation he stumbled and braced himself against the offending cabinet…and did not fall through. Akefia blinked in confusion, looking at his suddenly-corporeal hand, still clutching the cabinet’s doorknob. Carefully he moved his arm and the cabinet opened, revealing the coveted medicine box. Still not sure how it happened, and worrying it might have been a fluke, he slowly reached for the box and brought it to the counter next to the sink. His eyes moved absently to the mirror hanging above, and he nearly fell over his own two feet at the sight that greeted him. It wasn’t as much that he looked like Ryou’s older brother (though that was still something he was getting used to). It was that, for whatever reason, he seemed to be wearing a larger version of the boy’s pyjamas.

 

That wouldn’t do at all. Allowing himself a moment of vanity Akefia focused his attention on his appearance. He could feel the Shadow Magic thrumming around him, allowing him to remain corporeal and he let his thoughts drift to what he had seen adults wear at this time and place. He opened his eyes to find that his outfit had shifted to a blood-red T-shirt and dark jeans. Much more satisfied with his looks, Akefia turned his attention to the box, looking for anything with the word “flu” on it. Ten minutes later he marched out of the bathroom, a bottle clutched in his hand. Entering the kitchen he paused hesitantly. Medicine was not supposed to be taken on an empty stomach; that much he had understood from the tiny print on the instructions (and part of him was thanking the gods for the Ring’s ability to at least transfer to him his host’s language skills if nothing else…). But while Ryou had no problem letting him take over his body every now and then, neither of them had done much in terms of cooking. Well, Akefia reasoned uneasily, bread was bread no matter the century, right?

 

To his relief bread was indeed recognisable and soon he was walking back to Ryou’s room not only with the medicine, but also some bread slathered with honey and a glass of water. If whatever was in the bottle tasted even half as sickly sweet as it smelled the boy would definitely need it… Resting everything on the bedside table, Akefia sat next to the still-snoozing Ryou. As gently as he could, his host looked so much smaller now, he shook the boy awake.

Akefia? Even his mental voice sounded sleepy. Akefia smirked.

“Right here Landlord,” he said out loud and waited for the moment that the monumental change would register. It took less time than he expected. Ryou’s mind caught up with his body and he realised that there was an extra weight on the bed next to him. His eyes opened and he nearly flew to a sitting position, looking at his other self in surprise. Akefia got to enjoy Ryou’s astonished expression even less as the boy’s face lost all colour and his consciousness nearly followed.

“Hey, hey!” Akefia snapped, grasping Ryou and pulling him against him in a half-sitting, half-lying position. “Keh! You’re still burning up,” he mumbled, placing a cool hand on the boy’s forehead. “Where did you even get sick anyway?”

Ryou shrugged awkwardly but didn’t answer.

 

“Here,” Akefia passed him the bottle. “That’s medicine, right?” Ryou checked the label and nodded sluggishly before pushing himself to sit up –more carefully this time– and downed a dose, scrunching his face at the taste. Akefia wordlessly took the bottle back and handed him the glass. A few sips and a short bout of coughing later Ryou turned to him smiling.

“Thanks,” he said, his voice still a little scratchy but at least audible. Akefia shrugged and handed him the plate.

“You can go back to sleep if you want,” he said, “but first eat something.”

“Ok!” the boy said happily, munching on the sweet slices and looking curiously at the Thief who, now that he had done all that he felt he could for his host, started pacing around the room, running his hands over things and pausing to examine the half-full bookcase next to the door. His eyes fell on a collection of stories from the Egyptian mythology and after a small hesitation he eased the book carefully from the shelf and returned to his previous place on the bed.

 

By then Ryou had finished his food and, not feeling sleepy for the moment, entertained himself with observing Akefia. When the Thief sat next to him on the bed, his eyes glued on the picture of hieroglyphics on the cover, Ryou leaned up against him again.

“Can you read it?” he asked hesitantly, noticing that the Spirit seemed to be silently mouthing words. Akefia startled, having not realised that he had an audience.

“It’s Hieratic,” he said disappointed. “I can tell it’s some sort of prayer but for what…” he trailed off.

“Oh,” Ryou said quietly. He had really hoped to hear what Ancient Egyptian sounded like. Forcing himself to perk up he took the book in his own hands and opened it. “The stories inside are in English. Do you want to read some? Together?” He didn’t dare to get his hopes up. After all, Father never seemed to want to read with him these days… Akefia caught the stray thought and took the book back, pulling the boy closer to him in the process. Just to make sure his fever doesn’t spike again, he told himself, as Ryou all but snuggled against him.

“Alright kid, let’s see how much these people messed up the stories they’re telling.”

Sands of Time chapter 10

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Author’s note: In which the author is twitching nervously because she’s almost out of material (again) and will have to stop binge-watching Supernatural and do some work. Also, in which there is a BAMF!lady and one of the creepiest characters that anime has ever gifted us with gets his ass handed to him. Fun times…

It also occurs to me that the chapter titles appear to be rather random. They are, in fact, lyrics from whatever song I had on repeat while writing the chapter in question. My music taste and thought process are clearly on that side of bizarre!

***It’s like you’re a demon I can’t face down***

The irony of the fact that he was once again staring certain defeat, and this time in Shadow Game with such high stakes, did not escape Yami Bakura. Marik was oddly quiet at his side, watching in horror as his darker counterpart summoned Ra in his Phoenix form. The Spirit’s lips curled in disgust. There was only one person whose soul was pure enough to deserve the Phoenix’s power and that was most definitely not Yami Marik.

“Any last words before I cast you to the darkness?” the dark creature asked tauntingly.

“You fool!” Akefia smirked, “Don’t you realize that I am the darkness? I will be back.” Yami Marik did not seem worried.

“Perhaps, but not before everything you hold dear is destroyed,” he said, looking over the white-haired man’s shoulder. The Thief snapped his head in alarm, in time to see Elena followed by the Pharaoh bursting to the arena, before darkness enveloped him and Marik.

 

Yami Marik walked to where the Millennium Ring landed, but before he had a chance to grab it, it glowed and flew to Elena’s outstretched hand. He frowned.

“I won that Item fair and square,” he told the woman. Really what did the Thief see in her was beyond him. But then again he did not really see the point in caring about anyone.

“Over my dead body,” came the calm response. The Pharaoh looked at them nervously.

“You are not a duelist,” he said cautiously. “If you have a claim on the Ring, how will you duel against him?” Elena shrugged her red robe off to reveal a golden bracelet covering her entire left arm from the wrist to her elbow.

“I like doing this the old-fashioned way, Your Majesty,” she said as she stepped on the platform. “A Ka against a Ka and the strongest soul remains standing.”

“Name your terms then,” Yami Marik said intrigued. Did this girl think that she could yield ancient magic, old enough to defeat the Shadows?
“If I win, you will release the souls connected to the Millennium Ring. And if you win, I will surrender the Ring to you.”

“And your soul will follow your boyfriend to the Shadows.” Yami Marik grinned at her. Elena frowned.

“He’s not my boyfriend. He’s my husband.”

“Elena, I can’t let you risk your soul for…” Yami Yugi began, determined not to see anyone else being banished to the Shadows.

“Stay out of this Pharaoh!” the Thief Queen snapped. “You know nothing about me.”

“You heard the woman Pharaoh,” Yami Marik said mockingly. “Let her destroy herself if she wishes to.”

 

Hidden under his mockery was unease though. He had only encountered Dia-Danks on the memories of his weaker side’s lessons. His new opponent looked hardly over her twentieth birthday and was certainly mortal. Nevertheless he faked a respectful bow.

“Since you are about to be destroyed, you may summon your creature first.” After all, her Ka spirit couldn’t possibly defeat Ra. He watched Elena knit her fingers together and close her eyes, as if to pray. His eyes widened in alarm when a familiar chant was heard.

“Great beast of the sky, please hear my cry. Transform thyself from orb of light and bring me victory in this fight. Envelop the desert with your glow and cast your rage upon my foe. Unlock the power from within so that together we may win. Appear in this Shadow Game as I call thy name.” Her eyes snapped open and a bright glow enveloped her. “God Phoenix!”

 

Yami Marik took involuntary a step back. This was nothing like the Phoenix version of Ra that stood now by his side. Elena’s Ka was shining brightly and with an unearthly cry attacked his creature, reducing it to ashes. Yami Marik cursed as he felt the burning sensation of the attack as well as two (?) souls escaping his clutches. The Ring shone for a moment, its connection with its bearers reestablished but by the time Yami Marik had blinked the stars from his eyes, he was alone on the arena.

Sands of Time chapter 9

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Author’s note: And here is the episode (or part of it) that first had me thinking. Long before I saw the sub or read the manga this episode just…bugged me…Many years and literature classes later I’d learn this is what we call “subtext”. So, there you have it: Subtext becoming text. Also, Marik is annoying and any chance to inconvenience him needs to be taken!

***And as you ripped it all apart,/ That’s when I turned to watch you/ And as the light in you went dark/ I saw you turn to shadow***

Yami Bakura couldn’t remember the last time he had been so furious but he was quite certain that it had been before he had been sealed inside the Ring. He had only agreed to work with the Marik-brat to keep Ryou and Elena out of trouble (though the prospect of gaining two more Millennium Items was a definite bonus), had even injured himself to go along with the brat’s plan and now it was all going to go down in flames. He frowned.

“I can’t lose,” he said, more to himself than his thrice-damned opponent. “There’s too much at stake!” Sadly there was nothing he could do other than brace himself for the impact of Slifer’s attack when he felt his soul being violently pulled back to his Landlord’s mindscape.

“What is the meaning of this Marik?” he asked angrily.

“Your opponent won’t attack his friend,” came the smug reply. The Spirit turned his attention to his hikari.

 

Ryou had been in his soulroom during the entire ordeal and to be suddenly forced in control of their body meant he would have to deal with phantom pains of the Spirit’s stab wound. Indeed, the boy was on his knees, clutching his arm and asking confused what was going on. Akefia sent a look to Elena and saw her standing a little ways from the Pharaoh’s gang, her face livid with anger. He had a feeling that it took all her self-control to not jump on the platform and stop the duel.

“Yugi would never attack Ryou,” the Thief King mused.

“Unless he doesn’t want to risk his position to the finals,” Marik shrugged uninterested. Akefia’s eyes snapped back to the Pharaoh. He was hesitating, and the Thief King hated uncertainties.

Yami…Ryou’s voice floated weakly through the mind link. Akefia gave a strange smile to Marik.

“Perhaps you’re right Marik,” he said, “but I won’t risk Ryou’s health in that game of yours.” Ignoring the boy’s surprised exclamation he forced Ryou’s soul back to its soulroom, taking control again.

“I’m back!” he taunted the Pharaoh, who seemed unbelievably relieved to see him. “So why don’t you attack me and end this duel.” Yami Yugi was only happy to comply, surprised to see his opponent greet the Egyptian god’s attack with a laugh.

 

The moment the platform was lowered Elena raced to Ryou, pausing only to grab the Ring from where it had fallen. Reverently she put it around her neck, relieved when it gave a soft glow of recognition. The Pharaoh and his friends had gathered around the half-conscious Ryou, trying to get his attention. The boy seemed concerned by only one thing.

“Where is my Ring?” he asked desperately, looking around in the vain hope that he would see the artifact hopping back to him.

“Right here Ryou,” Elena said, kneeling next to him, sparing the Pharaoh a nasty glare. To her satisfaction he flinched a little. Tea seemed to be the first to recognize her.

“Hey, aren’t you the girl we met at Duelist Kingdom?” she asked.

“Indeed,” Elena nodded, her attention focused on the white-haired boy staring longingly at the Millennium Item. “I will give it to you as soon as we go inside,” she told him. Ryou nodded and tried to stand up.

“Whoa! Easy there buddy!” Joey exclaimed as he steadied his friend.

“I’ll be fine,” Ryou objected softly. “I am just worried for my Yami.” He suddenly became conscious of the strange looks he was receiving. Elena frowned.

“As you should well be,” she said disapprovingly. “No matter how many times I warn him, he still doesn’t get it through his head that he takes too many risks.” She wrapped Ryou’s arm around her shoulders and helped the boy inside the blimp.

 

They were both aware of the Pharaoh’s entourage following them as they hurried back to their cabin.

“How do you know that psycho anyway?” Tristan asked, unable to hold off the questions any longer. Elena took her time helping Ryou sit on the bed and giving him the Ring before turning to glare at the brunette boy.

“Care to rephrase that?” she asked icily. Tristan gulped.

“What Tristan meant,” Tea rushed to rectify the situation, “was, how you know Ryou and the Spirit of the Ring?”

“Akefia,” Ryou said quietly. Seeing everyone’s confusion he explained. “His name is Akefia.”

“He is my, well I suppose you could say husband, though we never had a priest to make it official.” Elena smirked at the bewildered looks she got from the Pharaoh, Joey and Tristan.

 

Sands of Time chapter 8

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Author’s note: In which I’m playing the Mamma Mia soundtrack while update my blog because I’m feeling nostalgic. Also in which I play around with a snippet that I curiously find one of the funniest in Season 1. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea!

***The reason to change***

It was only for the fact that Akefia’s mood was much better thanks to Elena’s return that he didn’t reach for the knife hidden in his pocket and murder one or more of the Pharaoh’s entourage. Since Ryou was their friend, Yugi had invited them to tag along. Now they were stuck wondering around, aimlessly looking for the blond boy, Joey, who had gone ahead on his own and disappeared. Seeing a cave up ahead he took the lead, silently guiding the rest of the group towards it.

“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” Tristan asked suspiciously. No matter what Ryou had said, he had a hard time trusting the guy.

“You found your friend’s wallet nearby, didn’t you?” Akefia asked, showing said object that he had snatched from Tristan’s pocket. “The only footprints around here lead to the cave.”

“What footprints?” Tristan insisted, annoyed at having his pockets picked. Akefia shrugged.

“Thief King,” he said as if that was explanation enough. Ryou followed silently his Yami, knowing that his friends would follow. The Thief was not an easy person to be around and the white-haired boy often wondered why didn’t his gruff manner put him off as it did anyone else. He reasoned it had to do with the fact that the Thief had practically raised him after his mother and Amane had died.

Like I told Elena once, you are too soft-hearted Landlord. His Yami’s voice echoed in his head suddenly. There’s no other explanation to it.

 

The cave was lighted ominously by candles inside human skulls. While the teens looked around nervously Akefia smirked and led Elena, holding her hand. Neither of them was unnerved; having lived in a village filled with restless souls tended to make you immune on these things. Elena had been taking in everything in her usual calm way. The only way to notice her quiet happiness was to pay attention to the way her face lighted every time she turned to Akefia, and that was quiet often.

“What’s up with those coffins?” Tea, the girl of the group suddenly asked as two coffins came to view. She and Ryou wondered over to them.

“Beats me,” Ryou said. “Who would leave them just standing here?”

“I wouldn’t touch those,” Yugi cautioned them and the Thief King couldn’t help but approve. Then roll his eyes as the coffins opened to reveal two skeletons. Moving closer to his hikari, he grabbed the boy and shook the skeleton of him.

“For someone playing with an Occult deck, you sure get scared easily Landlord,” he remarked, getting a sheepish smile as a response from the boy.

“Maybe you should take the lead Yami Bakura,” Yugi offered. The older white-haired man made him uneasy but if Ryou was willing to trust him, then so would Yugi. With a grunt the Thief pulled the Millennium Ring from under his shirt and walked ahead, once again holding Elena’s hand. The things he did for his hikari…

 

Sands of Time chapter 7

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Author’s note: A direct continuation from last week since it would have been cruel to just leave everything hanging… And for the record: I know that the implication on the song lyrics I’m using as title here is not the one I’m going with. Just roll with it.

***Deep inside, you cry cry cry/ Don’t let your hopes, die die die***

After so long in the shadows even the soft glow of the stars seemed foreign to her. Blinking, trying to adjust her eyes, she became slowly aware of her surroundings. There was a heated discussion on the background which she chose to ignore in favor of looking at the man holding her. He was pale and his eyes were hidden under a mess of white hair. When he talked though, his voice was the comforting, raspy one she had known and missed for so long.

“It’s been too long, Elena,” he said at the ancient tongue they spoke when they had been alive.

“Akefia,” she whispered, raising her hand grasp his own. The Thief King gave her a soft smile, before sending an annoyed look at the direction of the noise.

 

Joey’s face had been steadily moving past the red spectrum to an attractive violet as he tried to comprehend why there were apparently two Bakuras. Ryou was trying to be heard over his shouting so that he could explain the situation when his Yami’s sharp voice cut through the argument.

“Leave it be Landlord,” he ordered the boy. “There is someone you need to meet here.”  Ryou obediently walked towards the Spirit, ignoring the warnings he got from his friends.

 

Akefia steadied Elena against him, seeing her still weak from what he assumed was the summoning of her Ka.

“Elena, this is Ryou,” he introduced the boy as soon as he sat in front of them. “He is the current holder of the Millennium Ring.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Ryou said shyly. The woman smiled at him softly.

“It’s an honor to meet you, Ryou,” she said with a slight accent. She saw him noticing the blood in her dress. “It’s alright,” she said soothingly. “This blood is old and the wounds have long since healed.” Akefia tightened his arms around her waist, remembering where this blood had come from.

“But it looks fresh!” the girl that hung out with the Pharaoh’s hikari exclaimed somewhat worried. “Maybe we should find someone to check you.”

“No,” Akefia snapped. “She will be perfectly fine as long as you stop crowding over her.” Yugi seemed to get the message and with one final wary look he turned to his friends.

“Come on guys. Let’s give them some space.”

 

Ryou sat near them, but far enough to not hear what the pair was talking about. He watched curiously as his usually reserved Yami softened his expression as he talked to Elena. Akefia was perfectly aware that more than one person were trying to overhear their conversation so he slipped back to his mother tongue, focusing his attention on his love.

“How?” he asked her softly. He had felt her heart stop, pierced by the knife that was meant for him.

“The Phoenix saved me. I don’t understand it myself, but I have been wondering the Shadows since that day, looking for something familiar. I never expected that something would be the Dark One’s presence.”

“So I suppose I should be grateful to that damned demon.” Akefia didn’t seem pleased with the prospect. “It was Phoenix back there that pulled us out of the Shadow Realm, wasn’t it?” Elena nodded.

“What happened to you?” she asked grasping his hand, now pale and graceful and so much different from what she had known. “You look so different.”

“They sealed my soul inside the Ring. I suppose my appearance changed to accommodate the body of my host.”

“Ryou you mean?”

“Yes, although my powers have grown enough to allow me to have a physical body, I’m still bound to the Millennium Ring.” The Thief King scowled. This was a detail he resented about his situation. Even if he wanted to leave the boy, he could not. Elena seemed to understand it as well.

“Then I suppose it’s a good thing you care for him.” She said with a smile. Akefia rolled his eyes at her coy tone but kissed her nonetheless.

“I’ve missed this,” he murmured against her lips. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too.”

 

Twilight of the Spirit World: Epilogue

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Author’s note: In which a short “x years later” snapshot is offered, the author teases the Korra canon in a hopefully subtle way and for once happy endings do not have strings attached to them. It’s been a journey and a half everyone!

Previous chapter: link

***Epilogue***

The summer sun heated gently the sandy beach and a gentle breeze caused small waves in the sapphire blue sea. It was a truly beautiful place, serene and picturesque, a place that would certainly calm the most troubled of minds.

“MOM! SUYIN AND BATO TOOK MY SCROLL!”

“Suyin Bei Fong give your sister her scroll back!”

“Bato! Start acting your age or your father will NOT be taking you ice-dodging anytime soon!”

Well, perhaps not all minds.

 

Not far from the seashore Toph and Suki were berating their more mischievous offspring, much to the amusement of their friends. With a huff Lin snatched the scroll that her pouting twin held and marched off to sit next to Zuko and Katara’s eldest, Izumi. Next to them, and closer to their parents was Izumi’s younger sister, Kya, and Suki and Sokka’s youngest (for the time being), Yue. The two little girls were watching in fascination Lin and Suyin’s little brother, Bumi, as he re-enacted an over-the-top rendition of the epic tale of “The Bear of Ba Sing Se”. If in the process he raised more sand than his sisters’ attempts at sandbending that was certainly not intentional.

 

With a huff the two women sat back down, Toph taking baby Tenzin from Aang. Suki turned exasperated to Katara.

“Was Sokka like that too at that age?” Katara chuckled.

“More or less,” she said, ignoring her brother’s indignant look.

“Is that true Councilman Sokka?” Zuko asked laughing. Sokka glared at him.

“I’m sure if Azula was visiting Fire Lord Zuko she would have some interesting stories to say for you too.” Zuko raised an eyebrow.

“No doubt about it,” he said dryly.

 

Before ribbing between the two men could escalate, or Toph could get involved, Kya happened to look up. Seeing a familiar portal opening in the distance she jumped to her feet, dragging her cousin up excitedly.

“Aunt Azula!” the two girls squealed in delight as a very pregnant Azula stepped out of the portal, with Ao on her side looking very much like he would prefer to be carrying his lover rather than letting her walk through the sand. The little girls were almost instantly at their sides, seemingly determined to drag them were the rest of their family was standing and approaching them at a more sedate pace.

“Wait little ones,” Azula said as she carefully kneeled to hug them. Yue giggled, feeling the baby kicked. “We have a surprise for everyone.”

“And what would that be?” Zuko asked, hugging his sister carefully and giving a friendly nod to Ao. The couple smiled mysteriously.

“Turns out that when Agni and Lia went up to that mountain of theirs, they weren’t just coming up with new firebending moves,” Ao said mischievously. Katara’s eyes widened.

“You don’t mean?” she asked. It had been nearly a year since Lia and Agni had last visited the mortal plane after all…

“Oh, yes!” Azula said enthusiastically. Zuko paled slightly. Two daughters and several nieces and nephews later this kind of code was no longer lost to him. That did not mean he cared much for the implications. When Azula and Ao had first told them they were expecting he had been torn between wanting to congratulate them and wanting to punch Ao. Sokka had actually punched him when they had announced they were expecting Izumi! Ao turned towards the portal.

“Well?” he called. “What are you lot waiting for?” Almost as if cued Agni and Lia stepped through, both with wide smiled on their faces. In Lia’s arms, wrapped in a white-gold blanket, was a new-born baby.

“Everyone, meet Kōjin,” Agni said softly as the portal closed silently behind them. Even little Tenzin turned curiously in his mother’s arms towards the new centre of attention.

 

The children immediately surrounded Lia, the shorter ones standing on their tip-toes in order to peer at the latest addition to the family.

“He’s so small!” Lin whispered, her eyes widening when Kōjin opened his eyes and turned slightly towards the sound of her voice. Lia smiled at the girl. Of all of Aang and Toph’s children she had been the one to inherit most of the blind earthbender’s brash attitude. And, like her mother, Lin tended to melt when around babies.

“Let’s go sit down,” the redhead said, “and you can hold him if you want.” Lin nodded eagerly and the group moved back to where they had originally been sitting.

 

Much later, when the sun was setting over the sea, bathing everything in a soft red glow, the entire second generation of the gaang was sat around Izumi as she read to them, with the occasional interruption from Bato, an account of General Iroh’s travels through the Earth Kingdom. Tenzin was napping in a blanket next to his father, too young to stay awake after a day of excitement, while the adults were talking quietly among themselves. Zuko turned to Lia, who was leaning against him contently.

“Are you happy?” he asked her. Lia looked around thoughtfully for a moment, her eyes resting at Agni, who was rocking Kōjin gently, lulling the baby to sleep, and gave her brother a soft smile.

“Yes,” she said. “I am.”

The End

Finding the one

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It was the best of times

It was the worst of days

But in the end

So long as we stood together

We could watch the world burn…

 

That’s what he told her with a smile

As she handed him the match,

And at their feet there stood

Piles of old photographs,

Letters, mementos of people they knew.

 

There were no tears-

There need not be.

As the smoke spiralled upward

They left the past behind

And hand in hand they walked,

Out to the sunlight,

Out to their own new world.