Tag Archives: tea

Sands of Time chapter 11


Author’s note: Hey friends! Bit of a rarity this one. I actually wrote it while playing the proper episode on my laptop. I know a few things are off (obviously, AU and all that) but what can you do. Not sure who the title refers to. Could be Yami Bakura, could be Kaiba… I’m actually thinking of writing a few chapters of other pairing in-universe. Thoughts?

***And I think you should know this/You deserve much better than me***

Travelling through Noah’s virtual world on a van was one of the most bizarre and at the same time dull experiences in Yugi’s life. He took a moment to look at his company, all of them wary of their latest encounter with the Big Five. Ryou was comforting Serenity. The poor girl had been the most shaken from all these life-or-death situations they had been put through the last few days, especially after the loss of Tristan. Yami Bakura was sitting next to his hikari with Elena on his side, facing the road they were leaving behind. Duke and Joey were riding at the front. In fact, the only one missing was Tea. After they had tried –and failed– to convince Kaiba to stay with them instead of going after Mokuba on his own, the dancer of the group had ran after him.


“Diabound!” the sudden cry tore everyone out of their thoughts. They turned to see Yami Bakura standing, effortlessly balancing on the still moving car. His monster was charging in battle, against four of the Big Five who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. Joey hit the brakes and jumped out of his seat, already drawing a monster of his own from his Duel Disk, followed by the rest of the duelists on the group. Soon Dark Magician, Flame Swordsman and Dark Necrofear (courtesy of Ryou) joined him.

“This won’t hold them for long,” Duke said, frowning at his lack of a duel disk. “We need to get out of here.”

“I second that,” Joey winced as his Flame Swordsman was punched out by the Judgeman. “Everyone, back in the car!” The others climbed hurriedly back in the truck, as Dark Magician and Dark Necrofear were also taken out.

“Hurry it up mortal,” Bakura grunted as Diabound also disappeared. “Monster Reborn!” he snarled and Diabound reappeared growing a little bigger in response to its master’s rage. Just as it went berserk on the four monsters facing them, Joey got the car running and slammed the gas pedal, causing everyone to topple over and Bakura to let out a rather impressive litany of curse words in English and Ancient Egyptian.


The Big Five, now Big Four surrounded the speeding car, and Lector used Jinjo’s laser to topple it over, sending everyone flying. Ryou felt a familiar ghost pain flare in his arm and turned worriedly at his Yami. Akefia’s face was blank, but the bandage in his arm was soaking red and more blood was trailing down from under it.

Are you alright? He asked through their link, knowing how much Akefia hated people fussing over him.

Fine, came the curt answer, even as Diabound disappeared with a pained moan.

“Alright,” Tristan said nervously from his perch on Serenity’s arms. “Who has a plan B?”

“I am afraid there will be no loopholes this time,” Johnson said smugly. “Your bodies belong to us.”

“Oh yeah?” Joey retorted. “I’d like to see you try!”


The four businessmen/Duel Monsters took a few steps forward. Elena grabbed Akefia’s deck, the man’s indignant shout swallowed by Joey’s panicky yelp.

“Please tell me you have a light monster somewhere in there,” she told her lover, hurriedly going through the cards. He shook his head.

“You know they don’t really work for me,” he answered. “Now give my cards back.”

“As if you are in any condition to fight,” she snorted but nevertheless slid the cards back in place.

“What are we going to do?” Serenity asked scared.

“How about we make a run for it while they’re fighting?” Ryou offered, gesturing at the squabbling foursome and quickly shut his mouth when they turned to glare at him as one.

“You and your big mouth Landlord,” Bakura rolled his eyes, pushing the boy behind him and gesturing to Elena to stay close as well. The rest of the group crowded around them, too scared to make a move, though Yugi’s fingers twitched towards his deck.

“Attention fools!” A voice announced suddenly. “This game is over!”  Out of a bright light Noah appeared in the sky, looking annoyed beyond belief. He began berating the four men, ignoring their frantic excuses with impatience. “Gentlemen you are all dismissed!” he declared, conjuring a sand-twister and wiping them away. “No one breaks my rules and gets away with it!”


The stunned silence that followed was broken by Bakura as he sat heavily against the toppled over truck, light-headed from the blood loss and the double summoning of Diabound.

“Yami!” Ryou exclaimed as he sat next to him, trying to grab a hold of the Thief’s arm and wincing when a jolt of pain ran through both of them when Akefia jerked away.

“I’m fine!” he snapped.

“Not for much longer,” Joey raised an eyebrow, pointing at the amount of red staining both his arm and the ground next to him.

“Joey’s right,” Yugi nodded. “We need to treat this quickly.”

“Let me have a look.” Elena gently took Akefia’s arm and unraveled to soaked bandage. With a huff he relaxed in her hold.

“Just get it over with,” he grunted, closing his eyes. Elena smiled at him, even though he couldn’t see it and summoned her Ka. A shimmering gold aura surrounded her hand and she gently touched the wound, healing it instantly. The gang watched amazed as the color returned to Akefia’s face and he opened his eyes to inspect his arm.

“Heh!” he raised an eyebrow at her. “You’re getting better and better at this. Not even a scar.”

“Yeah,” Elena answered crossing her arms. “I wonder where all the practice came from.”

“How did you do that?” Duke exclaimed stunned. Elena opened her mouth to explain, but Akefia cut her off.

“We’ve got company,” he said, rising to his feet in one fluid motion and pointing at the two figures approaching them.

“It’s Tea!” Yugi said relieved to see his friend.

“And Rich-Boy,” Joey mumbled frowning.


Tea ran towards her friends, relieved to find everyone still in one piece after the snapshot of battle she had seen in Noah’s office.

“I guess the action never stops,” she chuckled as she exchanged a hug with Serenity.

“You can say that again!” the younger girl laughed back. Tea surveyed the group one last time before turning her attention to Kaiba. She had ran after him without a second thought and now she couldn’t deny her worry as he stared at the picture they had found at the abandoned mansion.

“Kaiba,” she said, approaching him hesitantly. “Do you think what Noah said might be true?”

“Noah’s story is nothing but a big lie,” Kaiba scoffed. “This picture and the supposed conversation he showed us should have taken place six years ago.” Tea’s eyes widened in realization as the rest of the group crowed around them to look at the picture.

“I don’t get it,” Ryou said frowning. “You mean Noah hasn’t aged in six years?”


Sands of Time chapter 7


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.”


Avatar: The Spirit of Fire – The Guru


Author’s note: In which there is calm before the inevitable storm, someone is in denial, Toph is even more awesome than usual and someone ominous makes a comeback.

Previous chapter: link

Next chapter: link

***The Guru***

The next morning Katara shifted contently under the blanket. She had had a good night’s sleep and for some reason her bed was pleasantly warmer than usual. Opening her eyes she smiled, seeing Zuko asleep next to her. Zuko! Her eyes widened as the memories of the previous night kicked in. They must have fallen asleep next to each other. She blushed crimson. Iroh and Lia would tease them to their deaths…She frowned. Where exactly was that Spirit? Knowing her she wouldn’t have moved from Zuko’s side if she was in the city. Zuko shifted next to her and she lay completely still, afraid she might wake him. When he settled back into his slumber, Katara stood and straightened her clothing. She left the room to look for Iroh, determined to get some answers.


The old man was making tea in the kitchen. He looked up from his pot when he heard Katara entering.

“Ah, good morning my dear!” he welcomed her, smiling brightly.

“Good morning Iroh,” she answered a little awkwardly. He seemed to understand.

“When I came to check on you and Zuko you were sleeping so peacefully, I didn’t have the heart to wake you,” Iroh explained. “Would you stay for breakfast?”

“I would love to,” Katara smiled. Iroh rubbed his hands excitedly.

“Great! I wanted to try this new recipe and now I have an excuse to do so!”


Soon enough the overly sweet smell of whatever Iroh was making drew Zuko out of his room. Rubbing his eyes groggily he asked:

“What’s that smell?”  Iroh looked at him hesitantly.

“It’s jook,” he explained. “I’m sure you wouldn’t like it.” Zuko leaned over the pot and took a deep breath.

“Actually, it smells delicious. I’d love a bowl, uncle.” He smiled and filled a bowl. Turning to the table he saw Katara studying him and his smile only widened. He placed the bowl in front of her, before serving one more for himself.

“Thank you Your Highness,” Katara said, smiling too. She had never seen this side of Zuko before and she really liked it. She liked it even better when he kissed her on the cheek. Iroh looked at all this with a raised eyebrow.

“Now that your fever is gone, you seem different somehow,” he said suspiciously. Zuko shrugged.

“It’s a new day. We’ve got a new apartment, new furniture, and in a few days it’s the grand opening of your new tea shop. Things are looking up uncle.” Besides, he added in his head, Katara and I made up!


A few days later Katara found herself wondering, for the umpteenth time, why Sokka would even consider staying in Ba Sing Se when he could go to Chameleon Bay. The war meetings she had to attend in his stead were long and boring, making her feel all stiff when she finally left the room. Besides, her only contribution was to help read some of her brother’s almost incomprehensible notes. Most of the time she could just watch as the generals discussed amongst themselves the strategy. Allowing herself to daydream, she thought of her life the last few days. She had all but moved into Zuko’s and Iroh’s place, being there most of the time. Much to the two teens’ glee Iroh had been hustling and bustling at the teashop, adding the finishing touches and left them to their own devices.



“I have to go down to the teashop children,” Iroh said, “When I’m back I’d like to find everything the way I left it.” He winked at the blushing teens. Not that he didn’t trust them, but you can never be too cautious.

“Of course uncle,” Zuko assured him glaring. What did he think they would be doing? As soon as the door closed both he and Katara breathed a sigh of relief.

“What does he imagine we’d do?” Zuko muttered, still glaring at the door. “Burn the whole building?” Katara giggled. She seemed to be laughing all the time lately.

“We could always go out you know,” she said cheerfully. “It’s a lovely day.” Zuko shrugged.

“As long as it doesn’t involve tea,” he mumbled before taking his girlfriend’s hand. “You know this place better than I do,”hHe told her. “Got any good suggestions?”

-End Flashback-


Katara smiled fondly at the memory. They had found a small quiet park and spent the day there, walking through the paths and just enjoying each other’s company. She was pulled out of her musings by General Hao’s voice.

“General Fong’s base will serve as the launching point of the attack,” he was explaining. “In exactly two months, the army and navy will invade the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun.” To illustrate his point he earthbended a few unit markers across the table, placing them directly in front of the Fire Nation capital. Momo decided that he didn’t like the arrangement and jumped on the map, scattering pieces all over the place.

“Or we could send in Momo to do some damage,” Katara chuckled as the lemur continued shuffling around the table. “Cause the…” she trailed off when she noticed the expressions on the generals’ faces. She sobered quickly. “Sorry.”


Hao snapped the pieces back in place wordlessly. Momo shrieked frightened and raced back to Katara’s shoulder.

“All we need is the Earth King’s seal in order to execute the plan.” He earthbended the scrolls with the plans towards Katara’s side of the table. The waterbender took them and stood up.

“I’ll get these scrolls to him right away. Thank you, General Hao.” She bowed before leaving the room with a quiet sigh of relief.


While Katara was having Ba Sing Se all to herself, Aang had just reached the Eastern Air Temple. Once upon a time this was the most populated of the Air Temples. But now… He spotted the figure of an ascetic, old man and guessing that was the guru he landed Appa nearby. He climbed the stairs to the small balcony the old man was apparently meditating on.

“Um, hello?” he called uncertainly. “You’re guru Pathik, right? The person who attached the note to Appa’s horn?”

“Indeed. I was a spiritual brother of your people, and a personal friend of monk Gyatso,” guru Pathik said without opening his eyes. Aang sat in front of him.

“In your note, you said you could teach me to gain control of the Avatar State. How?” he asked.

“You must gain balance within yourself before you can bring balance to the world. And the first step to gaining balance begins with this,” guru Pathik explained holding out a simple, wooden cup. “Drink up!” Aang took it hesitantly and took a long swallow. He spitted it out immediately.

“It tastes like onion and banana juice!” he exclaimed disgusted.

“That’s because it is,” Pathik said cheerfully. Aang sighed again. This was going to be a long week.


Aang was not the only one in an awkward situation. In a crossroads somewhere outside Ba Sing Se a strange carriage had been stilled for at least half an hour.

“I believe we need to go right!” Master Yu insisted for the thousandth time.

“What are you talking about?” Xin Fu scoffed. “The Bei Fong Estate’s this way.”

“I’m quite certain you’re mistaken.” Before Master Yu had time to add anything else, a loud banging was heard from the metal box they had been carrying.

“Hey! Can you two old ladies quit your bickering for a second? I gotta go to the bathroom!” Toph called urgently. Master Yu looked uneasy.

“Oh. Okay, but make it quick.” He stood and turned to open the cage. Xin Fu grabbed his arm.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asked frustrated. Master Yu’s eyes widened in realisation.

“Oh very sneaky Toph! Nice try, but you can’t trick me.” He bragged sitting down again.

“Let me out of here, so I can kick both your butts!” Toph screamed angrily. Xin Fu punched the wall of the box.

“Quit your banging! You might think you’re the greatest earthbender in the world, but even you can’t bend metal.” He called as the wagon began again. Inside the box Toph frowned.

Is that what you think?


The teashop had come out nicely, Zuko decided. Knowing his uncle’s love for curious, useless things he had been kind of worried, but the outcome was definitely better than he had dared to hope. Iroh, standing next to him, suddenly spoke:

“Who thought when we came to this city as refugees that I’d end up owning my own tea shop. Follow your passion Zuko, and life will reward you,” he advised. Zuko smiled cheerfully.

“Congratulations uncle,” he said. The last few days he had been on a ridiculously good mood, as Lia would have said. He felt a slight pang of loss at her absence, but suppressed it.

“I’m very thankful,” Iroh said.

“You deserve it,” Zuko said, a hint of his old bossiness in his voice. “The Jasmine Dragon will be the best tea shop in the city.” Iroh shook his head.

“No, I’m thankful because you decided to share this special day with me,” he said putting a hand on Zuko’s shoulder. “It means more than you know.” Zuko hugged him. Life was good at last.

“Now let’s make these people some tea,” he said enthusiastically, although inwardly he was wincing. Might as well do what he wants me to do for once.

“Yes! Let’s make some tea!” his uncle practically skipped to the kitchen to begin brewing.


Guru Pathik had guided Aang through unlocking the first three chakras successfully. Aang was beginning to wonder what the difficulty on the whole thing was. During the pep talk the older man had given him he had thought the whole process would be next to impossible. They were now inside a partially destroyed shrine, sitting under the watchful gaze of an Air Nun.

“The fourth chakra is located in the heart. It deals with love, and is blocked by grief. Lay all your grief out in front of you,” guru Pathik instructed him. Aang closed his eyes and his mind was transported to an endless plain covered with fog. Opening his eyes he saw Monk Gyatso and the rest of the Air Nomads appearing in front of him. Aang had barely time to smile at the vision before they disappeared in to thin air.

“You have indeed felt a great loss. But love is a form of energy, and it swirls all around us. The Air Nomads love for you has not left this world. It is still inside of your heart, and is reborn in the form of new love,” he heard Pathik’s voice. The cloud that used to be the Air Nomads took the form of Katara and Toph, dressed up for Earth King’s party. “Let the pain flow away,” Pathik said softly. Watching the young airbender’s face relax he smiled. “Very good!” he praised him.

“Can I have some onion banana juice please?” Aang asked wiping a few tears away.


Toph had been testing her idea for a few hours now with no success. She could feel the tiny pieces of Earth in the metal, but couldn’t get them to respond to her orders. Taking a deep breath, she stomped her foot against the whole once again.

“Come on metal…. budge,” she ordered through her teeth. Punching the wall again she managed to create a huge dent on the wall. Feeling her achievement she smirked triumphantly. “Whoo! Toph, you rule!” she praised herself before attacking her prison once again.


Katara loved her freedom as she walked through the streets of the Upper Ring, putting as much distance between the building where the generals were and herself as possible. As she passed in front of the Jasmine Dragon she paused.

“What do you say Momo? A cup of tea before we get back to the king?” she wondered aloud. Stepping inside she smiled at the waitress at the door. “Table for two please,” she said politely, while looking around for her boyfriend.


Zuko was standing near another table, obviously taking orders. He turned to his uncle’s general direction and called:

“Uncle, I need two jasmine, one green and one lychee.”

“I’m brewing as fast as I can!” Iroh called back cheerfully. Katara took a seat on a table near the counter, waiting for someone to come and take her order. Zuko saw her as he poured the freshly brewed tea on a pot and flashed her a grin. She smiled back as he hurriedly served his customers and came at her table.

“What would you like?” he asked in his most fake-polite voice. Katara stifled a giggle.

“A cup of today’s special for me and a few leechee nuts for my little friend.” Momo jumped on Zuko’s arms at the mention of his favourite treat. The boy laughed and petted the lemur.

“Sorry Momo, you’ll have to wait,” he said, handing him back to Katara. “I’ll be right back,” he told her.


Indeed, five minutes later they were sharing a pot of tea, since Iroh had decided to give his nephew a small break. Katara was describing how Momo had messed the generals’ map and how these men just seemed so unemotional to her.

“I mean honestly, they didn’t even say anything! They just glared,” she said. “Do they ever do anything else?”

“Aside from plotting? No,” Zuko told her, remembering the one war meeting he had attended. His expression darkened a bit and Katara looked at him surprised. He seemed fine a moment ago.

“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked tentatively. Zuko shook his head a few times and shook his head.

“Maybe some other time, when no one can overhear us,” he said and managed a smile. “You shouldn’t be talking about top secret meetings in teashops though.”

“I know I can trust you, to keep them secret,” Katara answered clamly, taking a sip of her tea.


Aang leaned back to admire the night sky over his head. Away from Ba Sing Se’s lights the stars could be seen clearly. He focused his attention again to the old man in front of him.

“This is the last chakra isn’t it?” he asked.

“Yes. Once you open this chakra, you will be able go in and out of the Avatar State at will. And when you are in the Avatar State, you will have complete control and awareness of all your actions.” Aang smiled in anticipation.

“Let’s do this.”

“The thought chakra is located at the crown of the head. It deals with pure cosmic energy and is blocked by earthly attachment. Meditate on what attaches you to this world.”


Aang closed his eyes and in his mind Katara appeared immediately. She smiled at him as Pathik continued talking.

“Now, let all of those attachments go. Let them flow down the river. Forgotten.”

Aang opened his eyes shocked.

“What? Why would I let go of Katara? I….I….I love her.” The moment the words left his mouth they felt wooden. Nevertheless he didn’t think over it.

“Learn to let her go, or you cannot let the pure cosmic energy flow in from the universe,” the Guru explained. Aang frowned.

“Why would I choose cosmic energy over Katara? How could it be a bad thing that I feel an attachment to her? Three chakras ago, that was a good thing.”

“You must learn to let go,” Pathik insisted firmly. Aang opened his mouth to retort, but the Guru raised his hand. “Let me tell you a story: Years ago a young Spirit came to this temple. A hard decision lay ahead of her.”

“What kind of decision?” Aang asked curiously.

“She had to decide between her attachment to her world and what she felt was right to do. We had some long discussions before she came to her decision.”

“And what did she decide?” Pathik looked at the young Avatar sternly.

“To do the right thing and let go.” Aang looked away, deep in thought.


Katara entered the throne room cheerfully. The newly arrived Kyoshi Warriors guarded the now-empty throne.

“Hi girls!” she greeted them cheerfully. “Once you are done with your shift, you should really go try that new teashop, “The Jasmine Dragon”. Suki, you must remember Zuko, he and his uncle are running it. Once the rest of the gang is back, maybe we could do a gathering there.” She looked around. “Where is the Earth King? We need to tell him that the orders for the invasion are ready.” The three girls stood up.

“Oh, don’t worry. I’ll be sure to let him know.” Katara’s eyes widened, recognizing the voice of the Fire Nation princess. Before she had a chance to react, Ty Lee jumped behind her and paralyzed her. Katara fell helpless to the ground. She could only hear in horror as Azula said:

“So, Zu Zu’s in the city too. I think it’s time for a family reunion.”


Aang looked up resolute.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t let go of Katara.” Guru Pathik shook his head.

“Aang, to master the Avatar State, you must open all the chakras. Surrender yourself.” The Avatar bit his lip, torn. Then he took a deep breath. He knew he had at least to try.

“Okay, I’ll try,” he said hesitantly.


A vision of a starry sky appeared in front of his eyes. The stars were moving around him at blurring speeds as the image of Katara appeared smiling and glided away. The stars stood on their position.

“Let the pure cosmic energy flow,” Pathik advised.

In front of Aang the Avatar Spirit appeared, along with trail of light connected him with his current incarnation. As Aang started walking towards him, his tattoos began to glow. He entered a sphere the Spirit created out of the spiritual energy surrounding them.


Suddenly another vision crossed his eyes. Katara was locked up in a small room, crying for help. Determined Aang leapt out of the sphere and ran to her. Thus he broke the connection and snapped rapidly out of his trance.

“Katara is in danger!” he cried, jumping to his feet. “I have to go.”

“No Aang!” Guru Pathik called alarmed. “By choosing attachment, you have locked the chakra!” Aang froze shocked. “If you leave now you won’t be able to go into the Avatar State at all!” Aang stood for a moment and then he ran to Appa, never once looking back. Pathik watched him go mournfully.

“You were right,” he whispered. “He wasn’t ready.”

“I wish I was able to be of more help,” a feminine voice said from his side. “I still haven’t repaid you for your guidance.” The old man turned to the Spirit.

“It was an honour to assist you,” he said humbly. “But why you came back here? It certainly wasn’t to warn me about the Avatar’s immaturity.” She shook her head.

“No,” she admitted. “The tranquillity of this place had always helped me to clear my thoughts. I learned lately some really interesting facts that seem to tie together in a rather unexpected way. Just by breathing the air here my thoughts now are clearer.”  She walked to end of the plateau. “But I need to return to Ba Sing Se too. I fear I’ve been gone for too long.” Guru Pathik shook his head in understanding.

“I hope I will see you again child.” She bowed in respect to the old man.

“I hope so too.” Then she disappeared.


Xin Fu was finding his patience unravelling rapidly. The brat’s whining had stopped, but it had given itself to a pounding that began and ended several times. Suddenly a loud clang was heard and the whole wagon shook. He stopped abruptly, waking his fellow traveller and they rushed to the back of the wagon.

“It’s another one of her tricks!” Master Yu said as they gaped to the empty cage.

“There’s a giant hole in the box. How’s that a trick?” Xin Fu retorted annoyed.

“It’s not!” Toph was heard behind them. “It’s the real deal!”


The two men turned to see the petite form of the earthbender standing a little away. With a few earthbending moves she threw them inside the cage, before bending it shut. Jumping on the roof of it she stomped her foot.

“I am the greatest earthbender in the world! Don’t you two dunderheads ever forget it!” Diving to the ground again she started running back to the direction of Ba Sing Se, the ground also moving to give her extra speed.


The teashop had closed for the day, so Zuko was surprised to hear feet approaching the front door as he cleaned up. A well-dressed man appeared and walked towards Iroh.

“A message from the royal palace.” He said respectfully. Worried Iroh scanned through the lines, paused and then read it again.

“I…I can’t believe it,” he managed to say.

“What is it uncle?” Zuko asked him worried too.

“Great news! We’ve been invited to serve tea to the Earth King!” he practically skipped back to the kitchen triumphantly. Zuko watched him go with a slight smile. He didn’t remember seeing his uncle so happy since the Siege of Ba Sing Se. It was definitely a wonderful turn of events they had come to this city.

Avatar: The Spirit of Fire – A Whole New World


Author’s Note: In which there is fluff and shipping because the plot needs a break and the author likes the occasional fanservice.

Previous chapter: link

Next chapter: link

***A Whole New World***

It’d been a week since they had arrived in Ba Sing Se and a week since Katara had last seen Zuko. Since Ju Dee had mentioned that the newest arrivals were sectioned off in the Lower Ring, Katara had been thinking of ways to sneak out and find him. Today she had finally managed to set her plan in motion. The previous evening she had casually told Sokka and the others that she was going shopping – something that never failed to discourage them – and she had left early enough to avoid Ju Dee tagging along as her “attentive” host.


The train had taken her to the outskirts of the Lower Ring and from there she had taken to wondering around the streets, looking for any place that would possibly serve tea. By midday she had found none. Katara sat by a small spring tired and disappointed. The Lower Ring was a lot larger than it looked. Where would she find them? She watched absentmindedly as a few kids played with their earthbending ball nearby. Suddenly one of them kicked a rock with more strength than was needed at another kid, grazing his arm. Worried, his friends gathered around him and helped him to the spring to wash it. Without thinking Katara approached them.

“Let me help you,” she offered to the injured boy. He looked at her disbelievingly.

“How?” he asked suspiciously.

“Give me your arm,” Katara said forming the healing glove on her right hand without missing a beat. She touched the boy’s arm healing it instantly. The kids were now looking her like she was some kind of Spirit or something.

“Thank you,” the boy said in a friendlier tone. He looked at her searchingly. “Are you lost?” he asked finally.

“Kind of,” Katara admitted sheepishly, her hopes going up again. “I guess you know the Lower Ring very well.”

“Of course!” the kids looked at her proudly.

“Then, can you take me at the best teashop here?” she asked them, standing up. The kids talked quietly amongst them for a few moments and then the boy she had healed turned to her.

“Follow us,” he told Katara, taking her by the hand to drag her along.


They led her through back alleys to another part of the Ring. Then they stopped in front of a humble looking teashop.

“There’s an old man and his nephew and niece working there,” one of them explained. “The old man makes the best tea in Ba Sing Se!” Katara smiled at the kids.

“Thank you,” she told them.

“No problem!” they chirped back her before disappearing to the streets. Katara took a deep breath and entered the teashop.


The inside was just as poor as the outside. As she took a seat on a table near the door a smiling man, probably the owner, approached her.

“Welcome to ‘The Hot Teapot’,” he greeted her. “May I suggest today’s special?”

“Yes,” Katara said shyly. “I’ll have that.” She looked around discreetly, trying to catch a glimpse of a familiar face. She saw none. Sighing she turned to look outside the window.


Iroh had been busy all day, brewing pot after pot of today’s special mix. Serving a cup he turned to see which one of his “helpers” was free. Lia was washing some cups on the back side with Zuko drying them, unnoticeably using his firebending.

“Nephew, could you serve this cup?” Iroh called. “It’s for the table next to the window.” Silently Zuko took the cup and moved to the dining room.

“Could you brew one more cup?” Lia asked Iroh suddenly.

“Of course,” he said confused. “But why?” Lia shrugged.

“Just take a look at who’s sitting at the table,” she said non-commitably. The old man did as asked and smiled a knowing smile.

“I think he should take the afternoon off,” he said using the same tone as the Spirit.


Katara heard the footsteps approaching her and turned to see a young man bringing her a cup of tea. Her heart began to beat faster. Zuko had obviously not noticed her, so she turned her head to the other side to avoid being recognized.

“Enjoy your tea,” she heard him mumble gloomily.

“I think I’ll enjoy it more if you join me,” she said turning her head to face him. She lowered her voice. “What do you think Zuko?” she asked.


Zuko was ready to decline the girl’s offer, when he paused. It had probably had to do with the fact that he had been thinking of Katara the whole week, but that girl’s voice really sounded like the waterbender’s. He felt his eyes widen as the girl called him by his real name and turned to smile at him. It was Katara. He smiled back taking a seat next to her. Thankful that the room was empty right now, he leaned and gave her a swift kiss on the cheek.

“I would love to,” he said, blushing lightly.


They sat in silence for a little, enjoying each other’s company, when Lia appeared carrying another cup of tea.

“I thought you’d like to take the afternoon off,” she said indifferently to her brother. “It’s good to see you again Katara,” she added, smiling at the younger girl.

“Good to see you too Lia,” the waterbender smiled back.

“What do you mean I can take the afternoon off?” Zuko asked his sister surprised.

“Well rush hour will begin soon. I’m sure you two don’t want half Ba Sing Se knowing you’re together. So why don’t you take a walk around?”

“But,” Katara began hesitantly, “won’t you get in trouble with your employer?”

“Iroh will take care of him,” Lia said carelessly. “Now go!” she ordered them, half-dragging them out of the teashop.


Once outside the firebender and the waterbender looked at each other surprised and then burst out laughing.

“I didn’t even get to try my tea!” Katara said in mock frustration.

“Now you have a reason to come back tomorrow,” Zuko told her, hoping he didn’t sound too hopeful. He took her hand. “Come with me. I know just the place to go.” Katara followed him curiously as he led her back towards the apartment where he lived.

“Where are we going?” she finally asked him. Zuko noticed her nervous glance and shook his head.

“We won’t go inside. It’s the roof we’re going,” he tried to assure her, most certainly not blushing at the implication of taking his sorta-girlfriend back to his house. “It’s just up these stairs,” he said motioning towards them.


Once they had climbed them he opened the door that led to the roof. Bowing grandly he said:

“After you my lady,” Katara bowed back trying to stifle her giggles.

“My lord,”  she answered cheekily and stepped out with Zuko right behind her. “Wow!” she breathed taking a look at the view.

“Yeah,” Zuko said taking her hand once again. “I sometimes come out here when I can’t sleep. The city looks beautiful at night.” Katara turned to look at him. He was paler than usual. She gave him a worried look.

“Please tell me that this doesn’t happen regularly,” she scolded him. Zuko sat down avoiding her eyes. Katara sat next to him silently, looking at him expectantly. He sighed.

“Why can’t I lie to you?” he asked her ruefully. “I missed you and I couldn’t simply look around Ba Sing Se for you. So I came here hoping to see what you were seeing from your window.”


Katara wordlessly hugged him. He hugged her back, leaning down to face her. She was staring back up at him with a small smile on her lips. She brought her hand to his face bringing his lips down to meet hers. He willingly kissed her back bringing her to rest on top of him. When they broke away they were both breathing heavily.

“I missed you too,” she whispered. “I dreamed of you every night and after these dreams I would sit by my window looking at the moon and hoping you saw it too.” She snuggled next to him as they lay looking at the city below them. “Tell me how your days have been,” she asked him.

“You mean after the shock I got when uncle Iroh flirted with the lady at passport control? I guess it’s been okay. We have an apartment, we have jobs, and no one is trying to kill us. It’s just that…” he trailed off.

“Just what?” Katara prodded him gently.

“I don’t know how to explain it. I just feel empty. I miss the days when we were traveling around. Even when we were just trying to escape Azula, I felt like I had a purpose. Now there’s nothing for me. I can’t even firebend. I haven’t bended since our spar after we got out of the desert.” He sat up gazing angrily at the horizon. “What am I doing here Katara?” he asked the girl next to him.

“I understand how you feel,” the waterbender told him. “You feel imprisoned, suffocated by what others force on you. Look at my life in Ba Sing Se. We are supervised all the time by this woman, Ju Dee. She says that she is our hostess, but in reality she is monitoring every move we make. I had to form a whole plan, just to sneak out of the house and come here. I honestly can’t wait until we find Appa and talk to the Earth King!”

“You mean you haven’t talk to him yet?” Zuko looked at her in disbelief. “I thought that Sokka would be preparing plans for an invasion right now!”

“He probably is, but I doubt we’ll ever see them set into motion. We are supposed to wait for a month to see the Earth King, and even when we do, I’m not so sure he would be interested in war.”

“Why would you say that?”

“The only thing any official seems to care about here is the city’s cultural inheritance. Even speaking about the war is forbidden. The city seems perfect, but in reality it’s nothing more than a fancy prison!” Katara was now glaring at the sky too.

“At least we can talk to each other about these things,” Zuko tried to cheer her up. “Imagine if you were alone here.”

“Or if I couldn’t come to the Lower Ring to see you.”

“What have you told your brother to let you come here?” Zuko asked her curiously. She gave him a guilty smile.

“That I was going shopping. He hates being dragged from shop to shop while I’m looking for dresses.” Zuko laughed.


They stayed on the roof talking and kissing from time to time until the sun started to set. Katara sighed.

“I have to go back,” she said sadly. “They’ll start to worry if I’m late and return without any shopping.”

“When will I see you again?” Zuko asked her sad.

“I don’t know. I’ll try to come every other day.” Katara kissed him softly. “I want to stay Zuko; I really do, but…”

“Hey,” he cut her softly. “I know. Don’t worry. At least now I’ll have something to wait for.” He stood and helped Katara to her feet. “Come on, I’ll walk you to the train station. It’s not safe around here at night.”


They walked in silence until they reached the station. Katara turned to face Zuko unsurely. He was looking as awkward as she felt, not really knowing what to say.

“Soooo…” she began.

“I guess I’ll see you around,” he said, mentally kicking himself.

“Yeah.” Katara turned a little disappointed. “Good night Zuko.” She started to walk away. Don’t let her leave like this idiot! his mind screamed at him.

“Katara wait!” he hurried after her. She turned to look at him surprised. “Until we see each other again,” he whispered before kissing her one last time.


When Katara returned at their apartment at the Upper Ring, she found everyone eating dinner. Sokka looked at her surprised.

“You’ve been out all day and bought nothing?” he looked incredulous. Katara shrugged.

“I didn’t find anything I really liked and the shops that had actually good clothes were far too expensive. I liked wandering around though. What did you do today?”

“Toph and I practiced earthbending today!” Aang said cheerfully.

“And scared the wits out of Ju Dee when she started reminding them of the rules considering earthbending inside the walls,” Sokka added gleefully. He, Aang and Toph laughed.

“I hope you didn’t do anything… permanent,” Katara told them disapprovingly.
”No, that would be too much fun,” Toph said in what she obviously thought was a reassuring way. It wasn’t.

“I hope you’re right,” Katara sighed as she stood to gather the dishes. She was in far too good a mood to reprimand them right now. Besides she had to plan how she would sneak out again soon.

Avatar: The Spirit of Fire – Trick or Tea?


Author’s Note: In which the bad puns for titles continue, there is a shift in dynamics and tea is not as life-and-situation-saving as usual…

Previous chapter: link

Next chapter: link

***Trick or Tea?***

Back when Zuko had first been banished, and before he and Lia truly started to spend time together, he had wondered many times if there was any worse life. Now he could safely answer yes, yes there was. He hated every moment of being a fugitive. He hated the uncertainty and the struggle to get even the most basic of necessities, but most of all, he hated the fact that people stared and pitied him. They stared at him before his banishment too, but then he was a prince –a banished one, but a prince nonetheless. Now he couldn’t even use his bending in public for fear of being recognized.

He stumbled over some bushes, only to find his uncle staring, mesmerized, at some flower.

“I didn’t find anything to eat,” Zuko announced. “I can’t live like this. I wasn’t meant to be a fugitive. This is impossible!” he waited for a proverb, but none came. “Uncle, what are you doing?” he asked, turning.

“You’re looking at the rare White Dragon bush. Its leaves make a tea so delicious it’s heart-breaking.” Iroh’s dreamy expression turned to a scowl. “That or it’s the White Jade bush which is poisonous.”

“We need food not tea.” Zuko reminded him exasperated. “I’m going fishing.” Before he left he heard his Uncle muttering to himself. “Hm… delectable tea or deadly poison?”


Zuko found a small steam nearby. He stood unsure for a moment, not really knowing how to fish. I could always bend the river dry, he thought sitting down. His musings turned back to Lia. She and Katara seemed to dominate his mind whenever he rested for a moment. Lia especially, her rage and power barely leashed on their last encounter. Zuko had thought he understood his adoptive sister well enough, and this new side made him uncomfortable. It was different to hear about Lia’s penchant for destruction in a story that had happened thousands of years ago and to actually see it before him. What is more, he had known from what Zhao had done at the North Pole that a Spirit can be killed while in mortal form. If this was true Lia had been risking her life constantly just by protecting him. Zuko didn’t know what scared him most about her; her thinly veiled power or the carelessness she showed for her own life.


It was almost past midday when he returned to his uncle. He had been so absorbed with his thoughts and musings that he had only managed to catch one tiny fish. Iroh was still staring at the flower.

“Zuko, remember that plant I thought might be tea?” Iroh asked with a guilty voice.

“You didn’t?” Zuko refused to believe that his uncle could have done something so stupid.

“I’m afraid I did. And it wasn’t.” Iroh turned to face his nephew, his face covered in reddish swellings. “When the rush spreads to my throat I’ll stop breathing,” he continued calmly, ignorant of Zuko’s worried expression. “But look what I had found! These are Bacui Berries, known to cure the poison of the White Jade bush. That or Macahoni Berries that cause blindness.”

Zuko threw the berries away. “We’re not taking any more chances with these plants. We need to get help.”

“But where are we going to go?” his uncle asked him, nearly kneeling on one knee to scratch himself. “We’re enemies on the Earth Kingdom and fugitives from the Fire Nation.”

“If the Earth Kingdom discovers us, they’ll have us killed,” Zuko said thoughtfully.

“But if the Fire Nation discovers us we’ll be turned over to Azula,” Iroh completed. Both shuddered at the thought.

“Earth Kingdom it is,” Zuko decided.


Luckily for them, there was a small village nearby. Zuko saw a young girl carrying a basket full of herbs. He approached her, with Iroh on his tail, thinking of what Lia had told him once. “When you speak with a girl and you want her to help, don’t bribe her, just be polite.” Let’s see if politeness works.

“Excuse me miss,” he said hesitantly. She turned and smiled him friendlily.

“How can I help you?” she asked pleasantly.

Zuko pointed towards Iroh. “My uncle drank some plant called White Jade bush. Is there a healer in the village?”

“Actually I’m a healer myself. If you two would come with me, I’d be glad to help.”

“Thank you my dear.” Iroh answered gratefully, still scratching his arm.

They followed the girl through the streets to a well-lit building.


Inside there were many more healers, helping someone or preparing medicines. The girl guided them to a corner of the infirmary, where she prepared a greenly cataplasm that she applied to Iroh’s rash.

“You two must not be from around here,” she said trying to make conversation. “We know better than to touch the White Jade, much less make into tea and drink it!” she giggled. “So where are you traveling from?” she asked.

Zuko rose from his seat nervously. “Yes we are travellers,” he hastily said.

“Do you have names?” the girl seemed really interested.

“Names? Of course we have names! I’m Lee, and this is my Uncle Mushi,” he stammered. Iroh glared at him from behind the girl’s back.

“Yes, my nephew was named after his father, so we just call him Junior.” It was Zuko’s time to glare.

“Mushi and Junior. It’s a good thing they call you so,” she said turning to Zuko, “because my name is Lia. They sound close to one another. You two look like you could use a good meal,” she said turning and slapped Iroh’s hand away from the itching rash. “Why don’t you stay for dinner?”

“Sorry, but we need to be moving on.” Zuko said decisively.

“That’s too bad. I had made roasted duck earlier and I have no one to share it with.”

“Where do you live exactly?” Iroh hurried to ask her.


They agreed to wait for her shift to end and then go home all together. As Lia walked around, helping and chatting with her patients, Zuko watched her intently. When she had called herself Lia he had been shocked. The girl only vaguely resembled the Spirit of Fire as he knew her. She was definitely Earth Kingdom. The way she acted friendly to everyone did remind Zuko of his friend but he shrugged it off as a co-incidence. When the sun set they finally followed her to a small house at the end of the village. She quickly set the table and they sat. They ate in silence but when they had nearly finished, Lia didn’t seem able to hold her questions any more.

“So you’re refuges… I was until very recently a refuge as well. When I was younger a gang of firebenders raided my village,” she lowered her eyes. “That was the last time I saw my family.”

Zuko lowered his gaze. “I haven’t seen my father in many years.”

“Oh, is he fighting in the war?” she asked with understanding. Iroh nearly chocked alarmed, while Zuko lowered his bowl.

“Yes,” he said bitterly.

“So is my little brother. He left three years ago not even knowing what he believed was right and wrong.”

“That’s a bad thing,” Iroh remarked. “A soldier must be sure about his loyalties before leaving to fight.”

“I know,” Lia sighed. “But I get his news regularly, thank the Spirits, and I believe that he is finally beginning to find his destiny.” She rose and began to gather the dishes. “Please, would you stay the night? I can prepare a few things to take with you tomorrow morning.

“We would greatly appreciate it. Now if I could make use of your kitchen to make some tea…” Iroh asked, his eyes sparkling.

“I’ll be outside,” Zuko announced, suddenly rising.

Lia shot Iroh a questioning look.

“Don’t mind my nephew,” he reassured her. “He is extremely shy when it comes to girls.” Winking the old man navigated himself into the kitchen.


Zuko sat outside trying to calm his mind. The more he was near this girl the more he was reminded of his mentor. It couldn’t be the Spirit though; she would have given him a sign it was her. He heard the door open and Lia approached him.

“Can I join you?” she asked quietly. “I know what you’ve been through. I’ve been through some very similar situations. Fire has hurt you.” She raised her hand to touch his scar. He stopped her silently. “It’s okay,” she told him softly. “You shouldn’t be ashamed of it.”

“I’m not ashamed of what happened that day. I just hate it when people pity me,” Zuko snapped. Lia looked away, hurt. “You used to let me touch it,” she said quietly. Zuko’s head snapped to her direction.

“Lia?” he asked uncertainly. The Spirit gave him a weak smile.

“I once told you that you see me as I was when I left this world. It was half-true. My position as a Fire Spirit had changed my appearance to resemble more my element. What you see now is Hisao’s sister.” She smiled bitterly. “The non-bender who created a volcano.”

“You called yourself a non-bender?” Zuko looked at her disbelievingly. Lia shook her head.

“That was what the leader of those… men called me right before I killed him.” Suddenly her eyes brightened. “And I thought you would understand who I was the moment I told you my name.”

“I thought it was you, but wouldn’t believe it!” Zuko protested.

“Excuses…” Lia said teasingly. She dropped her voice. “Iroh is listening to our conversation. Do you want to tell him?”

“Do you?” Zuko asked her uncertainly.

“Actually, my intent was to travel with you,” Lia continued louder.

“Didn’t you before?”

“I meant visibly,” Lia explained.

“Good point,” Zuko said smiling.


They went inside. Iroh had re-set the table, this time for tea. He was obviously waiting for them.

“Is there something I should know?” he asked calmly the two teenagers.

Zuko shifted his weight from one foot to another nervously. “Uncle, do you remember the Western Air Temple? Well, Lia and I met here and she said she would teach me, but I didn’t see her for three years and…” he trailed seeing his uncle’s confused gaze.

“Maybe it would be best if I explained,” Lia cut in. She sat in front of Iroh and Zuko mimicked her. “I am the Spirit of Fire,” she began, ignoring Iroh’s shocked expression. “I have been watching over Zuko for quite some time now, but it was only three years ago that we met officially. I offered him a deal: in exchange of a favour I have yet to ask him, I would find his mother and teach him some secret aspects of firebending. Unfortunately our travels kept as apart for the greater part of these years. We’ve met again when the Avatar was freed. Ever since I have resumed his training, while continuing my search. I’ve been traveling with you secretly for quite some time, but I thought it would be better if I didn’t hide anymore.”

Iroh took a few silent sips from his tea. He then started to talk in a solemn voice.

“When Zhao tried to kill my nephew you it was you who led me to him.” Lia nodded. “The next day I paid the Admiral a visit. He served me a plainly warm tea, yet at some point it seemed to burn him.”

“I didn’t like his expression, so I might have altered slightly the temperature,” Lia admitted sheepishly. Zuko shot her an incredulous look. And here he thought about her fearsome powers. Iroh burst out laughing.

“Well this explains a few things. I thought I was getting crazy, feeling I was being watched all the time.” He smiled at the Spirit. “I would consider it an honour to travel at your presence mighty Agni.” Lia visibly winced at the name.

“Just promise not to call me that stupid name and we’re all set,” she asked him.


The next morning they left as soon the sun rose. Lia had even found an ostrich horse for Iroh to ride. She and Zuko preferred to walk, arguing half the time. Iroh couldn’t help but smile, understanding who the little brother Lia had talked about last night really was.