The second you land you're in combat, a fleet of airship that have yet to take off are swarming with soldiers, and the seven of you begin fighting with everything you've got.
Sokka and Suki stay behind, deciding to destroy as many airships as they can, giving the rest you the go ahead.
You promise not to cry as you leave them behind in a field of soldiers.
Zuko is leading the way, saying that he knows of the Palace catacombs and that is where he'll be waiting.
Waiting, the element of surprise has never helped you before, and you doubt it would now.
You encounter Azula, a soft smile and eyes full of devious glee. She taunts Zuko-"My big brother, here to celebrate?"-Insults Toph-"Oh goody, an extra pair of eyes for you."-Laughs at Katara-"I know you think you're a master, but let's be fair, you're only as good as the amount of liquid you have."
And before you can attack her, Zuko and Katara step in front of both you and Toph, standing there strong and resolute.
"Go, second door to the left is secret chamber, you'll find him there." Zuko sounds like how he never thinks of himself, determined, strong, loyal, and ready to defend you now, when he could so easily switch again.
You've never been more proud to call him your friend.
"We'll see you when it's over." And Katara's voice is gentle, soothing, while her face is hard as steel. Trying to be positive even now.
You wish you could be more like them.
Toph tells them not to have too much fun, and then your both gone.
Toph leads the way, listening for vibrations, an indication of where the Firelord is.
And when you come to the door, you hear the sound of pounding footsteps and soldiers yelling.
Toph doesn't even say a word, just pushes you in and shuts the door.
And in the dark you feel more alone than ever, like when you got trapped in the iceberg, completely isolated from the world.
You take a shaky breath and descend down the stairs, the room you enter is lit by candles, and there he is.
The face of your nightmares is sitting, with his back turned to you, calmness radiates from him.
He looks defenseless, right now. He'd never expect it if you decided to try shoot fire after fire at him, tried to kill him with no mercy, abandon all your teachings.
You feel ill just at the thought.
"I was wondering when you'd arrive, Avatar."
His voice sends chills up your spine, but you grip your staff tighter and resolve not to shake as he slowly stands up and turns around.
"I must say, I thought you'd be here sooner." He tilts his head and his voice drops an octave. "You disappoint me, Avatar."
You feel sorry for Zuko if he had to hear that every day of his young life.
"It's over Ozai, stand down now, it doesn't have to end like this!" Your voice doesn't shake as much as you thought it would, but he slowly smirks and looks more amused than terrified.
"Oh yes, you, a couple of miscreants, my own failure of a son, and a blind rat. I must say," He takes a step forward, "I've never been more afraid."
He's mocking you, your family and all the good you want to do and have done. You won't let him.
You let out a roar and soon you're fighting for everyone's life. You draw water from the air and shot out ice shards at him, which he deflects.
He sends out fire whip after fire whip, and you jump, and dodge like you've been taught.
And he laughs and taunts you, and you refuse to let it bother you. But deep down it does, and you soon begin to manipulate the metal like Toph taught you, and you catch his wrist and pin it to the wall.
He yells and sends out a blast of fire you've no hope to dodge, so you use the air to redirect, sending it around you, knocking over the lanterns and setting the room ablaze.
You manage after drawing closer after walls and walls of fire, to catch his other wrist.
Soon you manage to pin his legs, cover his hands and feet, and before you know it, you are exhausted, but the Firelord is incapacitated.
And he's glaring at you, and the voices of your family is telling you to kill him, to end it, prevent Ozai from ever rising up.
But you can't because the monks overshadow their voices, Monk Gyatso always telling you every life has a purpose.
So you lower you staff an inch, dissipate the elements swirling around you, and are about to give a speech on human life's, and how it's no ones place to decide who lives or dies.
Especially the Avatar's.
But before you can, he smirks again, and the metal containing him heats up and begins to melt.
You can't even rectify this, because he's got a hand wrapped around your throat so quickly, tears leaked from your eyes as he squeezes so tight.
"You just missed your chance, boy." He hisses into your face, and throws you away like a limp doll.
And you roll into soot and feel fire so close it burns, and he laughs and you can barely see him through the haze of smoke and tears.
You can feel death coming for you now.
But the fire never reaches you, it's stonewalled by metal, and Toph is standing over you, and what little you can make out of her is caked in blood, and you may throw up.
Somebody gentles lifts you, and there chest is sticky with more blood and you hate the color red today.
You hear a shriek and you think you see Katara hovering over you, "it's okay Katara, the blood is mostly mine."
Zuko, Zuko is gently carrying you, and you know his words have done nothing to reassure Katara. But just hearing his voice makes you feel better.
And then you're being jostled, you hear the sound of pounding feet and realize Zuko is now running with you.
You're all retreating, because you failed.
You failed, you failed, you failed, is your new mantra.
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