Iron Will, for sure. I’d like to know what Azula thought of Tetsuki – she’s probably the one few kids as willing to kill as her.

Ooh… okay. See, the thing is, I know Azula and Tetsuki meet at least once (before the “epilogue arc” of politics, imprisonments, and executions.) But I haven’t yet figured out when exactly or how often so this is not firmly canon for Iron Will.

However, because you brought it up, I do quite like the idea of Azula and Tetsuki meeting frequently enough for them to form not entirely negative opinions of each other.

Thanks for the prompt, generic-name-goes-here, I hope you like it! ( ˘ ³˘)♥

~

You shake off the hypnotism.

No, it doesn’t even touch you, like water against a turtle duck’s shell.

The Dai Li are caught off guard.

They’ve taken your friends and they’ve taken your knives–you’re desperate and have nothing to lose. Teeth and nails; unerring, vicious accuracy and a frenetic, unpredictable rhythm.

For a single, optimistic second you think you might be able to win.

But you are underground and they are earth benders.

(Your tactics are designed to be used against Fire Nation soldiers, in the comfortable setting of forests, not caves.)

They bring you to the Fire Princess, force you to kneel, blood still dripping down your chin. You bare your teeth, streaked with red, and refuse to speak.

“What a waste,” she says with a surprising amount of sincerity, as if honestly bemoaning the fact that this near feral teenager won’t pledge fealty to her.

She’s about a decade too late for that.

///

Frankly, you’re not on the same level as the others.

Your struggles were smaller scale–single towns and individual murders–nothing so far reaching as royalty or the balance of nations. The fate of this world does not rest on your shoulders.

And yet, that’s why you get involved: it shouldn’t have to rest on any one person’s shoulders.

You’ve never killed a king before, but you’re more than ready to step up if the Avatar can’t do it.

Instead, on the day of black sun, you find yourself facing the Fire Princess once more.

Jet’s hook swords are still a little clumsy in your hands, a mediocre showing of his signature weapons, but you think he wouldn’t mind too much when you’re trying to kill Fire Nation scum with them.

“Didn’t I kill you?” the Fire Princess asks, ducking under a swing, almost conversational.

Getting struck by lightning isn’t exactly on your list of experiences to repeat–the most painful thing your body has been through, like your blood boiling from the inside–but you didn’t die from it.

(Actually–not that you’ll ever tell anyone–you were able to walk away after a few minutes, not a single burn or scar to show for it.)

“That little zap?” you sneer back, and you think it must be the swords’ influence because you were never one for repartee like this, “You’ll have to try harder than that.”

Weirdly enough, the Fire Princess smiles.

///

You don’t see her again until After, when she is but a shadow of her former self.

There is no life for her here–or anywhere, really. Compassion’s not really your thing, but you never believed in drawing out a death.

“I can make it quick. Clean and quiet,” you offer, unnerved at yourself. Not about the actual offer, but the recipient.

The guards have no idea what you are talking about.

Her head tilts. A spark of something showing through her eyes, “Make it loud. Make it bright. Make it messy.”

Despite the restraints, she is commanding, she is regal. You wonder what your life would be like if you had met her much earlier.

“I want to go out with a bang.”

~

A/N: I only now realize how this could be interpreted as Tetsuki x Azula. I mean, that’s not what I intended, but if you want to see it that way feel free to do so?

Check out the Ask Box Author’s Cut event!

If you’re still taking prompts, then Tetsuki and Aang. ATLA. “You don’t understand.” “What do you mean ‘I don’t understand’, I’m the Avatar! I’ve been reborn so many times!” Title: Parallel

Parallel

Patterns and pathways and daredevil, desperate plans.

An additional gear doesn’t always make things worse, but it doesn’t necessarily make things better either.

Or, Sozin’s Comet is approaching and Tetsuki makes an offer.

Oooh, @generic-name-goes-here, another Tetsuki prompt, you make my heart all a flutter. 😀

I really have not thought about the greater, you know, plot of Iron Will. Mostly I’ve written the angsty backstory before Tetsuki meets the Gaang and the even angstier epilogue when Tetsuki volunteers to be executed for political reasons. I really ought to re-watch the series and write Iron Will that way, but my fear of commitment and awful time management is showing.

Er, anyway!

Your previous prompt, Rust, had Tetsuki going full confessional on Toph post-series which I still think would hold true. If anyone of the Gaang is going to get the entire story from Tetsuki, I do think it would be Toph because there is a sense of solidarity being pragmatic Earth Kingdom girls as well as being outsiders or, rather, newcomers.  

That being said, I do agree that the topic of reincarnation would be something that Tetsuki is highly conscious of whenever she interacts with Aang. More so than the whole “fate of the world rests on his shoulders” thing.

In an unusual turn of events, her cynicism is actually kinder because she’s not banking on a twelve year old to save the world. Mostly because she doesn’t think the world can be “saved” per se–as much as she hates the Fire Nation, them taking over the world just means that her already powerful enemy just gets more power. Her acts of rebellion has always been small scale and the problem is humanity, not any specific nationality.

The thing is, I’m not entirely sure how the topic of reincarnation would be broached. And, also,  how/when Tetsuki and Aang would have a private heart-to-heart. Because she’s definitely not going to talk about it out in the open.

Does Tetsuki actually join the Gaang–or become Gaang adjacent, somehow? Or is it something like their paths frequently intertwine.

Then again… I mean the last four episodes he’s separated from the group while the rest of the Gaang go to June to find him. And that’d be some good drama considering June is Tetsuki’s estranged/long lost sister (who thinks Tetsuki is dead so…)

But her intruding on Aang’s introspective lion turtle sabbatical seems not only unnecessary but detrimental and also really unlikely. Like. Why and how would she end up on the lion turtle too?

Getting off track, I think.

Basically, she offers to kill the Fire Lord for him? He says no, though, because it’s something he has to do on his own (is it his destiny?) but having just been confronted with his past selves he’s not as horrified by her offer as he was during their first meeting.

I think mostly he’d be curious as to why she even offers or why she is so ruthless. Which leads into the reincarnation confession, like:

“My first life I was a Guardian. In title, only. I was trained to be an assassin, and I… I was decent at it.

“My second life I thought if I worked hard, if I fought well then my friends wouldn’t leave me. Or that maybe I could go back.

"I suppose for this life I’m just sticking to what I know…”

Tetsuki in any life has never been entirely mentally healthy. In her first life her parents were neglectful and she really early on got conscripted into a violent criminal organization–hurray canonical teenage mafia. In her second life she was an orphan in a highly militaristic world. So needless to say, she’s some combination of traumatized and depressed and while I’m reluctant to flat out call her suicidal she is disconcertingly eager to throw her life away. Maybe in hopes of getting back to her first life but at this point she’s just apathetic to everything.

Zuko, post-series, is her unwitting knife; Aang doesn’t fall for it during Sozin’s Comet.

I do wonder now how he reacts to her post-series execution. If maybe she timed it for when he wouldn’t be able to hear about it and interfere, or if he, by this point, deliberately turned away because he knows she’s been waiting to move on.

I don’t know, @generic-name-goes-here, you’re always bringing up such good points.

Tetsuki, Toph. ATLA. “Why don’t you bend?” Title: Rust.

@generic-name-goes-here, you asked for Tetsuki! As in, my OC Tetsuki from Iron Will! (✿ ♥‿♥)

And what an excellent choice of title 🙂

Rust

Everyday Lady Beifong visits her and everyday asks the same question.

There is no answer that will satisfy both of them.

Okay so for those who don’t know who Tetsuki is–she’s my OC for many things, but in an ATLA context, she’s in my series Iron Will. As I’ve written her she’s essentially a foil to Jet of the Freedom Fighters, and is very much the human equivalent of a stray cat.

She can sense metal but as far as anyone (including herself) knows she’s not a bender.

Then again, I’ve yet to have her meet Toph in Iron Will and I hadn’t really considered it. I was pretty sure the timing of the Gaang’s actions and the Tetsuki’s own travels wouldn’t coincide that well, but they do all end up in Ba Sing Se eventually…

Hm… I haven’t planned Iron Will that far in advance, but I do quite like the idea of them meeting.

So Rust would be post-canon by several years, when Zuko is Fire Lord and Tetsuki has convinced him that he needs to execute his sister and father to quash any who would try to “restore them to power.” In order to appease the Fire Nation citizens, though, an Earth Kingdom war criminal ought to be executed as well–and Tetsuki is, with Jet having died in Ba Sing Se, the de facto leader of the Freedom Fighters (who, with her guidance were a lot more ruthless and effective than just a rowdy bunch of orphans living in the trees).

Anyway, so she’s being held in prison until then. Despite the summary, it’ll probably be in Toph’s POV. As future Chief of Police (in canon universe, anyway) Toph isn’t the kind of person who would accept someone’s execution as a political maneuver even if it was the to-be-executed’s idea. She probably tries many different routes to have Tetsuki freed–going to Zuko, to Aang, maybe to the Earth King even–but unless she literally breaks Tetsuki out herself (and she can, it’s a metal prison, of course she can but that would just incite awful consequences which the execution was supposed to prevent in the first place.)

I quite like the idea that Tetsuki would call Toph Lady Beifong, in a weird mix of overly formal and sarcastic. Because the Beifong family is RIDICULOUSLY well known to any Earth Kingdom citizen, but also I figure Toph can dish out the nicknames, but she can’t really take it and Tetsuki knows it. But it’s a fond and respectful teasing. Earth Kingdom solidarity even if they couldn’t be farther apart class wise.

Toph visits her everyday, as per the summary, and they basically talk out everything. Tetsuki’s past, Toph’s past, their philosophical beliefs on various things. Bending. It’s basically the confessionals of Tetsuki and she’s entrusting her life story to Toph.

Tetsuki spent most of this life angry and bitter and empty and she took it out on the world around her. Some of that she channelled into fighting, but a lot of it she kept inside herself to fester.

In a way, it’s basically her suicide note. In a different way, it’s a message of apology and gratitude that Tetsuki hopes Toph will deliver for her. To her sister, to her few remaining Freedom Fighters, to the rest of the Gaang who were never as fond of her as Toph. To Toph herself.

I’m actually unsure whether or not Tetsuki ought to be able to bend. Because the reason why I have her able to sense metal is that in her previous two lives she had electromagnetic abilities and it sort of carried over to this world too (and, as she herself learns in her teen years, her father was from Earth Kingdom but her mother was Fire Nation).

Not being able to is okay and stays true to her ruthlessness (if she had the ability she definitely would have used it). But I do kind of like the idea of her being able to. And if so, I think at the end, as Tetsuki is being led away by prison guards to the execution, she gives Toph a chain link. The chain of her manacles is one link shorter than it used to be.

There’s a sense of hopelessness evoked with the title Rust and it works quite well with the slated ending for Iron Will. I’m really happy with this prompt, @generic-name-goes-here, you’ve made me consider a lot of things for the series that I hadn’t touched at all. So thanks! 🙂

Iron Will (2017-01-03)

Seven minute countdown, let’s see how we do.

Fire and metal and the screams. Of blades against armor, of people fighting and afraid. There’s a pounding in your heart, so loud you can feel it in your wrists in your throat.

Your skin is so cold. Hypersensitive. Hairs standing on end, futile, ready, failing.

Four minutes left.

A sudden blast. Heat and sound, concussive force. False wind, blowing your hair back, drying the sweat on your face.

Rumblings of shattered stone.

Flashes of light and false thunder.

You’ve never felt this before, but it’s so familiar, written in your bones and hidden in your blood.

In another world, that’d be you with lightning at your fingertips. Force of nature in the form of a teenaged girl.

Instead all you have is your deep seated resentment. Rage and guilt and sorrow mixed into a heady miasma. A pair of knives and some children who don’t know any better than to follow in your footsteps.

One minute left.

You will never save the world. You are not the hero, not the sidekick, not the antagonist redeemed.

You are a cautionary tale, a warning, a martyr in the making.

Maybe you won’t get out of this alive, but you’ve been a dead girl walking for seven years.

Time’s up.

Word Prompts (I25): Introduction

Konran Uzumaki – Counterpoise

(Spiral in, storm out.)

She wears wire in her hair, braids of red and metal winding round and round her head. Pins blunt against her scalp, sharp points outward, everything hidden under a bandana rigged to blow.

Uzushio’s legacy, beneath dark cloth.

Kiyoshi Utsugi – (In)Difference

(Neutrality brings peace.)

Lightning thrums under her skin, running along her nerves, writhing. Wind at her fingertips, whipping at her cheek, waiting to be unleashed.

Conscious clear, target in sight: shoot.

Tetsuki Kaiza – Trailblazers / Externality / Iron Will

(Fate worse than death.)

The first time around she is furious-regretful-afraid-satisfied, at least, she will be swiftly avenged.

The second time she is desperate: she doesn’t want to go, doesn’t want to do this again, doesn’t want this curse.

By the third she is hollowed out and resigned.

Aomi (Inuzuka) – B*tch Please

(Humanity is beastly.)

The rage in her has nothing to do with the fangs in her mouth or the growl in her lungs. She dreams of hunting intangible things–justice, strength, the future–plans like shaky ground beneath her paws.

Truth and loyalty require sacrifice.

Windy Strife – Into Thin Air

(Steps ahead, left behind.)

The suit sits heavy on her shoulders, fabric stiff and blue still new. The bow, long carried, doesn’t quite match but it fits perfectly in his hand.

Zie is a weapon, forged and honed, then and now.

Reyniero Chason – Running Backwards

(Battle fiercely for the king.)

There are no options, train on the track, future written down and read in the past. And yet, here I am, poised to defy the fate put on him.

If anyone is the spare, it’s me.

Branton Evans – Growing Strong (Burning Bright)

(Thorns, sparks, and silver linings.)

He knows much about regret, had felt it even as he continued to walk away, needing to follow through. Time doesn’t always heal, sometimes it erodes instead.

Nevertheless, things can still be salvaged.

Haru Kuwabara – (En)Closure

(Winning might be everything.)

Go is a battle, is a conversation, is life–according to her grandfather anyway. But she knows death, so she knows that despite all the drama, go is just a game.

But against gods and murderers and the stark face of justice, it’s a nice thought.

Ember Ketchum – A Year With The Moon

(Knowledge is double edged.)

Sight beyond does not make her immune, does not make her anything but a liability. Her entire existence is a dilemma and now, it seems, she has made the wrong choice.

Behind a glowing wall in her mind, she watches herself attack her brother.

~

A/N: Surprisingly, the word prompt is relevant to the writing! Except for the last one, each section is basically a motto + three sentence fic (or four sentence fic) summarizing my various OCs. Almost like little trailers for the different series… (The last one isn’t because I realized that Ash having a twin during the first Pokemon movie, ie the one featuring Mewtwo, would have the potential for EPIC FEELS).

Basically, after my weird breakdown/rant/fit of low self-esteem that I had yesterday I kind of wanted to make up for that. Sorry, again, @to-someplace-else, it wasn’t your fault, I go through moods, I hope you (and other readers) enjoy this.

Post Word Count: 422, TOTAL Word Count: 10860

So… last day of November. Unsurprisingly, did not meet the NaNo quota but that’s okay because a lot of my posts this month (like this one) were three sentence fic and for some reason I wrote a lot of poetry…

Iron Will (2016-09-14)

His blade is sharp, but your wits are sharper. And it’s been a long time since the show of steel has made you afraid.

Today will not see the end of you yet.

You are comfortable in the forest, but not at home.

(You’ve never had a home that wasn’t people now long gone.)

But you think, as you and Jet gather others to you–other kids who have lost and have burned but have survived nonetheless–maybe one day.

Gui finds you, wild-eyed and unkempt and suspicious of everything, perched in the trees outside a Fire Nation village and doesn’t say a word.

You save his life, not two hours later, shoving the soldier in red who’s spotted his deception off a cliff in broad daylight, even though it’s ruined your element of surprise.

You’re even.

It’s easy to miss what you used to have, less so to yearn for something you don’t understand.

The triplets are sweet, still innocent for all that they have suffered, too, and you think of ZhuEn and ache.

But you and she were never equals–never more than just daughters of the same man.

~

A/N: trying to write Dreaming of S(haring the World) but it’s getting longer than I thought it would be so here’s this tiny three-sentence Iron Will thing so I don’t end up with a missed post.

Iron Will drabble (2015-11-09)

In the span of thirty heartbeats, seventeen footsteps, eight breaths, someone is going to die. It might be you, it might be the Fire Nation scout moving along the forest floor.

If he doesn’t look up, maybe no one has to die. Your clothes and hair are dark, both blend in with the foliage. Perched in the tree as you are, perhaps your limbs will be misconstrued as branches. If you’re quiet, maybe he will just walk on by and there won’t have to be a confrontation. Maybe no one has to die tonight.

Nineteen heartbeats, eleven footsteps, five breaths.

But you will never have as good an opportunity to prove yourself as you do now.

Scouts are fast and stealthy, they are meant to run ahead and observe then report back. But in this situation, you are already the stealthier one, and you are confident in your speed.

Eight heartbeats, five footsteps, two breaths.

You are less confident in your single knife, smaller reach, and likely inferior strength. It certainly doesn’t match up to his sword, adult sized limbs and muscles, and military training. You are only eleven, after all.

But this is your best chance.

Your pulse is hammering away. The scout is two steps away from the ideal landing point.

You breathe.

~

A/N: Here’s another tiny Iron Will drabble. :/

Iron Will drabble (2015-11-08)

Once, back when the Freedom Fighters were just a group of six kids–before the Forest Faction ever became a thought in your mind–you worked with Longshot. Gui had spotted a platoon of Fire Nation soldiers camping not too far from an Earth aligned village. There was no disagreement–the village would be destroyed if you didn’t kill the soldiers that night. But done poorly, if it wasn’t quickly or stealthily or throroughly, all it would take was one survivor, one messenger bird, for a larger force to be sent.

Normally, you partnered with Gui, but normally you were not planning massacres. For this, Gui was not deadly enough, and, surprisingly, neither was Jet. The other four would form a perimeter, a fall-back to prevent any escapees, but for the main force it would be you and Longshot.

“The heart, the throat, maybe the brain via the eye if you think you can,” you listed to him, knowing his perfect accuracy was normally used to avoid lethal hits. But, again, this was not normal.

He nodded, solemn, and you looked away from the brief shudder that rolled through him.

In the dark, moonless night, you crept through a camp of Fire Nation soldiers and slit the throats of eight sleeping men. After number eight, they began to wake up.

At the end of it all, your count increased to fourteen. It’s larger than Longshot’s seven, and the others’ collective four, but you had experience with literal blood on your hands. The others–except maybe Gui–did not.

You stand in silence next to Longshot as he stared at his arrows–heart, throat, brain, and one in a messenger bird one soldier had tried to send off. When he turned to you, something dark and sickened in his eyes, you did not need words to know that he never wanted to work with you again.

A/N: Tiny Iron Will thing. Trying to get a grasp on the different Freedom Fighters and how they would interact with Tetsuki–figure out why she doesn’t mesh well with them.

And, considering my experience with trying to figure out TenTen of Naruto… perfect accuracy ought to mean perfectly deadly. But if you don’t want to be deadly then it can be almost a curse.

I dunno, I don’t think I really got Longshot down, but this was just something I considered.

Iron Will drabble (2015-10-30)

You try not to project onto them, the Avatar and his friends, but you find it difficult not to. Even when they’ve made their opinion of you clear. But you don’t need them to like you for you to have an alliance, and when it’s a bunch of children up against the strongest nation in the world, you need all the allies you can get.

Even if you see too much of yourself in these allies. A child unable to return to his past yet yearning for those happier times. A girl cut so deeply by soldiers in red it haunts her dreams. A teenager standing up against armies with only his wits and a small blade. You appreciate the fact that when all is said and done, despite contradicting methodologies, you are still on the same side.

But you cannot afford to show any weakness, even if they are your allies. Still, you are grateful for them, and you have Gui act as a counter guide–he may not be able to match Jet’s charisma, but he is your partner for a reason. Gui is smart and honest and kind in his own way, if he can’t win the Avatar’s trust then you Forest Faction had no chance to begin with.

It kills you to say this, but you know you need to split up. The Freedom Fighters, whether they are Jet’s or yours, must be disbanded. Those with living family are to go there, but it still leaves a distressing amount left. Orphans are the lifeblood of the Freedom Fighters.

The Duke and Pipsqueak will never part, though that was not in question. After that, Jet only has Longshot and Smellerbee left, and three is not such a large group. The same cannot be said of your Forest Faction.

You, Gui, Tuzi, and the triplets. Six people. You are loathe to split the triplets, but there is no other way. They will attract too much attention, and they are still young and inexperienced.

In this venture, they need stealth and speed, they cannot stand out as anything more than refugees.

“See you in Ba Sing Se,” you promise to a solemn Gui and Tuzi, each with a triplet as a traveling companion. Beside you, Feng holds back her tears, though the same cannot be said for her sisters.

“You three as well,” you direct to Jet and his lieutenants. For all that you never quite saw eye to eye, especially towards the end, you and Jet were partners. Occasionally friends when you could stand each other, but guaranteed allies at the very least.

“Hey, don’t worry about us. We’ll be back together and fighting in no time,” Jet says with such confidence that you can’t help but believe him.

That’s the last time you see him alive.

~

A/N: First time posting on my mobile so we’ll see how it goes.

Iron Will drabble (2015-10-04)

You’re not a bender.

You know this like you know your left hand is better than your right. Like you know you have better night vision than color differentiation. Like you know your face in a reflection.

(Ah, but a reflection is not the real thing, is it?)

You’re not a bender, but sometimes you can sense things: Jet’s curved, hook swords, and the delicate loop of Gui’s mother’s bracelet. You can tell when a troop of armored Fire Nation soldiers are incoming, and whether or not they carry weapons. You know instinctively where a Fire Nation family keeps their knives, where they keep their gold.

It’s just something you can do.

It’s why you know that the girl in the ill-fitting Kiyoshi warrior uniform is far more dangerous than she appears–each hidden knife calling out a warning.

But that’s just a trick; just a small portion of your perception. You have other methods of observations available to you and years of experience using them.

You know from the way she defers to the other impostor Kiyoshi warrior, that the girl with the hidden knives is not the most dangerous.

When you first join the Freedom Fighters, it is a small group. Your different methodologies are not as important in the face of your successes, your ability to survive. There are only six of you then–you and Jet and Longshot and Gui and The Duke and Pipsqueak–and it makes sense to fall into pairs when you work. It’s only natural for you to use the same pairings–complimentary skill sets and personalities matching you with Gui, Jet with Longshot, The Duke and Pipsqueak always together.

(Lines already being drawn…)

Then along comes Smellerbee, then the triplets, then Tuzi, then more and more and more until the Freedom Fighters are almost a village unto yourselves.

With so many people, survival depends on cooperation more than individual skills. Conformity, or maybe obedience, is brought up frequently. You chafe against Jet’s presumed leadership.

Smellerbee falls in with Jet and Longshot easily, the missing piece of a puzzle. Tuzi, so quiet and shy, was rescued by Gui, making him yours. The Duke and Pipsqueak, always together, are indifferent to the factions forming. Two of the triplets are as well, but one of them, Feng, follows after you in adoration; and where one triplet goes, the other two follow.

You doubt it will come to battle, or at least you hope it won’t. You’d rather leave to wander on your own than kill your allies. But the leaving in itself would be a problem.

Because if you leave, so too will a significant chunk of the Fighters… and the only person willing and able to fight against Jet.

~

A/N: Related to this drabble.