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Fan Fic / Fractures (ATLA)

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Fractures is an Alternate Universe Fan Fic on Archive of Our Own by fledgling author good_eviening.

The premise is that Zuko realizes his destiny much earlier. As in, as soon as he wakes up in the palace after his Agni Kai and is told he is banished. Unfortunately, he's never been a patient one. So he storms right up to Ozai and tells him what he's going to do. And gets locked up for over three years. Then, one day, he's being pulled out and told he's the new Fire Lord.

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  • Abusive Parents: Ozai, as in canon, and taken Up to Eleven with his numerous torture sessions carried out against his own son. He is even an abusive uncle, trying (and thankfully failing) to have Lu Ten assassinated.
  • Adult Fear: On the same day that a 16-year-old Zuko is released from prison after three years incarcerated, he is crowned Fire Lord following the defeats of Ozai and Azula. Now he's responsible for trying to rebuild and reconcile his nation with the rest of the world.
    • The Gaang is subject to all kinds of these in their introductory chapter, all the more to highlight the tragic nature of their Child Soldiers status.
  • The Alcatraz: The Boiling Rock. With Zuko not having been able to join the Gaang in this AU, Suki, Hakoda, Mai and Ty Lee remain imprisoned there until after the end of the war.
  • Barefoot Captives: Kya is just barefoot and clad in dirty prison rags during her imprisonment, just as the rest of the Southern Waterbenders were. Though Pim, Zuko's seamstress, is not able to find any shoes for Kya to wear, she is able to give her a clean shirt and a fresh pair of pants to wear upon being freed from The Water's Wail.
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  • Berserk Button: Hurting Zuko in front of his caretakers is not a good idea. Suki found that out the hard way when Pim jabs her hand with a needle.
  • Break the Cutie: Zuko, primarily. The canon broken cuties also count to a lesser extent (Aang, Katara and Sokka).
  • Child Soldiers: The Gaang, as well as Azula, Mai and Ty Lee.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Mai and Zuko's childhood romance is detailed and spotlighted to the readers when Zuko frees Mai from the Boiling Rock and reunites with her for the first time in years.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The canon tragic backstories apply, with the exception of Zuko though (who goes through so much more hell here).
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Azula boasting about burning down the Earth Kingdom when Sozin's Comet arrives is what prompts Ty Lee and Mai to pull a Heel–Face Turn and attack her.
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  • Everyone Can See It: Katara and Aang's blossoming romance.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Mai and Ty Lee commit this and attack Azula after hearing her bragging about burning down the Earth Kingdom.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Aside from the canon cast, lots of worldbuilding effort by the author is put into the story, giving names and personalities to characters such as Zuko's caretakers, Fire Nation palace staff, Fire Nation royal servants, as well as Fire Nation military commanders.
  • Mama Bear: Kya gave herself up for her daughter, as in canon, but was actually literally taken away by the Southern Raiders and imprisoned, rather than killed. But upon being freed, she deduces Zuko's predicament through a few simple questions and is well on her way to becoming a surrogate mother for him.
    • Chapter 14 has Kya scolding Hakoda for being too harsh and judgmental with Zuko.
    • Suki finds out the hard way in Chapter 10 that Zuko's caretakers can be this. Pim jabs her hand with a needle after one too many sharp remarks against the Fire Lord.
  • Ship Tease: The author is refreshingly straightforward in shipping the three main canon couples: Katara/Aang, Sokka/Suki, and Zuko/Mai.
  • Shipper on Deck: Sokka for Katara and Aang.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: To many a reader's surprise and elation, Lu Ten and Kya are revealed to be alive. Lu Ten survived the assassination attempt ordered by Ozai, and Kya was imprisoned in the Fire Nation prison for waterbenders.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The Fire Nation prison for waterbenders, named "The Water's Wail". Zuko is disturbed by the name, and even more disturbed to find Kya as the sole prisoner inside.
  • The Reveal: While tending to Zuko's stab injury in Chapter 15, Kya, Hakoda, Suki, Mai and Ty Lee finally find out just how badly Zuko has been damaged.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Zuko is scarred by his father. When he awakens, he tells his father that he is now going to find the Avatar and fight alongside him. Ozai imprisons Zuko for this, and routinely visits the prison to torture him. After three years of imprisonment, Zuko is finally freed when the war ends... and is then told that he's now in charge of the Fire Nation as the new Fire Lord. And multiple people on both sides either hate his guts, or are suspicious of him.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Azula and her psychopathic tendencies, full stop. Which is somehow topped by Aang and his friends agreeing that she should be stripped of her bending and actually following through with it.
    • Which is all somehow topped by Ozai's backstory, where he murdered one of the teenage palace servants at the tender age of 11.
  • War Is Hell: Hammered home effectively each chapter with descriptions of how each character feels and has been affected by the war.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Mai and Ty Lee with Azula.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Taken Up to Eleven by Ozai. Maiming and scarring Zuko on the face wasn't enough. After imprisoning his son, he routinely visits the capital city prison just to torture him into submission.
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