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Fanfic / Another Brother

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Another Brother is an AU What If? Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic by Avocado Love. It's centered around an amnesiac Zuko being adopted by Hakoda several years before the start of canon. The first arc, described by the author as his 'Book One: Water', focuses on Zuko's life growing up as the odd one out in the Water Tribe. When he and his siblings (surprise, surprise) find the Avatar locked in an Iceberg, the real adventure begins.

As fans of Avacado Love and the comments on the Fanfiction Recommendations page can tell you, the story's main draw is its almost effortless characterization. The impact of Zuko's different upbringing has far reaching consequences, affecting everything from his attitude to his Firebending, but still retaining his core personality. Katara and Sokka also change, though Sokka definitely gets more than his sister. The plot seems carefully planned, and the story just finished the Siege of the Northern Water Tribe.

A number of other stories set in the same AU also exist. These include Theories and Destinies, The Fire Nation Ship and No Other Future. No Other Future was written by a different author, Kimberly T, however it was done with Avocado Love's permission.

Another Brother can be read on FanFiction.Net here or on Archive of Our Own here.

This Fic provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: As per canon, so far Katara and Suki have displayed this trope - Katara starts off the main storyline a little more proficient than in canon, thanks to training with Zuko, and becomes a proficient combat bender very quickly.
  • Affably Evil: Prince Iroh, early on, though he's more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist than truly evil - he'd like a peaceful solution, he just has excellent reason to believe (based off of incomplete information) that the world's balance is permanently out of whack, and unless humanity is united, they'll be wiped out at the next Harmonic Convergence.
  • And Then What?: Bato to Hakoda during Zuko's first solstice coma, when Hakoda breaks down and vows to sail the boy north until they reach daylight. Bato reasons that even if Zuko survives, he won't be accepted into their tribe because Hakoda broke his word. Moreover, because Hakoda broke his word of honor, it would reflect poorly on Sokka and Katara in the long-run.
  • Anti-Villain: Iroh, since his spiritual journey was interrupted, meaning that he only knew that Sozin's actions had had grave consequences on the elemental cycle, not that it could be fixed. However, his later Character Development suggests that he's being set on his canon path with the realisation that there are, in fact, living Air Benders, who just escaped to the Spirit World.
  • Arch Nemesis Dad:
    • Ozai for Zuko, as in canon. It might be even worse here, since Ozai's first reaction to learn his son's survival is to order his death.
    • On a lesser scale, Azulon himself is this for Ozai. When both are onscreen, you can see how the Fire Lord considers his secondborn as inferior to Iroh. Then it's discovered he ordered his grandson's death and outright decides to imprison his son for failing to do this, which is foiled by Ozai going all Antagonistic Offspring on him.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Oh Zhao! Although his public humiliation by an untrained Zuko causes him to start thinking things through long enough to stop chasing the Gaang... and to go capture Jeong Jeong instead.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: A small handful of the Southern Water Tribe villagers still feel this way about Zuko, though they still see him as Tribe. The attitude of the rest of the world regarding firebenders is pretty much per canon.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: If possible, the Fire Nation Royal Family is even more messed up than in canon.
  • Cartwright Curse: Zuko, at least for his love interests' hometowns. And maybe now for his love interests themselves what with Fire Lord Azulon's order to destroy any village known to have harbored the Avatar.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Ozai and Zhao present the rumors about Zuko's miraculous resurrection as a plot by the Avatar to install an imposter as Fire Lord, predisposing those in the capital to disbelieve the truth about Zuko... and to think that Iroh is chasing a lie.
    • Zuko tells Iroh that the Water Tribe saved him and that he was found on a Fire Nation ship. Since Zuko also said that waking up on a Water Tribe ship was the first thing he remembered, Iroh believes the Water Tribe lied to Zuko about how they found him for the purpose of making Zuko hate the Fire Nation.
  • Character Development: Zuko and Iroh are steadily progressing towards their canon selves.
    • Zuko's acceptance of his status as a Prince of the Fire Nation and feeling of responsibility to end the war, partly by training Aang, mirrors his Season 3 self. At around the same time, he also learns a variant on the Dancing Dragon, the Swimming Dragon, from a Sea Dragon who teaches him a variant on the lesson that Ran and Shaw taught Zuko and Aang in canon, which turns him from a capable and unusual Firebender into, implicitly, an exceptionally powerful one.
    • Iroh, meanwhile, is put into a coma by Ozai's forces and as of Chapter 33, is set on completing his Spirit Quest - starting with the realisation that the Air Nomads are not all but extinct, and quite a few are alive and well in the Spirit World.
  • Chick Magnet:
    • Zuko. Sokka isn't, surprisingly, possibly because Zuko manages to attract the girls who are attracted to Sokka in canon, Suki and Yue.
    • Though in Ba Sing Se, Sokka gets appreciative looks from Ty Lee and Azula, of all people.
  • Child by Rape: Sokka saves Zuko from being killed by Northern Tribe Waterbenders by calling him his half-brother due to Fire Nation raids on their village. Also, early in the story, before finding out his identity, when Iroh first meets Zuko, Lt. Ji suggests that Zuko's Firebending may be because of 'one of the men getting carried away.' Given that the Northern Water Tribe swallowed this story, it's not entirely surprising when Yue backhandedly tells Zuko that his claimed story has basis in fact.
  • Cryptic Conversation: 'Li' and Zuko, in Song's home, with Song and her family realising the tension after a little while.
  • Die or Fly: An amnesic Zuko instinctively figures out he's a firebender when he and Sokka fall through some thin ice and almost die from hypothermia.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Averted. Unlike some other fics where he starts a new life, Zuko keeps his original name. There's no 'Lee' in sight. However, he is in denial about being a Prince once he meets Iroh, until eventually, he accepts it in captivity and starts thinking through ways of how he could help his tribe as Fire Lord in ways beyond just saying 'Stop the War'.
  • Doomed Hometown: Prince Iroh's ship destabilizes the ice shelf beneath the Southern Water Tribe village when it makes its canon-esque arrival, so they have to relocate everything before the ice breaks up. Potentially Kyoshi Island, Song's Village, and the Northern Water Tribe's city as well.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Zuko raids the Bei Fongs' kitchen in the middle of the night, only to be caught by Toph.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: A shirtless Sokka mid-sword practice draws this from Ty Lee and even Azula of all people (though she conceals it).
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Well... sort of, in the sense that Iroh isn't exactly evil. When Prince Iroh visits the depopulated Southern Air Temple, he reasons that Sozin didn't need to exterminate all the Air Nomads to kill the Avatar, just their children. Sozin could have spared the babies and anyone above the age of twenty. He reiterates this later, while underlining that it was an evil, vile act... and an unnecessary one.
    • He also buys Katara from the pirates, despite his only goal being to secure the Avatar, to spare her from their 'attentions' - and when the prospect of her being sold to him as a Sex Slave is brought up, his response is a Death Glare. He also never once mentions it again, for all the leverage it could potentially provide, merely acknowledging Katara's awkward thanks.
  • Evil Cripple: Ozai has a weak knee and walks with a cane. He plots the murder of Zuko while knowing the "Water Tribe impostor'' could really be his long-lost son and kills his own father to become Fire Lord, usurping his elder brother in the process.
  • Evil Uncle: Zuko certainly considers Iroh as this, though his views mellow a little as time goes by.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Momo, followed by an eventual Heel–Face Turn, insofar as you can say that for a pet.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Zuko is nearly killed on the spot when the Gaang meets the Northern Water Tribe. Only some fast thinking by Sokka saves Zuko's life and the lives of the rest of the Gaang.
    • Zuko encounters this constantly, starting with Auya of the Southern Water Tribe. The people of the village with Hai Bei also sacrificed two firebenders to the spirit in a vain attempt to stop Hai Bei's rampage.
    • The Fire Nation also displays this towards the Water Tribe. While it's probably influenced by his misconceptions, Prince Iroh repeatedly refers to the people of the Water Tribe as barbarians and expresses distaste towards the bits of culture Zuko displays - though that could have a bit more to do with how he thinks it's related to Stockholm Syndrome. Other people in the Fire Nation refer to the Water Tribe as barbarians as well.
    • When Zuko asks whether a firebender would accepted by the Nortern Water Tribe, Yue warns him that they would not. As it turns out, Arnook's hatred of firebenders is so extreme that he turns on Zuko after the latter saves his life with firebending and is killed by Iroh to protect his nephew. This directly leads to the fall of the Northern Tribe and Zuko's capture.
  • For Want Of A Nail: It hasn't been revealed yet, but this story has too much in common with canon to be a simple AU. Azulon is still alive, Ursa is still at the palace, and Ozai was injured in some way that hasn't been revealed yet. Iroh doesn't seem to know what caused Zuko's scar, and it appears he hasn't completed his spiritual quest - which is very strongly implied to be because of the time shift of when Zuko was injured and apparently murdered, causing him to break off. Aside from all that and the obvious, nothing in Avatar canon is changed.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Katara and Zuko practice their bending for years whenever they have free time, but since they're learning on their own they have to improvise and develop their own kata.
  • I Have This Friend: Zuko, who's hiding his bending, asks Princess Yue how her people would receive a half-Water Tribe, half-Fire Nation firebender - as the guise they're going with at the time is that Zuko is Sokka and Katara's half-brother. She very diplomatically explains that it wouldn't go well, even for an honored guest.
  • Instant Expert: Once Katara figures out she can heal with waterbending, she decides to see if she can help Zuko get his memories back. It's averted, as it turns out brain surgery is a bit more complicated than healing burns.
  • Irony: Whoever or whatever is responsible for spirit guide assignation apparently has a taste for this. Sokka's guide is the former Fire soldier and prince Lu Ten while Iroh's is Air Monk Gyatso. Sokka's reaction is disbelief, while Iroh is just grimly aware of the irony.
  • Kids Raiding the Wine Cabinet: Sokka and Zuko once sneaked off with a bottle of their father's wine, convinced they were old enough to drink like men. The following morning, they are both hungover and sick to their stomachs. Hakoda responded by having the both of them work with him in the fishing boat, not saying a word, with his idea being that if they think they were going to drink like men, they were going to work like men.
  • Logical Weakness:invoked Firebenders depend on the sun to stay alive. Aside from Zuko, no firebender is known to have survived the darkness of polar winter. Also, the lives of other types of benders are connected to their elements. Aang is almost KO'd when he's submerged in water and cut off from the air. Word of God has it that the earthbenders in Imprisoned were depressed due to being cut off from the earth, surviving only on the earth elements in the metal prison, and were spiritually revitalized by the coal brought to them.
  • Master Swordsman: Zuko is still skilled, as in canon, and Long Feng notes with surprise that while he'd agreed to have Sokka trained to sell the story, he hadn't expected his immense raw talent.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Azula feels this way about Zuko potentially disrupting her eventual ascension to the throne, although her internal monologue seems to suggest that she was somehow involved in the events that led to Zuko being mistaken for dead instead of being dead.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Zuko and the Water Tribe siblings, though they all see each other as a real family.
  • Not So Stoic: Azula takes Mai and Ty Lee to Zuko's grave to do a séance as a joke. During it, Mai breaks down in tears. It's the only time Azula can remember Mai crying.
  • Oh, Crap!: Azulon orders any village known to have harbored the Avatar to be burned to ground. Suki and Song, NOOOOO! The Gaang has yet to learn about this order.
  • Original Flavor: Oh, so much. The tone may be about a half a shade darker than canon, but it could have most definitely have come from the original writers.
  • Retired Badass: Prince Iroh. Comments early on by Lt. Jee suggest that Iroh has seen the hunt for the Avatar as less an all-consuming quest and more like a retirement cruise, to the point of neglecting some of his political duties.
  • Role Swap AU: Zuko and Sokka seem to have traded, to some degree. Zuko got Sokka's Luck with the Ladies, and Sokka got Zuko's angst. Poor guys.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: When the invasion of the Northern Water Tribe is being planned, Fire Lord Azulon mocks Ozai when he thinks his son is suggesting he (Ozai) join the invasion force, as Ozai has a permanent limp. Played straight in that it's subsequently made clear that Ozai is proposing Azula go, something Azulon eventually agrees on.
  • Sadistic Choice: Discussed trope. When Hakoda is narrating the revelation of Zuko's firebending to his tribe, he describes the situation he was faced with; two hypothermic children but only one dry parka on hand. The villagers are horrified, but understand both that such a choice is sometimes a fact of antarctic life and that Hakoda really had no choice — he would have given the dry parka to his own son. Fortunately, Zuko's firebending allowed a third option.
  • Self-Made Orphan: As of the second Interlude, Ozai killed his father and became the new Fire Lord, without the middle man he needed in canon.
  • Sequence Breaking: Among other things, Song's Village appears considerably earlier than in canon.
  • Spirit Advisor: Lu Ten to Sokka.
  • Stalker without a Crush: Iroh is quite ruthless and implacable in his quest to bring his nephew back in the Fire Nation. Given that he understandably believes Zuko to be a kidnapping victim in the midst of Stockholm Syndrome, this is not surprising.
  • Stay in the Kitchen:
    • The Northern Water Tribesmen don't even bother acknowledging Katara when she speaks, let alone respond to any of her comments or questions. The Fire Nation is a milder example in this fic, as women are only allowed to ascend to the throne as Fire Lord if all their male relatives are deceased.
    • Azula, naturally, has a rather...liberal...interpretation of this restriction.
  • Stepford Smiler: Sokka, surprisingly. He has put on a goofy smile and made a sarcastic comment for his siblings on more than one occasion.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Prince Iroh feels - not entirely unreasonably - that this is why Zuko doesn't want to go back to the Fire Nation. He also thinks that More than Mind Control and actual Mind Rape where involved. He triples the bounty on Hakoda's head as a result of this little theory. It's suggested that after his captivity of Zuko, he's realised that this is not the case.
  • Stupid Evil: The opinion of everyone who knows the extended consequences of Sozin's genocide of the airbenders.
  • That Man Is Dead: Zuko of the Water Tribe feels this way about Prince Zuko. Iroh disagrees. Ozai and Azula want to make this trope more literal.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Temporarily, at least. The North Pole has fallen to the Fire Nation, Aang was hit by Azula's lightning, and Team Avatar is on the run. Oh, and Iroh has captured Zuko, with Sokka making the decision to not rescue his adopted brother in favor of getting Yue to safety. Then Iroh and Zuko, who are building a rapport, are separated when Ozai pulls his coup and almost kills Iroh.
  • The Evil Prince: Ozai, although his limp suggests his ambitions were at one point thwarted by his father. Azula is a (female) example, although she seems milder than in canon.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: While the events relating to how Zuko ended up on that ship with his throat cut haven't been revealed yet, this looks to be partly the cause of his memory loss.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Iroh's determined to rescue his nephew from the Water Tribe's clutches and bring him back home. Of course, there's the tiny detail of him being ready to destroy anyone and anything standing in his way. His single-minded determination to finalize the world's conquest actually stems from the painful and horrid realization that the Air Nomads' genocide threw the planetary balance out of whack, because it's simply impossible that a civilisation of nomads, who are also known as free lovers, would not have left children behind... and yet no Air Benders have been born. Iroh hopes the looming apocalypse can be mitigated by a strong and united humanity. Then he finds out that some Air Nomads escaped the genocide by fleeing to the Spirit World.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 33, in which Gyatso shows Iroh some Air Nomads who managed to escape the genocide by fleeing into the Spirit World, completely turning Iroh's beliefs on their head.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Zig-zagged, played straight, and averted. Even when they're mopping up survivors while raiding a Fire Nation ship, the Southern Water Tribe men hesitate to kill an injured Zuko. So they take the matter to Hakoda, who takes the burden of killing a child unto his own hands... until his conscience gets the better of him. Meanwhile, Prince Iroh is of the opinion that Sozin should only have killed the Air Nomads' children in order to eliminate the Avatar, and that the airbender holocaust was a tragic waste of life (though in that case, he considers the whole thing entirely evil, he just thinks that if Sozin was going to do it, he should at least have been pragmatic).
  • You Have Failed Me: Foreshadowed. Azulon warns Ozai that Princess Azula must either come back from the North as a victor... or not come back at all. Iroh also bluntly warns Azula that the Fire Lord will not tolerate failure from her, so she'd better take whatever advice he offers to heart.