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Fanfic / Cabin Fever

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In this alternate universe, Aang was never frozen, but disappeared after the war broke out. Ten years later, Katara, cold and bitter from years of imprisonment, joins an underground resistance led by her brother and is given the task of teaching a cynical and world weary Avatar how to waterbend.

The story mashes together Aang's and Katara's generations. This results in Azulon's generation not existing, Hama being older than Sozin, Sozin being the father of Iroh and Ozai, etc.


The story can be found here.

Last updated on March 2, 2016.


  • Abled in the Adaptation: Teo is not a paraplegic in this universe, though he loses a leg soon enough.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The backstory-shifting adds quite a lot by itself.
    • Zuko was one of Aang's friends from early childhood up until the genocide of the Air Nomads.
    • Likewise, with the Air Nomads from the Southern Air Temple routinely visiting the South Pole, Aang knew Katara and Sokka as his childhood friends (though they never find out that he's the Avatar until the present day). Sokka fears the worst following the genocide (and Katara would too, if she didn't have her own problems in the waterbender prison).
    • Katara and Aang's backstories are upgraded with more angst, with Katara being captured and imprisoned following the death of her mother, and Aang being around to witness the massacre of his people.
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  • Adapted Out: Azulon and the people from his generation do not exist, due to the author's compression of the timeline.
  • Agony of the Feet: After escaping the prison, Katara's bare feet ache from walking on rough terrain - not helped by her malnourished state and the fact that she has been locked up in a cage for years.
    • While assisting the sailors on the Rising Sun in pulling Teo out from the collapsed mast, the stormy conditions ensure that by the time Teo has been rescued, Katara's bare feet have gone numb from the freezing water.
    • Teo actually loses a foot, along with a good chunk of his leg, following a sailing accident.
  • And I Must Scream: The living conditions for imprisoned waterbenders. See Cold-Blooded Torture below.
    • There's also Teo needing to have his leg amputated to prevent infection from his injuries. He is conscious the entire time.
  • Anger Born of Worry: In the backstory, Sokka is furious to see Katara fighting on the front lines. There's not much he can do though, as she refuses to listen and hide with the other younger children, and as a result is captured by the Southern Raiders.
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  • Asshole Victims: The Fire Nation guards incapacitated by Hama's bloodbending.
  • Barefoot Captives: As in the show, waterbenders taken prisoner by the Fire Nation are stripped of their tribal clothes, made to wear rags, and forced to go barefoot during their imprisonment in cages. After enduring this for 3 years, Katara finds it painful to walk barefoot after escaping.
  • Barefoot Poverty: Before being able to purchase new clothes at an Earth Kingdom town, Katara doesn't have much choice of clothes, and has no shoes to wear either.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Sokka towards Katara.
    • Big Sister Instinct is shown by Katara towards her waterbending students, and then later to Teo.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Lampshaded by Sokka when he hears reports about the Fire Nation keeping waterbenders in prisons. He questions the long-term practicality of such a decision - though he isn't complaining because that means that there's still hope that Katara is still alive.
  • Break the Cutie: Katara. So very much.
  • Broken Ace: In this AU, Katara was captured in battle by the Fire Nation because she was a waterbending master at age 14. Not that her waterbending skills do her much good in prison. After being freed and being taught bloodbending by Hama, Katara is already a shell of her former self by the time she finally manages to make it back to the South Pole.
  • Broken Bird: Poor, poor Katara.
  • The Cameo: Teo appears as an injured sailor that Katara tends to in Chapters 2 and 3.
  • Child Prodigy: Katara took a measure of pride in becoming a waterbending master at age 14, though she comes to view it as a curse following her escape from prison.
    • As in canon, the other members of Team Avatar are this.
      • Played With with Aang, who has mastered airbending at age 12, but unlike his canon counterpart, hasn't learned to bend the other elements yet.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: The reason why Katara joins her brother, father and the other warriors of her tribe in fending off the Southern Raiders, despite being ordered not to as she is underage. Noble, but a big mistake on her part. She learns her lesson the hard way when it's already too late and she has been captured, with her mother having been killed trying to protect her.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Done by Fire Nation soldiers towards imprisoned waterbenders. Waterbenders are kept in cages, clothed in rags and forced to go barefoot, have their limbs chained up when served meals in their cages, and are only given 3 cups of water a day.
    • And to prevent any chances of rebellion or escape, the prison guards don't give the waterbenders anything to drink during full moons.
    • Any sort of defiance from imprisoned waterbenders is paid back with retaliatory burns from the Fire Nation guards.
  • Composite Character: With the combination of the timelines, Zuko replaces Kuzon as Aang's friend from the Fire Nation.
  • Darker and Edgier: Hama's backstory in canon is dark enough. This AU story begins by giving it to Katara and exploring her years of imprisonment in graphic, extended detail.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Depending on the reader's interpretation, Katara is either nearing this or has crossed it after a 3-year stint in prison in the prologue.
  • Fatal Flaw: Katara's Chronic Hero Syndrome and Plucky Girl characteristics get her captured by the Fire Nation in a battle, and she spends the next 3 years of her life in a waterbender prison.
  • For the Evulz: Even if a waterbender prisoner isn't showing any defiance, the Fire Nation guards will burn them if they're bored while on guard duty.
  • Heroic BSoD: Katara spends most of the backstory in one, during her time in prison up until the time she gets her first waterbending students to teach.
  • Hurting Hero: EVERY member of Team Avatar, to a greater degree than in canon.
  • Kick the Dog: Prison guards who decided to give burns to already imprisoned waterbenders. Made worse because the waterbenders could've healed themselves if they had unrestricted access to water.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • As in canon, Kya is killed (though here she is unable to prevent Katara's imprisonment).
    • Nilak, one of Hakoda's lieutenants and leader of the Southern Waterbenders, who is killed by Fire Nation guards after one too many displays of defiance in prison.
    • Yuki, Toph's comrade, who dies on a guerrilla mission against a Fire Nation detachment.
  • Knight in Sour Armour: All members of Team Avatar are this, the ones who are already this in canon to an even greater degree here. But the most prominent one would obviously have to be Katara.
  • La Résistance: Following Katara's imprisonment and Hakoda's departure, Sokka leaves the South Pole and creates this out of the canon members of Team Avatar (minus Katara, for obvious reasons).
  • Meaningful Name: The title of the story, Cabin Fever, is a term that defines lassitude and irritability as a result of confinement. Though in the case of describing Katara, that is an understatement.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • The persecution of the Air Nomads for Aang. Harsher than in canon because here he is present to witness the mass slaughter, and yet he still has to run and hide for his own safety.
    • The death of Kya for Katara. And that's before she learns bloodbending. AND THEN there's her failure to save Teo's leg and having to amputate it.
    • The capture of Katara for Sokka.
    • The death of Yuki for Toph.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: Katara has this mentality following her escape. It's entirely justified.
  • Not Good with People: Katara, as a result of several years in prison.
  • Parting Words Regret: Adding to Toph's Survivor Guilt is the fact that the last words she said towards Yuki were disrespectful taunts.
  • Scars Are Forever: Zuko's eye, of course. Katara also has multiple burn scars, owing to the cruel actions of the guards during her imprisonment.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Katara has trouble adjusting back to life in the South Pole when she returns.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: When Katara, at the age of 24, finally makes it back to the South Pole for the first time in 10 years, Kanna mistakes her for Kya at first.
  • Survivor Guilt: Toph gets this after failing to protect Yuki.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The Waterbender Prison is explained in nightmarish detail on exactly what kinds of restrictions and limitations that the prisoners are made to suffer through.
  • Took A Level In Cynicism: Years of cruel imprisonment has left Katara bitter, jaded, and emotionally withdrawn - completely unlike her canon counterpart.
    • Aang, too. Unlike his canon counterpart, he was around to witness the massacre of his people, and yet still could do nothing to help them.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor, poor Katara.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When in a cruel mood, Fire Nation prison guards had no problem shooting flames at Katara, even though she's defenseless, disarmed and caged. Not to mention the fact that she was the youngest prisoner there.


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