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Fanfic / Imprisoned (This Time for Real)

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Katara's plan to rally Haru and the other imprisoned earthbenders goes horribly, horribly wrong, and instead of helping others to freedom, she finds herself in a prison of her own. After waking the Avatar, she'd hoped to help put an end to the war, but now, it may be all she can manage just to survive.

The story can be found here.


  • And I Must Scream: The living conditions for imprisoned waterbenders. See Cold-Blooded Torture below.
    • The amount of pain that Katara has from her injuries after being freed is enough to make her want to scream in agony even as she's being treated.
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  • 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.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Sokka towards Katara. When he finally manages to free her from the Waterbender Prison after the war is over, his next priority is to try and torture Ozai to death until Toph calms him down.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Katara and the last surviving Southern Waterbenders (a whopping four survivors, five in total if Katara is included) are freed from the Waterbender Prison after the war is over, but Katara is left with crippling long-term injuries to her body.
  • Break the Cutie: Katara. So very much.
  • Broken Bird: Poor, poor Katara.
  • Child Prodigy: Katara knows that Aang has become this since he's managed to end the war, and also notes that Toph (who's even younger than Aang) also definitely qualifies. Meanwhile, in comparison, she's nowhere near completing her waterbending training, and the crippling injuries dealt to her body means it will take a long while yet for her to do so.
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  • 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 being given water — which only happens once a day — and have their limbs broken whenever the guards feel like they've broken one of the prison's flimsy rules. And they're not given medical attention afterwards.
  • Darker and Edgier: The story basically explores what happens when Katara is imprisoned in the Waterbender Prison for several months. She's completely broken by the time she's freed.
  • Deconstruction: The fic begins by deconstructing the poorly-planned ruse that Katara, Sokka and Aang conceived to get Katara captured as an earthbender prisoner. See Surprisingly Realistic Outcome below.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Katara crosses this when she hears that the Fire Lord is visiting the prison, due to her status as being a travelling companion of the Avatar. The situation gets worse when she sees in person that the Fire Lord is Zuko, thinking that she'll be tortured for information... until Sokka shows up a few moments later and Zuko gives out orders for the guards to release the waterbender prisoners.
    • Before Katara spread word of the Avatar's return, the waterbender prisons were in the midst of one themselves.
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: If the guards catch a prisoner talking, that equals a broken limb for the prisoner in question. All of the waterbender prisoners, Katara included, have all of their limbs broken multiple times over the course of the story.
  • Heroic BSoD: Katara goes through this when she's first brought into the Waterbender Prison. She then goes through a second one after both her arms are broken by the guards. And she presumably goes through multiple ones each time her limbs are broken. Then she goes through another one, coupled with Despair Event Horizon, upon hearing that the Fire Lord is visiting the prison. Even when she's finally freed, Katara experiences a few more phases of this due to her crippling injuries and seeing the sorry state of the Southern Water Tribe's waterbending culture.
  • Hurting Hero: Katara, due to her traumatic imprisonment. Aang and Sokka too, to a lesser extent, due to the fact that they had to win the war while fearing for Katara's life the whole while.
  • Kick the Dog: The prison guards who torture the waterbenders and refuse to give them medical attention afterwards.
  • Last of Her Kind: Katara thought herself to be this, until she met the surviving Southern waterbenders in the Waterbender Prison. It's a bittersweet moment for all involved.
  • My Greatest Failure: The capture and imprisonment of Katara is this for Sokka and Aang.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Maybe not so surprising after all. The author of this fanfic does away with the Idiot Ball that the Fire Nation military holds when they mistake Katara for an earthbender. Instead, her and Sokka's Bad "Bad Acting", and the fact that she doesn't even bother dressing up in Earth Kingdom clothes when pulling her stunt, along with Aang's poor co-ordination in the hoax, means that the soldiers aren't actually fooled one bit and only take her as an "earthbender prisoner" in order to get her far away from Sokka and Aang's reach — whereupon the soldiers change tactics and take her to the Waterbender Prison instead.
    • Possibly, in a Crosses the Line Twice sort of way, this is darkly and humourously lampshaded when Katara expresses complete confusion as to how the Fire Nation caught on to her ruse.
    • Despite Zuko pulling a Heel–Face Turn and helping to end the war, since Katara wasn't around to see any of it, she doesn't trust him at first, and is even scared of him.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: The Waterbender Prison. As in the show, the waterbenders are kept in cages suspended off the ground, far away from water. And they are given only the bare minimum of food and water to survive.
    • The Earthbender Prison is also this, being an ocean rig far away from land.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Kya's necklace for Katara.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Over the course of the story, Katara is captured, imprisoned, and tortured to the point that she has lasting injuries and pain even after being given first-class medical treatment upon being freed.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The prison guards had absolutely no qualms in torturing a 14-year-old girl and laughing about it afterwards.


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