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Another Brother is an AU /ForWantOfANail Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic by Avocado Love. It's centered around an amnesic 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 is currently in the middle of the Siege at the North.
It can be read here.
Needless to say, SPOILERS AHOY:
- 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.
- Affably Evil: Prince Iroh.
- 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 few of the Southern Water Tribe villagers still feel this way about Zuko. 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.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Well... sort of. 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 also buys Katara from the pirates, despite his only goal being to secure the Avatar, to spare her from their 'attentions'.
- 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 imposture as Fire Lord, predisposing those in the capital to disbelieve the truth about Zuko... and to think that Iroh is chasing a lie.
- Chick Magnet: Zuko.
- 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.
- Cryptic Conversation: 'Li' and Zuko, in Song's home.
- Dead Big Brother: Inverted. Azula isn't especially gleeful or happy about Zuko's supposed death, but she'd prefer him out of the way if only to secure her eventual claim on the throne.
- 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.
- 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.
- Face Heel Turn: Momo.
- 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.
- 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. Aside from all that and the obvious, nothing in Avatar canon is changed.
- Freaky Thursday: Nothing that actually occurs in story, but 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.
- 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. 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. Turns out brain surgery is a *bit* more complicated than healing burns.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sophie's Choice: Discussed trope. When Hakoda is narrating the revelation of Zuko's firebending to his tribe, he describes the situation he 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.
- Spirit Advisor: Lu Ten to Sokka.
- 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 that this is why Zuko doesn't want to go back to the Fire Nation.
- 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 Evil Prince: Ozai, although his limp suggests his ambitions were at one point thwarted by his father. Azula is another example, although she seems milder than in canon.
- The Power of the Elements: Moreso than in canon. 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- You Have Failed Me: Foreshadowed. Azulon warns Ozai that Princess Azula must either come back from the North as a victor... or not 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.