Shinichi reacted immediately.

The Avatar pressed his hand to the ground, and the earth began to tremble. Cracks began to appear, and Shinichi looked up at Ran, who was running closer.

"Stop what you're doing!" Saguru called, wind gathering around him.

Kid landed onto the hill. Shinichi looked at him. "Get Shiho and Sonoko!"

Kid shook his head wildly. "I can't!" he said. "Hakuba didn't come alone!"

Shinichi cursed. "Fine. Then it's just us three for now. We'll come back for them later."

"No!" Saguru yelled, suddenly shooting the wind toward them.

Heiji was caught in the blast. He yelped as he was suddenly thrown into the cracks. Shinichi and Kid fell through as well. Heiji hit the floor, pain shooting through him, and looked at the other two.

"Ran!" Shinichi cried out.

"The damn wind pushed her away!" Kid said.

The earth began to move. "She needs to come with us," Shinichi said.

Kid shot a blast of air towards the top of the ditch, and a small landslide began to occur. Heiji scrambled back.

Do they even realize I'm here?

Kid grabbed Shinichi by the shoulders. "Getting you out is the priority," he snapped.

Shinichi shook his head. "No!" he yelled back. "Ran is the most important one!"

Feeling very ignored, Heiji cleared his throat. Very stupid decision, given that the other two men were his enemies, but whatever. Heiji was very good at making stupid decisions, anyway.

Shinichi and Kid both whipped to face him, and yeah, Heiji felt a bit nervous at that.

"Hi?" he offered.

"Don't fool around," Kid said, then he moved one of his hands so he was grabbing Shinichi by the wrist. He pulled the Avatar along through the tunnels, Shinichi trying to resist, but soon enough giving in. Heiji just followed. Nothing else he could do, anyway. He doubted his fire could destroy the tunnels and get him out of here, and besides, if this was the only way to keep Kudo Shinichi, the Avatar, safe…

But my father wants me to get Miyano Shiho, Heiji remembered. And she's still out there. But she's on the Avatar's side… Argh! I don't know what to do!

Finally, when it was so dark that Heiji could barely see, Kid stopped. "Kudo," he said. "Make some fire."

Shinichi didn't react, his eyes fixed at his feet. He's probably still upset about us leaving Mouri Ran, Heiji thought. I wonder… did he love her? No, they were probably just really close friends.

Since Shinichi wasn't doing anything, Heiji raised his hand, and fire flickered into existence in his palm. He had planned to only make a small fire, but yelped as a big one appeared instead.

A wooden stick was shoved into the fire in his palm, and Heiji quickly put it out. He could see because of the newly created torch, and his eyes widened as he spotted an unfamiliar figure in front of him.

The woman was looking at Kid. "You brought along someone unexpected," she noted.

"Koizumi Akako," Kid said with a heavy sigh. "I was really hoping that we wouldn't need your help."

Kazuha watched as the new arrivals, all airbenders, began to surround them. She got fire prepared in her hands, ready to strike if necessary. But they should be our allies, shouldn't they? That Hakuba Saguru guy said that he's after Kaitou Kid…

Momiji pressed close against her. "Don't worry," she murmured quietly. "Everything will be okay. I promise."

I'm not going to trust her, Kazuha decided out of pure spite. She wanted to trust those words—they would most certainly be comforting, given the current situation—but she wasn't really Momiji's biggest fan. I don't know what she wants from us, but I'm sure it's nothing good.

Also… Heiji… is he okay? Kazuha eyed the hill she had last seen Heiji on, before he had disappeared into the ground. Only two remained on the hill now: Hakuba Saguru and Mouri Ran.

Saguru waved a hand at the area where Sonoko's bodyguards were standing. Once the airbenders had arrived, they had all formed a protective formation around Sonoko and Shiho. "Take them," he said. "They seem to be working with Kaitou Kid."

"And me?" Ran questioned. It was hard to be sure from Kazuha's position, but it looked like the earthbender was struggling to hold herself together.

"Yes," Saguru said. "You will most certainly be taken for interrogation as well."

Ran lifted her chin slightly, but said nothing more.

"You three!" Saguru called out, looking at Kazuha, Momiji, and Iori. "You were fighting against them, yes? Well, I'm afraid I'll still have to take you to the station, but at least we know you aren't criminals."

"Thank you," Kazuha called out, because she didn't know what else she could say.

"Really, the Avatar," Saguru cursed. "This is all going insane…"

One of the other airbenders called out, "Maybe it's a guy that looks like the Avatar. I heard there's a lot of those."

Saguru let out an exasperated sigh. "Well, whatever, we're going to the station now."

And, as thus, they all went to the station. Kazuha, Momiji, and Iori were kept separate from the others, but Kazuha could clearly see the tension radiating off the three girls kept in the center of the circle of bodyguards. She noticed Makoto reach out and put a comforting hand on Sonoko's shoulder. She was the most visibly nervous of the three.

Kazuha let out a sigh and continued onward.

Finally, they reached a building. "The local police station," Saguru explained, even though he really didn't have to. He then gestured toward the other airbenders—cops, Kazuha realized—to take Ran's group in one direction, and he began to lead Kazuha's group in another.

"What are your names?" Saguru asked. The question was almost conversational.

"Toyama Kazuha," Kazuha introduced herself, then, as Momiji opened her mouth, Kazuha continued on. "Ooka Momiji, and Iori Muga."

"Hakuba Saguru," Saguru offered, "though you guys already knew that, assuming you heard me earlier."

They all nodded.

"Well, then." Saguru stopped at a room and gestured toward the door. "I hope you guys don't mind keeping her company."

"Who?" Kazuha questioned.

Saguru didn't answer. Instead, he opened the door. Inside the room was a young woman, the same age as Kazuha and Momiji.

The woman looked up. "Any news on Kaito?"

Saguru shook his head. "None yet, I'm afraid." His tone was apologetic.

The woman looked down again. "I see. Should I leave?"

"No need, you can stay," Saguru said. Lowering his voice, he added to the others, "Her name is Nakamori Aoko. Please, if you could keep her company…" he smiled awkwardly, then left.

"Why can't he do that?" Kazuha muttered spitefully, but entered the room anyway. "Ah, Nakamori Aoko, right?"

Aoko looked up and nodded slightly. "Yes. And you are…?"

Kazuha introduced the three of them again. Momiji looked a bit annoyed at how Kazuha was making her introduction for her. Good.

"What are you doing here?" Kazuha asked Aoko, sitting down near her. Ah, this was awkward, but Kazuha was trying her best.

"My best friend is missing," Aoko started.

Iori murmured "I'm going to guard the entrance" quietly to Momiji, then left the room. Jerk.

"He's suspected of being Kaitou Kid," Aoko continued.

Iori would have loved to hear that, Kazuha thought, then asked, "Is he?"

Aoko snorted. "No way he is. I'm going to prove them wrong."

"What," Akako began, "is going on? Obviously something fucked up, since you're here looking for me, but I'm afraid you need to elaborate."

"Hakuba came," Kid spat out. "I told Kudo about the tunnel systems beforehand and to create a path to them in case of emergency, so that's what he did. We got separated from Mouri, Miyano, and Suzuki."

Shinichi finally seemed to regain some of his bearings. He shot a glare at Kid. "We need to go back for Ran," he insisted.

Akako rolled her eyes. "Mouri," she said, "is not what is most important. You're the Avatar, after all."

"No," Shinichi whispered. "Ran…" he cut himself off, clenching his fists tightly. He glared at Akako. "Who even are you?"

"I may be the only one who could ever compare to you," Akako said, smirking.

Kid rolled his eyes. "Don't be cocky."

"It's not cocky if it's true."

Shinichi suddenly turned toward the nearest wall and placed his hand on it. Heiji could feel the earth start to move.

He understood. He wanted Kazuha to be safe as well. But, right now…

Heiji grabbed Shinichi's wrist, pulling him back. "The others are right," he said. "Mouri Ran isn't what's most important right now."

Shinichi turned his glare on him. Heiji flinched. There was so much hatred in Shinichi's eyes. For a moment, Heiji felt as if the earth had swallowed him whole. Maybe that would have been preferable.

Heiji let go of Shinichi's wrist.

"I don't know who you are," Akako said smoothly, making Heiji turn toward her. "But your fire is out of control."

"We aren't even sure he's an ally," Kid added on. "Better to be safe than sorry."

Akako and Kid exchanged a look, and then Akako stepped forward and placed a hand on Heiji.

Heiji froze. In that brief moment, he felt as if something was ripped away from him.

"Try lighting a fire now," Akako suggested.

Heiji tried. He tried calling upon the fire inside him, as he had always done. But nothing happened. He looked up at Akako in horror. "What have you done?" he whispered.

Akako smirked and turned away, but that didn't matter. Heiji already knew the answer to his question.

She had taken away his bending.


Heizo stared at the man who dared appear at his door. "Ooka."

"I got a report from Iori Muga," Ooka said. He passed a piece of paper to Heizo. "Prepare your troops, Hattori. We are moving in on the Air Nomads." And then he left.

Heizo clenched his fists in anger. To think that Ooka got information before me… What are you doing, you stupid boy?!

Then, as he read the paper, he froze.

Heiji better be alright. To think he's trapped with the somehow living Avatar…

After it was late enough at night that Momiji was sure most people would be asleep, she left her room. (They had all been provided with rooms while the current situation was being dealt with. Said room was shabby, but Momiji found that after all those days of traveling, she did not mind.)

As predicted, Iori was standing outside.

"What did you do?" Momiji hissed out. She knew that he had done something, at least. His expression revealed all the truths he was hiding.

Iori looked her in the eye. "I told your father everything," he said calmly.

Momiji staggered back, breathing hard. "Kazuha," she murmured.

Iori was watching her. Momiji sighed. "Go to sleep," she said. She couldn't do anything to him. Once he left, she returned to her own room and buried her face in her hands.

"Kazuha," she whispered again. "Kazuha, Kazuha…"

If this all went wrong, then Kazuha would be convicted of being an ally to the Avatar. So would Heiji, she realized, but that was mainly a passing thought. Yeah, sure, she liked Heiji. He was her… friend, she guessed. But Kazuha…

Momiji had to fight to hold back her tears.

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