A/N: Hey there folks, thanks for stopping by! This is my second story here on so critique, my friends! Critique like the wind! XD
Why this story idea? Because ATLA needs another high school AU.
The pairings will end up as advertised, but during the corse of the story, instances of others may occur.
Also, I may never finish this story (I have the attention span of a gnat) so don't get too attached.
And that's all that I have to say! Enjoy, and please review, it might help me get further than one chapter! hint hint
Massive thanks to Malaz for beta-ing this chapter, and all of his input and advice.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Avatar the last Airbender, and any of its various characters, creatures, and concepts.
WARNINGS: Rated M for coarse language, violence, and adult themes. For Vengeance
Three Tombstones

Respect is a currency.
It binds together the gangs in this city, it makes or breaks the peace.
A nod of the head, a flicker of an eyelid, a careful word or two, even. That is respect. Knowing the strength of the person with whom one is speaking, and letting them know through you... That is respect.
In a city like this, disrespect is answered with violence.
That is why, in this bloody city, many graves are dug, and many holes are filled by a wrong word, an incorrect gesture.

i.
A woman was hurrying down the street, long brown hair ruffled by the autumn wind. Her child, a small girl with soft blue eyes clung to her hand, pulled along by her mother's haste.
"Hurry, Katara!" She told her daughter in a loud, breathless whisper. The child hurried up a bit, but seemed to not fully comprehend her mother's distress.
"But Mama-"
"Hush, darling, only a little further now."
From the shadows of a nearby alleyway, however, the pair was being watched.
A gun was raised and loaded, ready.
The child looked up at her mother, eyes full of innocence and love.
The sniper pulled the trigger.

There is one tombstone on a hill, and beneath it lies a mother.

ii.
A boy was tinkering with a small plastic device, in defiance of his father's forbidding him to do so after perviously catching him with the same device.
In the ignorance of childhood, perhaps not grasping the concept of death, the boy didn't think that the object he was fiddling with was dangerous, explosive, and could very well kill him. Outside the house, his cousin was walking past, toward the door, to come inside and deliver something to his mother, who was sitting just in the other room.
Suddenly, something in the device gave. There was a sharp snap, a gasp from the boy, just as his mother poked her head in to check on her son.
"Zuko-"
Her voice was cut off by the roar of the explosion, and then silenced forever as her soft form was torn apart by the force of it. Zuko was flung back, face blistering and flesh split by the sheer feat of the flames, landing across the room in a twisted heap. Outside, his cousin didn't know what hit him as glass and wood shrapnel tore into his own body, and he was smashed backward and fell to the ground, battered and dying.

There is a second tombstone shared by a family, with four spaces still open, and beneath it lies a second mother and a cousin. The boy can never visit this tombstone because of his guilt, which threatens to eat him alive.

iii.
It was a massacre in the streets. The night was bathed in the golden-yellow light of street lights, screams and shots filled the air, which smelled of blood.
The police were trying in vain to quell a riot unlike any these old streets had ever seen. Three gangs, one dressed in red, one in blue, and the third in brown and green were joined together against the fourth, dressed in yellow and orange and tattooed extensively.
The group under attack were known as the Air Nomads, and had killed a member of the Water Tribe, sold drugs in Fire Nation territory, and talked trash about the Earth Kingdom on more than one occasion. For these actions of a few of them, all would die.
They had been in a massive gunfight for hours and the smaller force had run out of ammo.
The larger side attacked with a fury unlike any other, going after the surviving members of the other gang ruthlessly.
The police fired gas bombs and sprayed into the crowd with fire hoses, but the fight could not be quelled, and soon the ground was littered with orange and yellow clad bodies, the gutters were red with blood.
A small boy, tattooed like the others of his kin and dressed as them, as well, streaked away from the carnage hand-in-hand with an older man.
There was a yell, and both the young boy and his caretaker were felled with shots to the chest.

There is a third tombstone surrounded by many others, and beneath it lies an old man who died trying to save the life of a young boy. The boy still lives, and whenever he comes to the tomb of his long-dead friend, he aches for revenge.


A/N: Thank you for reading:D
I tried some new stuff stylistically, and I'd love to hear opinions on it. coughreviewcough cough