Author's Notes: This Avatar fanfic is set 5 years after the ending of the show. Each chapter focuses on a different character that is not Aang, but contains either him or references to him that will help shape his story. I don't normally brag on my stuff, but I really think the two I have done so far are awesome. Each chapter is meant to be a short story, with a distinguishable beginning, middle and end and is relatively short (under 5000 words). The ideas are definitely out there, but keep an open mind and enjoy the story. Oh, and please leave some critique, good or bad.
Sokka The Fire Bender
“Come in,” said Iroh warmly, ushering Sokka into his personal office in the storeroom of the Jade Dragon. It took plenty of maneuvering to make it past all the boxes and clutter that filled the room. He sighed in relief as he reached an open area where Iroh sat, sampling some boiled tea. “You know, I make sure to test all the tea before I serve it to the customers. I say it is because I must ensure they have nothing but the best. In reality, I just like having an excuse to spend my time drinking tea.” He gave a hardy laugh. “Sokka, why is it you have come seeking me?”
Sokka took a seat in front of Iroh. The face he wore seemed to be one of confusion and pain. Iroh had seen this look in his nephew’s eyes many times. Whatever was troubling Sokka, it was something too big for him to contemplate on his own. Iroh was happy that the Water Tribe boy had come to him for advice.
“It happened a few days ago. I don’t know how it happened, but it did. It doesn’t make any sense, but all of a sudden I can bend.”
“This does not seem like something you should be so distraught over, my young friend. You are a fine warrior and the ability to water bend will help you in your fights against the rebels. Not to mention that you and your sister have something new to bond over.”
“You don’t understand.”
Iroh took a sip of his tea. “Is it that you have defined yourself by your sword for so many years and shut out the thought of being a Water Bender and now being able to makes you question yourself?”
Sokka averted his eyes from Iroh to the boiling tea. “I wish it were that simple. Bending is something I never thought I’d do and I really didn’t want to. The thing that’s bothering me is…It’s not water I can bend; I’m a Fire Bender.”
Iroh nearly dropped his cup. “Really? That is strange.”
“It happened while we were fighting some of the rebels near Omashu six days ago. I was cornered by at least half a dozen Fire Benders and had lost my sword earlier in the battle. I thought I was done for and I tried to punch one of the swordsmen when fire exploded from my fist. I was able to get his sword and make a break for it. I tried to do it again later that night and I still could! I can fire bend and it just doesn’t make any sense! I’m from the Water Tribe!”
“I will admit it is strange, but it is still a blessing. I know the war caused you to hate many Fire Benders, but by becoming one that will help you let go of that hate. Not every person can bend and some blossom later than others, but it is very rare for a person from one nation to learn the bending of another.” He took another sip. “However, it may be that because of your character and countless exposure to fire bending, this was an inevitable outcome. Sokka, you have passion and courage far beyond that of your comrades. You are a fine leader with a strong heart. These are all things that can make a good Fire Bender.”
Sokka leapt to his feet. “I guess you’re right! If I can master the sword, I can be a Fire Bender, too! Master Iroh, will you teach me to become a Fire Bender?”
“It would be my honor. Let us celebrate this moment with some tea.” Iroh poured a cup for his new student.
The next day, Sokka rose with the sun. The narrow alleys and busy streets of Ba Sing Se kept him focused as he jogged through them. Five miles in the morning was essential to keep his endurance up. If he was ever deserted and needed to travel long distances on foot, this training could save his life. Iroh sat at the edge of the back porch as Sokka trained in the yard.
“The breath! Fire bending comes from the breath.” Iroh commanded Sokka to step back while he demonstrated once more the proper technique. “Breathe in. Feel the air filling your lungs. Now, unleash it into the world as fire.” Iroh punched straight out in front of him, causing a fire ball to erupt. “Perhaps, we should start off a little simpler.” Iroh took a deep breath and held the palms of his hands in front of him. A small spark went off and then a tiny fire was sitting in his hands. “Now, Sokka, take it and do not let it burn out. Keep your breathing steady and your mind focused.”
“How long do I have to keep it going?” Sokka whined. “It’s almost lunchtime.”
“Keep it burning until sunset. You will skip lunch today. If you let the flame die, you will skip dinner, too.” Iroh knew he would need to train Sokka a little tougher than a normal student if he were to make up the twenty years of not bending.
Sokka sat in the grass staring at his flame. Sometimes it would begin shrinking and getting colder. Those times he would take deep, steady breaths, feeling the fire grow as he willed it. Other times the fire became too big and he almost lost control. Those instances called for the utmost concentration and caused so much of a headache. Once, his leg fell asleep and he held the fire in one hand as he furiously whacked the leg with his boomerang. The flame was one moment from burning out before Sokka noticed and managed to save it.
As dusk arrived, so did the smells of cooked food from the many houses and restaurants of the city. Sokka watched the horizon anxiously, waiting for the sun to disappear to the other side of the Earth. “Whooohooo!!!!” The joy overwhelmed him and as he jumped up and down the flame exploded in a fireball, spreading to the roof of the tea shop. “Uh oh.” Sokka’s jaw dropped and panic consumed him. “Sifu Iroh! We’ve got a major problem out here!”
The backdoor slid open, revealing Iroh. “Sokka, there is no need to scream. Whatever the problem is, we will solve it as long as we remain calm…MY TEA SHOP! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!” Iroh ran back in to fill a bucket with water and flung it at the roof with no success. “IF MY SHOP BURNS DOWN, I SWEAR SOKKA-“
“I think I can help.” Sokka and Iroh turned to see the Avatar behind them.
“How long have you been standing there?” Sokka asked suspiciously.
“Long enough to see Master Iroh almost attack you, Sokka. How did you manage to set the shop on fire? Hold that. Let me take care of this first.” Aang took a water bending stance, his legs spread, arms moving swiftly and BAM! Tons of water burst from the gutters near the fence and doused the flames.
“You couldn’t have used something besides sewer water?!” Iroh exclaimed.
“I think you should be happy he saved your shop, Sifu.” Sokka said casually.
“Sokka, are you forgetting whose fault this was to begin with?” Iroh glared at him. “In addition to training tomorrow, I think you will be helping with customers to pay for the cost of repairs on my roof.”
The shop was free of customers as Aang sat with Sokka and Iroh learning about all that had transpired. “That’s great, Sokka! Except for you almost burning down Master Iroh’s shop. That part, not so great. But listen, if you can learn to fire bend that means other people can learn to air bend. The Air Benders don’t have to disappear!”
The new Council of Nations had been trying to find a way to restore the balance lost when the Air Benders disappeared. This could be the way. The only other option that existed was for Aang to have as many children as possible and hope they could all air bend. It wasn’t that Aang couldn’t handle the task. In fact, it sounded like the best responsibility any guy could be asked to do. Unfortunately, he didn’t think Katara would enjoy the idea of trying to have so many kids.
“You know, Sokka, I could probably teach you some cool fire bending moves.” Aang suggested.
“Didn’t you burn your eyebrows off last year fire bending? No offense, but I like all my hair just like it is.”
“They grew back. And besides, I was learning to shoot lightning; a lot different from regular fire bending.”
“Who taught you, Aang?” Iroh inquired.
“Well, Zuko did his best to explain it, but…He never mastered it, so I guess that would explain why I couldn’t really get the hang of it with him teaching me. That’s actually the reason I came here. I need to learn to bend lightning if I’m ever going to completely master fire bending.”
“First, Sokka and now the Avatar? I should run a fire bending school on the side. I suppose I can close the shop for a week or two while we go to the mountains for your training. It will be nice to get out of the city for a little while.”
The hike up the mountain was treacherous and inhospitable to the travelers. Twice, the group encountered cougar-rams that tried to make dinner of them. Iroh insisted they would not see anymore after reaching the summit. Sokka pointed out the cacti growing along the trail and wondered if the juice would be as good as the desert cacti’s. Aang thought it would be best not to try. However, Sokka’s curiosity got the best of him. To his disappointment, it tasted like normal water with no obvious side effects.
“Welcome to the summit of Mount Ba Sing Se.” Iroh proclaimed. “We will make camp tonight and begin training tomorrow.”
“But Master Iroh,” Aang said. “There’s still plenty of daylight. Why can’t we start training today?”
“It has been a long hike, my young friend. We have worked hard enough to reach this point. We will start training bright and early tomorrow.”
The next morning, at sunrise, Sokka was shown the first fire bending form. He was to spend all day mastering the movements and not to let himself become sloppy even if he began to think he had trained enough. According to Iroh, the student wants to believe he has mastered something, so he will never see the mistakes. That is why there is a teacher to recognize where the student needs improvement. No one has ever mastered anything on their own.
“Now Aang,” Iroh began. “Lightning is not something all Fire Benders can master. Fire the element you are weakest at and you may not be ready to learn this yet. Do not become discouraged. You are very talented and just because you can’t learn one skill does not mean anything about you as a person or as the Avatar.” Iroh talked Aang through the motions of creating lightning and then demonstrated it. Aang’s first attempt ended in an explosion that flung him backwards at Sokka. “That was, um, a good effort. No one gets it right the first time, after all. Let’s try again.” Again, an explosion and again Sokka was sent to the ground by an Aang turned projectile.
The three sat around a campfire. The stew smelled so delicious to Sokka that he nearly asked Aang to hold him back until it was fully cooked. As the three ate they recounted the events since they had last met.
“Then, Momo jumped on his head and he freaked out. He dropped his spear and ran screaming. It was so hilarious!” Aang laughed at his story.
“I miss Momo.” Sokka complained. “By the way, Aang, how is Katara?”
“She’s at the South Pole with your dad and grandma. The bounty hunters still think she’s at the North Pole and I should keep them believing it if I make regular trips there. The baby’s gonna come soon and I really wish I could be there, but I just don’t want to risk giving away where she is. She’s pretty defenseless right now and if anyone figures out where she is they might…”
“You are doing the right thing, Aang.” Iroh assured him. “The rebels are targeting you and Katara. If she is captured they will try to use you to free Azula and put her on the throne.”
“The Guru told me I needed to let go of Katara to protect the world and now I’ve done something the monks never did and I’ve become more attached to her than ever. If the rebels do start a revolution because of me being so selfish, I don’t know what will happen.”
“It’s okay, Aang.” Sokka put his hand on Aang’s shoulder. “I’ve been fighting them since the war ended. Believe me, they aren’t as big a threat as you think. I think you should be worried about Gram-Gram’s cooking killing her, if anything.” Sokka let out a hardy laugh and Aang was caught up in the moment, laughing and losing his worries, if only for that brief amount of time.
Iroh bid the young men to turn in for the night, but in the end the old friends couldn’t resist swapping the stories that had piled up in their individual journeys. Sokka went into great detail about the day he had been the youngest soldier ever promoted to command a brigade in the Water Tribe. Some of the older officers had been angry that such a boy was in command of them that they had actually tried to break his legs and put him out of service. “Needless to say, they didn’t count on my clever thinking to get out of the situation. They thought they had me cornered out on the ice by the ocean, but I took a dive under their legs and when I was on the other side, I used my sword to crack the piece of ice they were all standing on. They ended up floating on that piece of ice for three days before my dad’s men went out to sea and got them.”
“Wow, Sokka! You sure have made a lot of friends.”
“They tried to break my legs!” Sokka shouted.
“Yea, but it was probably just to initiate you or something. Army guys are real weird about that stuff.”
“Yea…I guess it was just harmless hazing.” Sokka said sarcastically.
“That’s the word! It was just hazing.” Aang said cheerfully. Aang then asked, “How do you like fire bending so far?”
“I don’t.” Sokka’s face expressed misery. “I don’t know why I suddenly can do it and I want it to go away.”
Aang was suddenly confused. “If you don’t want to fire bend then why did you ask Master Iroh to teach you? You could have just pretended like it never happened.”
“It’s not that easy.” Sokka wasn’t sure how to explain how he felt about it. “I can’t just pretend like it didn’t happen. What would happen if I was stranded in that arctic and need to build a fire and the only way to do it was with my fire bending? Or what if a Fire Bender used lightning and I hadn’t learned to redirect it? I don’t want to do it and I hate everything about fire bending, but it’s something that can help me someday.”
Aang knew what this was about. He had the same deep-rooted hatred and fear for fire bending that Katara possessed. He missed his mother and still blamed all the Fire Benders for that loss. “You know, just because you can do it doesn’t mean you have to. I think you’re letting fire bending define you as a person.”
“Say what?” Sokka didn’t know how to take that comment.
“It’s just like when you lost your boomerang and sword. You spent months in a desert looking for them. You were so depressed, remember? You let those weapons define who you were as a person and felt lost without them. But you’re still the same person.”
“So what you’re saying is I don’t have to be a Fire Bender? And if I want to be a Fire Bender, it won’t change me, it’ll just be a small part of a bigger Sokka! It’s like Fire Bending is one leg of a hog-turkey, but I’m the rest of the bird!”
“Sokka, did you just compare yourself to poultry? Fire Bending may not be the thing that makes you who you are, but I think your stomach might be.”
Before he left, Iroh bought the few fire bending scrolls available in the small Fire Nation district within Ba Sing Se. He also purchased “A Brief Glimpse of Fire Nation Culture” as further reading material. Iroh had said, “This doesn’t make you a member of the Fire Nation, but you do have a special connection with us now and it would be good for you to learn a little more.” Sokka whined about how much of a headache reading was, but said he’d dedicate a little time each night to study the book.
Sokka knew he wasn’t ready to fight anyone with fire bending, but still managed to daydream about shooting flames at his enemies. “I am Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe, a son, a brother, a swordsman, a soldier and now…A Fire Bender.” This was who he was, he decided. And then, he remembered that if he lost one, or even all of these he could still be himself.
Katara The Mother
Although she had helped deliver a little more than half a dozen babies, Katara was still unprepared for the task of having her own. Almost until the night she went into labor, she had deluded herself to believe she could remain calm throughout the whole process. The entire delivery consisted of twelve hours, blood, sweat and more pain than Katara had ever experienced in her life. She felt as if she was being torn apart from the inside. The whole time, she just wanted the child out of her at all costs. The women in the small hut laughed and told her it would be okay. Just keep pushing young lady, one old woman said. The baby wants to get out of you as much as you want it to get out, another told her.
It was midmorning when she finally held her baby girl. Despite all the pain and exhaustion she felt, she couldn’t stop smiling as she cradled the little girl in her arms. It was the most wonderful moment of her life. She was home, holding her baby and forgetting everything outside that birthing room.
The baby suckled at her breast day after day, growing ever bigger. It wasn’t before she began crawling and playing with the colorful toys handed down to her by the mothers of children long grown. Katara had babysat more times than she could count in her early teens. When the men went to war, the women took to hunting and Katara, being the oldest, was set to watching after the youngest of the tribe. That had been nowhere near as difficult as the first six months of her baby’s life. And, at the same time, nothing else made her smile as much as her own flesh and blood crawling across the narwhal-bearskin rug.
It had been eight months since her daughter’s birth. The baby girl was actually sleeping soundly through the night with less late night wake-ups. The morning sun peered through the slit carved in the ice of her ice house, causing her to wake up. It felt as though she had never slept so peacefully and for so long in her life. Her baby girl was still sleeping like a rock in the crib beside Katara’s bed. The girl could be such a handful when she was awake, but she was so tranquil in her sleep.
As she stood over the baby’s crib she heard footsteps just outside the animal skin hide that were the doors in their tribe. Whoever it was, they were hesitant about announcing themselves. Maybe they weren’t sure Katara would be awake yet. After ten minutes of hearing the person shuffle their feet in the snow, Katara finally said, “You’re welcome to come in. Unless you like the cold.”
When the visitor pulled back the animal skin tarp of a door, Katara knew why he had been so slow to pipe up. The young man with the shaved head and arrow tattoos tried his best to look her straight in the eyes, but couldn’t stop himself from averting his gaze in shame. Katara marched toward him without a word and gave struck him across the face with all her might. And not a moment later, as his cheek rapidly reddened from the blow, she was wrapping her arms tightly around him, crying uncontrollably.
It seemed like an eternity. She just couldn’t stop crying. How angry she had been with him for the past year. He abandoned her at a time in her life when she needed him desperately and she had begun to hate him for it. But now, seeing him, remembering that he was indeed the Avatar, restoring a broken world to its glory, she forgave him. “Is that her?” he asked pointing to the baby’s crib.
“No, I traded babies with someone else. Our baby is in some other crib in some other house. Yes, that’s her.” Katara led Aang to their little girl, sleeping so peacefully.
“She’s so beautiful. She’s going to grow up and be as pretty as you someday.” Aang said, never once blinking as he beheld the miracle he had fathered. “Katara, I’m sorry for not coming sooner. It’s just-“
“It’s okay, Aang.” She assured him, taking his hand. “I know we’re going to have to be apart at times. I just wish you hadn’t taken so long to finally come.” Aang kissed her forehead. The onset of puberty had brought along with it growth spurts, making him taller than Katara now and just an inch or two shorter than Sokka. “How long can you stay this time?” She asked hugging him tightly.
“At least a few months. I don’t think I can stay past Fall.” His hand stroked her hair as he took in her scent. A year without her. A baby he did not yet know. A life he knew he couldn’t have. How cruel fate was. Fighting wars and restoring peace left little time for a family.
“She’ll be old enough to travel soon. And then, we’ll be able to go with you.” Katara said optimistically.
“Yea, great.” Aang’s voice betrayed him. He obviously felt there was something wrong with what Katara had just said.
“Do you not want us to come with you? Is there some reason you want to only see your family a few months out of the whole year?” Katara’s voice was growing louder and the baby was now awake and crying. She picked up her girl and began singing a lullaby to soothe her.
“I just don’t want to see you hurt is all. And I don’t want our girl to live like we had to. Always looking over our shoulders, wondering where our next meal would come from, worrying about wars and politics kids should never have to think of except in school. The Hundred Year War might be over, but there are still problems in the world that won’t be solved over night. She’ll be in danger every single day if you two came with me.”
Katara heard the words and understood the truth they held, but that didn’t change what she wanted in her heart. Truthfully, Katara wasn’t sure what they should do yet. The idea of being with Aang, after so long of being oceans apart, was the only thing she could think of.
Then, to ease the tension, Katara suggested they take a walk. “It’s been almost three years since you came here.” She said as they walked the streets of the city. Streets! They had roads and buildings, some three floors tall!
“Master Pakku sure has been able to do wonders with this place. It’s not exactly as big or as showy as the North Pole, but it sure is an improvement over how it used to be.” Aang commented.
“We even have small outer villages on all sides, just a day’s boat ride. Probably just a few hours with Appa, I guess.” She looked over at Appa sleeping from what must have been a tough flight considering the windy days they’d been having lately. There was a group of boys, all six or so, pointing and talking amongst themselves. One was showing how brave he was by creeping toward the sleeping monster and reaching a hand out to touch Appa’s fur. When his fingers were only a few inches from Appa’s beige fur, the bison let out a yawn that frightened the boys into running witless for the nearest building. Aang and Katara laughed heartily at the sight. Katara remembered what a sight Appa was the first time she saw him and could sympathize with both the boys’ curiosity and fear or the beast.
Aang held his girl with the utmost care. “You still haven’t told me her name.” He pointed out.
“That’s because her name day hasn’t arrived yet. We don’t name babies until their first birthday. It’s because sometimes babies can get sick and die very soon after their born. Especially, if they’re born in winter. If they make it through their first year healthy, then we name them.”
“Oh,” Aang hadn’t known anything about the Water Tribe’s customs concerning babies. “So, have you thought of any names you might give her?”
“Of course. I think I’ll call her Kaenaki.” She told him with a smile. Aang’s look of bewilderment signified that he obviously didn’t understand what the name meant. Then again, he didn’t know anything about the Water Tribe’s old tongue. “’Kae’ means sea and ‘ki’ means sky in the old language.” She explained. “So, it roughly translates to ‘One of Sea and Sky’.” This brought the expression she had hoped for. Aang smiled at the child in his arms and whispered the name to her, saying how much of a blessing she was.
Katara then asked him if he thought she’d grow up to be a Water Bender, Air Bender or neither. “I don’t think there’s anyway of knowing.” Aang replied. “She could grow up to be an Earth Bender or Fire Bender, actually.”
“But that’s not possible right? Even if you can bend all four, you’re still an Air Bender first, right?” She asked, puzzled at his answer.
“Not really. My father and mother were both from the Earth Kingdom. I don’t know if either of them could bend, but I do know I was born in Omashu before my parents died and I was put in an orphanage. If the monks hadn’t adopted me, I might have just ended up an Earth Bender before I learned Air Bending. The Air Nomads didn’t take wives or father children, they always adopted the children who had nothing and showed them the way to enlightenment. That’s how we’re going to start over again. I’m going to start rebuilding the Air Nomad culture by taking orphans from around the world and training them to be Air Benders.”
Katara smiled at him. She could see the hope in his eyes. Today, he saw the girl he fathered and one day, not too far off, he would see more Air Benders. They would never be exactly like his Air Nomads had been, but that was something he’d have to accept.
Master Pakku welcomed him to the newly constructed Avatar Temple. It was nothing grand, as Master Pakku put it. Aang didn’t think so. He saw the one room temple with the torches and fountain bearing his likeness as an amazing structure and repeatedly complimented Pakku on the temple. “Thank you very much, Aang.” He told the young Avatar.
“Whoever carved the statue did a great job, but it makes me look like a kid.” Aang complained.
“Well, the Earth Bender who did this last saw you when you were fourteen, so that would explain it. And besides, I think it’s good to capture your image around the time you defeated the Fire Lord.” Pakku told him. “I don’t want to say that was your greatest moment, but I doubt anything else will be remembered much like the Avatar ending the Great War.”
“Still, look how short he carved the statue. I was never that short, was I?” Aang asked.
“Yes, you were.” Pakku said with certainty. Katara laughed at the sad look on his face.
That evening, Katara led Aang to the center of the Tribe. Her father had requested the Avatar meet with him alone and despite Katara’s insistence that it could wait until the next day, Aang was persistent he meet with Chief Hakoda as soon as possible. Katara told him that she’d be waiting at her house for him.
Chief Hakoda sat on the floor awaiting Aang. “I figured you would come tonight. I suppose you know what I want to talk to you about?”
“Yes, Chief Hakoda, I think I do. It’s because Katara and I still aren’t married.” Aang said in guilt.
“Yes. You may be the Avatar, but you are still a boy whether you think so or not. I was outraged when I learned you had given my daughter your seed. I wanted nothing more than to hunt you down. Even now, I want to strike you mercilessly. Unfortunately, what’s done is done and I am a grandfather.” He handed Aang a glass of warm tea. “I would be happy to call you a son.”
“I understand why you’re angry and I honestly wish things hadn’t turned out this way.” Hakoda could sense the uneasiness within Aang. At first, he believed Aang was simply nervous due to the circumstances of their meeting. However, the longer they sat, the more Hakoda came to realize something else, something worse, was weighing on the boy’s mind.
“Please, tell me what’s troubling you, if not meeting the father of your child’s mother?” He asked, his voice filled with kindness. His overwhelming attempt to be friendly and understanding with Aang made it all the harder to explain his burden.
Aang entered Katara’s dwelling tired and in need of sleep. He didn’t want to deceive her by sharing her bed tonight and then revealing his true intentions for the journey in the morning, but he was too tired to deal with it at the moment. So, against his conscience, he slept in the sleeping bag with Katara, holding her close and allowing himself to forget the reason he had come to the South Pole.
The baby cried for a diaper change in the night, but fell back asleep quickly. Katara could not believe Aang could sleep through the baby’s crying. Then, she remembered how Aang had flown the last two nights of the journey without sleeping just to see her and his girl. He wasn’t exactly as handsome as normal in his sleep, but that didn’t stop her from staring at him as the moonlight shone in.
Katara thought about what Aang had said about their daughter being in constant danger if they were to roam the world with him. Honestly, she had become tired of battles and politics in the past years. It would be nice to settle down. Settle down as a family; not as mother and daughter with yearly visits from a distant father. Katara believed strongly in family and that her children deserved to grow up with a mother and father. Katara remembered all too well the emptiness of missing a mother. There was nothing she could do to bring her mother back, but Aang was not dead and therefore could be part of their child’s life. If he could, then why shouldn’t he, she thought.
“How many people know she’s my daughter?” Aang began the next morning as they sat on pillows in the one room residence. The question was a strange way to begin a conversation and Katara could already sense, in the back of her mind, what Aang meant to suggest.
“Only my family and some of our close friends. You were obsessed with making sure the rebels didn’t find out and try to track me down. It was a smart idea. I couldn’t exactly water bend at full strength while I was still carrying her.” Katara didn’t like keeping such a momentous event in her life a secret from the world, but she had to admit Aang had been right for concealing the pregnancy and having her covertly sent home for the birth. “What is this about, Aang?”
“Katara, I don’t want anyone knowing she’s my baby.” Aang finally said.
“What?!” Katara exclaimed. “What is this about?!” She could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks as she became so infuriated.
“It’s just that…that I can’t make our daughter a target for anyone that might want to get to me through her. And more importantly, I can’t rebuild the Air Nomad society if I the world knows that I have done something I am preaching against.”
“Is that it? It’s never going to be like it was a hundred years ago. Just let something about your culture change. This is your family!” She insisted to Aang.
Aang knew she wouldn’t understand. “The Air Nomads meant to detach themselves from the world. They strived to dedicate themselves to teachings and to not only reach individual enlightenment, but also to make their fellow monks family. They, we, treated each other like brothers and sisters because we had no one else. If the nomads were ever to have families of their own, we would be separated from each by bloodlines. I know you don’t want to hear this, but it’s the truth.”
“Shut up! Just shut up!” She yelled. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Why would Aang do this to her? This was the absolute worst thing that could happen to her. After all she had done for him over the years. She gave him 6 years of her life, she loved him with her whole heart and she gave her girlhood to him. What had she done wrong? He had loved her so completely. Maybe he had stopped. This time, she had heard all he had said and let none of it truly reach her. She simply couldn’t accept this. Just as it angered her how Pakku was still reluctant to train girls in water bending, she couldn’t simply accept that a culture was different than her own.
With a wave of her hand, a wall of ice separated the two of them. Aang could have melted the ice easily, but that would have accomplished little more than further upsetting Katara. So, Aang spent under a month in the Southern Water Tribe where he met with the leaders and helped Master Pakku train young Water Benders. The children that had first seen the Avatar return were now the age he had been when he met them. They were Water Benders and pretty decent ones at that.
All the time, he intentionally avoided Katara, afraid of what she might say to him. He knew that even if he were to change his mind and take it all back, they would never be the same. He still loved her, but as he had learned years ago, he would have to let go of the people he loved to restore balance to the world. She might hate him forever, but he could not let that reach too deep inside him. He was forever destined to serve the world and to be detached from them.
It would be another year when Katara stood in the Fire Lord’s personal chambers. “I know this must sound like a crazy request, Zuko.” She said concluding her story.
“No,” he replied. “It actually makes sense. Aang was right. And as long as there’s no father the world will be convinced he is the father. And I was at the North Pole with Aang when you conceived Kaenani. I knew there would be sacrifices I’d have to make. If this will protect the Avatar’s reputation and allow him to rebuild the Air Nomads’ civilization with honor, then I’ll claim to be her father. We’ll have someone leak out the story and it might bring gossip and disrespect to both of us, but I’m willing to make those sacrifices.”
Zuko sounded so much like Aang had when he told her he couldn’t be Kaenani’s father. She hated him for it just then. Not a minute later did he do something that shocked her: he hugged her. It took her by surprise and made her feel awkward at first. Zuko had become her friend over the years and she had a crush at one point when she was seventeen, but it had only been a passing phase.
When Zuko kissed her, she didn’t resist; she welcomed it. Several months later a wedding was announced. Aang knew he must go because he was the Avatar. He watched the woman that had once been his marry who had once been his sworn enemy. He heard his own daughter call this man father. And he smiled through all this, wishing their union to be a happy one, joining the two nations in a joyful partnership. The crowd cheered and clapped as his smile hid his despair. Zuko tried to talk to him after the ceremony, but Aang would not stay to listen. He probably earth bended a tunnel to escape without running into anyone, Zuko concluded.
Aang understood all the reasoning behind the actions they had taken, but that didn’t make any of it better. And then, he remembered how Avatar Roku had been left to die by his best friend, Sozin. And how Avatar Kyoshi had been labeled a murderer by one Earth Kingdom village. The more Avatars he thought about, the more he saw that each had suffered and none were ever happy. They had all lost the people they loved in the end. Aang wondered if his next incarnation would be doomed to the same fate. He might die tomorrow and be reincarnated as Sokka’s son, he thought. And then, he may have to watch Sokka die in some circumstance stemming from him being the Avatar. By sunrise the next morning, Aang knew the Avatar was doomed to live in servitude, with only fleeting happiness.
And those are the first two chapters. The next chapter is "Toph The Lover" and will, as the title suggests, have a sexually active Toph. If you have noticed anything about my writing, it is to tell a story and you can rest assured I love Avatar and will not disgrace the show by going overboard. Once again, I really wanna know what ya'll think.