there is only one cishet person in atla and its katara sorry i dont make the rules
there is only one cishet person in atla and its katara sorry i dont make the rules
Prompt: Bonnie & Clyde
Summary: Egg custard tarts are missing, waiters are tripping on newly formed rock bumps, and someone keeps pulling Sokka’s chair out anytime he tries to sit! The common thread?
Aang and Toph are nowhere to be found.
This one took some inspiration from an old fave of mine and first read on Taang fics on FFN, "Meet me Under the Table". It's definitely got that old 2007 FFN writing style but I liked its concept and thought it was sweet.
I also go into this in the A/N but Bonnie & Clyde as a dynamic is interesting, in terms of I get the trope, but the actual relationship itself was toxic. The crime duo weren't really a "healthy" couple. So, I tried to run with that theme a bit in this! Hope you enjoyed!
Until next post,
Read on AO3 or Fanfiction.net
A/N: I have been remiss to get this far into the story without mentioning my amazing beta @flameohotwife! Bouncing ideas off of her has definitely improved this story (not to mention it is far more readable due to her grammar/spelling corrections!) I’m super lucky to have her help!
Waterbending, as an art form, had a sense of community about it. Much like the people it stemmed from. So it was hard (if not impossible) to waterbend with someone you have ill will towards. Sparring, no problem. But the unity and togetherness required to feel the ebb and flow of the water together, pushed and pulled by two people equally, required a certain amount of trust and openness.
That is why Katara had thus far avoided this kind of waterbending with the Avatar. She knew she couldn’t open herself to him in that way — to abandon her caution and anger — in order to share the water with him freely.
But yesterday he had asked her to teach him to heal. And she had agreed. And she knew that if there was anything more intimate in waterbending than working the water together, it was healing.
So in order to work towards the latter, she thought it best to practice the former.
Hence why Katara found herself now standing waist-deep in a large pool of water in the Avatar’s training arena with the Avatar.
She wasn’t sure if she could do this.
Technically speaking, there were much bigger and grander demonstrations of waterbending prowess. But sometimes breaking down an iceberg was easier than breaking down the walls of animosity in your own heart. And Katara had been preparing for this since last night, evaluating her feelings, working on setting her hurts and angers aside.
At least for now, she told herself. During the exercise she would need to put down her animosities toward the Avatar. She could always pick them up again later.
“We’re going to start by passing this stream of water back and forth between us,” Katara instructed as she pulled a long, graceful ribbon of water up from the pool and passed it towards the Avatar. “We will need to feel the movements of the other person, as well as the energy of the water between us if we are to keep it moving uninterrupted.”
Avatar Aang nodded and sank back in a smooth lunge, wordlessly accepting the water she sent his way. For a time they did little more than pass the water back and forth between them in a wide arching circle.
This small step was more mental effort for her than the Avatar may ever know. Katara had been up late thinking about healing the Avatar yesterday, turning over and over her anger and hurt, and reevaluating some of her assumptions about him.
Katara could not ignore that the Avatar had turned his back on the nations that needed him, instead choosing to support the people whose war-lust had brought so much destruction. He lived luxuriously in the grandeur of the Fire Palace, basking in wealth acquired by one hundred years of bloodshed. Katara’s own mother had been a casualty of the Firelord’s greed.
Sweat began to bead on Katara’s forehead as the familiar hatred she harbored threatened to consume her.
More memories accosted their way into the forefront of her mind.
Firebenders had raided her village when she was fourteen. They’d shouted at her people, accusing them of harboring the Avatar, sure that her people had helped to hide him. Because of the Avatar, her village had been destroyed. Katara had watched helplessly as her brother’s lifeless body had been dragged gruffly away into the heart of a fire navy ship. Katara herself only survived through a fluke of her bending. They’d thought she’d drowned.
But she hadn’t. She’d emerged a half-mile down current, shivering and in shock. It took her hours to find her way back. Not that it had mattered.
They were all ash by then anyway.
Katara looked at the Avatar standing not ten feet from her and felt rage swell within her.
She could kill him right now. Throw an ice spear through his cold heart while his guard was down. She knows she would die for her effort. But perhaps it would be worth it to rid the world of him? And of the threat he posed to all those still fighting for their freedom?
She thought of Zuko. And of the rebellion.
Katara closed her eyes and focused solely on the water, on the movement. For several minutes she did nothing more than breathe and pass the water, letting it cool her rage.
As she focused on the simplicity of passing the water between them, she remembered what she had seen yesterday. The Avatar’s back full of scars.
The Fire Nation had hurt him too.
Perhaps more than anyone else?
Katara’s eyes looked across the water to the boy sharing the water with her, the graceful blue markings of his people lining his hands, his arms, his forehead. No one else alive had these markings anymore. He was all that was left of the fourth nation. The lost nation.
Did he miss them?
How he could willingly live with the people that had murdered them, she knew she could never understand. Disgust for the Avatar began to rise in her again, elbowing out her sympathy for him, but she took a deep breath, working to release the feeling through the exercise. This kind of waterbending was its own kind of therapy, a type of active meditation if done right.
And it could be hard work.
She could see that the Avatar was sweating as well. What demons would this bring up for him?
As Katara stood across from this man she had hated for so long, the effort began to slip away and the ease and simplicity of passing the water took over.
The Avatar was the reason fire navy ships had destroyed her village. But he was not the one to do it. Could she really blame him for that?
Katara looked at the boy across from her again. How old could he even be? Eighteen? Nineteen? Twenty at most. It had been seven years since her village had been destroyed. Could that be right? Only seven years? Those seven years felt longer than a life time. Katara did the math and looked at the Avatar again; he couldn’t have been older than eleven or twelve when that happened. The realization made Katara feel off balance. She had heard Zuko tell of the boy he’d found in an iceberg. But “The Avatar” had always been a personage of all-power and mystic to her. The idea of an actual, literal child — one even younger than she had been — was so at odds with the image and anger she had shouldered for so long, that her mind churned uncomfortably with the dissonance of it.
Without words Katara circled her arms toward her center and then back out again, sending the water back towards the Avatar in the reverse direction. He smiled lightly at the change, and fluidly reversed the movements of his arms as well, completing the circle.
Katara thought of the boy avatar, this man seven years ago, and compassion unwittingly swelled within her.
She passed the water back to him again; sharing the water this way was not about dominion, but about communion.
They shared the water, back and forth, reversing the direction at will for a while. Then Katara tried something new, this time making a low sweeping circle in place, leading the water around with her before sending it back his way. He mimicked her movement when it was his turn.
Gradually, they both began more freely manipulating the endlessly streaming ribbon of water; changing its direction, speeding it up, and then slowing it back down again, pushing and pulling, taking and receiving. At times it was hard to distinguish who was leading and when; the water moved between them so seamlessly. No words were spoken; they didn’t need to, their joint connection through the water was all they needed to move as one.
From the outside this may appear a deceptively easy exercise, a simple moving of water from here to there. But in actuality, to be in sync like this, to be able to anticipate the other’s move as clearly as though it was your own, took great discipline, trust, and mental effort. Effort that eventually slipped into incredible ease if the right rhythm and connection could be made.
“What?” Katara asked, noticing too late that the Avatar had spoken.
“It’s about redirection,” he repeated quietly. “It’s something Master Pakku used to drill into me, everyday. ‘Waterbending is about redirection.’ I don’t think we ever had a single lesson he didn’t mention that.”
Katara thought back to her own tutelage under Master Pakku, back in the Rebellion. He had mentioned redirection, sure, but only in passing instruction, and certainly not daily.
“He told me redirection was key in bending other elements as well, not just waterbending.” Avatar Aang continued. “He mentioned ‘cold fire’. Do you know what he meant by that?”
Katara thought for a moment, but came up blank. “I’m sorry, I don’t,” she replied as she passed the water back to him.
“It was in his last…” Aang’s voice caught. The water they had been passing stopped for the first time, held stagnant between the Avatar’s hands. “It was his last lesson to me.”
Katara watched the Avatar carefully, empathy rising unbidden at the forlorn look on his face. “What happened to him?” Katara asked quietly. She’d heard rumors of course. But she didn’t know for sure.
Aang dropped the floating water into the pool with a jarring splash. “He was a traitor,” he said dispassionately. Like he was repeating from wrote a line he’d memorized.
Katara noticed that Aang began to rub one hand across the back of his other hand, a quirk she had seen him do more than once, an unconscious tic, like some sort of self-soothing motion. His breathing became quickened and he glanced apprehensively up to the second story of the arena, watching the archers as they watched him. Ripples pushed their way towards her, a stiff wind blowing suddenly.
“He was a traitor,” he repeated again, but she knows this time he wasn’t talking to her. “And Master Bo.” He closed his eyes tight, pressing the heels of his palms over his eyelids, as if willing himself not to see something.
“They did it to themselves.” Again he was talking, but not to her. “I didn’t… I couldn’t…” His teeth clenched. Hands wringing again. A flash of bright white light emanated from the Avatar so quickly, Katara couldn’t be sure if she’d really seen it.
A second later, the water lifted him out of the pool, and he stalked off towards his changing room.
Sokka turned the model over once more in his hand; the miniature war balloon appeared ready.
The Fire Nation had acquired the technology for a working war balloon several years ago, but the aircraft designs had been shelved fairly early on. The idea behind the balloon was a good one, but the design needed some adjustments, with a special focus on making the craft more robust, as well as improving steering and maneuvering. Sokka idly wondered why the Fire Nation hadn’t put more effort into this project earlier; he knows for a fact the designs had been sitting idle in the Research and Development archive since he started working in the department. Perhaps it was due to timing. The designs for this war balloon had been picked up not long before their Drill had been set against the outer wall of Ba Sing Se. Perhaps they had put their best engineers on the full-throttle efforts behind making several more of the giant Drills needed to further the drawn-out, but eventually successful overturn of Ba Sing Se.
Sokka didn’t know all the reasons why, but for some reason, perfecting the war balloon was suddenly a top priority. Sokka had learned early on that ‘top priorities’ in this department usually yielded the best rewards, so he didn’t mind getting pulled from his other projects to work urgently on this one.
As he waited for his special guest, Sokka placed the mini-war balloon alongside several other models on the mini mock-landscape they were using for simulation. Then he picked up another balloon. They were good prototypes. But they needed testing. Hence the need for his guest.
As he waited, Sokka tried not to contemplate what this project would be used for. This form of “not thinking” was second nature to him now; a way for him to do his job – even enjoy it – without drowning him in guilt and shame over his role in furthering the wrong side of the war.
Sokka had long since stopped bothering with this kind of introspection. He was sure that if he were to meet the kid he had been, back when he’d been dragged, war-painted and unconscious from the South Pole, that that Sokka would spit in his face.
But that was before he’d spent years laboring in one of the Fire Nation’s many “work camps.” Younger Sokka hadn’t understood the day-in-and-day-out toll of hard labor, the constant ache of a hungry stomach his only reliable companion. Younger Sokka may not understand that sometimes it is a good trade to sell your soul for a full belly and a nicer place to sleep.
Especially when you’ve got nothing else to live for.
It had taken a long time for Sokka to get to where he is now. He’d slaved away in the camp for more than a year before one of the guards had finally listened to his suggestion on how to modify their smoke stack to help save coal and conserve more heat. His suggestion saved ten tons of coal every month; not to mention saving he and his fellow workers an hour of labor each day. His was celebrated by his fellow slaves and their taskmasters alike.
Over time the under-warden of his division began to ask for his input on various projects, and of course Sokka had ideas. Over time he was taken off his labor assignments to slave away with his brain instead. And he was fed better. Given better accommodations. Fewer chains and more liberties. Not to mention an outlet for his creative ingenuity. In time he was transferred away from the work camp altogether.
Eventually he ended up where he worked now: at the very prestigious Fire Nation Military Research & Development Department in Caldera City. And unlike many in his department, he was here by merit rather than birthright. So his intellect shone.
Sokka was well taken care of, and was given a remarkable amount of freedom and perks (for a prisoner). He had money in his pocket and more than a few people who owed him favors. By now he had a handful of influential “patrons” who were ever eager to take credit for his inventions. As a “Water Triber” he would never be allowed to climb the social ladder himself, but those he helped elevate a few rungs were indebted to him somewhat, or at the very least they would try to keep him happy enough to productively work away at their next promotion.
Sokka was sure to keep up the appearance of being an eccentric but wildly intelligent goof that endeared him to those who were happy to look down on him while reaping the benefits of his labors. Sokka had perfected his fire-nation-bootlicking-facade.
But underneath he still hated them. Underneath, he was simmering all the time, ready at any moment to boil over.
But he never let that anger show, keeping it stoked, but hidden deep inside. Sokka’s intelligence and acting skills had bought him a position unknown among “his lot”. His place in Research and Development gave him knowledge, a skill, and information. His years of unblemished service had made his superiors loose tongued and trusting. He’d even been able to buy information that was personally valuable to him (and to sell some that was valuable to others).
And on nights when he found it difficult to live with himself, he told himself that it would all be for something someday. He would bide his time, gather his secrets, sell intelligence. Until he could “repay” the Fire Nation for everything they’d taken from him.
Was he a traitor? Undoubtedly. After all he was working for the enemy that slaughtered his tribe. Sokka knew his younger self would hate what he’d become. Sometimes he wondered what it would be like to stand face to face with the boy he had been. He wonders if young Sokka would run him through before ever choosing to become who he is now. Probably. And perhaps this Sokka would even welcome it. But he also knows that he would die knowing things about the world that his ideological 15-year-old self could never understand. And he would die with a smile on his face.
A crunching sound had Sokka looking down at the model in his hands once again. He hadn’t realized he was crushing it. He sighed and carefully busied himself with his tools, gently tapping the bridge back into shape.
Wouldn’t want anything to be amiss; not today. Not for his very special guest.
The Avatar. One of the few people on a short list of people Sokka hated more than he hated himself.
Sokka still remembers the way his gut had burned when he’d heard of his Tribe’s fate—of their annihilation—through the teeth of jeering guards. Why had they even come? Why would a trio of Fire Nation naval ships take any notice of his tiny village of women and children at all?
It was all because of the Avatar.
The Avatar’s emergence near the South Pole had drawn the Fire Nation’s renewed interest to their remote and tiny village. With their men away, the village’s only protection was that of a 15-year-old wannabe warrior and a handful of toddlers holding spears.
Sokka still remembered the questions. When he’d woken up with a splitting headache in a cell on the Fire Nation ship that had taken him away. The belligerent assumption that he knew anything at all about the Avatar; that somehow his people had helped to hide the Avatar all this time! His village (the people Sokka had been charged to protect!) was destroyed because of their perceived aid in hiding the Avatar.
Sokka hates the Avatar for what he cost him. Hates him for abandoning the world. Hates him for the kinship they both share as Weapons for the Fire Nation.
Sokka is sure that he, through his inventions, has surely been responsible for the deaths of many opposed to the Fire Nation. He knows his hands aren’t clean. But perhaps it would all be worth it someday. When he chose his moment to strike.
Would that moment come today? When the Avatar would be within his reach and utterly unsuspecting? Sokka knows if he plays his hand this way — to take out the Avatar — that there is no chance he would escape with his own life. But perhaps it would be worth it? To rid the world of its greatest back-stabber!
These dark thoughts were interrupted by four fully armed guards marching into the room. They took a preliminary sweep of the room, one of them briskly patting him down (despite the fact that he had been thoroughly frisked prior to entering the room today), before returning to flank the doorway.
Next a barrel-chested man with heavy sideburns walked haughtily into the room. Without preamble the man asked, “I presume you have been briefed on protocol and etiquette while in the Avatar’s presence?”
Sokka bowed in Fire Nation fashion. “Yes, of course, Sir.” Of course Sokka remembered the “Protocols for Engagement with the Avatar” – after all they’d been drilled into him on three separate occasions prior to today.
“Good.” The man looked down his nose at Sokka. “See that you remember them. This sort of thing is highly irregular. Normally the Avatar could not be bothered with such menial tasks.” Sokka could hear the sneer in his voice, even as he knew to keep his eyes down. “But your superior, Chief Engineer Shiroko, has asked a special favor of me.”
Yes, I’m sure he has, Sokka thought cynically, and I’m sure he lined your pocket generously for it too.
The man continued, “And since our Avatar is the only one with this particular skillset left in the world…” the pompous man shrugged. “His time is being generously sacrificed for your research needs. Anything to further the noble cause of the Fire Nation.”
Sokka bit his tongue; too many retorts threatening to escape his bitter mouth if he didn’t.
The big man clapped his hands and one of the famed Yuyuan Archers entered the room, bow with arrow already taught on the string. And following the archer came a figure in elaborate royal robes, red and black with points sharp at the shoulders, his jet-black hair pulled up in a topknot revealing a large sky-blue arrow on his forehead.
The man himself.
Or boy, Sokka’s thoughts corrected. This man didn’t look older than nineteen or twenty maybe? Sokka had known the Avatar was young, but in his mind he had always pictured someone bigger, more imposing, perhaps sporting a long villainous beard. The wide youthful innocence on the teenaged Avatar’s face took Sokka so by surprise that he almost forgot to get down on the ground in kowtow.
From his place on the ground, Sokka heard Sideburn Man exchange some words with the Avatar before leaving the room, shutting the door behind him.
A moment later Sokka heard the Avatar speak, presumably to him, “Um… you can get up now. I mean, if you are ready?… and everything…”
Sokka looked up to see the Avatar smiling at him, his head turned to one side to better see him on the floor. Sokka got up and brushed himself off.
He noticed that the guards had spread throughout the large room, two flanking each of the two entrances, the archer slowly walking the back wall. But since no one else from the R&D department was working in this room today (due to the very specialness of their special guest), Sokka and the Avatar had plenty of space to themselves in the center of the room.
“Right.” Sokka said. “So, um, do you know why you are here?”
The Avatar looked around the room, examining the many worktables full of models and half-built machines and prototypes. “Not really,” he said leaning down to get a closer look at a model of one of the extendable bridges the Fire Nation had used to take over Omashu. He reached out his hand to turn the miniature crank. A big smile spread across his face when the bridge extended. “Whoa! Look at this!”
He looked like a kid in a toy shop, a look of near glee on his face.
A moment later the Avatar was bending over the next table, looking carefully at the dozen or so models of different types of catapults. Sokka used the word “looking” but the Avatar was really looking with his hands — touching them, lifting them up and examining the bottoms. He pressed a lever on one and a pebble launched out of the end, unintentionally knocking over one of the other model catapults. The Avatar laughed out loud, before moving on to the next table.
A startled laugh rose to Sokka’s mouth as well. What he’d expected the Avatar to be like was so at odds with this Avatar’s unfiltered delight that Sokka didn’t know what to think.
“Um, Avatar?” Sokka tried to get his attention as he wandered the aisles, examining the table’s contents.
“Whoa, have you seen this?!” The Avatar was holding up a handheld fire launcher, a prototype Sokka and another coworker had been working on a couple of weeks ago, before Sokka had been reassigned to the war balloon project. “How’s it work?”
Sokka sighed and walked over to where the Avatar stood. “Well you hold it like this.” Sokka took the launcher from the Avatar and hefted it onto his own shoulder, aiming the barrel upward. “Then a firebender aims a fireblast here,” Sokka pointed to the open space at the end of the barrel, “then I’d release the spring here,” Sokka tripped the cocked spring, a shink sound scraped from inside the launcher, “and the fire would be launched 80, maybe 100 feet, depending on trajectory, into the air.”
“Wow!” the Avatar whistled. “I bet that would make some great fireworks!”
Sokka looked at him skeptically as he hefted the launcher off his shoulder and back onto the table. “Yeah,” he said cynically, “fireworks.”
“You’ve got some great stuff in here,” the Avatar said conversationally as he continued to peruse the tables. “Did you make all this stuff?”
Sokka cleared his throat, trying to regain formality. “No, not all of it. But a lot of it, yes. Some of this stuff’s old prototypes they bring in here for updates and improvements. Like the catapults. My modifications are actually over there.” Sokka pointed to a shelf with newer models that were just awaiting production. “Others are new inventions. Things we are still testing out.”
“It’s so cool! I could spend all day in here!”
The comment brought a sour taste to Sokka’s mouth. Most days he did spend all day in here. The thought reminded him that he had a task to complete.
“Um, Avatar,” Sokka addressed, “we’ve asked you—“
“Aang,” the Avatar interrupted. “My name is Aang.” He then bit his lip, as though regretting his words. “I mean I am the Avatar, but my name is Aang…”
Huh, Sokka thought, he looks like an Aang. More than he looks an Avatar, frankly.
“What’s your name?”
Sokka was again surprised by the question. “Sokka,” he stated, somewhat bemused. He hadn’t anticipated that the Avatar would be so chatty. Or distractible. “So what we need—“
“You don’t look like you’re from the Fire Nation,” Aang interrupted.
Sokka’s eyes narrowed. He was used to being degraded and looked down upon for his nationality. Perhaps that is why his response came out with such biting accusation.
“I don’t look Fire Nation, huh? Funny. You act like you are.”
The Avatar’s eyes opened wide in surprise for a moment, before dropping to the floor. Sokka saw him rub the blue arrow on the back of his hand. Sokka knew he was gambling with his life to antagonize the Avatar. ‘Protocols’ had indicated that he wasn’t to engage the Avatar in conversation at all (outside of the business necessary for the project at hand). But what can he say? Perhaps having nothing to live for had made Sokka a little reckless.
Aang swallowed thickly once before changing the subject. “So… why am I here again?”
Right. Sokka huffed out a breath, reigning in his sudden anger. Back to the task at hand.
Sokka led him back to the table with the model landscape and the war balloons. “So we are designing these travel balloons” (Sokka deliberately didn’t use the term war balloon, having been instructed during his ‘Protocols for Engagement with the Avatar’ training not to mention anything about the war) “and we need some help creating different wind currents to see how they will fare in different weather.”
Aang’s face brightened. “Oh, I can definitely help you with that. Sounds fun!"
Sokka smiled despite himself. He had to admit, the Avatar’s enthusiasm was catching.
For the next while, Aang airbent various weather patterns into the large model landscape, while Sokka tested his balloons. The kid looked like he was enjoying himself.
At one point, Sokka mused out loud. “I really like this lighter model because it maneuvers better than the bigger ones. However, we’ve found it to be completely vulnerable to surface-to-air-rocks from earthbenders. The rocks go right through the balloon.”
“Why would earthbenders want to shoot it down?” Aang asked innocently.
Sokka looked at him bewildered. What did he mean why would earthbenders want to shoot it down? This is war, man! But then it dawned on Sokka that maybe Aang didn’t know much (or anything?!) about the fighting in the Earth Kingdom. Was that even possible?! Sokka had been instructed not to mention the war, but he had assumed it was just in an effort to prevent the Avatar from being probed for classified information. It had never occurred to Sokka that the Avatar didn’t know about the state of the war.
Sokka was left not knowing what to say. His job everyday was about war, and how to be better at it.
“Um, you know, Earth Kingdom pirates. Who want to pillage the, um, traveling balloons,” Sokka lied.
“Oh, I see.” Aang looked saddened by the idea.
Sokka cleared his throat and turned his mind back to his work. He had limited time with the Avatar, so he knew he needed to work quickly. He tested a few more models, jotting down notes as he needed.
“You know if you make this part,” Aang pointed to the rudder on one of the models, “so it can rotate to slant on an angle like this,” he flattened his palm at an angle, “you’ll have better direction control in a strong wind. It’s just like gliding; you have to be able to really lean into it, otherwise you’ll be blown out of the sky, or at the very least blown way off course.”
Sokka had thought of this, but not how to fix it. Huh, guess the kid knows a thing or two about flying.
“You sound like you have a little experience in the air,” Sokka joked.
Aang smiled, a look of nostalgic delight on his face. “Oh yeah, I used to fly everyday on my glider! The monks used to take us boys out every day, rain or shine. They said we needed to learn to bend with the wind, no matter her mood. I loved it. Sometimes we would…“
Sokka wrote down some notes while he listened, waiting for Aang to continue. But when he didn’t continue, he looked up. Aang’s brow was furrowed, his gaze far away.
“Sometimes you’d what?” Sokka prompted.
Aang’s focus returned. “I’m not supposed to talk about that,” he said flatly and rubbed his tattoos again. A repetitive motion. A tic.
Sokka put his head down and worked, writing down some calculations while trying not to dwell on the kid’s despondency. Aang’s mood remained sullen.
Finally, Sokka took it upon himself to distract the Avatar from whatever thoughts were bothering him.
“So you were right earlier,” Sokka said conversationally. “I’m not Fire Nation. I’m Water Tribe.”
“Really?” A small smile reappeared on Aang’s face, the distraction seeming to push his sad thoughts aside. “Which tribe? North Pole, or South?”
Sokka tasted bitter again. But he tried not to let the disbelief he felt show on his face. Was this guy kidding? If so, it was a sick joke. Didn’t he know the Southern water tribe didn’t exist anymore?!
Sokka had to remind himself who he was talking to before he punched Aang in his perfect smiling teeth. Sokka grit out, “The South,” trying not to leak as much venom as he felt.
“Really? That’s great! I’ve never been there, although I’d been on my way there once... but I got caught in a storm and… anyway, I’d heard you could sled penguins down there! I’d wanted to, um… to try it… it sounded fun…”
Sokka could hardly believe his ears. Penguin sledding? What planet was this guy from?! Over a hundred years of war raged on, and he was talking about penguin sledding?!
Sokka tried to calm his emotions, to bring the Sokka-the-ash-licking-goof persona back before he completely lost his cool. Aang prattled on, about ice and penguins and who knows what else. All Sokka could hear was a ringing rage in his own ears.
Finally something Aang said broke through. “… maybe you know her? She’s from the South Pole too.”
“I said my water waterbending master. She’s from the South Pole too. Maybe you know her?”
Impossible. The South Pole didn’t have any waterbending masters. Not even before everyone was killed. Sokka’s mind flitted briefly to his little sister, but he willed his thoughts away quickly. Thinking of her hurt too much.
“No. I’m sure I don’t.”
Just then the door opened and in swept Lord Sideburns with his cape billowing pompously behind him. Aang snapped to attention. “It’s time to go, Avatar Aang,” Sideburns announced. “You’ve got a seven on one spar scheduled in half and hour. You will be observed. You need to prepare yourself.”
“Of course, Counselor Zhao,” Aang said with a small bow and immediately began to follow the man out.
But before he could leave, Sokka called out, “Wait!”
Sideburns scowled, but Aang turned back eyebrows raised in open inquiry.
“What was the name of your waterbending master? I mean, just out of curiosity.”
Aang smiled softly. “Her name is Master Katara.”
Then he turned and left.
Sokka was left standing, frozen in utter disbelief. Filled with a brand new infant hope that threatened to split him in two.
“friend or foe would they deceive to do what they must?”
so... atla furries
The four elements
aang, with a gun: katara look i’m metalbending
@taangweek day 2 and going strong! We'll see what tomorrow brings, though LOL. Below is the story, but you can also find it on AO3. :D Thanks for reading!
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Shush, Twinkletoes. You’ll blow our cover.”
Aang sighed but quietly persisted. “Seriously, Toph. Is this really how you want to spend your Saturday morning?”
Her grin was wide and wicked. “Couldn’t imagine any other way to enjoy such a lovely Saturday morning. Now shush.”
He begrudgingly sealed his lips after that, but he kept his eyes on the earthbender as she focused on surveying the Beifong estate for guards. When she found that their path was clear, she motioned to stay right by her so as to not blow their cover.
Then she sprinted away from him.
Aang internally groaned as he ran after her, trying not to get caught. It didn’t take long for that to happen; it was one of the perks of being so tall and an airbender.
It was so stupid what they were doing. And kind of reckless. But when Toph set her mind to something, there was no stopping her, and for some reason, she really took to this idea. More than Aang anticipated, really.
When they reached the room, Aang swiftly closed the door behind them and kept watch. The room was a plainly decorated office with a single wooden desk in the center. On top, papers were hastily filed while money was neatly stacked in multiple towers. At the discovery of the pristine stacks of coin, Toph pulled out a single cloth bag and filled it up as quietly as she could. And despite being a monk that didn’t emphasize money as a sign of true wealth and happiness, his eyes couldn’t help but grow big and wide when he saw the bag filled to the very top with money.
But then he shook his head and whispered to Toph. “Are we done here??”
“You can’t rush this, Twinkletoes.”
“Um, yes I can. We’re doing a bad thing.”
“Oh please,” she replied, her voice raising just a bit in annoyance. “This isn’t bad at all. You’re just a little nervous croco-kitten.”
“I am not!”
“Shush,” she hissed while flinching. “Just because this isn’t a big deal doesn’t mean you should yell!”
“Sorry!” he yelled back in a whisper. “Just… please tell me you’re almost done.”
Toph straightened up with a huff and tossed the bag at Aang’s face. He caught it at the last second, cowering in his spot when the bag jingled louder than he wanted it to. “Let’s go, Twinkles. Or maybe I should call you Jingles,” she teased.
“Ha ha,” Aang sighed, but didn’t have time to give a further retort, for Toph slipped through the door without a sound. Naturally, Aang followed.
They walked through the streets of Gaoling with cloaks on and hoods up, trying to disappear with the crowds as they made their way to the second destination. Aang looked wearily at Toph, wondering if she felt any nerves for what they did, but she remained calm under pressure, something he always admired about her.
Even if they were currently doing dumb illegal things.
“For the last time, Aang, this isn’t illegal.” Aang stared at her in shock as she read him with ease. “Sure, my dad might be pissed, but he’ll be fine.”
“I just feel like we could’ve gone about this better,” he admitted.
“Nah,” she reassured him. “Sure, taking this isn’t a big deal because he’s got loads of money, but if we had asked for a ‘handout’ that probably would’ve pissed him off more. At least he can pretend someone else stole his money this way.”
The airbender looked at Toph skeptically, but knowing Toph, she was probably right.
Suddenly, Toph grabbed Aang’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze as they neared their destination. Aang glanced over at Toph, and the smile on her face warmed his heart like nothing else.
He turned to look over at the fundraising stand in front of them. A little boy was currently manning the spot, and his head leaned far back and tilted upward as he tried to get a look at Aang and Toph.
Luckily, their hoods hid their identities well, but after an attempt to warmly smile at the boy, Aang dropped a hefty bit of money on the table, a gesture that left the kid in shock and awe.
Toph and Aang ran before they were spotted, and for the rest of the day, they went around finding worthy causes, people in need, and situations that called for a bit of “loose change.” And when the contents of the bag were finally emptied, Aang and Toph sat on the roof of the Beifong’s home and pondered their day of scheming.
“That was fun,” Aang admitted. “Probably not completely ethical, but it was nice.”
“I’m full of great ideas, Twinkles,” she replied with a smirk. Aang playfully groaned and tickled her sides until she conceded.
And as they lay on the roof and caught their breath from all the laughter, Toph leaned up and kissed Aang. Short, sweet, and absolutely perfect. He was still leaning over Toph, stunned from the scene that just played out, when in true Toph fashion, she acted as if they didn’t just kiss and she tugged at his ear lobes.
“You know, maybe next time we can just steal from a bunch of people around town,” she commented.
Without missing a beat, Aang replied, “Oh? What causes would we donate to, then?”
“Nothing. Just steal from them so we could be rich.”
“C’mon, Aang. Everyone knows that stolen money is much better than earned money.”
“Who’s everyone??” he asked incredulously.
“Sokka, for one.”
“He is a terrible person to back your reason up.”
“I beg to differ, Baldy,” she teased.
“How about we go back to kissing instead of talking about becoming criminals, huh?”
She laughed, then pointed a warm smile at him. “Well, you better come down here then.”
He grinned from ear to ear, and leaned down.
Season 2, Episode 12, 40:21-40:56
i can't get over this sunset! its amazing
without the swamp
"This feels so... nice.", Zuko muttered as he clasped Aang's hand tighter— wishing that there would never be a situation where he would have to let go of it.
The nape of his neck hurt from staring at the sky for the past 10 minutes, just like how his face hurt from smiling so much.
But he liked it.
"Fireworks are always beautiful. Especially after the War's end. Not sure about you though.", Aang grinned, nudging Zuko with his their joined hands.
"Well, I'm not sure about you as well. An't blame you.", Zuko shrugged, earning a chuckle from his boyfriend.
Zuko decided that Aang's laughter sounded like peaches, and then he decided to kiss Aang— if only to taste the peaches.
~~~ Aang's 15 and Zuko's 16— and they're in love.
Aang: I'm cold…
Katara: [wraps her arms around Aang]
Aang: My lips are cold too
Sokka: fuCK NO, NOT IN FRONT OF MY SALAD
some rants under the cut about aang because im emo but also contains atla spoilers sO
catch me crying about aang because god it must be horrible to be in his position. being the only one left to carry on the air nomad’s way of life and culture while simultaneously having to do something that directly goes against his beliefs and traditions LIKE COME ON HE’S 12!!! the responsibility to stop the fire lord shouldnt of fell to his hands ;_; he just wanted to be a normal kid ugH
Had a friend draw up some of the weapons from my Pirate AU Pink Skies (which you can read here)
Pretty close to how I imagined it, minus the throwing stars.
But seriously, if you like legend of Korra and, like I, am obsessed with the Pirate Life you should go read it.
In the penultimate episode of the series, the entire Gaang faced incredible hardships and had to pull together all of their strength, leading us to pick all of them as MVPs. Who do you think we'll pick as MVP for the series finale? Listen to our new episode to find out!
* Extremist shippers posting and arguing that Bumi II is the son of Zuko and Katara *
* Me seeing Bumi for the first time and thinking, that if Aang and Sokka had a child it would be Bumi II *
Aang is a good kid with a big heart. He’s also not perfect and is heavily flawed like any human. He makes mistakes, but is still a good, kind person. These things can coexist. The only problem is when the narrative doesn’t address or stem development from his flaws/ mistakes.