Author: CloudKat PM
It must be acknowledged that none of this was their idea, and that yes, they'll try to be friends, but everything else that everyone expects is more than likely not going to happen. Really. Sokka, Zuko, and a betrothal. AU in the same universe, expanded.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Sokka & Zuko - Chapters: 5 - Words: 32,531 - Reviews: 70 - Favs: 97 - Follows: 160 - Updated: 04-24-13 - Published: 01-24-10 - id: 5691343
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Sokka doubles over, laughing loudly— almost too loudly— his hand covering his eyes, his mouth agape. He laughs so hard he feels he has to sit down, so he does, an abrupt thump! into a cross legged position, his obnoxious gasping for air decorating the floor of his father's private sitting room nearly as well as the plush, bear-fur carpeting.
Hakoda, Kaskae (Chieftain) of the Southern Water Tribe, frowns deeply in exasperation and puts up a solemn hand, only to be ignored in favor of his son's histrionics—Sokka was practically rolling—and the hand goes down slowly, as if in disappointment. Soon, all solemnity forgotten and the role of chief replaced with a harried, yet good-humored father, Hakoda's face breaks out at the corner into a small grin, and he begins to chuckle as well.
"Sokka," begins Hakoda, covering his mouth as his deep blue eyes formed tiny crescents, "I know it sounds ridiculous—"
Sokka settles into heaves of mirth, clutching at his sides; he is sure that this was all an ill-intentioned joke—farce seemed to spawn around him like rabbits, anyway, so how was this any different? Even better, he should wake up any second to his sister splashing him in the face again with an irritable, Get up, you lazy bum, and stop rolling around, I can hear it from two rooms over.
He watches as his father quietly leaves their low, imported mahogany table to retrieve a small document, its red wax seal broken and lying sparse like a weathered pine, and his heart sinks to his elbows.
"Don't make that face, son, it's unbecoming of the son of a chief."
"You're serious." A subtle clenching of a fist.
"Yeah, well, that face is awful—but, yes. I am, Sokka. They've called for you; it is your duty, now, son, to accept." Hakoda dips his head to his son's level, trying to meet eyes that avoid him.
Sokka rises suddenly, upstarting the table and nearly knocking over the ornate, whale-oil lamps that serve as the only light in the room; the darkening, arctic sky outside calls for torches, but in Hakoda's rush to inform his son of the unsettling news, the doors to his chamber remain locked, the servants left out. Sokka begins to pace wildly, the cogs in his mind turning—he turns, snarls, "Never," and flees the room. Hakoda remains, folding his hands in his lap. He sighs, wearily, and follows.
Sokka's quick strides lead him through the great ice and animal skin hallways of the long houses and lodges that comprised the Southern Water Tribe Chieftain's family home, the vast pelt carpeting turning twisted in his vision as anger twitters through him like scattered butterflies. How dare his father agree to this—how dare he say that it was his duty to uphold this bullshit?
In his lack of focus, Sokka barely has enough time to register a resplendent, blue-colored fur coat (a replica of his own) turning the corner just as he does—he flails as the other person knocks into him, throwing him off balance and sending him tumbling to the floor.
"Oh, I'm so… Sokka, what in the world are you doing, running around without the torches lit? It's a wonder that you can see during daylight, you oaf; you shouldn't even try in the dark." A giggle, and a gentle hand pulls him up.
"Katara," Sokka whines, "I'm trying to storm angrily. What's the use of storming angrily when your little sister just makes fun of you?"
"You deserve it," she says matter-of-factly, and sticks out her tongue. When her brother fails to respond, her eyes take on that accursed mothering air and she reaches out to touch his arm. "What's wrong with you? You look pale."
"I just talked to Dad."
"About your fiancée? Sokka, that's wonderful—who is she? Is she pretty—is she Earth Kingdom? It's not political, is it?"
Sokka stares her in the eye, saying lowly, "My fiancée is a boy. And it's so political it makes my head hurt."
"What! Sokka, that's—what? Dad would never agree—"
"Apparently he would."
Katara bites her lip in thought and says, "Well, it can't be that bad," because that's all Katara says in situations like this, ones that she cannot fathom, so Sokka walks away.
Watching her brother's seething back made Katara angry herself, so when Hakoda shows up around the same corner, all she can say is variations of What are you thinking, setting up Sokka in a political marriage, Dad, I thought you knew him better, and Hakoda just sighs again.
"Katara, this doesn't concern Sokka's feelings—he's marrying a Fire Nation boy, and you know how they are with their Crown's prophecies and such. The superstitious tightwads are calling for him to marry their prince, because Sokka's name or image or something kept coming up in a cup of tea or a crystal ball, or whatever it is those soothsayers use at every royal birth," he intones tiredly, as if he'd already told a thousand other people (which he had, only that time around it was in the face of advisor's violent protests of "What! Your only son in a loveless, childless marriage?").
"Soothsayers? I thought that was a myth." Katara furrows her brow in thought, smoothing the loose end of her braid distractedly. She had already decided that she liked fortune tellers better, especially the ones around the Earth Kingdom, because they told her stories about her future husband— not that she cared enough to ask, they just rambled it off during her visits, you know how it is— and those silly soothsayers the Fire Nation were so fond of were different, of course. What they say is law, not something you can brush off like a fortune teller, and what is said at birth is especially revered. Katara finds it silly.
Hakoda laughs a little too loud, like son like father, and pats Katara's head fondly, saying, "Fire Nation! Just as crazy as the rumors, trust me. Uptight, formal, pompous tightwads. The lot of them follow tradition so hard it's like their opium—"
"Sorry, but it's true. The cup of tea—"
"You don't know if it's tea, Dad. It sounds patronizing when you..."
"The fancy cup of tea said Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe, and Sokka they'll have, or they'll start something, because their tempers are just as high-strung as their superstition," Hakoda finishes without pause because, frankly, he's getting too old for all this arguing. He runs a hand through his half-ponytail and swears as it comes undone.
Katara wordlessly pulls him down to redo it for him, and Hakoda sighs for the thousandth time that night. Whatever would he do with Sokka? That boy is far too hardheaded for his own good—the very idea of leaving his family to court a someone he'd never met is repulsive, and dear ancestors all if Hakoda knew whether the boy was straight or not. These were questions that fathers never asked, nor truly wanted to know—but he knew Sokka enough to say that if duty called, then duty it shall be, because for all of Sokka's goofing off, he was a serious, calculating boy.
He waves Katara off to bed, kissing her cheek and telling her goodnight, and hopes to all ancestors that Sokka hadn't run off. After all, Sokka may be a warrior's son with a warrior's honor, serious, and calculating, but he is just as prone to stupidity as bad luck.
He finds Sokka stuck under his own bed.
"Sokka, we need to talk," Hokoda had said in his most officious voice, only to realize that his son was—once again—in a predicament that seemed borderline ridiculous. It took him ten full minutes to pull out his son, and fourteen to stop laughing at him.
"Shut up, I needed something under there," says Sokka, surly. "If you had come twenty minutes later, I would have gotten myself out and I'd be long gone." He resumes packing his stuff: underwear, coats, blankets, all shoved forcefully into a canvas bag embroidered with seal's teeth. Hakoda eyes the shoddy packing job and says nothing but, "You have a boomerang in there, and you still forget your toothbrush?" and Sokka swears and storms into the bathroom to get his toothbrush.
Hakoda sits on Sokka's bed in Sokka's room, which he helped to decorate not four years ago, and taps his moccasins together impatiently. "Can't we talk about this, son?" he says, and Sokka makes faces, as per usual.
"I'm not marrying some random Fire Nation brat because a tarot card pointed in my general direction." He gesticulates slowly, meaningfully, more to himself than anyone.
His father interrupts a second too late, "Fancy tea cup," and Sokka looks at him funny.
"Either way, I'm not doing it, Dad. I can't."
"You can't?" Hakoda stands up, trailing his fingers along the Sokka's rumpled bedspread—the boy harried the servants with all his messiness—and glancing thoughtfully into the brass-colored seal tallow candle votives adorning the space above Sokka's headboard; one of them is crooked in its place because Sokka hits his head on it regularly, and Hakoda reaches over to twiddle with it.
"Dad, you don't have to—"
Hakoda looks him in the eye and says carefully, "It isn't a matter of can and can't, Sokka," and Sokka's mouth clicks shut. "This isn't 'I want,' it's 'it is necessary.' You remember what happened at the beginning of the Century's War?"
Sokka looks away, his lip curling—stubborn thing.
Hakoda takes his chin and gently pushes his son's eyes, royal cobalt, to meet his. "Shang Jin of the Fire Nation was foretold to have Yeon Chae, an Earth Kingdom girl devoted to a convent, and who vowed not to marry—"
"And yeah, yeah, yeah, they fought, blah-blah, and they killed Ye-Chung or whatever her name was on accident in the big "clash." But that's so—outdated! Why in the world does that even still apply? That was before bending was even a mastered thing! Back then, everyone who lived here probably just used waterbending for rocking boats!" Sokka takes a deep breath and continues gesturing wildly after his spiel, as if big, windmilling hand stuff would make his father understand.
"Or for making people cold," says Hakoda thoughtfully, stroking his chin, and Sokka wonders where in the world his wonderful sense of humor comes from, because it's certainly not in his father's genes.
"But, point is, Dad—I'm not marrying some kid boy because some stuffy old, tea drinking wiseman says I have too, or the world will end. If they start a war, it's their fault, because they're the ones causing the world to end, not me. I'm a modernist, sir," Sokka jerks his shoulder out from under his father's hand and huffs, only to feel a firm grasp on his ear.
"It's your people, you dolt, who will suffer if you refuse," says Hakoda stonily, but because he cannot keep up that face anywhere beside the battlefield and the stratagem hall, he lets go of Sokka's ear and says, with feeling, "It is your duty to protect them. I'm sorry, son, but I'll have to force you if you don't come to your senses. I didn't raise you to be selfish."
Sokka falters at "selfish," a word he's thrown around at his comrades on hunting expeditions or on the occasional battlefront with neighboring rogues; his father sees and smiles widely. He has him.
"Oh, the little bugger can't be that bad," Sokka capitulates, and smiles too. He raises a finger and pokes his father in the chest, saying "I'll try it, but if I hate him, then no money, I'm going home." He hugs his father, a brief embrace, a reluctant, tiny promise: I won't let you down.
"Of course, and if you don't like him, there's always a way out," Hakoda says into the side of Sokka's head and crosses his fingers, because even though these promises are falling from his mouth like peppermint candy, he can't be quite sure with those crazy Fire Nations.
Zuko feels like a doll, and he hates everyone. Everyone. Especially Azula, who dressed him, and is currently laughing about it, the frigid little bitch. He hates the flouncy, silk clothes he's wearing, he hates the stupid fire-crown thingy, he hates that he has to marry some Water Tribe royal kin or something and he certainly, certainly hates that he has no control over any of it.
For years, Azula teased him, You're going to marry a boy, you're going to marry a boy, and every time he said Shut up, Azula, it's not my fault (and really, it wasn't), she would return with But it's your fate, just like the soothsayer has been repeating for the past seventeen years of his life, and Zuko would tackle her. He was to marry a Sokka. That's it—Sokka, because Water Tribesman aren't supposed to have surnames, just family lines, and he hates him. He's going to meet Sokka next week, and he still hates him, and he'll continue to hate him once he marries him. They will become the crotchety couple that no one wants to be around, he'll make sure of it.
"Oh, Zuzu, you need to lighten up—your sniveling will only stain your robes, and that's tigersheep silk, you know," snickers Azula behind her flawlessly lacquered nails, and Zuko feels like hitting her. You're not supposed to hit girls, but Azula hardly counted as one; she had enough balls to topple an army, if she wanted.
"Shut up," he grinds out. He can hardly do anything else, anyway, because his clothes are practically glued in place due to their superfluous design—the entire outfit needed to stay still in order to remain presentable—but the result just made it difficult to bat an eyelash.
"And he's all ready for his groom," sing-songs Azula as she traipses around him, her flowing movements a mockery to the stones he feels like he's wearing.
"I said shut up, Azula," says Zuko, irritated, but he can't help but feel a little fond of her excessive teasing—the entire situation seemed more ridiculous by the second.
Azula kisses his cheek, mocking him, and he strains to push her away, laughing, "When did you become not a monster?" His tall, hideously large amber-plated crown, shaped into a plume of flame, lurches sideways with the motion, and before Zuko can even move a muscle, Azula has it steadied with a wicked looking finger.
She says, coolly, "Probably around puberty. Sounds a bit ironic, though," and he laughs, because Azula's dry humor always gets to him. Her lips curl slightly in return, and her eyes smile, but he's only slightly surprised—she barely smiled with teeth unless someone was in bodily pain.
Azula has always been a conundrum to him, as hot and cold as ice dropped in steaming water— over time, she cooled to a lukewarm sort of sister, one that veers away from open affection, but demonstrates it on occasion through merciless teasing, general cattiness, and casual, arrogant over-protectiveness.
Even so, it had taken them several years to come to terms with each other, after years of endless squabbling and petty tricks; Azula, disgusted by Zuko's seeming inability to excel as she, mocked him while Zuko's anger at himself was vented on Azula—it never seemed to end. When their Uncle Iroh took Zuko under his wing for the first time, Zuko was a mere twelve, he managed to teach him to divert lightning, something Azula the prodigy was deemed unfit to learn by her soothsayer—begrudgingly, ten-year-old Azula began to respect both him and their uncle (through some scolding persuasion from her mother, Ursa), and that respect grew into a sort of bond that the present fifteen-year-old Azula still lacks the capacity to admit and act upon. (She may be a genius, but her scary assertiveness and ridiculous confidence earned her followers, not social skills.) The result is the Azula of today, a hybrid mix of a sociopath and a choosy, feral cat—vain, nearly remorseless, territorial, and tender to few.
Zuko thanks ancestors all that he is one of his sister's favorite people.
"Oh, Zuzu, I'm flattered—you're thinking of me again. I can see the fear," says Azula conversationally, and Zuko marvels at her devil may care pose, leaning against the throne-like chair he has been confined to until his mother comes to check on him. His eyes flicker to her, and she flashes teeth in a decidedly terrifying way. He shivers and makes a face at her.
"Zuko, dearest, how does the robe—what is that? Azula!"
"Yes, mama?" Azula's voice is saccharine, and she flounces up to Ursa's side. Ursa, dressed in a casual, plain red robe, her hair loose, grabs her ear.
"What did you dress your brother in?"
"Ow—mama, just the clothes that he's supposed to wear to meet his betrothed," grimaces Azula, but the final word still oozes off her tongue to wrap itself around Zuko's ear in a way that rubs him entirely the wrong way. She bats away her mother's hand, and strides confidently away from her to Zuko's vanity (why he has one, no one knows) to fix her hair.
Ursa lets out a long sigh, but her eyes soften fondly at her son's stupid attire. She chuckles and starts to disassemble him, saying softly, "Why in the world would you ever trust your sister to dress you? You know how she is," she tweaks his nose, "and did you really think you were supposed to dress like this, dear? You're meeting him, for ancestor's sake, not going to his funeral." After removing his crown, she ruffles his hair as her lovely golden eyes dance at him. No kohl surrounds them, and her lips aren't painted—this is his favorite side of his mother: natural, like when she played with him when he was young.
"Shamefully gullible," says Azula, flipping a golden lipstick tube from her sleeve and applying a layer of crimson to her full lips. Ursa titters while Zuko gives her a dirty look that says Get these clothes off me! She dutifully undresses him until he sits in his boxers and a feathery light gray robe. He heaves a sigh, golden eyes closed, then opens one to see his mother beaming at him, misty-eyed. Uh-oh.
Azula sidesteps out of the room, the little snake.
Ursa looks so happy that she could weep. So she does, and Zuko's hair is suddenly wet, much to his chagrin. He remains silent, slowly dreading the impending, effusive lecture on true love, honor, and—
Ursa gushes, "Oh, honey, you're finally meeting him—you never heard what the soothsayer said about this boy, he's supposed to match you perfectly—did you know that he's going to be your true love?"
Zuko doesn't even know if he's gay.
"He's wonderful," says Ursa, getting a faraway look to her—lips slack, eyes bright, hands clasped girlishly. "He'll give you everything you've ever wanted, Zuko, isn't that wonderful?"
Zuko doesn't know what he wants.
Ursa embraces him close; she smells like honey and sugar and rosewater bathsalts. In his hair, long, ruffled, braided, she places a kiss. "I'm so proud of you for fulfilling your destiny. This is your first step to true happiness, and it's what I want for you more than anything."
Zuko, more than anything, never wants to disappoint.
He says, "Yes, mother," and embraces her back, leaning his forehead on her's, thinking in his heart that if she believed the soothsayer, then he would, too—after all, this "Sokka" could be his—blanch— true love, even if Zuko didn't like boys, even if he vowed to hate him, even if he was the prince of some foreign block of ice. He supposes he should just be optimistic.
A week later, the Fire Nation navy greets him when he wakes up.
Hokada, dressed in his splendid furs and armed, subtly, with a blue jeweled club in a holster at his side, shakes Sokka awake and Sokka, in his boxers, stumbles outside his door to the washroom and runs directly into a small legion of red-armored soldiers, crammed neatly into his hallway.
"Sokka, Prince of the Southern Water Tribe," they say in tandem, bowing briskly at the waist, "we are honored to serve you along your journey to the Fire Nation capital!"
Sokka screams rather girlishly, and Hakoda's arm flies from his doorway, wraps around his neck, and pulls him back in as the Fire Nations soldiers give a collective gasp.
"Prince Sokka," they say, "are you in a state of harm?"
Hakoda shouts, "No! I just need to put on my—wig!" through the doorway, and Sokka wonders why his father's voice is higher, and why it sounds so much like his own—hey!
"I mean get dressed!" bellows Sokka, glaring daggers at his father, who scratches his head sheepishly. "What the hell are they doing here?"
"They insisted upon it. I couldn't refuse! I mean, they offered to accompany us to the Fire Nation. Then they arrive at dawn, invade our longhouse, but all they want to do is give us food, and draw baths, and help us pack. They're even treating the warriors this way!" Hakoda intones frantically as he runs about, grabbing at Sokka's sealskin packs, and rummaging through the last of his drawers to throw out something presentable for his son to wear. "Go wash up!"
"If you haven't noticed yet, father, there's a league of crazy, servile men outside blocking my way!" shouts Sokka, still in his boxers, his hair down and completely askew. "Have you seen them? They look like they could crush me and they want to give me sponge baths?!"
"Just go, Sokka," barks Hakoda, throwing an outfit over his shoulder in Sokka's general direction (it creamed him in the face, just his luck), "they won't hurt you. They're just enthusiastic—but don't let them get into the bathroom with you, or you're screwed."
"Oh, dear ancestors," says Sokka.
"Not like that, you idiot—" grunts Hakoda as he lifts one of Sokka's sizable bags over his shoulders, "just—put on a shirt and find your sister, first, before you wash up. I'll give your things to them to try and make them disperse, the crazy-ass, Fire Nation foo—"
Sokka hurriedly puts on his shirt, takes a deep breath to brace himself, and leaps out into the fray.
"Greetings, Prince Sokka! Are you in need of assistance?" say his horde, but he can tell they are doubtfully glancing at his hair. He rolls his eyes and tugs on it for effect.
"It's real, guys—have you seen my sister?"
"Oh, Princess Katara!" they say. "She must be in the women's quarters next door! We shall get her for you!" And they march orderly away, briefly murmuring, "Hut, hut," into the tapestry covered hall that leads to the women's quarters. Sokka hears high pitched screams and winces.
Soon, Katara's voice can be heard begging as politely as she's been taught, "Please put me down, I don't need to be carried in my own home," and there she is, being lifted up high on hundreds of hands, like a seal-surfer on the waves.
They drop her gingerly, salute, and remain in place, silent, as if none of this ever occurred.
Katara, fully dressed in an azure colored, long sleeved dress and leather moccasins, her hair draped around her in perfectly styled waves and half pulled up in an unfamiliar style—and was that makeup she was wearing?—made significant eye contact with Sokka, only to have him nod in return.
The soldiers blinked, and the Water Tribe siblings were gone.
They breathe heavily, their backs to the washroom door, bracing it for what they imagine would be forced entry. Only when soldiers' footsteps, eerily in tune, yet seemingly frantic, pass in their undoubted search for the siblings, do they let out a breath and slide down the door to rest.
"Oh my gosh, Sokka, why did you have to get picked by a bunch of loons?" says Katara, wide-eyed. "At least the men are more polite than the women—they practically dragged every girl from our lodge, even servants, from their beds, and threw them into water to wash, scrubbed them half to death, and then immediately had you out and made up." She picked at her hair a little, then rose to check it in a mirror. "Hmm. It's not bad, though. I guess the rumors were right—the Fire Nation is fashionable."
"Is that all you care about, Katara?" yells Sokka dramatically, clutching at his face. "What if they do this when they want me to bed him? Think of my chastity!"
Katara wrinkles her nose, "Ew, Sokka, I don't want to know what you do with your boyfriend."
"He's not my boyfriend if I don't like boys!" whines Sokka, reaching over to grab at the hem of her dress. "Save me, Katara! Please, please, please—you need to go with me! I'd die otherwise!"
Katara looks conflicted, then suddenly annoyed, "Hey, just because he's a boy doesn't mean you can't like him—"
"I know, I know, I just don't know at the same time, okay?" cries Sokka, face down on the floor, hands gripped like vices on her skirt. Katara shoos him off with one of her moccasins. "Please, Katara, please? I need you to watch my back! These people are crazy!"
His eyes are big and cobalt and pleading, like a fawn's—Katara can't say no. She just helps him get washed up, ties up his hair, and runs through the halls as Sokka yells to distract soldiers to her room, to pack, for him.
"I'm losing both of my children?" says Hakoda sadly. He stands tall amongst his personal guard, a block of warriors with white and blue stained faces that made them look like spirits. The occupants of Southern Water Tribe's royal complex lay spread like game pieces over the icy, cliff-like shore that leads to the tribe's main port while several intimidating Fire Nation steam ships loom on the horizon, regurgitating smoke and iron, and an ornate, dragon-encrusted ferry bobs up and down in the harbor. The air, despite the foreign intrusion and perhaps by its own persistence, remains as fresh and clean as the very first snowflake—it is the time of day that the beginnings of sun burns through the cold air of morning like the gentle probes of fingers searching from the other side of a veil, and in the Southern Water Tribe the air remains as frigid as the sun beats down.
Katara's hands are behind her back, holding her pack; she shifts uncomfortably. "I'm just keeping Sokka company, Dad. I need to keep an eye on Sokka, anyway, so that he doesn't disgrace us," she pauses, cocks her head to the side, frowns and adds, "Again."
Hakoda heaves a weary sigh. He makes a waving motion at her, "Fine, fine, go ahead." He stares Sokka straight in the eye, "But Katara comes back to keep me sane."
Katara's mouth opens delightedly; she gushes, "Oh, Daddy, I knew—"
"I wouldn't leave you to them, honey bun," smiles her father tenderly.
Sokka gets between them indignantly. "What about ME?"
"You're a man, son, you can handle yourself."
"You say this to the son you send over to a foreign nation to be gay," says Sokka under his breath, and he winces when Hakoda pulls on his ear.
"You, Sokka, will stay there for a few months, and then you'll be back soon enough. With your little boyfriend, though—Katara will just be back a little earlier. It's a win-win situation," nods Hakoda. He walks forward to the crest of the cliff, squinting at the Fire Nation's prideful navy. He whistles low, nearly smirking, "At least you'll get there in style." He turns back to his son, to his people spread out in a fan behind him, his wolf's head cloak rippling and blocking out the tiny blip of a rising sun.
Sokka stares back, all humor and reluctance gone, something rising like helium in his chest. Katara remains at his side, clutching his hand tighter, tighter.
"Sokka Sialuk, of the Aningan Clan line," Hakoda enunciates slowly, loudly, for all as goldenrod rays surface slowly over his majestic head, "the Southern Tribe has given you inua (soul) and kept you close to its heart. One day, in this very place, you will part from your physical soul and all the rest shall depart to the underworld, but for now we lend you to the Firelands of the Northwest. You are a gift, a treasure to the Fire Nation, but your place is here, amongst the People."
Sokka is soaring.
"We give you now, but your heart still beats within ours'—your return is imminent and true, for never will you leave when you run strong here," Hakoda gestures to his heart, a great round fist closed tight to his chest, and all—including his sister— around Sokka, a legion of blue and white, mimic him. Hakoda beats his chest once, and in tandem his clan follows. "People are a cycle, just as the water we bend runs to ice and ice to water, just as the seas unfurl open arms to re-embrace its glacial brothers when they begin to float and run awry—we have faith that one day, our ancestors will deliver you once more to us, so that the cycle may start again. Believe!" Hakoda's fist rises definitively, and his people stare on in awe, hands still locked to their chests.
"Faith," he bellows, and throws his head back into a deep howl, reverberating through Sokka's skin like a bell, ringing as strong and true as his own blood in his veins. This is the cry of his people. Howls rise up around him, and many hands touch him, push him and Katara forward, away.
"He shall return," say his People, and the cry makes his fingers shake in Katara's. They walk slowly down to the harbor, and glance back, once to see their father heading the pack, his eyes glistening in the sun—proud. "You will return," Sokka can see him mouth, and Sokka raises his club. His People whoop and howl.
The ferry departs.
A/N: Thank you for reading. Have a nice day. :)