Acceptance of Fate

1: Survivor

The bar had good, strong ale, which was always a good thing to her, on top of a multitude of people in which one could lose themselves in, and their music was always so mind-numbingly loud, all of which made coming here an obvious choice for her. For four years she had wandered the globe like a lost kitten, never finding her place and never really wanting to.

Usually, she avoided social placed like this, for fear of being recognized, but today was different; it was special.

It was an anniversary of sorts.

Five years ago, she thought to herself, she had lost her temper with her brother, and somehow through a stroke of luck (or perhaps a miracle) she had waterbent an iceberg open, revealing the long lost savior of the world, thus changing her life forever.

Four years ago, she noted quietly, the war that had lasted for over a hundred years had finally ended.

Unfortunately, not in their favor.

Aang was dead; Toph was dead; Sokka, most definitely dead. She was the last—the only one still alive.

How had she managed that? What did she do to deserve to live while everyone around her died?

It wasn't fair, damnit.

She wrapped another band around her wrist, hiding the many cuts that were there. There is a small beauty in death, she knew. If only she wasn't so cowardly, maybe she wouldn't be as lonely as she was right now.

It was her own fault, too, and she accepted it rigorously. She avoided people whenever she could—he worst fear was for someone to recognize her.

Aren't you Katara of the South?

Once, she was. Now, the South was nothing more than a handful of people (or less, it's been so long) living out their lives in quiet isolation. Katara died four years ago, beside her brother, attempting to defend the dying breaths of the Avatar.

At least she should have.

Because really, how could you compare the two? The bright eyed, optimistic child of old, spending her days on the back of a flying bison with all the hope of the world, verses the cynical, dark-eyed, humorless witch who never stayed in one place too long, walking by foot to where she needed to go (she didn't even know where).

She didn't even have Appa or Momo anymore. The flying bison had been severely injured during the final battle, and no one was around to heal him fast enough. She had mourned Appa almost as much as she did the rest of her friends.

As for Momo, she didn't know. He had stayed with her for a few days after Aang's death before he, too, just left. She chased after him for a while, losing him for a day or two before finding the lemur's corpse curled up in a ball near the steps of the old air temple. It was her belief that Momo just died out of grief from the loss of Aang, and she didn't study the body long enough to find out if she was right or not.

She took another long drink of her ale before she put her empty glass down on the table, motioning for the barkeep to refill it. It was then, in the process of drowning her sorrows, that she saw him. At first she was not sure who it was, but he turned his head at just the right moment…no, there was no mistaking him. That scar could be recognized anywhere.

She almost wanted to go to him, but stopped herself. It had been four years since she had seen the surly Prince; he probably wouldn't even recognize her (she wasn't sure if she would recognize herself). But still, the idea humored her. She wondered what he would say if she walked up to him, maybe even wrapped her arm around him like an old friend, and talked to him.

Ask him: "Remember me? Yeah, I was that girl who followed the Avatar. You chased us halfway around the world, but you stopped after the North Pole. What happened after that? You left and we never heard from you again, which was okay, I guess, because we didn't really like you at the time and we had more than enough people chasing us. I always wanted to ask why you stopped; Aang seemed to miss you, if you'll believe that. I almost kinda missed you, though—you had the most personality. Sokka didn't miss you, but Sokka wasn't as open-minded as I was. And yeah, I was the girl you tied to a tree, remember that—"

She was so caught up in her conversation with an imaginary him that she didn't realize the real him had walked over to her, and placed a gentle hand on her should.

"Excuse me…But do I know you from somewhere?"