AVATAR: The Last Airbender

Broken Memories

Chapter 1: The Slice

As Aang entered through the city gates, he wasn't greeted by friendly faces. In fact, he wasn't even noticed.

"Err...Sokka..." stammered Aang as they walked the city streets. "Are you SURE this is a good place to stop for the day?" Everywhere Aang looked there were brawls, thievery, and rundown homes.

"Positive."said Sokka as he took a deep breath. "No better place than Zhou-Ma to restore a man's strength and soul." he added in his fake tough guy voice.

Aang and Katara glanced at each other. They were both thinking the same thing. 'He's full of it...'.

"Yeah, fighting in the streets and beating each other with broken doorknobs..." said Katara trying to imitate Sokka's fake deep voice. "Doesn't get much better than this!"

Sokka was fuming; but Katara and Aang just laughed. Even Momo and Appa chuckled, or what sounded like a chuckle. As Aang laughed, he felt a familiar sensation deep in his heart. He always had this feeling when Katara laughed or when she spent time with him. Just the sound of her laughing made him want to keep her laughing. But Sokka's peeved voice took Aang from cloud nine back to reality.

"Look! It's either here or the swampy woods!" steamed Sokka pointing towards the city gate. "Quite frankly, this place is starting to grow on me."

"Yeah, like a nasty fungus!" Katara whispered to Aang behind a closed hand.

Aang giggled to himself.

"Now!" screened Sokka. "Where to rest for the night?"

"Oh! That place looks nice!" said Katara excitedly pointing to a pale orange lodge.

"NICE! Oh please!" sneered Sokka. " Let a MAN decide." He looked around. "There!" said Sokka triumphantly pointing at a rundown inn that read "The Slice".

"Augh! It looks disgusting!" Katara retorted. "Aang, what do you think?"

Aang hesitated. Inside he wanted to show Katara that he could make manly decisions.

"That's where we'll stay!" said Aang with his shoulders back pointing at the grimy "The Slice" sign.

"Great choice Aang! I'll book us a one night stay since it's getting pretty late." said Sokka as he strutted toward the door of the inn.

"RRRR!" Katara sounded furiously. "You two are so disgusting!" she shouted as she stomped after her brother.

Aang didn't move. He blew it again. Every time he tried to impress Katara, his plans always ended up blowing up in his face.

"Great move Aang..." he muttered to himself as he walked inside the rusty inn.

Appa moaned outside.

"Find a safe place outside the city boy; and meet us at the city gate first thing tomorrow boy." Aang said as he peeked outside at the giant bison. Aang could hear Appa moaning as he flew away with Momo. But Aang knew that the Fire Nation would notice Appa a mile away; so if Aang was to keep his friends safe, they couldn't be seen with Appa.

"I only want ONE room for THREE people!" came Sokka's irritable voice from the counter. Obviously, his people skills still needed work.

"Y-know Aang..." came Katara's voice from behind Aang. "Maybe you could help handle this." He could feel Katara's hand on his shoulder. His heart skipped a beat.

"Sure." said Aang quickly, trying to fight the redness slowly creeping up his face. "I am the Avatar after all!"he gulped as he slip from Katara's soft touch trying to stay calm and collected.

As Katara's hand slid from Aang's shoulder, he heaved a sigh of relief.

'What's happening to me these days! I can't even look at Katara without acting like an idiot!' Aang muttered to himself angrily as he approached an enraged Sokka.

"I told you we have NO ROOM!" said the old lady to Sokka from behind the counter.

Aang stepped beside Sooka and put on his Avatar negotiator face. "Please ma'am, we need a-"

"No!" spat the old desk clerk.

"Anything! Just for tonight!" said Aang losing his Avatar charm.

"Weeeeell..."pondered the old woman. "We DO have janitor closet! You could use it for tonight."

"Are you crazy old woman! Sokka exploded. "There is no wa-"

"We'll take it!" snapped Aang as he shot Sokka a desperate look. 'It's too late at night to check in to any other inn anyway." thought Aang.

"Fine" Sokka muttered with his arms crossed. "How much?"

"How much do you have to offer?" questioned the old woman eyeing them greedily.

"Only fifteen dollars in Water currency.."Sokka said through gritted teeth as he showed her the money.

"Then fifteen it is!" said the woman like she just auctioned off a worthless piece of junk.

"But that's..."Sokka whimpered. "what I was gonna use to buy some delicious roast beast."

"It's a deal!" Aang said as he snatched the money from Sokka and gave it to the clerk. Sokka looked like he had just lost his true love. 'Geez...it's only meat. What's so great about that?' thought Aang rather disgusted. Aang glanced over at Katara. She caught his eye and gave him a weak smile but then turned away with a slight frown. "Katara's given up so much just to travel with me...' Aang thought. 'We haven't even had hot baths or comfy beds to sleep in in a long time. But I'll make it up to her tonight' he thought as he watched Sokka slam the janitor closet door in his sister's face after Sokka crawled in.

"I promise." Aang said to himself.