A:TLA doesn't belong to me. Don't sue, I'm poor.
Commit This to Memory: Chapter 1: Promotion
The wine sloshed around lazily in the glass, as its owner studied the liquid. He didn't seem to stare; rather the drink seemed to be in the line of his gaze, as he sat at the far side of the bar. Silently, He would draft the wine, never with the sort of hurriedness the grain farmers celebrating a bigger-than-expected harvest noisily demonstrated in a corner of the tavern, but with the bland air of routine of a solitary drinker who's lost the appeal of his habit. Pulling up his cloak, he shrouded his features as he drained the glass and placed it back on the counter. Leaving his money on the table, he rose and made his way out of the bar, past the drunk, chorusing farmers. Sauntering down the main road in town, He continued until he was well into the neighboring, freshly reaped wheat fields.
Arriving at a moderately large storehouse, he knocked on the wooden door, tapping out four quick hits. The door opened, and he quickly entered. Making his way to a ladder, he removed his cloak in the semi-darkness, as he clumsily collapsed into a pile of hay.
"You shouldn't drink so much." a voice softly chided.
Sighing, he stared at the ceiling, as his vision improved. He was expecting nothing less.
"How is everyone?" He asked; His voice thick from his liquid supper.
"Ready to move at anytime…" The voice seemed to trail off, as if there was something left to say.
"That's good. Let's leave in the morning then."
"Yes, Comman- -"The voice abruptly ended, and he chuckled softly.
"You're too uptight." He stated; his smirk evident in his even tone.
Before he could continue, the relative quiet was pre-empted by the sounds of heavy footfalls ending at the entrance of the storehouse. The storehouse door opened tentatively; then swung open. The sudden noise startled the group of Ostrich-horses quietly milling in their stalls. A rather large man in a makeshift mask of old robes inspected the building quickly.
"Aha. Exactly what we need…" He called over his shoulder.
Three other men, with matching masks quickly entered and began to release the Ostrich –horses.
At that moment groans and sounds of bodies hitting the hard-packed dirt floor of the storehouse filled the air. Grasping the meaning of those sounds, the man that opened the door fearfully backed away from the darkness of the stable, looking in all directions.
"Wha? What's happening? What's wrong?" He said in alarm as he edged closer to the doorway.
His concern was short-lived; as a dull thud followed by his body slumping to the floor ended his questioning.
"What should we do with them, Commander?"
Looking down at the thief as he leant against the door frame, he looked thoughtful for a moment.
"Don't call me Commander…"
At dawn, the town was abuzz, as a group of known bandits were mysteriously apprehended and left at the guard station. Sokka was, however, already on-route to the next town. Riding in the point position, he wore his traditional blue clothing with a more unremarkable traveler's cloak. He was flanked by several female warriors wearing war paint, and clad in identical green armor. Letting the crisp morning air fully awaken him, he took a deep breath, savoring the smell of sage and evergreens. A warrior picked up her pace to join him at the front of the group. Looking a bit timid, she seemed to struggle for words. He noticed this and decided to spare her the effort.
"So… Would you like to hear the rest of the story?" He offered.
The young warrior nodded enthusiastically. He smiled.
"Well, eight years ago…" He started. "…The Avatar was to defeat Fire Lord Ozai…"
A couple riders moved closer, as he recalled the events that lead to the suppression of the Fire Nation's aggressiveness and the battles that resulted in the coup that put the current Fire Lord into power. In great detail, he told the warriors of the infiltration of the Fire Nation, the dispensing of the Royal Navy and Princess Azula, and finally the decisive duel Between the Avatar and Lord Ozai. Listening with wide eyes, the young warriors eagerly took in every word.
"…And that's when it was decided to train and mobilize peacekeeping squads like ours." He finished, now commanding the attention of the entire group. He waited for the thrills to subside before the questions would arise…
"What was Ba Sing Se like?" "Forget that! What was the Fire Nation like?" "What about the Avatar? Is it true he's an Airbender?" "Yeah! What about him?" They asked; their questions like a volley of arrows he couldn't avoid.
"How's this? Big, hot, bald, and yes." He said smiling warmly, enjoying joking around with his charges.
"Come on, Commander!" They cried, wanting more tidbits. He laughed at their pouting expressions.
"Hey now, Ladies! If we keep this pace up, we should be home by nightfall!" He said, knowing the young warriors were looking forward to returning to Kyoshi Island.
As they chatted excitedly about what they would do once back home, he let his thoughts drift to the nine-month training expedition they were on. As it went, he has led worse than these newly graduated warriors. They showed exceptional growth and potential, as they were dispatched to the Si Wong Desert, to mediate a dispute between Merchants and the Sandbenders. He was, however, looking forward to doing nothing in particular once he retuned to Kyoshi Island. Encourage by this he spurred his mount, quickening the pace.
"So… That's it?
"Yeah. Expecting any less?"
Sitting on the steps of Kyoshi Academy, Sokka watched the village turn out to greet his troops, as the sunset bathed the structure in rays of gold and pink. Leaning on the doorframe, Suki watched with a nostalgic look, as she listened to Sokka's report. After the Battle of Sozen's Comet, she returned to her village a hero, even being installed as an Earth Kingdom General. Using this prestige, she expanded the Academy, to train specialty security soldiers to aid in rebuilding and peace-keeping.
"They'll do well, Suki. Ru Xian especially. She's level-headed, and quick on her feet." He said, peeling an apple, offering her a slice. Taking the piece, she nodded and ate as they quietly stood watching the villagers celebrating the safe return of their daughters. After a barely tolerable silence, Suki descended the stairs, and sat down next to the contemplative Water Tribesman.
"When was the last time you went back?" She asked, not moving her gaze from the villager's party.
"It'll be five years when winter sets in." He said, examining his apple.
"You should go back. The girls will miss you. You're their favorite, you know." She said, smiling.
"No, you are." He corrected, stretching, then standing up. "Well, I guess I'll take my leave…" He said, looking down at her.
"It's been a long time, Sokka. You've grown." She said looking at him as though she hasn't seen him in ages.
In truth, He had grown. Now, He was a head taller than Suki. The years of training and traveling had given him a body of an experienced warrior.
"We've all grown… haven't we General." He teases, smirking.
- - A week later - -
The snow was falling silently as Katara stoked the fire in her igloo. She sighed wistfully, tucking a strand of hair behind her head, as she cooked seal meat over the fire. She thought of a time when she would need to cook much more, as her brother could finish this amount in minutes. Lost in thought, the meat stared to emit bilious smoke as it burned.
"Oh, come on! You're wasting perfectly good meat!"
Whirling from the fire, Katara flung herself at her brother, knocking him out of the shelter.
"SOKKA!!! You're here! How are you?!?" She said, shocked and nearly crying.
"Oh, you know me… I've been here and there!" He said, scratching the back of his head.
Elation, however, quickly turned to rage, as she tightened her hug into a head-lock.
"You've been gone for five years, you idiot! You could have been killed! FIVE WHOLE YEARS!!!" She yelled, slightly enjoying the chocking noises Sokka was making.
"I've…been…busy…ACK!" He got out, between gasping for breath.
After a thorough beating, and a much-less-violent dinner of slightly charred seal meat, Sokka diverted his sister from more violence by telling her of his travels, the Warriors of Kyoshi and their duties, and the state of the peace they fought for.
"Ahh. I haven't had a meal like that in ages!" He groaned, patting his stomach contentedly.
"Well, that's what you can expect if you simply came back home more often…" she lectured good-naturedly.
"Give me a break, sis. I do what I can. It's not like you're stuck here or anythi--" He trailed off when he saw the look on her face. She turned to the wall, sniffling.
Silence permeated the room, as Katara took a deep breath.
"You're all I've got right now…" She said with renewing tears. Sokka felt the world move.
"Let's not do this now…" He said, with sudden detachment.
"Then when?!" She shouted, rounding on him, tears spilling on her cheeks. "When are we going to do this?! When are you going to…?!"
She stopped when she met the Sokka's distant gaze.
Sobbing she latched onto his arm and cried.
Without looking at her, he patted her head and suggested she get some rest.
The next day was less unpredictable emotionally, as Katatra showed him the changes Master Pakku and the other Northern Tribe members helped with. Along with this, several Northern Waterbenders elected to stay and aid with defense and development, while the Tribesman in the war returned and recuperated.
"So that Old Goat went back home, eh?" He said, remembering Pakku.
"He's not an 'Old Goat'. He's really made some improvements." She said, waving to a family playing with a polar bear cub.
"Like what?" He inquired.
"Well, he's nominated a new chief, for one."
"Who?" He asked, mildly curious She stopped and caught his gaze
"You." She stated firmly.
AN: Wow. When you get the urge huh? Anyway, I plan on this story being moderately long. (like ten chapters) I don't think they will be much shorter than this one. (But they might be longer…) I really wanted to do a good Sokka saga. There are to be twists and turns in this one, guys. If you must know, yes. There will be pairings. (Am I shooting myself in the foot, I wonder?) Anyway here you go I've planned for: Zutara, Maiko, and some other stuff. But for sure, it will be Tokka. That doen't means some different things won't be happening. If you get my drift… Review if you got some time!