DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT own any of the characters from Avatar. They belong to Nick. I Do however own Sokka's nickname for Katara. As well as the words to "Shelter from the Pain".

May the light of God shine upon you and keep you safe

Lauren

"Shelter from the Pain"

Katara sat there, self consciously hugging her knees to her chest. She wasn't cold, but very scared. She had been sitting like this for nearly an hour and she hoped she wouldn't be discovered. She had just experienced a nightmare about her past. A nightmare that wouldn't let her sleep for the rest of the night. She prayed that the nightmares would stay at bay, but the only way she could see to keep them there was if she stayed awake.

As Katara sat there, she subconsciously touched a fading bruise on her shoulder and winced. Even though it was old, three years old to be exact, it still hurt as if it was given to her that very day.

As Katara sat there, she felt someone sit down beside her. She didn't have to look up to know who it was. She knew the instant she felt a pair of strong arms wrap around her that it was Sokka. She Didn't fight Sokka's hold and let her brother hold her. She enjoyed the comfort his embrace brought her and she felt safe with him. He had been there for her during a time when she would have otherwise been all alone. Well, besides, Bato that was. Bato was there for Katara as well, but it was Sokka whom Katara turned to when the nightmares would invade her dreams and turn the night into a tearful torrent of pain.

"Shh, shh, it's okay, Tara, it's okay. Was it another nightmare?" Sokka asked, starting to stroke Katara's cheek and hair gently.

Katara merely whimpered as she burst into tears.

Sokka just sat there, rocking Katara back and forth. He wanted to do everything he could to help her. He really wanted to take her pain away, but he knew he couldn't. the only thing that would take it away was time.

As Sokka hugged Katara close, he felt her tense and knew she was reliving the memories through psychosomatic pain. He wanted to assure Katara through words that it was going to be okay, but he knew just being there and holding her was enough. As Sokka sat there, he prayed that his sister would get through this difficult time. He knew Katara was strong, but she had suffered a lot as well, therefore making Sokka worry for her all the more.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Sokka asked, knowing the answer almost immediately.

"No!" Came the tearful reply. It was short, but Sokka understood. Still, he wanted Katara to know she could talk to him if she felt she needed to. He wanted her to get it out and he knew it was for the best.

"Tara, you know you can talk to me, right?"

Katara nodded and let out a sob.

"Don't, okay?" She asked, her tearful voice breaking Sokka's heart. "Not now."

"But you have to talk about it sometime. You can't keep it in forever. If you do, you might-" Sokka's sentence was interrupted as Katara pushed away from him and threw a water whip in his face.

"I know why I need to talk, okay!" She shouted, her voice shaking with fear and pain. "But I don't want to talk right now, okay? Is that all right with you?" Before Sokka could respond, Katara stormed away, leaving Sokka sitting there, not sure what had just happened.

It only took Sokka five minutes to realize that he had to go after Katara, for her own good. If she was this upset, she was liable to cut, which was something Sokka had to stop her from doing at all costs. He had seen his baby sister at her worst and he didn't wish to repeat the cycle. He wanted Katara to heal, but Sokka knew the only way Katara would do that was if she talked about what was wrong.

Sokka saw the pain and fear in Katara's eyes whenever an unfamiliar older man approached her or whenever they were in a new place and mostly men were about. He could read his little sister like a book and her fear hardened his resolve to protect her.

Sokka got up and went after Katara. He found her by the river. She was crying and clutching her mother's necklace for dear life.

As Sokka sat down beside his little sister, he took in Katara's tear stained cheeks and shaking shoulders and his heart broke. He wanted so badly to reach out and take Katara into his arms, but he knew that wasn't the best thing to do at the moment. Sokka had been there for Katara during a time when she had been hurting physically and emotionally and he remembered the road that Katara had taken to avoid the pain. He prayed and hoped Katara didn't' go down that same road again. Sokka vowelled that if Katara did so, he would do everything he could to stop her. He loved Katara with all his heart and he would do anything and everything he could to protect her-even if it was from herself.

I see the pain in your eyes

The fear setting in

Sharp as a blade

Deep within

It pierces my heart

And I long to hold you

To tell you

Everything will be okay

To make the nightmares go away

I see the tears and fear

I know you're scared

And I'm here

I'm right here

Let me be your shelter from the pain

Your life line to pull you up again

When it gets to be too much

And you have nowhere else to turn

Let me be the one to guide you

Through the rain and storm

In the middle of the night

I hear you cry out

Cry out for someone

To make the pain go away

And my heart breaks

Knowin' that you're hurting inside

I try to help, but you turn away

Wanting to hide the pain you're feelin'

But I can see your emotions racing

And your fears reeling

Let me be your shelter from the pain

Let me be your life line to pull you up again

When it gets to be too much

And you have nowhere else to turn

Let me be the one to guide you

Through the rain and storm

When you feel your world

Come crashin' down

I'll be there to make you

Safe and sound

The darkness will turn to light

Your fears will disappear

They'll take flight

I'm askin' you to let me try

When the water rises

And gets too high

And you're too scared to move

Or even to breathe

Trust me to take the lead

If you let me in

You'll see

If you let me guide you

You'll soon be free

Let me be your shelter from the pain

Your life line to pull you up again

When it gets to be too much

And you have nowhere else to turn

Let me be the one to guide you

Through the rain and storm

Sokka sighed as he sat there, hugging Katara close. She had long since fallen asleep and now Sokka was just trying to keep her calm. He knew that if she woke up in a fright again, she was liable to cut. And that was something Sokka wanted to avoid at all costs. He wanted to help his baby sister feel better heal. But Sokka knew the only thing that would help Katara heal was time.

As Sokka picked Katara up, he carried her back to the inn they were staying at and tucked her in bed. He sat down beside her and watched her sleep. There was no way he was going to leave her tonight. Katara needed him and Sokka was going to be there for her. Sokka had promised Katara that he would always protect her and he was going to live up to that promise.

As Sokka continued to watch Katara sleep, she started to stir. She opened her blue eyes and looked around. When she noticed Sokka sitting there, she gave him a small smile.

"Thanks," she said, her voice tired, but at the same time, it held a note of gratitude in it.

Sokka nodded and gave Katara a small hug, followed by a pat on her shoulder.

"No problem, Tara. I love you. Besides, I promised you that I would always protect you and that's what I'm gonna do."

Katara nodded before closing her eyes once again. Before she drifted off to sleep, she mumbled, "Thanks for sheltering me from the pain."

Sokka patted Katara's shoulder before starting to stroke her cheek like their mother used to do. That calming and familiar motion always lulled Katara to sleep.

"Anytime, sis." Sokka said, a loving smile playing across his lips. "Anytime."

THE END