Hey, peoples! I needed a quick break to think up the next chapter of 'Aang, Katara, and a Plan.' So to keep you entertained, here's a oneshot I've been thinking of for a while now. Now, this is not happy in ANY WAY WHATSOEVER! In-fact, it is one of the saddest stories I've ever thought about. No such thing as a happy ending here. And, I hoped I have captivated at least someone's interest, because I would REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like some reviews for this!
Wow, I found the story that gave me the idea to write this one, and it just so happens to be written by one of my more regular reviewers, frozenheat. What are the odds? Anyways, it's the first chapter in 'Tales of a Benders Life.' Good story. Go read it. If you are too lazy to do that, then heres a quick summary.
It was after the fight with Ozai. Aang and company were invited to a grand ball in celebration of the war's end. Aang was planning on telling Katara how he felt the second the ball ended. But, something terrible happened. All night, he noticed the things she was doing. She giggled… with Zuko. She flirted… with Zuko. She danced… with Zuko. His mind told him that it was probably nothing, but his heart couldn't ignore the pain. He stepped outside and until the ball ended. Once everyone was gone, he went to go find Katara and tell her that he loved her. He didn't find her, and decided to check at a nearby pond, she often liked being in the presence of water. He jumped from rooftop to rooftop until he arrived at the pond. She was there… but so was Zuko. They were sitting by the pond talking. Aang stood helplessly on a rooftop as he saw their faces get inevitably closer and closer. Their lips met, and it was as if Aang had felt something die inside of him. He couldn't be there anymore. He ran as far away as he could from that place.
So that's pretty much where the other fic ends. Mine begins right after that.
The Life of a Monk
Aang ran. He ran as fast as he could, desperately trying to get away from what he saw, as if putting distance between him and her would dull the pain. Tears stung his eyes as he ran as fast as his airbending would propel him. He ran down a merchant's alley, loose items and stands being flung around and shattered to pieces as the wind caused by his bending blasted out behind him with hurricane-like force. He slowed down slightly so that he could make a sharp turn into an empty side street.
He made the turn and came to an abrupt halt, his back against the wall of a building. He was gasping for air as he felt his warm tears run down his cheeks. He put his hands up to his face and wiped away his tears, only to find that new ones had already taken their place. Aang gritted his teeth. He could feel sadness turn transform into anger. Anger become hatred. Hatred become rage. Without thinking, Aang yelled and blasted an extremely large bolt of blue fire outwards, up into the night's sky. He felt as if he was entering the Avatar State, the entire world was slowly slipping away beneath him.
But he wasn't entering the Avatar State. And the world wasn't slipping away. Not the entire world, anyways. Just the only part of the world that mattered to him. Aang slowly slid to the ground and he tried to fight back more tears. The one most important rule he learned at the Air Temple, never let emotions get in the way, suddenly made a lot of sense. Aang was the Avatar, the peace keeper of the entire world. If he was to keep peace, he could have no interferences. He wanted to forget his sadness. Forget the last 6 months of his life. Forget Katara. But he couldn't. He had grown unreasonably close to the Water Tribe girl, and, for reasons he could not explain, he could not banish her from his mind. He loved her dearly, and he though that she at least liked him as well, to some extent.
He wanted to stop crying. To get up and move on. To continue with his duties. But human nature wouldn't allow him to. He felt so… betrayed. Zuko had tried to capture him. To kill her. He condoned the century long war. His family was responsible for the deaths of millions. Including Katara's mother. What in the world did she see in him? Aang desperately wanted to believe that what he saw was a mistake. An accident. But his heart wouldn't allow it. He actually saw that it was Katara who leaned in first. He couldn't find a way around it. What he saw was no mistake. She loved Zuko.
Aang broke down and began bawling uncontrollably on the ground.
After about an hour of crying helplessly on the cold, stone ground of the earth kingdom city, Aang had found the strength to pick himself up. He walked slowly, tears still present in his confused and saddened grey eyes. There was no place he was going in particular. He was afraid to return to the inn that he and his friends were staying at in fear that Katara might have returned already. He could not bear to be in the same place as her.
He wandered along the roadway and made his way up to a pub. But he wasn't looking to drown his worries in alcohol. He hoped that someone in there might have some paper and a pen. He walked in, and there was no one inside, just a bartender who was, well, tending to his bar.
Aang walked up to the counter and sat down on a stool, then ran his hand over his face and looked at the bartender. The bartender looked back.
"Avatar, sir? Thanks for ending the war and all, but it's illegal to sell alcohol to a kid."
Aang nodded. "I know. But I'm not looking for a drink. I need your help. Would you happen to have paper and something to write with?"
The bartender looked confused for a moment, but then pulled a sharpened wooden stick and a bottle of ink out from under the counter and placed it on the table. He pulled two large, folded up pieces of paper out of his pocket.
"May I ask what it's for?" The bartender was still confused. Everyone who came into his bar was either looking to get drunk or already drunk.
Aang closed his eyes as the painful image came back. "I need to write a note. A letter. Actually, it's more of an apology."
Now the bartender was intrigued. "I don't mean to pry, but to whom? I could help if you need it. Bartenders hear a lot of personal problems."
The pain was more intense now. "It's… for someone I love… But she's lost to me now. I can't say anymore than that." Aang sighed a little. "But thank you for your kind gesture. I just… I need to do this alone."
The bartender nodded solemnly and left the Avatar to his writing.
Aang had made his way back to the inn and was looking around for any signs as to if Katara had returned yet. When he found none, he walked in through the front door and quietly made his way into the room that the innkeeper allowed him to stay in. He looked through a bag of his things and pulled out a small box. He placed one letter he had written on a table in his room. Next to it he placed the box and a second letter, which was folded up and had the words 'for Katara's eyes only' written on the outside of it. He put that letter on top of the box. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
Aang walked over to the corner of his room and grabbed his glider, which he had placed against the wall. He walked over to his bed and found Momo curled up in a little ball. Aang pet him lightly behind the ears until he woke up. Once awake, Aang held out his arm for Momo to climb up onto his shoulder. With a squeak and a chirp, he made his way up his owner's arm and began to doze off again.
Aang left all of his belongings in the room except for his glider and Momo. He quietly made his way out. All he needed to do was make his way down the hall and he was safe. He could leave everything that was causing him such pain and misery. Aang turned and walked into the main reception area. He thought he was home free. Until he heard footsteps behind him. He tensed up. He relaxed a little when he realized it was only Sokka.
"Aang?" Sokka said with a yawn, sounding like he had just woken up.
Aang stood still and didn't look at him.
"Are you okay?" Sokka was now worried for his friend. Aang never acted like this. Not even the night before the battle with Ozai.
Aang remained silent and still, refusing to look at his friend.
There was only one thing that could have Aang so worked up. "Is it about Zuko?"
Aang tensed up again and tightened his grip on his staff at hearing that bastard's name.
Sokka noticed his reaction and sighed. "I get it. I would feel the same way. Zuko's not exactly my friend." Sokka approached Aang slowly. "But you don't have to run off. I know you love her, but you'll get over it with time. I managed to get over Yue…"
Aang finally spoke, but remained still. "No, Sokka, I won't get over it."
"…You know, if you leave, she'll be sad."
"Luckily Zuko will be there to comfort her." Aang continued towards the door.
"Wait!" Sokka yelled after him. He walked up behind him and placed his hand on Aang's shoulder. "Aang, you're like my brother. I can't help but feel bad for you… And I can't help but be worried for you." Sokka paused for a moment. "Where will you go?"
Aang shrugged Sokka's hand off his shoulder. "Away" was Aang's only response. He made his way to the door and stepped outside. He let Momo onto the ground and extended the fins on his glider. Momo extended his wings. The two took off into the sky, heading southward, towards the Southern Air Temple.
About 20 minutes after Aang left, Katara had returned to the inn. She prepared an innocent act for when Sokka or Aang asks where she had been. She walked through the front door with a slight smile on. She lost it immediately when she saw Sokka sitting on a sofa with a grim look on his face. Her first thought was that he had figured out what she had been doing all night by the river.
"Sokka, I know that you are probably angry, but I can do what I want! I really like Zuko, no matter what yo-." Katara stopped talking when Sokka started getting up. He closed his eyes and planned out what he would tell her.
"It's not about Zuko. It's about Aang. He's gone."
Katara's eyes widened in shock. "Gone! What do you mean gone?"
"I mean gone. Like away. Left without us."
Katara suddenly felt a searing pain inside of her, like a part of her was missing. "Wh- Why would he leave? We're his best friends! We need him!"
Sokka shook his head. "I don't know Katara." Sokka lied for Aang. He imagined that Aang wouldn't want him telling her the real reason he left. "But he left us this letter. I've been waiting for you to get here so we can read it."
Katara stepped closer to her brother so she could see the writing on the note.
I imagine you must be confused. I left to go to the western Earth Kingdom. I have received word that a few remnants of the Fire Nation army are harassing villagers. It is my duty as the Avatar to stop them. I figured that you would want to go home, to the Southern Water Tribe, so I left Appa there with you. Once you are safely there, Appa will find me. I'm sorry I wasn't able to say my good-bye's in person. I will remember you guys, always.
Katara stepped back from the letter, tears welling up in her eyes. Her best friend left her, and the only thing he said was that he had to go fight some soldiers. She was mourning the loss of her best friend, but then there was something else. Something that went deeper than a simple, friendly relationship. Katara actually had feelings for him for a while now, but thought that Aang would never accept her. She believed she was nothing more than a lowly Water Tribe girl who tagged along on his adventures to teach him waterbending. Not to mention, Aang was the Avatar after all, what did she have that would interest him?
So she began going with Zuko in an attempt to fill the void in her heart left by her unsaid feelings for Aang. But her how she felt for Zuko didn't even come near how powerful her feelings were for Aang. And now she would never be able to tell him how much she wanted to be with him. And it made her feel undeniably terrible for ever trying to take comfort in Zuko's arms. If she had just told him, maybe all of this could have been avoided… And maybe he would have accepted her… She had never before considered that option.
Sokka looked at his little sister and saw the tears forming in her eyes. "Hey… Don't be crying just yet. There's more." Sokka tried to tell her with brotherly affection. Katara looked up at him with an empty stare, tears glazing her eyes. "Aang left another letter and a box in his room. It say's it for you. Only for you."
Katara rubbed her eyes and nodded. She slowly made her way to Aang's room, which surprisingly, was exactly the way he left it. All his things were there, except his glider. Katara found the letter and the box on a small nightstand. She opened the letter first.
My Dear Katara,
I know you well enough to know that you would never believe the other letter. I wrote that because I needed to make sure that when you read this, you were alone.
I will begin with what I have wanted to say for months. Katara, I have fallen deeply in love with you. You have no idea how long I have wanted to tell you that in person. But I fear that now I will never get that chance. You've been my friend, my family, my beloved, and for some time, I hoped that I had become yours. I wanted you to know that there was no length I wouldn't go to for you. I wanted you to know how much I adore you.
About 6 months ago, you woke me up from my deep slumber inside the iceberg. The moment I opened my eyes and I saw your beautiful face hovering above mine, surrounded by a vast white landscape, I had believed that I had died and was being awoken by an angel. When I realized that I was still very much alive, and that this amazing, entrancing, enticing, alluring creature was a person, I instantly fell in love. You may recall that I was smiling at you as we left the South Pole…
But now I had to leave, for there was a problem with my infatuation with you. I believe I have miscalculated. I had missed one important variable; I had missed one face on the playing field. One that would effectively ruin all thoughts and dreams I ever had of you. I love you, Katara. But it hurts me to say that I cannot anymore. Not if it means putting up with the pain I now feel.
Along with this letter, I left a small, unopened box on the table. Inside is an item I had made for you about 3 months ago, and I wanted to give it to you tonight. At least I did, until recent events ensued. Do with it as you wish. Keep it, sell it, throw it away, it doesn't matter. I just want you to know that I had made it for you, and the meaning it once had. I'm sure you will recognize what it is.
I have been putting off telling you this, but I feel I cannot lie to you. The missing variable, the face on the playing field, he was someone I saw tonight. Someone doing something that I would have never expected. When I saw this, it felt like a part of me had died. And not a part that could be reincarnated into the next Avatar.
This face, this variable… you know him rather well, or so it would seem. At least, I hope you do. For if you don't, I have more reason to be sad than I thought. However, if it is what makes you happy, I am happy for you. The reason that I can no longer love you… it is because you love another.
I always thought that you weren't treated well enough. I always felt like you should be royalty. But now, I suppose, you will get that chance. Make sure Zuko takes good care of you; I wouldn't expect anything else from the new Fire Lord. And if you take that chance I mentioned earlier, you would make a great Fire Lady. Like I said, I always thought that you should be royalty…
Eternally Yours, Even if You're Not Mine,
Katara's pupils were dilated to the point where almost none of her beautiful, blue sapphires called her eyes could be seen. She was trembling after reading the letter, and realizing that she had unintentionally shooed away the man she loves. She dropped the letter and looked at the small box sitting on the nightstand. Half of her thought that if she learned anymore about this, she would die from the mental and emotional stress exerted on her. The other half desperately wanted to know what was in that box, and why it was important enough to leave it for her to find, even if he believed that she didn't love him.
Katara closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. She wanted to be prepared to find something that could make this situation any more unbearable than it already was. She opened her eyes slowly and extended her arm towards the nightstand. She picked up the small box with utmost delicacy, like the item was relic of the spirits. It was made of stone and had both the Water Tribe insignia and the Air Nomads symbol on it. The opening was on the side, with a small cover over it. She gently pulled off the cover and tilted the box slightly, her other hand underneath to catch whatever fell out.
A long piece of dark blue ribbon, made from a fine silk, slowly slid out of the box, the rest of the item inside. She tilted it a little more and a light blue pendant slid out of the box. The front of the pendant was decorated with an intricately and perfectly carved Water Tribe insignia, with a much smaller Air Nomad symbol beneath it. On the back was an inscription, 往那 某 那个 名打算发生任 何事 瀑布 在那 水 同夥, meaning 'For the One I Would Offer Everything, Katara of the WaterTribe.'
What Aang had left her, what he thought was so important that she should have it, no matter what, was a necklace. A betrothal necklace. Katara broke into a fresh round of tears as she threw herself onto Aang's bed.
Aang looked around. He was standing on the highest point of the Southern Air Temple. He gazed at what once used to be his home. Where his family, Monk Gyatso, used to live. It was still a magnificent sight, but a century of none-use has left the temple dirty, empty, and lonely. He would live alone in what used to be called his home. His feelings for Katara would be forgotten. Hopefully. He would live by the teachings he grew up with. Momo flew around to inspect his old place of living. He landed on Aang's shoulder.
Aang truly was the Last Airbender. There wouldn't be anymore. There was only one girl worth loving, one girl worth disobeying one of the most important rules laid out for the monks, one girl that he would accept to be the mother of the next generation of airbenders. And, as far as he knew, she didn't love him back. No other girl was worth disobeying every rule he grew up with. He now conformed to a chaste, emotion-free life.
The life of a monk.
Hmm, I like the way this turned out. It gave me a not-so-happily-ever-after perspective on kataang. The symbols of the inscription are word for word, matching the order of the English translation. It is written in Classical Chinese.
I will DEFINANTLY write a sequel to this. It came out too good to leave it alone. And I can't consider it kataang if they don't end up together. But, Wow… … … This came out pretty good.