So anyway, it's been a really long time since I posted anything. I'm having a small case of writer's block. Lately I'm having troubles thinking of absolutely anything that makes sense. It all comes out garbled in some weird twisted parody of the English language. So this little one-shot is my attempt at… something. Let me know what you think of it.
Waking up early in the morning is something I enjoy. Before anyone else is up. That's my favorite time of day and I wouldn't trade it for a bucketful of frozen frogs. (I don't know what I'd do with a bucketful of frozen frogs, but I'm sure they're good for something) I guess it's a throwback to my years at the Southern Air Temple. Sleeping past six in the morning was certainly frowned upon. Well, more like glared at. But you understand what I mean.
I remember when I was younger that I hated the morning rituals. Getting up before the sun. Exercising physically. Mentally preparing for the day. It all seemed pointless. The thing that changed my mind was the one time Gyatso secretly allowed me to sleep in. This was before I began waking automatically so I was in bed for quite some time. I'm not sure what he told the elders and I'm not sure I want to know. When I finally did get up, I felt as if my entire day was lost and I had wasted it. The other boys at the temple had accomplished so much while I had been sleeping. And so I learned why we monks are early risers.
I've never forced anyone to get up when I do because I value that time as my own. I'm free to do whatever I want. And with two bending teachers, Katara and Toph, pushing me to master the elements, I hardly ever have time to myself. Except the mornings. I can do almost anything without worrying about the consequences of my actions. And as the Avatar in charge of ending a 100-year war, that freedom is something I can't pass up.
This particular morning I have a few options. I could practice my bending, go through a few airbending stances, or meditate. Since I'm already going to be bending the rest of the day, the first two choices don't appeal to me. The latter sounds much more relaxing. Since Toph has joined our little troupe, I seem to be meditating more often. Hmmm…
I tip-toe out of camp, being careful not to wake the others. I pause for a glance of Katara sleeping, then continue into the surrounding forest. The little clearing I find seems like the perfect place to be: close enough for safety, but far enough for privacy.
I earthbend a pillar out of the ground, raising it to about five feet above my head. I don't plan on any interruptions, but it doesn't hurt to ensure my solitude, does it? Jumping to the top in one leap takes only a few seconds. There's just enough space for one airbender to sit cross-legged. Perfect. I settle into a comfortable position: facing west, one leg on the other, fists connected. The arrows on my hands point at each other, contradicting themselves. I close my eyes and breathe deeply, drawing strength and peace from my element. I am in the ideal state of mind for meditation: clear and calm. And just like that I slip into the trance-like condition common in my morning meditations. Minutes slide by like sand through my fingers.
Before I know it, the sun has begun its ascent to the sky. Its heat tickles the back of my head and neck. A slight smile flits through my features as I imagine how beautiful the sunrise must be.
I wish Katara were here to watch it with me.
The notion jumps into my head and clings to it like a baby monkeybear reunited with its mother. I mentally shake my head to dislodge it, but it grips my mind and presents another thought.
The sunrise can't be nearly as beautiful as Katara.
The notion has me now and I'm clutching it with both hands. Without exception, this line of thinking always appears when I meditate. Actually, it materializes often at various times of any day. The triggers differ, but the reaction never does. My concentration shattered, I open my eyes. The early light stings a little, but I ignore it.
The reason I faced the west in the first place was to avoid this. It's not that I don't like the topic, believe me I do. It's just that after it pops up in my head, I find it hard to focus on anything else.
Raising my legs, I rest my chin on my knees and wrap my arms around my lower limbs. I watch the rays of sunlight reach into the forest around me. And I go through the same thought process that I do everyday, asking the same questions over and over again. What if I told her I liked her? Would it ruin our friendship? Why do I have to be the Avatar. And as usual, I answer myself in reverse order.
Now, to the casual observer, (which I hope you're not because then I'd be spilling my secrets to a complete stranger. And if you aren't… well… I probably shouldn't be telling you anyway) the last question may seem out of place. But it has every right to be mentioned. Because I'm the Avatar, I'm put in a very awkward position. I'm not supposed to be romantically involved with anyone, my duty is more important than anything, and if anyone found out about my little… crush, it could be disastrous. A firebender could kidnap Katara to get to me. Don't laugh. Don't call me paranoid. It's happened before. I won't let it happen again.
Of course, it's because of my being the Avatar that I even met her in the first place. If I were just a normal airbender, I would have died with my fellow monks. I swallow deep in my throat and decide to change the subject before I get myself all worked up. On to the second question.
If I told her I liked her, would it ruin our friendship? Rejection would be an inconvenience. The termination of all contact would be a tragedy. No, the second question was better left unanswered and unconsidered. At least for today.
Regarding my first reservation, I would just have to imagine. And I have. Many times. They all end the same way: acceptance and a kiss. Real life is a different matter though. I've actually attempted a few confessions, but something always interrupts me or I lose my nerve. I guess I just have to wait for the perfect opportunity.
Sometimes I'm certain Katara likes me, too. It's the little things, like how she always ignores Sokka' and Toph's teases about us. Or how her eyes light up when I master a new bending technique. Other times I'm absolutely sure that I'm imagining things. I probably read too much into every little innocent gesture or touch. The two conflictions make the situation even more confusing. But you know what they say – 'Love is hardest to see by those it touches.' Or something like that.
Wait. Did I just say… love?
My throat is suddenly dry and I hug my legs tighter. Could I really be in love? A very tiny part of me questions this. I mean, I am only twelve. But actually I'm 112. Almost all of me wholeheartedly, unhesitantly declares that I am in love. That small, stupid piece is overwhelmed and joins in my excitement. My spirit, linked to the past Avatars, finds this realization amusing and, surprisingly, familiar. Obviously I'm not the only one to not bother worrying about the rules. That knowledge reassures me.
I, Aang, Avatar, the last airbender, love Katara.
Now that I know this, I find instant peace. Everything just clicks into place and I quickly settle back into my meditation position. I'm not in my trance, though. I'm thinking of Katara. Scenarios of me confessing and her throwing her arms around me fill my mind. Completely unaware of anything beyond my earth pillar, time marches past me.
I guess the others are up and looking for me. Snatches of conversation float through my consciousness, but I barely notice.
"Going to get your boyfriend, Katara?"
"Oh, shut up, Sokka."
"What's Aang doing up there, Toph? The sun's in my eyes."
"He's just sitting there. His breathing and heart rate are really slow."
"He's probably meditating. We shouldn't disturb him."
"Come on, Toph. Let's leave the two lovebirds alone."
"Let it go, Snoozles."
"Ow! Hey! You don't have to hit so hard! I get the point!"
"Could you two be any more immature?"
Then they're gone. They must have went back to camp. Toph's abuse of Sokka doesn't register in my mind until much later. The little Katara thought attached to my brain laughs. I don't think it will ever be far away.
More time passes as the sun rises higher. The warmth makes my skin prickle. Yet I'm not ready to move. After my epiphany everything is different to me. Simpler. Clearer.
A voice distracts me from my musings and I crack one eye open.
"Aang? Are you ready to work on your waterbending? I think you'll like this technique I'm going to teach you." Of course I'm not ready. I could meditate all day if I had the chance. But I stand up anyway, shoving the earth beneath my feet flush with ground. And I forget about how comfortable my meditations are.
I do love her, you know.
What do you think? I'm actually pretty happy with it. Actually, this is my first attempt at either first person POV or the present tense. So go ahead and hit the review button down there. I'll take anything: critique or compliment. As long as it's constructive. Please don't just tell me that I suck. At least give me a reason why I suck.
Alright, I'm looking for someone to beta for me. It wouldn't be very often because I'm very busy and I'm already in the middle of two fics on fictionpress. There would be only one-shots to beta since I don't think I'd be very good at multi-chaptered fics. That and I have no ideas for one. So if anyone out there is interested let me know in your review.