Don't Own Avatar. Love it, Wish I did, But I don't. Such a shame, really.
Although I'd love to say that this is my very own, the idea for this came from Jaika's Five Caves Katara Never Made it Out Of. Specifically the Cave of Mirrors. You should read it; it was great.
"Aang?" Katara called, shivering as she walked farther into the mouth of the cave. "Sokka?" She tried, becoming consumed by the blackness. "Toph?" she asked in a small voice. The only sound that found its way to her ears was that of her own footsteps on hard packed earth.
She was in a cave; La, why did it always have to be a cave? The cold increased with the darkness, and Katara suddenly wished that she had thought to bring her parka with her, although she knew the thought of bringing the warm fur garment anywhere with her in the early summer would have never occurred to her before now.
The girl blew a gust of warm air onto her hands and rubbed them together, another shiver coursing down her small frame. She knew from growing up in the South Pole that the worst thing that you could possibly do when you were cold was to stop moving, so she walked on- further and further into the darkness.
After a time, natural curiosity prompted her onwards rather than rationalization. In all honesty, Katara didn't understand how the cave-in could have occurred. The walls in this passage seemed to be as strong and sturdy of the man made ones of Ba Seng Se. Katara absently reached out to brush her fingers against the hard, stable rock, but when her hands made contact she jerked back with surprise.
The walls were smooth and sleek with none of the hard ridges and uneven surfaces that she knew rock to have. It was almost like glass. How strange… A shiver ran down her spine, but this time it wasn't from the cold. As Katara walked farther, she crossed her arms tightly over her chest to avoid contact with the wall again.
It was only a short time later that she saw light coming from what appeared to be the mouth of the cave, and Katara's shoulders slumped with relief. She hurried forward only to discover that it wasn't an exit after all. Rather, the soft, blue light came from crystals that glowed in a small cavern. Without warning, her mind was pulled back to her time spent in the prisons under Ba Seng Se and she pushed the thoughts away angrily.
"Sokka!" she cried, and her voice echoed eerily off of the crystals and the sleek surface of the walls. Once again, the waterbender shuddered. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, regaining control of her mind before the fear could carry it too far away from her.
To distract herself, she made herself busy by observing the strange walls. They were see-through almost, allowing her to see into an adjoining cavern. Maybe they are glass… she reached out and touched them again, this time pressing her full hand against the surface rather than just her fingertips. She knocked on it once, and was surprised to find that it echoed dully and didn't give as glass so thin normally would. She frowned slightly and glanced back around the cavern.
Something in her surroundings struck her as familiar, and she whirled back around to face the wall. It wasn't glass after all. Rather, it was a reflection of the room. The walls were covered with mirrors. But… "Where am I?" Katara gasped out loud, stumbling backwards. Although the mirrors reflected her surroundings, her own form was nowhere to be found.
"This is too weird…" she murmured, glancing around quickly her. There was another tunnel besides the one that she had come through leading away from the cavern. After a moment's hesitation, Katara hurried forward towards the tunnel whose interior also glowed a dull blue.
The walls were the same here as in the large cavern, although in this tunnel the mirrors weren't in solid sheets. Rather, their surfaces rested on the faces of the glowing crystals. Once again, Katara's reflection was nowhere to be seen. Another shudder ran down her spine, but she pushed farther forwards, hoping against hope that she would escape eventually.
The girl nearly cursed when she found that instead of continuing to the outside, the tunnel split into two paths. Pressing a hand to her head, she took the left path first, and a sudden chill suddenly came over her. The walls showed a reflection this time. It was her own reflection, although not her present one.
The face in the mirror was cold and hard, its mouth settled in a thin, grim line. Its blue eyes were haunted, and a touch of pre-mature gray showed at the temples of the woman whose hair was cropped close to her skull. One hand rested on a broadsword, the other on a water pouch- the only familiar article in the whole image. It was a seasoned warrior that looked at Katara from the mirror.
Katara shuddered, and reached up to touch the woman made visible in the glass. "Are you really me?" she murmured, feeling her gut clench at the prospect of her future. She swallowed hard, and wrenched her gaze away from the mirror and looked into a different one. A different reflection greeted her.
This one was of a woman with matted hair and clouded blue eyes, a scar running down the side of her face. The next reflection was of a hardened woman with broadswords strapped to her back; the only solace she could find was in her ale. The next was a wary, wild cold eyed fighter that melted into the shadows, her hands staying over her knives to give her comfort.
Katara felt her head spinning and felt like she was going to scream. People go mad in here… mad from all that they see.
Stumbling, Katara ran back to the cavern to rid herself of the images that filled her head. The reflections all had one thing in common: they were all of warriors, all hardened and scarred. Katara shuddered. Those certainly weren't the faces of the future that Aunt Wu had predicted for her.
Reaching the cavern, she bent over and sucked air into her lungs, grateful that the disturbing mirror people were gone. She wouldn't look at the walls in the cavern. She refused. However, the second tunnel pulled at her, and her feet moved like lead in that direction.
The second tunnel was identical to the first, and it took her quite a bit of effort to look into the mirrors there. But once she did, she found she couldn't look away. The reflection here was so different than it had been in the first tunnel. The eyes she met were warm and wise, and laugh lines were crinkled around its mouth and eyes. A small boy with dark hair was holding onto the reflection's skirt while the woman held the hand of a little girl with one arm and cradled a toddler with the other. It was an image of peace and of love.
Katara felt her heart strings tugged, and she glanced down the tunnel at more of the reflections, all dealing with a similar nature; all fitting into the future that Aunt Wu had told her. But was there really only one future set out before her, or did she have a choice?
Katara! Katara! The echoes of her friends' shouts carried into the tunnel, and she jerked her gaze away. "I'm coming!" she called out loudly, and hurried past the images of motherhood and back into the cavern. Before rushing to the voices that called out for her, she glanced back at the two tunnels.
There were two paths laid out before her: that of a warrior and that of a woman; that much was clear. The only question was: could she give up one side of her to embrace the other? Could she honestly give up her title of Water Bending Master to become a simple housewife and mother? She glanced between the two tunnels again.
Are you really me? Or just what I could be?
Once again, the idea is not mine. I read the very short little piece in Jaika's work, Five Caves Katara Never Made it Out Of, and was so inspired that I had to put something down. Please drop me a comment, and then give her one as well. She definitely deserves your praise.