Chapter 10: Nothing Good About Goodbye
Disclaimer: Art thou stupid if thou thinkiths I owniths Avatar...iths.
Katara swallowed, tasting nothing but pain. Why did she have to suffer so much? She had lost her mother, almost her father, and now...
Aang and Sokka.
She stared out her window. Rain was falling, hard and fierce. The sky hadn't been gray earlier, so there had been no warning. The sky had been fucking blue. Just like Aang and her... Everything seemed perfect, and without warning, he was leaving.
What could she do? Nothing at all.
A creak behind her came, but she didn't jump. Instead she prayed it was Azula, coming to finally finish her and put her out of this pain.
"Katara?" Toph's voice called out. Katara sighed. No luck.
"Yeah?" Katara answered moodily, propping her elbows on the window sill and resting her head in her hands.
"Aang and Sokka decided... they're leaving tomorrow." Toph hiccuped, a sound unfamiliar to Katara.
"Oh." Katara turned to look at Toph, suddenly worried. "Are you-"
"Katara... they're leaving us. They're leaving." Toph suddenly crumbled before Katara's eyes, crumbled like a statue that had thought to be made of marble, then come to find out it had been made of clay. Or made even glass.
"Toph, no-" Katara quickly got up and hugged Toph. Thunder jumped her from outside.
"Sokka's leaving. Aang's leaving. And we can't stay here... You need to go home. So do I." Toph wiped away tears and backed away from Katara's hug. She hated being weak. She may be little, may be blind, and may be a girl... but she was anything but weak. Turns out she's marble after all, Katara thought glumly. I wish I could be that strong.
"We can't be separated Toph, please!" Katara fought desperately. "I would be so alone!"
"Come on, we should be spending time with them." Toph pulled Katara to her feet. Just then she had realized she was on her knees, trembling.
They walked to the kitchen, Katara taking deep, slow breaths and even slower strides. Aang was rereading Zuko's letter, looking for hints or loopholes.
"Katara," he said suddenly. He jumped up and ran to her, holding her close. "I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry. You deserve so much better then this."
Katara didn't answer- just tried grasping the moment, trying to hold on to it forever.
But when he pulled away, she almost fell over. The moment had slipped through her fingers like water.
"I'd do anything for you. I'd die for you. But I can't let you come, I just can't."
"Because I'd be a weakness?" Katara glared at the floor. "Because Azula would use me to get what she wants? Because you can't stand seeing my body on the ground, lifeless?"
"Yes," Aang said quietly, looking down as well.
"Well that's pretty selfish of you." Aang looked up quickly and met her eyes, which were watering. "I mean, it's not OK for you to see me dead, but it's FINE for me to have to deal with your death!"
"What- no, Katara, I can take care of my-"
"Whatever." Katara sank into a stool and crossed her arms. Toph looked over at Sokka, (in his general direction) who sat on the couch, trying not to look at anyone.
They all sat in silence.
"So you're leaving tomorrow?" Toph asked.
"Umm?" Katara mimicked.
"We might be leaving... well we are leaving..."
"Yes?" A spark of hope ignited in Katara's chest.
A flash of lightening lit up the gray sky. Sokka stared outside, his eyes wide.
"Oh." Katara stared at him, her face blank. "Later on or... now?"
"Closer to now then later..." Aang answered, his heart hammering.
Katara's mood broke. She slowly slid her arms around him, burying her face in his chest. "This can't be happening," she moaned.
"I wish it wasn't..." Aang hid his face in her hair, moving her onto his lap.
Toph moved over to sit next to Sokka and lowered her voice to a whisper.
"You can stay! You don't have to go!"
"I have to go with Aang, Toph. I can't let him do this alone."
"He'll have people with him!!!" Sokka moved his hand to touch her shoulder, but she smacked it away the moment she felt his hand brush her arm.
"Strangers, mostly. He needs someone who cares to be with him, even if he won't let Katara go. I'm sorry..."
He leaned close to kiss her softly. She let him.
About an hour later, Katara and Toph stood on the porch, watching with pained expressions as Aang and Sokka put Appa's saddle on. The rain was still pouring, but there was no more lightening. No thunder. Katara and Toph clasped hands as they watched the boys they loved, men now, prepare to leave. As painful as it was to watch, they would be strong for them.
Sokka had already sent a couple letters, one to his father and grandmother in the South Pole, one to Zuko in the Fire Nation. Aang had written a letter, but the person he had sent it to wouldn't be reading it for quite awhile.
Toph's tears ran down her face, invisible in the rain. Both her and Katara alike. Their hair was becoming matted and frizzy, but neither of them cared. Suddenly, Aang slid off Appa's back, Sokka following.
Aang ran, and flung his arms around Katara, holding her close before pressing his lips one more time to her's. They kissed, a kiss that would haunt them both until they met again.
Sokka's goodbye was slightly different. He cupped Toph's face and kissed her once, before whispering something in her ear. She smirked slightly and punched him on the shoulder, probably leaving a bruise.
Sokka waited for Aang and Katara to break apart before hugging his sister.
"Be careful," he said, "and don't get drunk." They laughed, but Aang's face and voice became dead serious.
"Don't even touch wine! If you're hurt while I'm gone, I'll be committing murder, and that wouldn't look too good to the world... the Avatar killing someone for reasons they couldn't understand."
"Be safe," Katara whispered. Even in the rain Aang heard her. He took her hand and squeezed it before running back to Appa, Sokka following.
Appa began to hover. Katara bit her lip before screaming, "I love you!"
Aang screamed back.
"I love you too!" They took off, leaving, but they would return one day, and hopefully everything would be the same.