Disclaimer: The usual.
a/n: Something I wrote a while ago and forgot to post. Be aware of a lot of hidden metaphors. I just love writing about Sokka.
The road is old.
Nearby, a gate screams hollowly into the dark of the night, scratching against the glowing stars. Its voice echoes and bumps against the worn path, a gasp that makes the midnight air shiver. Bellowing a haunting hymn, it sang a somber melody that was a hoarse whisper.
"I wish I could see you again, like old times, just one more time."
Sokka blinked at the moon, a remembrance of a smile fading on his lips.
The moon sits like a shiny coin in the sky. It radiated its gracefulness, floating among the warmth of stars and brimming with a light that glittering ever so prettily. Quietly, like the graze of a blush, it snuck away from behind the hiding clouds, peering down at the world.
Tonight the moon frowned.
And Yue wishes with him too.
"Is it possible to fall in love with someone you thought…you didn't like all?"
It's a simple question, but inside the struggling syllables that came from his sister was an unraveling story, a memory within a memory, and a bleeding heart. Hesitating, he watched her with bright blue eyes as he let out a broken laugh.
His laugh was a tired one, heavy and worn, and cracking.
It flowed from a memory of long ago, a memory of a warrior—who was also a girl—and the vanishing touch of her kisses on his lips. Running a hand through his hair, he clenched his eyes, his laugh tightening into a regretful knot in his throat. There is a spot, right above where his heart should beat, where a torn green fans sits.
"Love is like a fire, Katara. It hurts and it burns and scars everything in its way. And it grows and grows until it is so big it cannot be controlled, and once it is so big it is so hard to put it out. Once you find it, you are consumed, forever and ever."
Sokka looked up at the girl who loves the son of the enemy and frowned.
"But, it too, just like the fire, is necessary to life. And without it, we would die."
A part of Sokka knows this is true, because the sound of his heart (right behind the red stained, green fan) slows and dies a little, if just a bit.
"This…this wasn't supposed to happen."
Sokka knelt down, one knee scraping against the hard and rigid earth, as he rested a hand on the boy's shoulder. He is on his knees, hands on his head, and a load of questions pouring over him. Aang grimaces into the dirt, clenching his eyes and gritting his teeth, as he feels Sokka look down at with a bit more than understanding.
"I wasn't supposed to fall in love with her, Sokka! Katara was supposed to be my best friend, and nothing more…it wasn't supposed to happen!"
His hands tear at the earth, ripping and ripping the anger.
"And…and I'm not supposed to love her Sokka, but I do…"
Sokka shut his eyes and held his breath, taking a moment to watch the boy who loves his sister. He squeezed his shoulder, patting the boy as he shook his head. With a smile, tiny as the tear on the Avatar's face, the warrior stood to his feet.
"Lots of things aren't supposed to happen, Aang. No matter what they say, you don't or can't control your fate. Not at all."
Aang frowned, confused and unable to understand.
"Love tends to happen when you least expect it."
Sokka's eyes drift away to a raven haired girl in green, with pretty eyes and a fighting spirit he admires, not so far away.
But it also disappears when you least expect it, he fails to add.
Looking up, Sokka glanced up at the night sky, the solemn moon high above their heads, and the heart of an earthbender that belonged to an oblivious Avatar.
"Nothing makes sense anymore."
Sokka laughed, and slapped his knee, grinning at the Avatar next to him.
"Love is funny, champ. Deal with it."
Aang gave a weak smile, his chin sitting in the palm of his hand. A worry floated over his head, as his eyes kept glancing over at his earthbending teacher. Hands traveling to his head, he ran his digits along his blue arrow as he bowed and shook his head. Confused, once again, he pivoted himself to face his friend with big gray eyes."Is it a bad thing that I'm falling in love with Toph? Is it, Sokka, is it bad to love someone else?"
Pointing a finger at the Avatar, Sokka took a bite of his meat and answered between a swallow and his chewing.
"Let me tell you something, Aang, and don't you forget it."
Aang was listening.
"Love is flexible, and that is that."
Wiping his fingers on his pants, he smacked his lips of the bitter taste. His eyes brightened with an idea. Carefully, he slipped his fingers to the front of his shirt and removed a piece of paper. It was small, and slightly ripped from being shoved into a pocket for so long, but big enough to hide his fragile heart, and just enough to be a distraction for the boy.
"What's that?" Aang asked.
"Ticket to the circus," Sokka grinned at boy, poking him in the chest, "Care to join me?"
Sokka held back the desperation in his voice to see a familiar pretty face, telling himself it was just a distraction, and nothing more, even if he knew that it was a lie.
His heart ached for a companion, anyone at all, circus freak or not.
Sokka impatiently nudges the boy in the foot, a strict and taut line stretching across his face. Heaving a sigh, he looked down at Zuko collapsed on the ground. The dirt and ground gritted under his feet, his blue eyes narrowing when the firebender refused to listen.
"Why should I? My uncle is dead, and I've messed up and done so many things wrong, that I don't even deserve to be alive. I don't. I really don't. Look at me, I'm a failure, I don't deserve anything, you should just end me right here and right now—"
Before he could continue, he felt a loud punch against his ribcage, an aching pain erupting in his stomach. Groaning with a yelp, he clutched his side where Sokka had kicked him with brute force, and looked up with a pained face. Glaring, his eyes flashed a dangerous shade of anger.
"You're pathetic," Sokka said with a disgusted tone, stepping back to look down at him on the floor.
Zuko wiped away the dirt from his face, a trail of sticky blood on his fingers."What else am I supposed to do, everything and everyone I ever cared about—" Uncle, Mai, Katara, my mother, my honor…"—is gone.It's all my fault, too. What's the point? Of anything?"
Sokka shook his head, and then crouched down so he was eye level with him, a frown painted across his face. He breathes in the pause, inhaling the silence with a sharp intake of breath.
"In the Water Tribe, we learn to adapt. To move on."
About to protest, Zuko opened his mouth, but Sokka continued without hesitating.
"We are like a river, in a way. We always move, we do not stop, for anything. But there will always be things that block our path. Sometimes they will be things part of our lives, things we cannot control. Those rocks, death, life, our health, they can slow us down. They can get in our way and try to stop us. But does the river stop flowing if there a stone in the middle? No, it keeps going and going, without hesitation."
Standing to his feet, he looked down with bright blue eyes, a question on his lips.
"Do you know why?"
Zuko did not answer.
"Because the river provides life, Zuko. That is why. If one river stops, then all the lives that depend on it will die. If the fish are gone, what the people eat? If the water is gone, what will we drink? What of the animals? All the other rivers that thrive on that one will dry up with it. If one falters, they all will."
Sokka's voice died down to a whisper, as he pointed a finger softly at the boy on the ground.
"For the sake of others, you can't give up. You have to move on, you have to keep going. If you give up hope, then what is left for us? Nothing. You have to move on, no matter how much it hurts."
Sokka carefully extended a hand to help him up.
"You don't have to be from the Water Tribe to do so. Just strong. You just have to be strong."
Zuko took hold of the boy's hand, and stood to his feet with his help, his amber eyes on somber warrior.
"And are you strong, Sokka?"
And so he thinks of an answer, reaching and digging and searching for the truth. And as he does, he must tunnel through the memories of a princess, a warrior, a fighter, an acrobat, and too many goodbyes that never happened. Struggling to shove all the memories back down, he gave a nod, and choked on his answer.
"Of course I am," He said with a forced grin, a faded laugh on his chapped lips.
He has no choice, really.