Disclaimer: I own seasons one and two of Avatar, but that's about it.
Author's Note: After having seen the first few episodes, I came to this discovery: Katara is reincarnated along with Aang.
Well, okay, I still don't have a lot of evidence of this fact (I'm working on it!), but I can see it. The Avatar keeps returning as the same soul; why couldn't his lover? In fact, why wouldn't his lover? True love is, after all, the most powerful force on earth! (God, I'm a walking cliché…)
In any case, I'd be thrilled if someone took this idea and wrote a whole fic about it… as it is, this is all the time I currently have to commit to this little plot bunny. Please enjoy it for what it is!
PS. REVIEWS ARE ETERNALLY APPRECIATED, BUT REALIZE THAT I HAVE ONLY WATCHED THROUGH EPISODE 12 OF SEASON TWO. SPOILERS ARE NOT WELCOME! Please let me see this wonderful series for myself. XD Thanks so much in advanced!
PSS. This was recently edited and posted on the Avatar Spirit forum's fanfic contest thread. Wish me luck!
x 100 Years x
There were many things that the Spirit World was— mysterious, powerful, a plane of nature in and of itself… but infallible? No. Blasphemous though the claim might seem, the creatures of power were not creatures of perfection, and once in a great while things that should not ever happen did.
Such was the case of 100 Years… though more time has elapsed since then. But even now the ancestors of Earth pass stories down about the Whispering and the Crying, the Anger and the Storms. The Spirit World was fuming with rage...
For the Cycle had been broken.
No one was quite sure how: whether the Avatar had been born 100 years too early, or the Lover was to be born 100 years too late. It did not matter one way or another; the mistake had been made and it needed to be corrected.
But the comet, the comet, the comet is coming…
He could not fight by then, he would be a child of 12—
—would not be able to fight anyway, not without—
— cannot go without, simply cannot, unheard of to go without—
— but she is not ready, not yet, not now, no body—
— then what should we do…?
Silence. For a time, no one spoke. No one thought. No one moved. The whole plane of existence fell under such a hush that the mortal wind vanished and sound could not be made or heard anywhere on Earth.
Then Roku murmured:
x Forever x
There were very few things that frightened Aang. He was not afraid of heights— in fact, he relished them. Nor was he scared of animals of any kind. Big, small, hairy, naked, flying, land-based, shiny, smelly, sticky, or slow… anything could be made into a willing pet. Fighting was even losing its edge, after having endured so much of it.
And yet, no matter how much he mulled over it, or meditated, or thought, or prayed… eternity never seemed any less daunting or ominous.
Forever. He would live forever, as his spirit was immortal. Never dying, never resting, never finding true peace. It seemed… impossible. Terrifying, at any rate, to realize that there would be no end for him, nor a new beginning— if there ever had been a beginning in the first place— and that he was alone for all of it.
True, he had friends. He had certainly had them in the past, as well. But those of the past were long since dead, and his new friends would someday pass on, too. And once they found eternal rest, where would he be? Back here, living another life… never to see them again on Earth or in Nirvana.
He was alone… forever.
It was a destiny he'd been forced to accept over and over and over again, with each old life that was snuffed out and every new life he was born into. It was a fate he'd once lamented, but now loathed. It was the worst sentence someone could be given.
"But why?" Katara had asked, horrified by the tears she'd found running down his cheeks. Above them the full moon shone brighter than the sun; she could feel the raw strength in the light as it crackled and fizzed pleasantly beneath her skin. She felt truly alive; she relished the power.
It seemed to have the opposite effect on the Avatar's mood.
The life reminded him of death.
"Why?" she said again, wheedling and gentle, as she placed a soft hand on Aang's shoulder. They were broadening, now, as he aged… and while his face— normally— still shone with a child's happiness, the angles of his body were sharpening, lengthening… he was already as tall as she. "What's the matter with reincarnation? You're not burdened with the knowledge of your past lives… mostly. And think of all of the wonderful things that living has to offer that you get to enjoy over and over again! Why, the games and the fresh air and the wonders of the world…" The waterbender ticked these tantalizing treats off on her fingers, trying to recall all of his favorite things.
But she trailed off helplessly as the tears continued to stream from the Avatar's gray eyes, shining like mercury in the ethereal glow of the moon.
Katara was begging now, desperate to help him. Her blue eyes pleaded, her smooth brow scrunched… her dark arms slid around him, holding him from behind. He stayed as still as stone, sans the placement of one hand on hers. "Why does it bother you? Why do you dread it so? Why?"
For a moment, he did not reply— merely kept his gaze on the velvet-black sky. Then, with a whimper that broke her heart, whispered:
"How could I— how can I— possibly live on… without you?"
The words echoed in the stillness of the night.
For a full minute, Katara didn't react: she couldn't breathe, she couldn't think, she couldn't feel the cool sea air or the ground beneath her knees or the Avatar's clothes underneath her fingers. All she could do was sit there as his words flowed into her, burning like fire in her ears and birthing a strange, lingering lump in her throat: bittersweet and painful, as if she were choking on a sharp piece of her favorite candy.
Her shoulders began to quiver, then tremble, then shake as she buried her face in the motionless nape of Aang's neck, hissing the only word she could find: his name. Over and over and over… And he gave a little as she tugged at him, swaying a bit in the moonlight— but didn't truly hear her until she'd plunked herself down in his lap, taken his face in her hands, and forcefully stuttered:
"Aang…you won't be alone… I swear it. I swear—I'll stay with you. I'll be by your side forever… I swear! I swear…"
All of the bending in the world could not have kept the tears from slipping down her cheeks.
And in an instant—he knew.
x 100 More x
The waterbenders were known for their abilities to adjust and change with the times; as such, more legends came from their tribes than from any other nation. The flip side of this was that few people put much stock in their new legends, as they were adapted so regularly and lacked that archaic feel that made legends believable.
At least, this was how the Avatar felt— initially— as she poured over her firebending scrolls, resisting the urge to douse them with the liquid in her water skin. Normally she enjoyed the challenge learning her "opposite" brought, but today she was far too distracted by a fable she'd recently read in the library while waiting (as was usual) for her firebending teacher. It spoke of her predecessor and his lover, and how they swore to live on into forever together.
Once in a while the Avatar entertained ideas about living forever; the notion filled her with a strange sense of peace, for some reason… as if there were something to look forward to in that prospect. What that 'something' was, well, she was not quite sure. In any case, she found the concept of eternity a lot less disturbing than that of watching Avatar Aang's grandchildren grow up around her… which was, unfortunately, her current fate. I mean, are we blood related or something? Are they my grand-brats, too? That's kinda gross— they're nearly my age!
Good thing most of them were airbenders… they'd be off "nomad-ing" somewhere soon. Though I should ask one of them to teach me before they—
A soft coughing echoed from her right; with an embarrassed blush and a twirl of her hair around a finger, she turned to face her firebending master: a handsome young man five years older than she. He was all anyone could ever want from a teacher— his father was currently playing ambassador for the fire nation, which spoke volumes of his noble heritage... and he was a famous fire prodigy with a reputation for good humor and patience. Two things that were, to put it delicately, an essential when taking on the "honor" of teaching this particular Avatar.
He smiled that tolerant, amused smile of his, tapping a finger to the scroll she was supposed to be memorizing. "Are you ready to practice, or would you like to daydream some more?"
As he spoke his teasing reprimand, she felt her flush darken… and privately she wondered if it was his bending that made her body feel all warm and tingly, or if it was just him as a person. "I was ready twenty minutes ago. You were the one who kept me waiting."
"Heaven forbid you practice while you wait."
"Heaven forbid you make it on time to teach me what to practice."
He laughed easily, as good-tempered as always. "Ah, touché. Now then, let's see if we can't put that fiery spirit of yours to better use…"
So he began to explain the basic form of the advanced set, and she pretended to listen—instead opting to watch him talk, animated and cheerful and the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen. Her blue eyes caught his gold; he turned pink, cleared his throat, and pressed decidedly on.
And in that instant she knew— just knew— that there was truth behind the legend of the Avatars and their undying Lover.
We get to meet and fall in love over and over and over again… together for eternity, the avatar mused with a growing smile, curling a coy coil of hair around her finger. I don't think Nirvana could ever beat that.
…and from somewhere far away, Avatar Aang smiled.