Disclaimer: Please don't sue me, I don't own anything. Even my soul, that's divided equally between my two fields of study.
EDIT: I apologize for the atrocities inflicted on my format. It has been fixed. I had to muddle this around so it would be easier to read. I apologize for the solid block of text people got before, this website just hates my formats.
Ghosts of the Tribe
Zuko does not have any sort of claim to clairvoyance. His uncle had once made a very apt comparison between his spiritual perception and a rock.
Yet, even he can feel them in every corridor of this place. They whisper about him. They know what he is. They know his people are the source of their pain.
Invisible hands tease his hair and they question his presence here. The agony of lives cut short, of unfinished tales, becomes palpable as cold air laced with tears and sighs brushes his skin as he walks these corridors.
He doesn't think they hate him. These were not a people of vengeance.
He wishes they did. Hatred would be easier to bear than the horrible, wrenching guilt they inspire in him.
He wishes they hate him as much as he hates the sadness reflected in Aang.
Despite what others believe, Sokka is incredibly perceptive. He may not have the spiritual openness of a bender, but he attempts to compensate for this by sheer curiosity and a sharp mind.
The fact that they are here does not escape him.
He hears the soft voices of women grown, the tinkling laughter of little girls echoing throughout the inverted rooms of the temple. He hears the cries of children lost, of final pleas for mercy.
The warrior sees Aang wake up and listen to these sounds in the night, the light draining from his eyes. The boy does not seem to hear his friend's quiet suggestion of sleep. He is too immersed in the sounds of the past.
Sokka's curiosity fails him. He has no wish to discover what they are.
Toph's world perception has never really included the hidden and the mysterious. Her life is much like her fighting: feet firmly on the ground, mind in the moment at hand and never up in the clouds.
Here, the intangible rudely makes its way into her everyday routine and she hates it with every fiber of her being.
They make no vibrations as they move about, only becoming detectable with a soft brush against her skin or soft sighs, of which she cannot find the source. The first time it happened, she ran to her friends and refused to be separated from them for the rest of the day.
However, it is not their presence that frightens her the most. It is what they have wrought in the Avatar that truly alarms her. Aang has never been heavy on his feet, but now there are times when she can not feel his prescience beside her until he touches her or calls her name.
She is worried for her friend and student. She does not wish for him to become unseen, even by her.
Katara knows what it is to be haunted. Every angle of her features, every wave of her hair is the echo of another woman, long gone. Each time she looks in the mirror, her mother's face looks back at her. Yet, she has never known anything like this crumbling monument to the genius of a dead civilization.
Here, they are everywhere, not only in her reflection.
Their voices do not fade with rising of sun nor moon. Shadows flee from mortal eyes in every room and in every corner. Soft touches dance across skin and hair, leaving behind a trail of raised flesh that is the only indication she has not imagined them.
She can see them even in her dearest friend, as he fades into his memories at their beckoning. She wishes she could return him to the present, but she cannot in this place.
He belonged to them first.
He knows them. He knew them in life and now he knows them in death.
Aang wishes more than anything that they blamed him; that they would rage against his abandonment of his people. But they do not. Instead he feels affection in every point of contact, in how they call his name.
He wishes for their anger, for then he would not miss them so.
For then, he would not wish to wither away into yesterdays and join them.
Ghosts are a metaphor for memory and remembrance and metaphorically connect our world to the world we cannot know about. –Leslie What
A/N: Please review and remember that constructive criticism is always appreciated.