Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar or the song Alyssa Lies.
Author's Note: Um, yeah, this is a modern day AU. Yeah.
Katara frowned as she carefully pressed a Band-Aid to a fading bruise along Aang's arm. "Aang, are you sure you got these from falling down the stairs at your house? I mean, I know you can be pretty clumsy, but this is ridiculous." She paused to look at her old friend as he winced. "Sorry."
"It's all right. Not your fault."
She noticed that he didn't answer her question.
My little girl met a new friend just the other day
On the playground at school, between the tires and the swings
But she came home with tear filled eyes
And she said to me Daddy, Alyssa lies
Aang was the new kid at school; he'd only transferred recently in the middle of the year, and the teacher of their class had put Katara in charge of watching over the younger boy. Despite herself, though, she couldn't resist befriending him. He was kind and gentle, if not a little shy, which surprised her. They'd become close friends over the course of the year.
The fact that he was always covered in bruises worried Katara.
"I'm serious, Aang," Katara murmured. "You're not this clumsy."
"I told you, Katara, I slipped. It happens a lot. And last time, I tripped over Momo. He's a small cat."
The blue-eyed girl slanted a suspicious look at Aang, but he was staying true to his story even if it didn't sound like it made much sense. Katara knew she couldn't push it, anyway—she didn't know enough about Aang's home life to start making a fuss about it.
All she really knew was that earlier that year Aang's grandfather, a man named Gyatso, had died of illness. He'd been taken in by a foster family in the area, and as of yet Katara had never even been over to the boy's house.
Well, I just brushed it off at first
'Cause I didn't know how much my little girl had been hurt
Or the things she had seen
I wasn't ready when I said you can tell me
And she said
Katara sighed and pressed down on the Band-Aid with her thumb to make sure it stuck. "Fine, fine. If you don't want to tell me anything, be my guest."
"It's not like that! Really! There's nothing to tell!"
Aang's voice was perhaps an octave higher than it should have been, and loving him Katara gave in to the urge and kissed him lightly on the cheek, laughing when he turned a deep shade of scarlet. "Relax, Aang. If you don't want to tell me I won't push. I'll just wait until you're ready, okay?"
Aang blinked a couple times and looked away, fidgeting as Katara focused on another bruise darkening his shoulder, quietly thanking whatever god that existed that the boy had decided to wear short sleeves today. It made it easier for her to bandage him up.
Alyssa lies to the classroom
Alyssa lies every day at school
Alyssa lies to the teachers
As she tries to cover every bruise
The heat of the day indicated the coming of summer, and with the coming of summer students grew more restless. It was possible, Katara mused, that Aang had gotten some of his bruises from being clumsy; the boy seemed to trip over his own feet sometimes. But still, he had too many…
"There, all done," she said as she pressed down a Band-Aid on the last bruise she saw. She grinned and rested her hands back behind her body, bracing herself. "Honestly, Aang, what will you do when I go away for vacation with Dad and Sokka?"
"Erm… I haven't figured it out yet?"
Despite it, though, Aang was smiling at her, and Katara relaxed inwardly. Whatever problems the boy was having at home, she had no doubt he'd tell her eventually. She wouldn't push him for now. She trusted him enough to believe he'd come to her when he was ready.
"I've got to get home." Aang stood, dusting his pants, and offered a hand to Katara. "My folks get cranky when I'm out too long."
My little girl laid her head down that night to go to sleep
As I stepped out the room I heard her say a prayer so soft and sweet
God bless my Mom and my Dad
And my new friend Alyssa, I know she needs you bad
Nodding, Katara took the hand he offered and let him pull her up. Using the momentum she crashed gently into Aang and lightly wrapped her arms around his neck, smirking as their noses touched and his face turned bright red. "You know, I've done this to you so many times you should expect it," she teased.
Aang laughed, albeit a bit breathlessly, and rested his hands at her hips. "I'm getting used to it, I think."
Katara grinned and, on a whim, kissed his cheek again before stepping back. "Take care of yourself while I'm away, okay? I mean it. If you ever need me, you know my number."
"Yeah, I know."
Because Alyssa lies to the classroom
Alyssa lies every day at school
Alyssa lies to the teachers
As she tries to cover every bruise
As she walked home, hands in her pockets and humming along to the tune of her iPod as it played in her ears, she mulled over Aang.
Not for the first time, either.
Sometimes she wondered if she wasn't being pushy enough. Her older brother often complained—loudly—that she could be bossy and pushy and persistent, especially when she believed that something bad was going on with one of her friends.
But how far could she push with Aang, anyway? She hadn't even known him for a full year yet, even if her feelings for him were starting to pass the friendship mark. And the boy was a master at pulling away if she pushed too much, and he could make up a thousand excuses at the drop of a hat. "I fell down the stairs," "I tripped over Momo," "My dog Appa accidentally pushed me," the list went on and on.
But really… how far was too far?
Katara sighed irritably, turning up the volume a bit in the hopes that music would drown out her worries.
Maybe she'd talk to Hakoda about it when she got home. Her father was good at stuff like that; to Katara, it seemed like he had the answers for everything.
I had the worst night of sleep in years
As I tried to think of ways to calm her fears
I knew exactly what I had to do
But when we got to school on Monday I heard the news
For a moment, Katara paused, frowning. "What the…?" Slowly she pulled her earphones out, glancing over her shoulder. She almost expected some creep to be sneaking up behind her, but the street was empty. Besides, it was the middle of the day—not a good time to stalk someone.
"What a weird feeling," Katara murmured, turning away and slipping her earphones back into place. "Like someone ran a finger down my spine…" She shuddered as she remembered the chill that had swept over her and decided to get out of the area. It was the neighborhood Aang lived in, so his house was closer when he left their nursing expeditions than hers, but the place had always unnerved her for some reason.
If it weren't for Aang, Katara knew for a fact that she would never even consider coming near this place.
Shrugging it off Katara continued to walk, humming again as she tried to push away the memory of the chill—and the sudden sinking feeling in her stomach, the ache in her chest.
It didn't mean anything, after all. It was just a feeling, nothing more.
My little girl asked me why everybody looked so sad
The lump in my throat grew bigger with every question that she asked
Until I felt the tears run down my face
And I told her that Alyssa wouldn't be at school today
Reaching home (and breathing a quiet sigh of relief as the weird feeling passed), Katara took a moment to fish out her key before sticking it in the door and unlocking it, pushing it open and tugging her earphones out. "I'm home."
"Where the hell have you been?" Sokka scowled at her as he looked up from the table. "You promised to help me with this damn project!"
"Sorry. Aang needed me. Where's Dad?"
"He just got on the phone a few minutes ago. Some important phone call or something."
Katara frowned. A phone call? That was odd…
"Oh… you're home."
She turned, smiling at her father. Hakoda didn't try to smile back; he still held the cordless in his hand. Slowly, her smile faded, and a feeling of apprehension reared its head. "Dad? What is it? Is something wrong?" Understanding hit her. "Was it the phone call?"
'Cause she doesn't lie in the classroom
She doesn't lie anymore at school
Alyssa lies with Jesus
Because there's nothing anyone would do
Hakoda swallowed and slowly set the phone down on the table; Sokka watched the whole thing out of the corner of his eye as their father walked across the room and stood in front of Katara. He hesitated a moment, seeming to wrestle inwardly with himself, before resting his hands on Katara's shoulders. "D-Dad?" Katara whispered. "What is it? What happened?"
"It's… it's about Aang…"
"Aang?" Fear pierced her belly like a claw, sharp and fierce. "What about Aang?"
Hakoda said nothing for a moment, but his hands tightened on Katara's shoulders.
"Dad?" She put a hand on his chest, fear and panic running strong. "What is it? What happened to Aang?"
And then her father looked at her, sorrow darkening his normally icy blue eyes. She knew what he was going to say even as he spoke.
"I'm… I'm so sorry, Katara."
Tears filled my eyes
When my little girl asked me why
Daddy, tell me why
I've had this idea stuck in my head for months but I always put it off because I was too busy or because I just felt lazy, but I finally couldn't take it anymore and wrote it down. So yeah.
Read and review, please!