AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have always felt bad for Aang in this episode. Not what he did, but just how hurt he seemed.
The moonlight cast an eerie light over the young Avatar as he perched on the bow of the watertribe boat. Only a few short hours before Bato had found them and taken them to the abbey not far from the beach. Only a few short hours before the boy had felt loved and wanted, but all that had changed. Only a few short minutes before a messanger had come with a map, a map that would take Katara and Sokka from him.
Aang felt the tears sting his eyes and he wiped a weary hand across them. He couldn't believe that Katara and Sokka would just leave him, didn't they know how much he needed them, how much they meant to him. He had no one left, no family and no home. All he had was their little family group. That was it.
He knew it was selfish, he knew he was wrong to feel like that. He knew that by crumpling up the map to their father and stuffing it under his shirt he had done the most horrible thing imaginable, but he couldn't be alone. He couldn't face this journey alone.
Aang had already had a taste of how painful the loneliness was as he listened to Katara and Sokka share stories and laugh with Bato over jokes he would never understand and escapades they would never share with him.
He didn't want to keep them away from their father. He was doing to them what time and the war had done to him and he hated himself for it. But they had not invited him to go along, had not included him in their plans, and had with a few words taken away his sense of security and self.
The little airbender shivered in the cool night air, tears now spilling down his cheeks, silently praying that his friends would forgive him and understand the desperate actions of a desperate boy controlled by his fear and pain.
In the abbey just off of the beach, two water tribe siblings told their longtime friend about their newest friend. They told of his bravery, how he saved their village from the Fire Nation, and how important he was not only to the world, but to them as well.
"We're Aang's family now." Katara had said softly, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.
Bato looked around the room, noticing the young Avatar was gone. Aang had not heard them speak of him, had not heard the pride and admiration in their voices, or the love.
The warrior sighed and vowed that the next day he would find a way to include the airbender. He knew what it was like to be separated. He knew the loneliness. He knew what it was like to be a stranger in an unfamiliar place.