Title: Eyes Wide Shut
Author: Narcotic Dollie
Pairings: ZukoxSokka, KataaraxAang. There will be some MaixZuko, SukixSokka, and other one-sided things, but none of them will last.
Summary: On the day of the black snow, when Sokka's mother died, he was poisoned. To ensure his survival, he gives up something special to a wolf spirit, his soul. Now, three years after the fire nation's defeat, the wolf spirit is awakened, and Sokka must fight for control or let the people he loves suffer the consequences. ZukoSokka, KataaraAang
Disclaimer: Avatar: The Last Airbender and its amazing charactes are not mine. Sorry if I got anyone's hopes up.
Prologue: Soul Lost
Sokka remembered the day of the black snow very well.
He remembered the exact moment he first noticed it, how it gathered and clumped together in his sister's hair, how it infiltrated the natural scent of his homeland and tainted it with its distinctly sulfur-like smell.
But mostly, really, he just remembered being scared.
"I'll go find mom," Kataara said suddenly, looking away from the sky and the tainted snow that fell from it.
"…And I'll go get dad," Sokka said, his gaze locking with his sister's. They both nodded, childlike determination gleaming in their identical eyes before they took off to take care of their respective duties. Sokka ran as fast as his legs could take him in the direction he knew his father and the other warriors would be. He skidded to a halt a little ways away from the freezing bank, drawing in cold air in quick, ragged pants.
There, standing on the banks of his home, was what seemed to be a small army of men, their ships glinting in the cold sunlight behind them. They were all uniform; all the same, everyone of their face's hidden behind the shining white plates of their masks. He felt a shiver run down his spine and briefly recognized that it was not from the cold.
Sokka released the breath he hadn't known he was holding and the battle began seamlessly. They were on each other immediately, the uniform men fighting for something unknown and the water tribe warriors fighting to protect what was theirs. The boy searched, his eyes ripping from water tribesmen to water tribesmen, trying to find his father. After a few moments, he managed to spot him, right as he was delivering a crippling blow to one of the men who had assaulted them.
"Dad!" he yelled, running to where his father was. Hakoda turned to where the voice came from and his eyes widened in surprise and horror all at the same time.
"Sokka, get back! Find your sister and mother!" Hakoda yelled hastily, panic easily the predominate emotion in his voice. Sokka stopped and stood stalk still for a moment, as if debating the order. Unfortunately for young Sokka, standing in the middle of a battlefield makes you a clear mark for the enemy, and it was at that moment an arrow chose to imbed itself in his shoulder.
Sokka screamed, but it really couldn't be made out above his father's own cry. Before the tears in his eyes even had a chance to fall, Hakoda was on him, scooping him up in his arms and retreating to the edge of the battlefield. The men, fire benders, Sokka now realized, had started to retreat.
Hakoda set Sokka down, his son immediately falling into a sitting position with big crocodile tears streaming down his cheeks. He made a motion to sooth him, wiping away the tears before turning his attention to the wound. Relief washed over him when he realized that the arrow was not in too deep at all, only barley poking through the young boy's flesh. Really, he wondered how it was imbedded at all, seeing as how shallow it was.
"This will hurt a little Sokka, but you're going to be a warrior about all this, right?" he asked. Sokka looked up at his dad, sniffling pitifully and nodding. Hakoda nodded in return, bracing his son with one hand and grabbing onto the arrow with the other, giving it a swift pull. It came free with a squishing noise and a small wail from the boy. Hakoda tore the fabric of the thinner shirt under his thick coat, pressing the dark blue material to his son's shoulder to stop the bleeding.
"Dad!" came another shout from somewhere behind him, and Hakoda's head snapped around to see his little girl running to him full speed. "Mommy needs you! There's a mean man with her!"
Hakoda turned quickly back to the sniffling nine-year-old. "Hold pressure here Sokka," he commanded firmly, pushing down harder on the boy's shoulder as if to emphasize the point. Sokka nodded helplessly and Hakoda turned and bolted in the direction of their igloo, where he hoped beyond all hopes that Kya was alright.
Kya was not alright, as Hakoda and the rest of the clan realized shortly after the invaders had retreated from the southern tribe. Everyone mourned, because as is customary in their culture, everyone was close to her, everyone was family.
Maybe that's why his father and gran-gran never noticed that the arrow had been poisoned, our how sluggish and sickly he had become. At first glance, his symptoms could be brushed off as depression over the death of his mother, but if they themselves hadn't been so devastated, maybe they would have noticed that he wasn't just bleary eyed from crying, he wasn't just shivering at night from fear and sorrow.
Sokka was dying and the village thought it was just from sadness.
On the third day after the attack, Sokka awoke in a cold sweat, coughing and sputtering. He managed to wiggle his way out from under his father's arm and headed outside. It was early morning; the sun was just barley peeking over the horizon. The blue-eyed child really didn't know what possessed him to go outside, especially feeling as hideous as he did, but he trudged through the snow and away from the tribe none the less.
Sokka didn't realize it, but he had some basic animal instinct leading him away from his family. You see, just as an animal wanders away from its herd to die, sometimes humans are marked by the same desire to enter into the after life in peace, alone, and away from their families.
So he wandered, for what he felt like was hours, but in reality it was only a few moments, until fatigue kicked in and he just let himself fall down. He had always been a fighter, but he had been fighting this poison for three whole days now, and he was weak. So he fell, the snow embracing him welcomingly, a cool contrast to his fever ridden body.
His once sharp blue eyes were now glazed over and milky, so it was only natural that he didn't believe what he saw in the distance. But as it padded closer, he could not deny it, could not call it a hallucination and blame it one his fever plagued eyes.
It was a wolf.
Not a normal, ragged, wild dog that could sometimes be seen picking through the remains of food at the edge of the tribe, but a real, honest to goodness, wolf. Sokka was amazed, the pure white coat and slate blue eyes mesmerizing as he lay and stare at it.
"Hello," the wolf said, but didn't. Sokka blinked once, and then a second time, harder. The animal's mouth never opened, but he was sure that it had spoken to him.
"Great, I am a complete psycho-nutso. Wolfs don't talk," he reminded himself, still staring at the animal in awe. Sokka somehow could tell that the wolf was old, older than he should be.
"Hello," It repeated again, seeming to ignore Sokka's comment while lifting a paw and bating at the young boy's shoulder. "What are you doing so far from home little one? Don't you know that there are things out here that would love to devour the flesh of a young human?" The beast crooned in a silkily low voice.
The comment startled Sokka out of his awe, and into something a little less comfortable, something very much like fear. Not normal fear, but the kind only a child is capable of; the kind of fear a little boy or girl gets when they discover that there is a monster in their closet or perhaps their night light goes out.
The wolf lowered its muzzle until their nose was almost touching the sun-kissed boy, its breath ghosting through his hair as it breathed in the his scent. The animal withdrew quickly, giving the boy a once over again.
"You've been poisoned," it informed, and somehow Sokka couldn't pretend to be surprised.
"The universe hates me," the water tribe boy mumbled to himself, turning over to lie on his back so he could look up at the wolf.
"You came out here to die," it spoke, not really a question. The boy's eyes widened, as he realized for the first time that yes, that was why he was here. Tears immediately began to stream down his face and his shoulders began to shake.
"I don't want to. I can't leave my family," he said, squeezing his eyes closed. "…and I'm s-scared." He laid there and cried for a moment, before he felt the wolf's voice creep back into his mind.
"Little water tribe boy, I can help you," it soothed, circling the child in an eerie, predatory sort of way. "If you promise to give me something, I can make sure you survive and get back home to your family."
"Really?" Sokka asked, always skeptical. He sat up and wiped the tears away, trying to clear his fogged vision. "How is that? Are you going to suck the poison out?"
The wolf laughed, but it sounded harsher in his mind than a laugh should ever sound, and sat down beside Sokka. "Something like that."
"…What do you want me to give you?" Sokka asked, now eyeing him warily.
"I'm old, far too old to go on living in this world without help," the creature told, his tail curling around the boy in a possessive way. "…And you've got something that can help me," he whispered lowly, causing another set of shivers to course through the young child's body.
"All I ask is that when you become the right age, you…share your soul with me."
"Share my…soul with you?" the boy asked tentatively, swallowing hard to try and get some moisture back in his dry throat. "But I think that a soul is really only meant for one person. It might not be enough if you use it too! Really, I think it's only meant for one mister creepy-wolf-thing-sir"
"Oh little one, it won't be so bad," it said in a low, seductive voice. "You'll have that soul of yours all to yourself for a long time, and when the time comes, I'll awaken," a grin pulled at the canine's mouth, revealing sharp yellowish teeth that glinted maliciously.
Sokka began to speak, but was interrupted by a coughing fit. The wolf leaned forward and nuzzled the other's neck, a comforting move that still felt frightening to him. "You'll make me better?" the tiny water tribesmen said after he caught his breath, a hand clutching at his chest.
"Of course," the old wolf cooed, coaxing Sokka into some kind of reassurance. "I'll make all your pains go away."
Sokka thought on it for only a second longer before giving a determined, "Okay."
"Good. Now lay back, Sokka of the water tribe," the beast commanded and Sokka did as he was told. The boy was unnerved, first because the wolf had laid his head on top of his stomach, and secondly because it had known his name without him asking.
The animal's breath became shallower and shallower until it was no more, and for a second Sokka was sure that it had died before it could save him. However, a blue spirit flew from the dead thing's mouth, hitting Sokka with a force that made him freeze. His eyes were wide and unmoving, his lungs frozen, and he couldn't do anything for a few moments. Then, after a few seconds, he regained his senses.
…And then promptly leaned over and vomited.
Black bile came tumbling from his mouth and he heaved and heaved until his stomach muscles were sore. He panted heavily, wiping the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand.
And then he noticed it.
He stood up quickly, amazed. He didn't hurt! He didn't have a fever! His insides weren't on fire! He squealed and did a small victory dance, over whelmed at they joy of being normal again.
As for the wolf, his body was gone. Sokka would often lay awake nights after this one, in years to come, and wonder if the whole thing was a dream, or something his poison riddled mind had just made up.
But there would come a time when Sokka wouldn't have to wonder anymore about whether it was real or not, and that time was almost on him.
Love it, hate it? Let me know, please?