.the requiem of seasons
book one: spring
This fanfiction is based upon the world of Nickelodeon's "Avatar: The Last Airbender". Before continuing you should know that I am not claiming to own any of its material. This is a work of fiction based upon its universe, created only by a fan.
That said, you should know that all of the characters you knew and loved from the series Aang, Sokka, Katara, Zuko, Azula, Iroh, etc never existed and never will in this world- consider it an alternate universe with the same locations, same bending styles, same culture, same animal life… but characters and events that happened in the canon storyline Death of the Air Nomads, Fire Nation's Attack never existed here either and the Air Nomads do still exist. All cities that were burned to the ground or suffered somesuch fate are still standing unless otherwise stated.
Due to this you have no reason to be afraid of spoilers in the pages to come
Crud, that was 157 words of mumbo-jumbo. Well, here goes!
"God damn it, God damn it!"
A thick boot, leather, splashed awkwardly in a puddle of melted snow. Water shot up and soiled the back of his indigo parka; staining the white seal fur that lined the neck. A bookbag was slung over his shoulder, a paper casually flying out ever other minute.
"Stupid Haruhi, never getting me up on time…"
He continued down the sun-bathed streets of Sakuramura; the city of Flower Petals. Its namesake was, of course, the countless amount of cherry blossom trees that seemed to always be in bloom. This particular time of spring was no exception and the pink panorama embellished the white landscape.
Like the other towns at the South Pole, the residents did live in igloos and, for the less fortunate, small tents. Snow also covered the ground three hundred and sixty five days a year, although at this time of the year it was considerably sparser. The city was well-organized, each frozen home divided by fences, each one with an address. Foliage, aside from the ever-present Cherry Blossom Trees, was nonexistent. Roads were paved, although the asphalt was completely covered with snow in the colder months.
He turned a sharp corner and took a deep breath, huffing and puffing. The frigid air stung his throat, but he paid it no heed.
"If I don't make it to school soon then teacher's gonna-" But the boy never got to finish his sentence, since he spontaneously lost his footing in an unprecedented manner and fell to the ground. He knew that he had most likely stepped and tripped in a puddle- but he could have sworn that it was the water that tripped him, almost like it moved.
Of course that was possible.
Waterbending; the art of manipulating water to one's own will or "the divine ability to halt water", as it was once described, is an art known by about a tenth of the nation's population in its most basic form, even though they say most people could learn it. Then again, this particular boy never managed to quite get the hang of it and abandoned at an early age.
His bookbag collapsed with a thud not long after him, and a thick textbook slid out and skidded across the ground in the water, landing at the base of a pair of dark blue boots. Noticing the footwear, the boy scowled immediately.
"Well well, if it isn't Hayate." Came a flowing, sophisticated voice. The cringing, wet child on the floor slowly got up at the mention of his name. "Kiro." He mumbled, much to the other child's acclaim.
"Amazing! It appears the scientists at the zoo have taught the specimen to repeat two syllables. Technology these days…"
The newcomer named Kiro extended his right arm and gracefully moved it towards himself, causing the water at Hayate's feet to ripple madly, causing the boy to fall to the ground again. "Floor seats to my graduation. That's right, I'm going to finally move to Water Bending Degree Two… Only prodigies can do that, you know." He smirked. "No, you wouldn't."
Hayate wanted to do nothing more at that moment than dismember Kiro, the bastard who never knew when to shut up for his own good. "You see, my parents were wealthy enough to send me to a prestigious Water-Bending Academy, while you go to a commoner's schoolhouse. Learning low-class mathematics and pathetic geography while not even considering how to bend the water that surrounds us all is just about the saddest excuse for a living I think I've ever had the misery of-"
Hayate couldn't contain his unconditional anger any longer, and leapt up, fists outstretched and ready to inflict pain. He attempted to strike Kiro in the right cheek but the defending party parried by simply side-stepping. Frustrated, Hayate reached under a nearby fence to remove a stick that had fallen from a Cherry Blossom tree. The exotically-coloured appendages, petals, were still attached. Lunging viciously, the boy attempted to strike the other child in a fit of rage. Kiro seemed to expect this, though, and immediately flipped his hands so that his palms faced upwards. He slowly dragged them upwards to the point that they were above eye level. Hayate's makeshift blade was now heading towards a solid wall of water, which had risen at the same momentum as Kiro's arms and appeared to have been drawn from the same puddle Hayate fell in.
In a demonstration of pride and minor skill, Kiro pushed both of his arms forwards in a swaying motion, causing the erected water to collapse forward and blast straight into Hayate, in turn causing him to once more tumble to the ground, drenched. Snow crept underneath his collar and sent chills up his spine. Bruises, scrapes and small cuts littered his skin while Kiro didn't seem harmed in the slightest. The boy managed to inspect his opponent further now, Kiro still seeming as maleficent as ever. Jet-black hair fell loosely above his shoulders and his outfit was his Academy's uniform- a black parka over a button-up white shirt, pants as ebony as the jacket and azure boots that shone stunningly.
His face was what truly created an unsettling feeling in Hayate's stomach; thin, wiry but stylish glasses were propped upon his nose, masking his onyx eyes somewhat. His mouth almost always bent into a sardonic, sadistic smirk.
A smirk that Hayate had seen in his nightmares one too many times.
Hayate was more than ready to get up and continue the battle, the now-soaking stick still clutched in his right palm. He would have gotten up then and there, but he suddenly noticed the petals… The petals once attached to the stick falling up and rising into the air in a haunting manner. Hayate's heart skipped a beat; what was going on?
The wooden rod didn't have much pink still attached, six or seven petals at most… But floating in the air there were at least thirty, forty, fifty… The numbers kept rising to the point that they were impossible to count. What was Kiro going to do to him now?
The answer was nothing, of course, for Kiro was as terrified as Hayate, with absolutely no idea what was going on. And the petals kept on coming. Soon, a commanding but feminine voice filled the air, causing a ripple of horror to run up both Hayate and Kiro's spines.
"Kiroushi Hironaka; second degree Waterbender. You've soiled our name." The disembodied voice didn't cease its scolding and the petals in the air now seemed to have created a sphere around Hayate and Kiro. "The name of Water Bender, the name of the royal family Sakurajin. The name of Sakuramura…" And all of a sudden, the petals ceased all sort of movement, almost as though time had been frozen. "And as such, you will have to suffer the proper punishment."
Immediately the petals withered and died; so quickly that a blink would have caused a person to miss the entire ordeal as dried sheets of pink fluttered to the ground, graceful even in death. What was left, of course, was massive amounts of water. The water within the petals and the water that coated them after their recent encounter of the wet kind. Water where the petals once were, still encompassing Hayate and Kiro. All of a sudden, tendrils of liquid appeared from random areas of the sphere and encircled Kiro's wrists and ankles, binding him. The boy gasped, and then attempted to break free but to absolutely no avail; he couldn't bend water at all in his current condition.
The rest of the water spilled to the floor in a vicious torrent, freeing Hayate although quenching him in the process. Still bound from four corners, the tendrils once attached to the sphere of water itself now tied Kiro to a cherry blossom tree, his back pressed against the bark.
Eventually, the loudmouth exploded. "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT I CAN DO TO YOU? MY FATHER'S A CITY COUNSELOUR! I COULD GET YOU ARRESTED!" Hayate was ignoring Kiro thoroughly, much more distressed with the fact that they had an invisible assailant. Kiro continued his hysterics, and it probably would have taken a miracle to make him cease his tirade.
A creaking noise, the creaking of something lacking oil, was all that it took. From across the street a pure white fence door opened and out stepped their assailant.
Needless to say that their attacker wasn't quite what they anticipated.
A silken, elegant kimono fell to the floor, billowing with the wind. The robe was a regal blue hue with a fuchsia flower painted on the left breast. The wearer also bore casual sandals; but it wasn't the clothing that was so out of the ordinary, rather the wearer. A young girl, no older than the age of twelve, smiled innocently. Her black hair fell loosely behind her back, only to be tied up twenty centimetres before its end, leaving a small portion of hair beneath the tie.
Her voice was innocent and young, nothing like the one they heard earlier.
"My father could have you executed." She chuckled innocently yet again. "Mitsukai Sakurajin, member of the prestigious Sakurajin family. Nice to meetcha." In a courteous bow, she now had Kiro and Hayate absolutely dumbfounded.
She continued. "But all my friends call me Sukai, pronounced "Sky". Rolls off the tongue better, doesn't it?" Once more her smile was hauntingly innocent and childish. "Also, I forgot to mention… I'm a novice petal bender and a fourth degree Waterbender." As she continued speaking, her voice lost a bit of its formal tone and gained a somewhat agitated sound, with an intimidating undertone, reminiscent of the powerful voice they heard earlier.
Kiro roared out of fury that was bottled up for so long. "But you're just a stupid kid! How can you be fourth degree when someone as talented as myself is just a secon-" But Sukai had waved her hand slowly, causing water to cover Kiro's mouth and seal it shut, an oral blindfold. "Boy, you really talk a lot, don't you?"
Hayate was still unnerved. There was no way that this little girl could have feasibly feigned such a deep voice. Was there someone else here? All of a sudden, he heard that voice again. The deep, bellowing voice.
"You are a very boring child…" It echoed. His heart skipped a beat and Sukai burst out laughing. As it turned out, Sukai had a ball of water levitating above her mouth and, as she spoke, the water seemed to make her voice far deeper than it usually was.
Hayate was both relieved and frustrated. As Sukai calmed her hysterics to a chuckle, she couldn't help but ask "So, after all… What's your name?" Hayate responded, and she cocked her head to the side. "Hayate, hm? Weird name. Can't say I've ever heard it before."
The slip of water that covered Kiro's mouth vanished as the boy managed to release one of his arms and tear it off. "Oh you are in for it now, you obnoxious little-" Of course he didn't get to finish, since Sukai just repair the binding. Hayate almost felt bad for him. "This Kiro kid's a nightmare. Even though he was at the top of his class and his father's an important city counsellor, I never thought he'd be such a loser."
Hayate was curious. How did she know so much about Kiro? She seemed to read his mind as she answered; seemingly anticipating that he'd ask sooner or later. "Every six months, at water bending graduation ceremonies, five people from the nobility are supposed to attend. That means us, o' course. It's tradition for the Sakurajin to welcome each graduate to the podium with a small speech about the student's accomplishments, but to do that I have to know about pretty much all of the students. I was supposed to welcome this Kiro twerp."
Hayate nodded. "And you, Hayate? 'Re you a bender?" He shook his head mournfully. "No." Was all that he needed to say.
They stood in silence for a few moments, hearing only the muffled noise of Kiro's wails from behind a fabric of water. Eventually Sukai sighed and turned to face him. "Well, as much fun as it is seeing you suffocate… Your grad's in a few minutes and dad'll kill me if I don't show. So I suppose I have to let you free." Her feet were perfectly parallel and she reached both arms forwards, palms raised. Gracefully, she moved her right arm to her right and her left arm to her left, then clenching both fists, causing Kiro's trap to fall apart.
The boy crashed to the ground, gasping for air before staring at Sukai viciously, eyes narrowed. "You are going to Hell in a handbasket, obnoxious witch." Sukai only chuckled and smiled before responding. "Prolly…" She began, "but my handbasket'll be a lot prettier than yours." She turned around, and began walking down a paved path. "See you two at the graduation ceremony!"
Kiro smirked and glared at Hayate. "She won't be seeing you there. We'll finish this another time." Sprinting after Sukai, Kiro sped towards the ceremony he had been looking forward to for a very long time.
Hayate just frowned, first looking down the road that would lead to his class for which he was very late, and the one that led to the graduation ceremony.
Hesitantly, he made a decision.