Burn My Dread Complete

By Iain R. Lewis

Disclaimer: Characters and concepts belong to Nickelodeon, some of the concepts are similarly inspired by Atlus's Persona 3 and 4.

"Dreamless town, ticking clock. I walk away from a soundless room."

-- Yumi Kawamura, Burn My Dread

One fate out of place, either of great weight, or seemingly none at all,
breaks the balance, leading the world down the path of destruction

A single grain of sand has moved out of place,
Mankind has forgotten its place, and the World of Spirits grows in strength.

You who would fight for the future, no matter how limited,
you will be given six months to stop the coming disaster.

Face this task before you with strength and will.
Use this time wisely, for it is precious like water in the desert.

Month 1: The Moon

First Day of School

"Please keep moving, nothing to see here, keep moving."

"I heard someone jumped, last night."

"No!"

"Yes! Someone leapt off of the tracks, it was horrible. The trams were delayed for hours this morning."

"Good thing it was a weekend."

"Tell me about it."

"Please keep moving along, the police are handling things."

"What is going on? I can't walk to the upper ring! I need that train!"

And through this noise, a boy walked, not once looking up from the ground at his feet, taking step after step undeterred by the chaos of the station. The city of Ba Sing Se stretched out before him, and nervously proceeded to the address on the letter he held, clenched tight in his fist.

Elsewhere, the room, freezing. The water, icy. Her focus, shakey. They said she had the ability,but try as she might, her focus kept faltering. "Magic water," her brother laughed when she told him, and she had to agree, it seemed unlikely. Ancient fairy tales from the South Pole.

She moved her arm, a swift, fluid motion, and the water stared back at her. She shivered, feeling her body grow as cold as the room, and icy as the water around her.

"--ara, Katara!" she snapped from her reverie, "He'll be here any minute. Get ready."

She glared at the door, the ice water around her immediately melting and raising up about her. The girl's voice from outside continued, unaware.

"You know what it means to this operation, so make a good impression, all right? I'll be greeting him when he arrives."

"All right, Azula," she said, coldly, "I'll be ready."

And so, the door opened on the small residential hall of the Phoenix High School. And, like in a dream, Aang entered. Standing at the desk, a piece of paper in front of him, a kindly man smiled at him. "Welcome, Aang."

Aang looked at the man, and the paper, "Hello. Am I --"

"You are where you're supposed to be, yes. Please, sign here."

"What is it?"

"It merely states that you'll be accountable for your actions. The usual," he said, in a kind way. Aang, picking up a pen from a glass jar on the counter, signed his name in his best calligraphy. The man smiled, and the next thing Aang heard was a girl's voice.

"You arrived, finally."

Azula, beautiful like a tiger, walked down the stairwell. "Hello," he said, politely, running his hand through the short black hair that spilled only a little over the arrow-headband. "Am I late?"

"Not at all, after yesterday's incident," she said, with more interest in her fingernails than in whatever she was referring to. "But please, make yourself comfortable. This will be your home for the school year. My name is Azula Houou."

"Aang," he said, "It's a pleasure."

"The pleasure's all mine, trust me." She smiled, and then waved him forward, "I suppose we'll be schoolmates, though you are a first year according to your paperwork.

Aang nodded. "Right, about that. What was with that strange contract?"

"Contract?"

"The one I had to sign."

"All your paperwork was handled by your guardian, I thought. Oh well, I'll talk to Zhao about it later. Let's see you to your dorm room. Katara?" She looked very annoyed, "Where are you, Katara?"

"Right here, Azula," she said, toweling off her hair. "He's already here?"

"I told you he'd be here soon," she said, testily. "Anyway, I'll leave it to you. I'm sure Chairman Zhao will want to know he's arrived, so I'll go handle that end." She said so with great distaste. Even Katara's expression softened.

"Good luck. Come on, I'm Katara. And you are?"

"Aang," he said, smiling. She was pretty, wearing a blue jacket with an old Water Tribe pattern on it over a school uniform. Her skin seemed to be giving off the bitter scent of cold, and she even shivered once. "Are you all right?"

"Just took a cold shower. Really, uh, gets you going," she said, "Brisk."

"Right." Azula and Katara both seemed quite odd to him. He had a lingering feeling, like they weren't telling him something. "So."

"So." She hesitated, "Oh! Your room. Let's get that out of the way." She ducked behind the counter and opened a small case. She removed the keys to a room on the second floor, and led him up the stairs. "You're our first boy resident, since this is a rather new building. So, until we get someone else, the floor's all yours."

"Mixed dorms?"

"The only one run by the whole school. It's a pretty big boarding school since Ba Sing Se is, you know, the center of the modern world. And the Phoenix Group runs it."

Aang knew of the Phoenix Group. You couldn't go two feet without running into one of their subsidiary companies. The biggest Zaibatsou to come out of the Fire Nation. Some jokingly called the CEO the Phoenix King, since he was the closest thing to real royalty to come out of the Fire Nation in these days.

Back, a long time ago, they would have been Fire Lords and Ladies. Now, that position was little more than a figure-head after a long, pointless war, the real power lying in business, and the Phoenix Group had the most power.

"So, you excited to be going here?"

"Sure!" Aang said. "Gyatso said it'd be a good experience for me."

"Where did you live before? Omashu?"

"All over. Gyatso and I never stayed in one place too long. That's why he sent me here, I think."

"Yeah, moving around a lot can be rough. My Dad came out here from the South Pole when we were young for Mom's job." She said it with a little bit of bitterness. "But that was a long time ago." She stopped in front of the far room. "And here we are!"

She opened the door, and stepped into the room. "It's not bad. A little cramped, but we have the lounge on the first room and a few tables out on each floor if you need to get some space."

"Okay," he said, looking around. He had a good feeling about this room. "I like it. I think I can really make something of it."

"Well, we put your things here, so you can get to that. Let's see, what else was there." She tapped her chin, in thought, "Oh. The girls' dorms are a floor above you, and the fourth floor is for the Chairman when he comes and visits. We'll probably be seeing him tomorrow."

"Who is this Chairman?" Aang asked. "I don't think I'm looking forward to seeing him."

"Zhao. He's one of the chairs of the school board. Even Azula doesn't like him, and he calls me Katara like we're such great chums. I just don't trust him. But he's the one who arranged for you to get into this dorm even mid-semester, so I guess you should thank him."

"Okay."

"And that's pretty much it. I'm sure Princess Azula herself will want to go over the rules and regulations of the dorm in her own time, but don't let her get to you. She's a pussycat."

"More like a tiger."

Katara laughed. "I guess she does come off like that. She's in the same class as me, and even with her delusions of grandeur, she's reliable."

"Okay. Hey, Katara!"

"Huh?" she said, caught off guard by his friendly demeanor.

"Tomorrow do you think you can show me around town?"

"Tomorrow's not really good for me," she said, looking apologetic. "It's complicated. I'll try and find some time."

"All right," Aang said, disappointed. "I'll hold you to that."

"Right!" Katara said, "I'll make sure you get the whole tour." Aang laughed a breezy laugh and looked around his room. "Make sure you're ready for school tomorrow. Do you know what class you're in?"

"Class 1-2," he said, producing the letter from his pocket, "The homeroom teacher's name is Bumi?"

"Mad Scientist Bumi? Oh you poor kid," she said.

"What? That sounds fun!"

"I had him last year, too, and he's a little eccentric. Rumors say he once performed an experiment on a student. That student didn't come in the next day and Bumi had a pet gorilla-rabbit the next day."

"Yah!"

Katara laughed, "Just kidding. Except about Flopsy, but he usually doesn't follow Bumi to school." She paused, and unconsciously wringed her hair, "Usually."

"Katara," Azula called, from the stairway, "The Chairman wants to speak with you. Aang should get to bed to prepare for school."

"Good luck, Katara," Aang said, sympathetically. "Talk to you tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow, right. Night, Aang." She waved and when he closed the door, she seemed to grow an icy skin over herself. "What does he want, Azula?"

"Did you notice anything?"

"No," she said. "Maybe he's not got the potential."

"That seems unlikely," Azula said, "After all the work the Phoenix Group has gone through in detecting those with it."

"You could be wrong."

"I'm not the Phoenix Group." Katara glowered at her. "And Zhao wants to just hear the facts, not your opinions on his bosses' methods."


Aang dreamt, which was unusual in and of itself. Usually, his dreams were fractured and featured samurai lemurs, but tonight's dream was unfamiliar, and strangely imposing. He dreamt of a world unspoiled, and his body seemed so far away, his spirit standing before a great many spirits, each looking at him, expectantly.

At the fore, the strange man smiled warmly. "Welcome, Aang. We meet again."

"Where am I?"

"You are safely asleep in your bed, Aang. My name is Roku, and like you, I was once burdened with a great responsibility."

"What are you talking about?" He looked around, and found the ground beneath him farther than he remembered. The man named Roku road on a dragon, smiling the same, patient smile. "I've never met you before in my life."

"But you have," Roku said, "And, then again, you haven't. Do you believe in reincarnation, Aang?"

Aang paused, and cautiously said, "I don't know what I believe."

"Yes, that is more and more common these days," Roku said, sadly. "In ages past, we were revered as bringers of balance, keepers of peace, and a voice of undeniable wisdom. Now, people have forgotten the old ways. Like you, I did not know what to believe, but regardless, destiny found me."

"Wait, run that by me again."

"You are the Avatar, Aang. And you must uphold the balance of the Spirit World."

"What's the Spirit World? What does being the Avatar mean? I'm not sure I understand."

"And I do not expect you to, Aang, not alone. I am here to help you, to teach you what it means to be the Avatar, and what you must do. This world is on the verge of dying, young Avatar, and it is my fault."

Aang grew more comfortable to the idea of flying, since he reasoned he was dreaming, and paddled about the air around the dragon. "What happened?"

"I trusted someone I shouldn't have, and his actions have thrown the Spirit World out of balance. Thirteen years have passed since my trust was rewarded in treachery, and ten years ago you were here when this disaster occured."

"But I was only three years old. That was when my parents --"

"Yes, that is what I speak of, Aang. Look, behold the Spirit World beneath us. Once, spirits of all kinds lived in harmony with the world of men." Aang gazed down, and the fog seemed to clear a little, and massive, jutting rocks came clearly into view.

Red, black, and sickly greens, overgrown flora strangled the life out of massive old trees, and the creatures seemed wild, massive, and feral.

Things crawled through the old misty jungles, slick and insectoid. And the air around it seemed like a miasma.

"What happened?"

"The spirits now run wild, and dangerous, the very balance of the Spirit World is thrown off, and with it, soon the world of men will follow. As the Avatar, you cannot allow this to happen."

"Is this the destiny you meant?"

"Yes, Aang."

"What do I do?"

The old Avatar shook his head sadly, "That is your own path to make, Aang. I can merely tell you that no matter what choices you make, destiny does not excuse you. You are still responsible for your own actions, and I hope you keep that in mind."

"All right," Aang said, nervously, "I think I understand a bit more. But what can I do? I'm just one person."

"You do not have to face this destiny alone, Aang, and there are others who will teach you more of these gifts that you and you alone possess. The mastery of the elements."

"Whoa! Like, I can shoot fire from my nose?"

Roku paused, then, slowly, said, "That is but one of the many wondrous abilities you can, in time, control."

"What about using the earth to slide up and down the Omashu mail system."

"Again, but one of your many powers," Roku said, now looking a bit apprehensive, "In time, you will learn, but patience, Young Avatar, one thing at a time. First, you must learn to bend the air around you before you can proceed to the rest."

"Where can I learn that?" Aang asked, excitedly. "Can I jump really high or make little tornados with my hands?"

Avatar Roku rubbed his temples, "Yes, Aang, and you will learn in time, the same as your friends learn their own abilities."

Aang looked sullen, "I don't really have many friends, since I keep moving around."

"You will make them in due time, Aang, do not worry."

He placed a hand on the boy's shoulder, "But now, the night is almost through, and you begin to stir in the real world."

"But I still have questions!"

Roku put his hand up, "If it is about more of your powers, I will say you'll learn it in time. And I will be here to help you understand as you grow to discover more of yourself."

"But where will I find you?"

"You need only look inside, young Avatar. I am you, and you are me," he said, smiling.

And Aang woke with a start, finding himself covered in a cold sweat. There was a furious knocking at his door. And an impatient Azula seemed to be calling for him to wake up. He mumbled, barely coherently, "I'm 'wake," and began to get dressed for school.

"You're late, and now so am I. Aang, my perfect attendance record is at stake here, so you'd better hurry and get to school or I will be forced to lecture you later tonight about the merits of punctuality and proper sleeping habits, do I make myself clear."

And the nickname Princess Azula suddenly became perfectly clear to Aang. He laughed, and headed out the door. "Is Katara already at school?"

"Her brother showed up at the door so she's left with him, and as both your senpai and a member of the student council, it fell to me to make sure you knew where the school building and your classroom are located." He was surprised when he saw her. She wore the same uniform as Katara, but something about it made her look regal. She wore a small phoenix pin in her hair that glimmed gold. "Is something wrong?"

"No! I wasn't looking at anything!"

Azula sighed. "Come on."

The walk to school was pleasant, and the chill of fall seemed light on their backs. It was the second month of the season, but summer did seem so far past. The color of the trees turned, and the school, a modern bit of Fire Nation architecture stood out amongst the traditional skyline of Ba Sing Se.

"Oh, before I forget, Aang, come straight home tonight after school. The Chairman wanted to speak to you about joining a club of ours. We think you might be just what we're looking for." She curled her lips up into a mysterious smile.


"Settle down, Children! I said settle! Even you, Bei Fong, I saw that face! All right," the Mad Scientist Bumi lived up to his name, hobbling up to the front of the class besides Aang, "We have a new transfer student ahead, boy, introduce yourself to your new classmates."

"Hi. I'm Aang, and I'm from all over the place. I hope we have a good school year together!" he made sure to show them his brightest smile before he felt someone throw a paper airplane at his head. It stuck to his headband, somehow.

"Score."

"Bei Fong, that's it. I'm forced to give you..." He trailed off, menacingly,

Aang looked at the girl who didn't seem at all perturbed by the threatening aura around the teacher. He looked her over, and then his face suddenly contorted into a mad grin, "A round of applause. Nice shot!"

"Uh, about my seat, sir?" he asked, breaking the mad scientist's laughing fit.

"Oh, right. Oh, let's put you right in the middle, next to Teo, there. All right, anyway, any other orders of business? Class representatives? No? All right then, today I'm supposed to lecture you on the history of Ba Sing Se, but that's boring."

He paused, "I suppose I should, since it's going to be on your midterms next month, but, I'd much rather talk about the crystal formations in the catacombs. Who here's been down there?"

No one raised their hand.

"You really should, that's a bit of history the city doesn't want you to remember. Throwing people down there for no reason except to do so. Anyway, the crystals down there are an interesting anamoly."

Bumi droned on and on, but Teo, who Aang realized was sitting in a wheel chair, got his attention first. "So, first day, huh? Don't worry, you'll get used to Bumi. He's much better than some of the other teachers, that's for sure."

"I like him, he's funny."

"Toph's picking on you already. She doesn't get away with it when the other teacher's are here, but Bumi seems to like her. Don't let it get to you, she does it to everyone."

"She threw the airplane at me?"

"Yes, that's her. Though I designed it and taught her how to make it, so I guess I'm a little bit at fault."

"Can you teach me how to make one?" Aang asked, eagerly.

Teo seemed surprised, "Eh? You really want to know?" Aang nodded, "Well, you take a piece of paper."

A minute later, Toph Bei Fong had a paper airplane sticking from her hair, and didn't seem to notice until someone pointed it out to her at lunch time. Bumi, for his part, couldn't stop laughing through-out his lecture, which had veered further off topic than where it started.

"And that's why you should never go spelunking alone. Now!" a loud snort, "Oh, drat, that's the end of the period. I guess you'll all learn about something no doubt fascinating after lunch. Aang, if I could see you before you go, I'd like to talk to you, planely." He laughed uproariously at his joke.

Aang smiled nervously, "Yessir."

Bumi offered Aang a seat at the desk at the front of the room, and took a seat across from it, weaving his fingers together and leaning forward, "Aang, I know how it is. Young, foolish, playing innocent little pranks. I'm not an unreasonable teacher, am I?"

"Nossir," Aang answered.

"Good. You might notice I'm a little more lenient on certain students. And while it was very funny," he snorted, "Actually, I was distracted all lecture, could you tell?" He fell into loud guffaws, "But you should know that Miss Bei Fong couldn't actually see that she had a paper plane hanging over her face."

Aang paused.

"But."

"Yes?"

"How did she know I--"

"Know what?" Bumi asked. "Oh, Bei Fong is an interesting one, you'll find out. Now run along, and remember to do your homework. Attaboy. Bye bye now!"

Aang walked out of the classroom, wondering exactly what had happened when he heard someone call out to him in a low, angry voice.

"Where do you think you're going, Fancy Dancer?"

Aang looked, slowly and apprehensively over to where he heard the voice. The blind girl from his class, Toph Bei Fong, glowered. Aang paused, and steadied himself. Maybe, just maybe, if he stood completely still and didn't make a sound she'd forget he was there.

He was rewarded by a mean left hook for his effort.

"That was for thinking you could pull one over just because I can't see." She tackled him next, "And this is for making me look like an idiot in class!"

"Hey! You threw one at me!"

The two grappled around the floor of the hall for a minute before a loud, smooth, brutish voice yelled, "Stop it, both of you." Toph immediately froze.

"Okay, Twinkle-Toes," she said, slowly, "Follow my lead and we'll get out of this in one piece. Otherwise, I'm so pounding you into the ground. Like a post." She stood up, brushed herself off and brought Aang into a hug. "I'm sorry about that, Mr. Long Feng!"

"Yes, sorry, Mr. Long Feng."

"Aang here was just helping me when I tripped and fell," she looked apologetic, "We kind of fumbled around and got all into knots, but it's all better now."

"Right! It was my fault, really, I wasn't really paying attention."

The disciplarian looked them over, and frowned. "Very good, Ms. Bei Fong. And you must be the transfer student, Aang was it? I see you're making the right sort of friends at this school already. I appreciate students who want to get ahead."

Toph sneered at Long Feng while he was facing Aang, making some faces, and creating what she imagined must have been his facial expressions as he spoke.

Aang couldn't contain a snort of amusement, "Yes sir."

"Something amusing?" he asked, looking briefly at Toph, who now appeared to be an angelic little girl waiting demurely

"Toph just told me this really funny story after class and I just got the punch line," Aang lied.

"Ah. Ms. Bei Fong, Mr. Aang, I'll trust there'll be no more mishaps from the either of you today." The man turned and walked down the hall. And as he left, Aang suddenly felt the atmosphere lighten. Toph punched him again, but this time it was more playful.

"I could use a kid like you," she said. "Most people just choke up when they have the Dai Li down their throat."

"The what?"

"The Discplinary Committee. Long Feng organized it. It's supposed to give students a respect for their peers and an understanding and dutiful adherence to the laws of the school, but the thing is they don't tell you they're part of the committee until it's too late."

Aang shivered.

"So we call them the Dai Li, like they used to have in Ba Sing Se. Long Feng was really born in the wrong time, and I think we're all the better for it." She laughed, "Nice save, though. We would have been in detention so fast your head would have spun."

Aang laughed, "Sorry about the airplane."

"Yeah, well, it was funny, I guess," she muttered, "But I'm going to give Teo a piece of my mind about him teaching that to other people." She rubbed her fist, and Aang had a sudden feeling of great pity for Teo. A piece of Toph's mind apparently involved her fists.

"Hey, Aang. I've been looking all over," Katara said, waving him over from the stairs to the second floor. "Want to eat lunch together?"

"Uh, sure!"

"Mornin', Sugar Queen."

"Lady Bei Fong," Katara said with a mock curtsey. The two followed each other with their eyes until they passed. "I see you met her most benevolent ladyship."

"Toph's not so bad."

"No, she's not," she laughed, "Since the year started Long Feng's been sure she's been causing trouble but for some reason no one's come forward with anything. And anyone who's an enemy of Long Feng is a friend of every student in the school."

"Yeah, we had a run in with that guy," Aang said.

"What a creep, right? Well, don't worry about it. You shouldn't have any trouble with Long Feng whatsoever." They walked up the stairway, but when they reached the second floor, Aang was caught by surprise. Instead of walking to her class, Katara walked up another set of stairs.

"We're going to the roof?"

"Nah, my brother's class. I thought I'd introduce you since he's been suspicious since Azula had to mention that this was a mixed gender dorm to him and he's a little," she sighed, "Overprotective doesn't even begin to describe it."

"Does he, er, brandish baseball bats?"

"Sometimes, when he's angry. Why?" Aang pointed at a boy standing by the window, holding a baseball bat menacingly. On his school uniform he had a patch for the Omashu Saber Moose-Lions stitched on, and he wore a necklace of some strange animal teeth Aang vaguely recognized as being from the poles.

And he had a ponytail.

"Sokka! Put that away!" Katara admonished. "I said you'd get to meet him, right? This is Aang. He's not some creepy pervert or anything."

Sokka paced in front of Aang, his eye critical, and his expression was -- Aang paused trying to think of how to describe it -- his expression was neither imposing nor humorous, but somehow managed to be both. "I'll be the judge of that. So, you're this Aang, right? Mr. Aang, I allege that you are living in the same dorm as my sister, how do you plead?"

"I guess I'm guilty of that much?"

"See! He's guilty, Katara. Guilty!"

"Sokka, stop being such a spaz."

"I'm not, I'm just saying that he admitted he was guilty. So, Aang, how do you wish for the punishment to be carried out. I recommend the baseball bat, it'll be painful and I'll get to work on my swing."

"Community service?" Aang squeaked.

"Do I have to call Dad, Sokka?" Katara asked, not amused. She wrested the bat from her brother's hands. "He can put you in jail, you know. He's got friends."

Sokka, at this reminded, stepped back, and resumed his pacing, "Aang, on further consideration I found my earlier judgment too hasty. I think what we'll have to do is chaperone you for the duration of say, one week."

"You come by the dorm every day. You practically live there. Azula's had to throw you out because you tried staying the night for a month straight."

"I chose to leave, thank you very much!"

"No, you didn't," Katara said. "Sorry, Aang. Sokka doesn't really have any brains, just a cobbled together assortment of systems and impulses that acts like one."

"That was harsh," Sokka bemoaned.

Aang shifted nervously, "So, Lunch?"

"Lunch. Yes. Very yes." Sokka smiled, "Dad packed you your favorite, again, Katara. You should visit more often. He misses you. And he can't cook so I went and bought you some at Cabbageway."

Katara took the plastic container filled with pickled sea prunes apprehensively. "Thanks, Sokka. That means so much to me."

"And I got some for me, and I didn't know I'd be having a third guest so, er, I got nothing, buddy. I can try and get something from Pipsqueak. Hey! Pipsqueak? You got some extra lunch bread today?" A very large boy threw a wrapped piece of bread at Sokka, which hit him square between the eyes, dropped to his open hand, and waved as the boy passed, "Thanks, pal!"

Aang couldn't help but gape. "His name's Pipsqueak?"

"Yeah? Isn't it great?" Sokka said with a laugh.

"Yeah! It's hilarious!"

"I know! And he doesn't answer to his real name, so we sort of forgot about it by second year. Don't ask me what his parents call him." Sokka handed the piece of bread to Aang, "Welcome to Phoenix High, kid."

"Thanks, Sokka."

"Okay, male bonding time: good. But lunch is almost done." Katara smiled, "How was Bumi's class, Aang?"

"Bumi's the best!"

"I know!" Sokka said, excitedly.

"Okay, just creepy, now." Katara grimaced. Her expression turned icy as the door to the class opened and Azula walked in as elegant as a princess. "Don't look now, but Princess Azula's here." Sokka, of course, looked, food hanging out of his mouth.

"Katara, Aang," she said. Then, with a disdainful expression, "Sokka, was it? I hope you're enjoying your lunch. The chairman has confirmed that he'll be at the dorm tonight, so I expect you all back punctually after class. Except you." She looked at Sokka.

"Aw, Azula, I know you miss me." He gave her his best charming smile, which she scoffed at. "Anyway, I was just telling my Dad I was thinking I should go and move in there too. I mean, the trams aren't safe anymore."

"Quite, but our dorm is a special case," Azula said, crossly, "And as such, I don't think you'll fit in."

"Me and Aang get along great, right, buddy?" Sokka said patting the smaller boy on the head. "Best pals."

Azula glowered at Aang, and headed to the door, "I'll expect you two punctually, understood?" And she closed the door behind her as she left. Katara eased slightly.

"Katara?" Sokka asked, quietly, "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, Sokka, why wouldn't I be?"

"This hasn't got to do with all this magic water stuff?" he asked.

"That's just a fairy tale, Sokka!"

Sokka looked at her, and shrugged, "If you say so."

Aang nearly spit out his bread as the clock ringed the end of the lunch period. "Oh no! I'm going to be late!"

"Thanks for lunch, Sokka," Katara said, getting to her feet, "See you after school!"

Sokka nodded, absently, and looked pensively at the front of the room.

"Sokka?"

"Huh?"

"See you after school." Katara patted him lightly on the shoulder and headed out the door. Aang started to follow her, when Sokka stopped him.

"Hey, Aang? Keep an eye on my sister, would you?"

"Sure, Sokka," Aang said. Sokka resumed his pensive staring at the wall, and Aang walked down the stairs to his class. As he walked, he swore he felt something like a newly forged chain reach deep into his mind, and shook him to the core,

To be continued...