Aang's heart pounded. The sea of soldiers that surrounded him stretched on for what seemed like forever, inescapable. But he had to try. One by one, they sent their own fire blast at him, each with increasing speed and intensity. He leapt from foot to foot, barely touching the ground, dodging, practically dancing around each fireball and returning with his own blast of air. His opponents finally began to fall, one by one, until Aang expertly twisted to avoid one last feeble flame and air-whip the last soldier down. The army defeated, Aang breathed deeply, and bent over to learn on his knees, exhausted.
"Aang, you did it!" Katara was suddenly in front of him, her face beaming with pride. "I knew you could do it!" He grinned at her, but the grin slid from his face as he saw the soldiers he'd defeated picking themselves off the ground.
"Katara! Look out!" he screamed, but she just kept smiling at him and didn't turn. Behind her the soldiers' hands were igniting. Aang tried to run to her but his feet, so light on the ground before, were now stuck in an earth-bender's stance, unable to move. "Katara, behind you!" he yelled again, but still she didn't turn. As the soldier's flames rushed towards her, Aang blew an enormous gust of wind to move her out of the way. But to his horror, it was fire that came from his hands instead of air, and they reached her just as the soldier's flames blasted at her back. Katara's face twisted into the shock of betrayal, and she screamed his name as Aang helplessly watched his own flames incinerate her before his very eyes.
"Sokka, I've had it! Just because I'm a water-bender and you're not, does NOT mean that I am the only one of us capable of doing laundry!"
"It's not because you're a water-bender!" Sokka protested, "It's because you're a g—"
"Do you really want to finish that sentence?" Toph interrupted, arms folded, one eyebrow cocked. Katara seethed with rage. Sokka gulped.
Aang stepped forward, his eyes blood-shot from lack of sleep. Peacemaking was his duty. "Guys look, how about we all do all the laundry together?"
"No!" Katara screamed, "I am NEVER DOING LAUNDRY AGAIN!" And with that, she flung a sock at Sokka's face.
"That's it, I'M LEARNING SOCK-BENDING!" Sokka yelled back. He raised his arms, and the nearby pile of dirty laundry surged forward to wrap around Toph. Two shirts picked Katara up by the arms and carried her away over the trees screaming.
"Sokka what are you doing?" Aang said, horrified. "You're using your bending powers for evil!"
"Oh no you don't!" Toph yelled from inside the ever-growing pile of dirty clothes. "Nobody traps me in a pile of laundry! I'll just bend the dirt in your disgusting clothes!" She stomped her feet, and a row of pants lined up in front of her, which she launched like missiles at Sokka.
"Take that! And that!" Sokka slammed each piece of clothing aside with his boomerang. Meanwhile, Katara was still soaring above the trees screaming, still held captive by Sokka's shirts.
"Stop you guys!" Aang cried, throwing himself between Toph and Sokka. "It's just laundry!"
"Aang?" He turned. Katara was behind him, looking at him very strangely. "Are you alright?"
"What?" Aang blinked and looked back at Sokka and Toph. They were trying to wrestle a pair of Sokka's pants back from Momo, who was trying to fly away with it. "Oh, yeah, I'm fine," he said, rubbing the back of his head. "Just fine. Flameo."
"Are you sure? You were screaming about Sokka bending."
"I was?" Aang blinked again. "Well, I'm sure it's nothing. I'm going to go…..wash Appa! See you!" He dashed away with the speed of an airbender.
"Twinkletoes has gone crazy." Toph said, prying one pant leg from Momo's grasp.
"Yeah," said Sokka, "And I sure wouldn't use any bending powers for evil!" The pants he fought Momo for ripped.
Aang was at the Southern Air Temple this time. It was full of life, as he remembered it a hundred years ago: monks meditating, children laughing and playing and flying, an elder lecturing one mischievous boy who clutched a berry-stained lemur protectively.
"Aang, play with us!" He recognized some kids he used to play airball with before he learned he was the Avatar. They gathered around him, their eager faces full of joy. Of course he would play with them! They balanced on their air scooters and tried to blow each other off balance, zooming around chaotically. He felt a gush of wind knock him off his air scooter, and he fell to the ground laughing. He'd forgotten how fun this game was.
"Aang! Run!" A voice interrupted the game.
"Monk Gyatso?" He looked just as Aang remembered except for the anxious expression on his face.
"Run!" Gyatso urged again. Aang turned to the other kids playing the game, but they were disappearing, dissolving into thin air.
"No, come back!" Aang cried, "Gyatso, make them come back!" But Gyatso was already gone. In his place stood Zuko. Behind him Aang saw a hideously crimson comet replace the peaceful bisons surrounding the temple's skies, and Zuko's scar grew to cover his entire grinning face as the temple burned with scorching flames.
"Do you want dinner?" They were seated around the campfire; Katara held out a bowl of vegetables for him.
His glazed-over eyes snapped to focus on the bowl. "Thanks." He smiled at her as he took it, then gasped. One eyebrow twitched.
"What did you do with your hair?!"
"What?" Katara sounded slightly panicked. "What's wrong with it?"
Aang stared at her bald head and new arrow tattoo like his own. "Um, nothing. I like it!" Katara rubbed her head self-consciously. "I mean, I liked it before, but it still looks…."
"Katara relax, it's fine." Sokka said, lazily shoving another bite of meat down his throat. Aang blinked. Sokka's ponytail was shaved off and replaced with blue arrow tattoos as well.
"Yeah, I think it looks perfect!" Toph declared next to him, a blue arrow pointing between her milky eyes. Her head, too was bald.
Katara sighed and waved a gust of air into her food to cool it off.
"Whoa!" Aang stared. "You just airbended!"
"Yeah? So?" Katara's worried frown deepened.
"Katara only does it, like ALL the time." Sokka waved dismissively. "Aim a little more to the left, Toph."
Aang rubbed his head, confused, as Toph flicked a berry off her pile of food into the air to catch it with her mouth. Momo snatched it in midair and landed on her face, clinging to it protectively.
"Stop stealing my food!" Toph yelled, conjuring a whirlwind to blow the lemur away. Momo chattered indignantly. Aang suddenly realized another arrow lay between Momo's enormous ears.
"I'm going to go feed Appa," Aang said, his head swimming. He felt his friends' eyes on his back as he left his food untouched. He walked to the waterside and looked at his reflection. His hair – and more importantly, his arrow – remained. Aang rubbed his throbbing temples. The invasion would come soon, and then he could finally sleep.
The earth rippled under Aang's, Katara's, and Sokka's feet as the thousands of Dai Li agents attacked them. Katara lashed her stream of water at the agents, yanking their legs out from under them. Sokka knocked boulders thrown at his head out of the way with his boomerang, and slashed at attacking agents with his meteorite sword, yelling a battle cry at the top of his lungs.
Aang rushed forward to help them, but a wall of earth suddenly blocked his way.
"You cannot help them." Toph stood behind him, her sightless eyes boring into his own as he turned to face her. "The Avatar must survive."
He heard Sokka's muffled scream from behind the wall, "Aang! We need your help!"
Aang knew he must help them, he couldn't let them be killed, he wouldn't let anything hurt them. He started to bend the wall out of his way when he heard Toph fall behind him. Azula stood by Toph's corpse, her fingers smoking slightly. He heard Katara and Sokka scream, and he knew he was too late, they were already dead. Aang felt the rage wash over him as he ran to bury Azula deep in the earth for what she had done to his friends, but the fire princess only chuckled.
"Too late, Avatar," she said with an evil smile on her lips, and he watched in slow motion as she sent a bolt of lightning straight through his chest.
It was not long after Aang left the campfire that Katara came to sit beside him, leaning against a sleeping Appa and staring at the stars. His eyelids sagged as he looked at her.
"At least your hair's back to normal….." he muttered.
"What?" said Katara, still thoroughly confused. Aang's eyes widened, revealing how bloodshot they were.
"Did I say that out loud? Oh, I'm such an idiot! She probably thinks I'm going crazy – "
"Aang? You're talking to yourself." Katara placed a hand on his shoulder. He gazed at the ground. "You're really starting to scare us. You've been saying crazy things all day. You need sleep."
"No, I don't," Aang said. His heart pounded with nervousness. "What I need Katara is….you." He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her, full-on the lips – and she kissed him back!
"Oh, Aang," Katara said dreamily when they pulled apart. "Sokka's going to kill you."
"I don't care," Aang said passionately, ready to explode with happiness. "I love – "
Sokka popped out of a bush from nowhere with a high-pitched yelp of a battle cry, brandishing his boomerang fiercely. Without taking his eyes from Katara's, Aang bent Sokka into the ground with a wave of his hand until just the water tribe warrior's head peeked out, though his mouth was covered.
"As I was saying….I love you, Katara." She took his hand. He leaned in for another kiss when another figure popped from the bush.
"Avatar, I thought you loved meeeee!!!!" shrieked Azula.
"WHAT?!" said Aang, completely confused.
"MMF?" said a muffled Sokka.
"WHAT?!" said Katara. "Oh I see how it is!" She rose in an angry huff.
"Wait, Katara! No!" Aang cried, airbending himself up to follow her.
"No, it's fine!" Katara said, waving him off angrily. "You just go off and have fun with Azula, and I'll – I'll just go out with Zuko!"
"Noooooooo!" Aang screamed as Azula grabbed him in a headlock and dragged him away. Sokka looked like he would have barfed if his mouth were above ground level.
"Aang? What are you screaming about?"
Aang blinked. Katara was still sitting next to him, her hand on his shoulder.
"Um….." He could think of no excuse. "Nothing. Just a daydream. Nothing wrong. Um, I got to…..use a tree?" And in less than two seconds, he was up and gone.
Katara sighed. That boy needed some sleep. Then she smiled. She needed him too.
A/N: So yeah. I have no idea how bad/good this is, but it was something to entertain me and kill the boredom. I always laugh when I see Nightmares and Daydreams, so I just thought I'd write more.