Hiding My Masked Affection
The opening scene isn't accurately what happened in the series, I apologize in advance.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except the plot of what I am writing about.
The ship progressed forward, crushing Sokka's wall with an easy might. Women and children around me screamed in terror, old memories of the raids surfacing in everyone's mind. I ran forward, scooping a child into my arms and hugging them close as I fell back with the others. Aang stood forward as the black, metal hull of the ship stopped. Smoke billowed out of the chimney stacks atop it, and a walking platform fell towards the snow, crushing ice as it landed with a heavy thud. I held the quivering child tightly in my arms, as to cease any of my own trembling. Seeing an alive, vibrant Fire Nation ship was even more terrifying then seeing a glum, abandoned one.
Sokka kept his crouched position, wearing an determined expression to give us hope.
The door at the top of the gridded walkway slid open, the metallic screeching noise making us cringe. We were all so used to hearing the quiet whisper of tiger-seal furs as doors opening.
Masked soldiers with bulky, blood-red armor and taloned spears marched forward, each approximately equal in size. I covered the child in my arm's gaze with a gloved hand. I couldn't let them see the cruel, disguised faces of the enemy. My eyes widened as one of the soldiers came out without a masked face. Only one true face was in the amassing group of Fire Nation soldiers that poured like blood from a gaping wound.
But even then, a scar marred the left side of face, wrinkled and a flushed pink.
Sokka cried out and ran forward, but the young man with a face pushed him aside and off of the walkway, plunging Sokka headfirst into the snow. We flinched. That was all the defense we had.
The undisguised young man walked up, standing in the center of the crescent made by the soldiers. He must have been their leader. He arched his shoulders, glaring at us, sticking out his bare fist, and demanding to know where the Avatar was. His voice was husky, but burned with a fiery rage unlike any of the flowing, melodic voices of the Water Tribe.
When no one responded, he lashed forward and grabbed Gran-Gran by the arm, dragging her to his side and saying that the Avatar was supposed to be about her age. Everyone remained paralyzed. We were defenseless. I hadn't perfected my waterbending and Sokka was immobile, still struggling with the snow.
He threatened us again, his face hardening and the snow melting slightly underneath his feat. Aang bowed his head and stepped before the young Fire Nation man, explaining that he was the Avatar. The young man looked surprised that the Avatar was a twelve year-old, raising an eyebrow smugly, the look on his face uncomprehending why a child would have so much power. Then again, he held authority over an entire ship, and he looked only sixteen.
I couldn't believe it. How could Aang give himself up to the Fire Nation so easily? Would he ever know how truly evil they were?
My mouth gaped, protests flooding out before I could control them. I put the child in another woman's arms and began to walk forward, my hand extended towards Aang in denial, like my simple, small hand could pull him back to me. I hadn't met someone like him in a long time. And he needed me.
Aang looked over his shoulder and smiled warmly at me, his gray eyes twinkling. He reassured me that he was going to be all right. I didn't want to believe it. But he sounded so sure...
Two soldiers began to push him along up the walkway and back into the foreboding black ship. "No!" I cried, knowing that I shouldn't show weakness. Even in front of the Fire Nation. I made that mistake the day my mother died, telling her that I was scared in front of the man about to kill her. Gran-Gran held my hand to keep me from walking any closer to the enemy. My eyes traced Aang's every movement, waiting for a time to strike with all of my power if they hurt him.
Aang stumbled minutely on a track in the walkway, but the soldiers snorted and kicked the back of his leg to make him walk on. He grunted in pain, keeping his fists clenched.
I gritted my teeth, yanking my arm from Gran-Gran and running forward after Aang. How dare they hurt my friend!
The young man that lead the soldiers grabbed my collar, pulling me back towards him and ending my pursuit with one swift motion. The fabric cut into my neck, hitching my breath as he dragged me closer to him. I struggled, trying to focus to summon the water around me to my will, but I couldn't concentrate as the man growled in my ear, "Oh no you don't."
Sokka pulled his head out of the snow, blinking as he saw the man's fingers form manacles around my wrists. He hollered in anger, "Don't touch my sister!" and charged forward, throwing his boomerang. The man ducked, pushing me back towards the crowd as he watched the boomerang sail off into the sky.
He turned back towards us for a brief moment, smiling in triumph for having humiliated my brother once again, and his molten gold eyes met mine for a brief second. I couldn't read the emotions churning silently in them, but his smile faded, his glare hardening and softening abruptly. He turned around marched back towards his ship, closing the door behind him.
The walkway hauled itself back up to the hull of the ship, blending into the charcoal black metal once again, and the ship began to chug backwards.
I watched in horror, not knowing that today was the last day I would see the Avatar for years.
Sokka's boomerang sliced back through the air before us and landed in the ice where the young man had stood, sinking directly between the two footprints. It was just moments too late.