Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly enough.

Warnings: Speculation, Spoilers for the finale

AN: For Avatar_500 over on LJ. The prompt was #6: Outdo.

Bonus points if you know the original quote used as the summary.

He can't bend.

Katara's been able to make the soup in her cup dance since she was three. Reshape the ice on his fort at five. Form dolls that don't melt no matter how long she leaves them out in the sun or by the fire at age seven. She could call forward snowflakes from their mom's arms before she could even walk.

But Sokka can't bend. Water isn't anything to him; it's just there. He can't feel it. Can't sense the ebb and flow like his sister. He used to go out at night, sneak off to where no one could see, and try for hours. Stare at the ice. Throw his hands at the snow. Beg the water to just move. He can't even get a twitch, however. Can't do more than stand there in utter failure.

He can't bend. He's ordinary. So painfully ordinary. Normal.

And he can live with it. Has accepted it. Has convinced himself that he doesn't hurt when their dad smiles at Katara in that special way. When Gran Gran talks about her being the hope of their tribe. When the other villagers look at her like she's the sole light during the deadness of winter. When Aang and Toph and she and later Zuko do all these amazing things and shrug it off like it's nothing.

Even with a master of his own, even with training, Sokka can't compete. He'll never be anything more than what he is. The fount for meat and sarcasm. Occasionally the idea guy. Even Suki – a regular person like him – is incredible. Can move and fight and win where he only trips. Not to mention acrobatic Ty Lee or that Mai girl with her knives.

They're all normal but not ordinary. Not like Sokka.

And then, the comet comes and goes. The war ends; they're victorious. Meeting in Ba Sing Se to sort things out.

Toph and Suki practically shove him forward, still tender leg and all. Elbowing past Katara and the slightly crispy Zuko. Edging by the asleep on his feet Aang. Regaling all and sundry and mostly the White Lotus about the airship fleet. Only they don't talk about Toph's metalbending on the bridge or Suki's awesome moves. Their words are only about him. About Sokka. About his quick thinking and his flying skills. About stopping the airships, saving all three of them, and losing his precious sword in the process.

"Was that alright? Losing my sword?" Sokka asks after they're done, and he can't quite help the note of uncertainty that wavers in his voice. "I didn't mean to, but I had no choice. Was that okay?"

His master – Piandao – just looks at him with a smile and shake of his head. The warm hand on Sokka's shoulder squeezes tightly.

"That," he says with all the honestly and pride in the world, "was extraordinary."

Every Hopeful,