Three Ghosts

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

Warnings: Speculation, Spoilers up to Season Three

AN: For AtLA Land's drabble challenge. Prompt was "Spooky Stories/Halloween."

The Witching Hour

He fights for her every year on the same day. It's not just a tradition but an incessant need. To travel through the mists and find where his spirit still bleeds. To free her from a prison of his own making.

She's just as lovely now as she was the moment they met. Her eyes are still bluer than the ocean. Her face is still young and sweet and soft. Her smile is still just for him.

But her name is like shattered glass; one breath is all it takes to break.

"Ummi," he murmurs and watches as she crumbles into dust.

Koh laughs.


Ghost in the Machine

There's a dead boy who sits in her kitchen.

Well, that's not entirely true.

Sometimes, Ty Lee wakes to find him on the edge of her bed. And she's seen him trailing after her as they travel. He's occasionally there when she goes to walk around the city.

But usually, she sees him in the kitchen. In the mornings. Before she goes out for the day and finds her friends.

He follows after her sometimes. A short ghost-boy on softly dancing feet. Every bit as agile as she is and always smiling. So happy. So alive.

Only… not.

He never comes to the palace. The steps are as far as he ever goes. His head is shaved, and the blue arrow gleams in the early light as he reaches the edge. But he always falters then. His grey eyes widen and fill with fear.

Azula catches her looking at him one day. Catches her trying to wave him forward.

"What are you staring at?" she demands before Ty Lee glances back again.

But no one is there. Not anymore.


Long Live the King

Bumi watches the sunrise over his city one last time and has a breakfast of rock candy. His predecessor stands beside him insubstantial and without real form. Smiling just as he had when Bumi won his crown in a spray of blood and sat on his throne still drenched with it.

It's time. He's old now. Soon, he'll be too old to stand fully. To move properly. To fight.

But there's still time for one final bout. The most important one.

He's chosen well. His heir is young and strong. Wise and blunt. Caring but firm. All the things a good king should be. All the things needed to make a great one.

There are no guards. Not here. Not for this. It's just the two of them. Earth against earth and power against power. Only one will walk away. Bumi will fight to his final breath for this, and he regrets nothing save the fact that Aang can never learn the truth. This is their way. Their city. And he won't let Aang take that from them, Avatar or not.

He turns to his heir then and offers his best smirk. Proud and reckless and strong until the very end as his predecessor stands beside him still.

"Ready?" Bumi questions smugly and with absolute certainty. "I won't hold back."

Toph's unseeing eyes narrow, and she shifts her stance. "Just bring it."

The king dies. The king is dead. Long live the king.

Ever Hopeful,