Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly enough.
Warnings: AU-ish, Spoilers up to Season Three, Implied Character Death
AN: For Avatar_500 over on LJ. The prompt was #20: Spontaneous.
"We could've been friends," Aang murmurs.
Zuko's hands clench at his sides. The flames start to form, and Aang is already preparing to dodge. To whirl away and run.
But then, the fire goes out. Zuko just looks at him, face an angry mask but gold eyes so distant.
"Friends?" he repeats, and his voice is unexpectedly quiet. Almost tentative.
Aang just smiles.
The moon is red. The moon is dying. The moon is dead.
Yue prepares to fulfill her destiny, but suddenly, there's a hand on hers. Firm but tender. Stroking over her skin. The old firebender's words now fall on deaf ears, and all she can do is feel her heart beating in time with the pulse of fingers on her skin.
"Don't do it," Sokka urges from beyond her shoulder. "Stay."
Yue closes her eyes. And steps back.
"There are no waterbenders here," Kya repeats, and she puts all of her resolve into that one statement.
She has to make it believable; she has to make him believe. But she's a mother to the core, and she can't help the way her eyes dart to her daughter and then back to the firebender.
And suddenly, his gaze flits to Katara, too. The man grins, and there's nothing Kya can do.
The twin shrieks of a mother and child split the air, and then, there's only silence.
A hand slips over Aang's mouth, and he's shaken awake in the dead of night. He's grey eyes pop open immediately. But it takes a moment for him to adjust to the dark. To see Gyatso's worried face.
His teacher offers him a smile, but it's strained at the edges. Full of emotions that Aang can't even begin to name.
"Get your things, my boy. Quietly now," Gyatso says in a whisper. "We're leaving."
His nephew is on his knees, and his head is bowed to the floor. There's no other way Zuko could possibly show his complete surrender.
But Iroh knows his younger brother. He knows the sort of man Ozai is and what he's willing to do. He knows, even if he's never admitted it to himself before this very moment.
Iroh knows. He sees. Just as he sees exactly what Ozai plans to do next. And he's already moved forward and into the center before he even thinks to react.
"It makes me realize something," her father says.
And Toph holds her breath. She hopes. Hopes so much that it hurts.
"It makes me realize… that we were wrong. We aren't ashamed of you. We just want you to be safe. But more, we want you to be happy."
Her breath goes out all in a whoosh, and Toph has to swallow past the sudden lump in her throat. For some strange reason, she has no urge to leave now. And besides, she doesn't need to travel the world all that badly.