Transit the Sun

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

Warnings: Language, General spoilers for both series

Interlude: Battle for the Sun

Aang's dying. The Avatar might already be dead.

Pain is sharp, like a thousand knives jabbing into every muscle. Smoke fills his nose, and the taste on his tongue is bitter, metallic. The memory of lightening tingles at his spine, and rocks on the ground eat into his sides. Everything is covered in a green haze as his heart gives a stuttering beat, and his eyes slip shut.

Life, what's left of it, comes in snippets.

Sokka's terrified voice, pleading. Katara's tears falling onto his skin. Toph's fingers gripping his hand. Appa's warmth and the tickle of his fur. Momo nuzzling at his ear.

The heat of a fire singes the air. Male voices – one young and the other old. Both are full of flames and ash, weary but determined. There are whispers of rock and metal and fire. A crackle of static that makes his chest and back flash with sympathy and remembered agony. Light footsteps as someone darts forward.

Then, silence. Deathly so. Broken only by harsh breathing. The swish of dust and cloth and movement.

He fades out. Black consumes everything. The universe goes silent and Aang thinks he can see starlight.

Then, there's a strange pressure on his chest. Once and twice and more times. As if someone is trying to beat his heart for him. His lips are lifted apart as his head is tiled back. Air fills his lungs. He sucks it in gladly.

More pressure. More air.

Aang gasps. He arches up like lightning is still going through him. But hands hold him still, steady.

The world sways then, and he's lifted up, up. Held next to a heart that knows how to work without help. By hands that are almost too warm but agonizingly gentle.

There are words then. Angry ones from Sokka and denial from Katara. A chitter from Momo and Appa's huff. Toph cuts in with two more male voices echoing her. But another, feminine and strong, quiets them all.

He's being moved now. Up unto Appa's back. He can feel more than see Momo curling up by his shoulder as he's eased into soft fur. Then, Katara's next to him, and his head is moved, pillowed on something both firm but strangely yielding.

"Yip, yip," he hears Sokka call from nearby.

Appa rises furiously quick. Enough so that Aang starts to shift, but gentle hands keep him in place.

Something tickles at his nose for a second. He tries to blow it away, but it just comes right back. Aang reaches up thoughtlessly, but it again comes back. He makes an unhappy sound in the back of his throat, and he isn't sure which part is the worst as his eyelids sluggishly peel back.

A tendril of gold like the sunlight hangs in front of him. Right between his eyes and just tickling the edge of his nose. Taunting him with its proximity.

Aang frowns at that. But it's quickly forgotten as his gaze focuses and he sees Katara to his left. But she's looking away, looking across to Toph, who couldn't see him even if she tried. By Aang's feet are more people. The first is in fine robes, curled up next to a bear of all things. Both are fast asleep.

The other two sit together. One is an old man, grey-headed and tired. The other is much younger, a few years older than Aang himself. However, his eye is surrounded by a scar that his hair isn't long enough to hide. Both of them are stony-faced, but the younger one's flinch gives him away.

Aang's frown deepens. He isn't sure why. He knows something is wrong with this picture, but he can't quite puzzle it out. Can't quite get up to speed with the tableau before him. Katara alternating between relief, fury, and terror. Toph so quiet with white-knuckled fingers. Sokka just at the edge of his vision, hunched over Appa's reins.

Momo chitters then, and Aang is distracted as a female hand reaches out to scratch his back. The hand is small like a girl's, but the skin is slightly too rough and calloused. Aang stares at it for a moment. He can see both of Toph's in her lap, and Katara's skin is much darker than this. She doesn't have three besides.

And that doesn't even make any sense.

None of this makes any sense. What's going on, and what happened, and where are they, and…


And there's a noise then. Much like a sigh mixed with a laugh. Whatever's holding his head shakes ever-so-slightly and in perfect time with the sound.

Aang belatedly and somewhat embarrassingly realizes that he's resting in someone's lap.

He blinks then. And again. And very slowly tilts his head back and his chin up. Further and further as more hair that's golden tickles his face and obscures the scene around him. Further again until he sees a forehead emerge. Wrinkle free and with young skin but somehow older than belief. Further still with golden eyebrows that are wispy and barely visible.

Aang stops. He can only look up then. Stare straight into the greenest eyes he's ever seen.

Buffy offers him a smile.

AN: Just pretend Appa is big enough to carry all these people.

Ever Hopeful,