A/N: To help me get back in the groove...
This is just a one shot that was heavily inspired by an anime that I was watching called Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae…and I don't remember the rest of it, but the nickname is AnoHana. I thought that this would be an interesting concept, so here we go.
Song to listen to whilst reading: Our Secret Base – Ai Kayano
Summary: They were all young, naïve, but most importantly, friends. Trying to cope and explain things that they themselves couldn't explain, they meet in a park with a large white rock, and a story was born to fit all their grief, despair, and hopes.
Our Large White Rock
"I am the Avatar! Master of all the elements! And this is my loyal pet bison Appa!" the bald boy exclaimed, a sloppily painted blue arrow over his face. In one hand, he had a handful of dirt, and the other a bucket of water. Besides him was a large white rock with feathers sprinkled across the surface. "I'm here to bring justice and defeat the Fire Lord!"
"Avatar?" the girl standing next to him gave him a dubious look. "What's that?"
"He's the master of all four elements," the bald boy grinned, and tossed the bucket of water towards the boy next to the girl, who was obviously daydreaming. The water splashed over his head and he gave a large yelp before glaring back at the bald boy. "Water! Earth! Fire! Air!"
The girl giggled happily and grabbed the bucket of water. "Well, if you master all the elements, then there has to be people who can master at least one right?"
"Of course! You can be a Waterbender, since you wear blue all the time," the bald boy crossed his arms and nodded knowingly. He then turned to the soaked boy. "And of course, there are some who don't know how to master any."
"Hey!" said the soaked boy, pulling out a boomerang from his pocket. "Well whatever. If I can't master elements, I'll still whoop all your butts with my warrior skills."
"So Sokka's gonna play along?" the girl held her hands to her mouth in sarcastic surprise.
The boy named Sokka looked away, his cheeks turning red. "Well if there's nothing else to do," Sokka grumbled. "I might as well."
"And that settles it!" the bald boy held out a bucket of earth. "We must be off to defeat the Fire Lord from destroying the world! And I, the Avatar, and last Airbender, must master all of the four elements before the end of this summer! Starting with earth!"
"Why?" asked the girl. "Why does it have to be before the end of summer?"
The bald boy looked back, but never answered.
"Why do I have to be the bad guy?" Zuko cried aloud, holding red ribbons limply in his hands. "And why does Firebending look so girly?"
"I told you," Aang shook his head, smacking himself in the forehead. "You're the only one who can do it. Katara can't do it because she's going to be my g-…teacher. Sokka can't do it because he's not strong enough to really be a villain since he can't bend."
"And I can't be a villain because I'm the Avatar! So that leaves us with you," Aang once again nodded his head with the expression of a wise old sage. "Besides, the scar on your face makes you look rough and scary!"
Zuko frowned, stroking the mark that was plastered over his right eye. "I don't want to play anymore," Zuko threw down the ribbons and walked back towards his uncle, who was eyeing him carefully.
"They're making fun of me Uncle Iroh," Zuko grimaced. "They want me to be a bad guy because I just look ugly."
"That's not true Zuko," his uncle explained. "They chose you because they believe you to be worthy of fighting all three of them at once. Think about it. Why do you think they called you Prince Zuko for? Don't let your father's mark get you down."
"That's just another way of getting me to play with them," Zuko pouted, but there were hints of pride on his face which he couldn't hide from his uncle. "I'm still not playing with them."
"Would it make a difference if I joined in with you?" Iroh patted Zuko's scruffy hair. "I promise that I won't get in the way."
"Maybe just this once," Zuko turned away quickly, walked back towards Aang and the others, and picked up the red ribbons.
"Aang is too powerful," Zuko complained. "I always lose!"
"Do too!" Zuko accused, pointing at his uncle, who was pretending to lie prone on the floor, tongue sticking out of his mouth. "Even Uncle Iroh, the infamous Dragon of the West, is too weak for you. How is anyone ever supposed to win?"
"To be fair," Sokka retorted, scratching his back with a boomerang. "He spends half of the time drinking tea when we ambush you guys. It's only fair."
"And what's with this reincarnation thing?" Zuko threw his hands in frustration. "How is the Fire Nation supposed to ever win if you just keep coming back to life every time you die?"
"It's the Spirit World's way of keeping the world in balance!" Aang explained, his arms crossed. "Only people spiritually connected like me could understand the complicated….ness of how this all works. You, Prince Zuko, would never understand since all you care about is honor!"
"And what's this Avatar State thing you always pull out when you're in trouble?" Zuko exclaimed, ignoring everything Aang had said. "Who can beat an Avatar who fights like a billion trillion zillion Avatars?"
"It's not a billion trillion zillion," Aang puffed his cheeks, before murmuring. "More like a million billion trillion zillion. And besides! It's not just a bunch of random nobodies fighting through me. It's all of my past lives."
"Oh, you mean the ones that have the same names as your dad, your mom, your grandpa, and your grandma? Very smart way of remembering them," Zuko blurted, before realizing he had known he had gone too far. He covered his mouth, as if doing so would actually retract everything that he had just said.
Katara and Sokka stared wide eyed at Zuko, both of them dropping their water guns and boomerangs. Iroh sat up from his seat, looking rather concerned. Zuko looked down at the floor.
Aang's mouth moved ever so slightly, and Zuko was wondering what his reaction would be. Anger? Grief? Was he going to cry?
"Of course," Aang laughed, and waved Zuko off. "And don't forget my great grandparents."
"They were important too you know?"
"I brought my sister and her friends over," Zuko kicked the dirt. "They say that they wanted to play."
"Can I play the bad girl?" said Zuko's sister Azula, who clasped her hands happily. "You have no idea how many evil ideas I have conjured up. I love this story by the way. I just think that there's room for an even more evil villain than my helpless little brother."
"That's fair," Aang chuckled. "For behold my Earthbending master! Toph! Show yourself!"
"I told you," said a voice coming behind the white rock. "I'm blind. There's no way that I can play!"
"Look, apparently to them, I'm a nobody who's only good part is coming up with ideas," said Sokka, who's hand was wrapped around someone else's hand. "If they say you're an Earthbending master that's a big privilege. Now come on!"
And with an extra hard tug, Sokka pulled a small girl from the rock, who held a leash and a dog by her side. But that tug must have been too strong, because as soon as Sokka had pulled her into the open, Toph quickly fell onto him. Katara giggled. Aang grinned, and Zuko taunted.
Both Toph and Sokka looked away with blushes on their faces, getting up and letting go of each other's hands.
"Why are we playing this stupid game?" said Mai as she held a makeshift ninja star in her hands. "I can't believe you dragged us into this Azula."
"I don't know," said Mai's companion Ty Lee. "This seems pretty fun to me. I don't know how he came up with such a story!"
"Yeah, seems fun to you," Mai blew a lock of hair from her face. "But maybe that's because it's all too convenient."
"What are you talking about?" Azula finally talked after having listened to the two of them banter for the longest time. "What's convenient?"
"Oh, I don't know." Mai shook her head. "Maybe it's because it's in this story, where you're all powerful. And maybe it's because it's in this story, you Ty Lee, get to actually to do some cool acrobatics and everyone actually thinks you're one of a kind."
"And what's so wrong with that?" Azula snarled. "What's wrong with me pretending to be powerful? It's just a game?"
"Yeah," Mai snickered. "A game where you don't need to care about what your mother says about you to her friends because she's not here."
"Oh," Azula looked away for a moment. "Would you like to just go home and play with your little brother and all those dolls and get pampered all day like a rich lady?"
Mai was silent after that. Ty Lee looked helplessly at their arguments, but really knew nothing that she could say that would be constructive in the slightest.
Finally, Mai spoke.
"I'll pass," Mai sighed, and picked up her ninja star. "So do we follow these feather tracks or what?"
"Do we have to play at night?" Sokka shivered, keeping his boomerang close.
"Hey quit complaining," Toph snorted. "It's night all the time where I'm from."
"I still can't believe your mutt was able to sneak you past those guards," Sokka murmured, but then felt a nudge at his ribs. "Ow!"
"Both of you, stay quiet!" Aang whispered loudly. "Azula and Zuko might still be around here somewhere. We need to stay hidden!"
Aang looked out from the trees, peering into the lighted areas that the moon was illuminating in the dark. Katara, Sokka, and Toph decided to lean against another tree, unable to keep up with Aang's unwavering enthusiasm.
"I wonder how he keeps so much energy," Sokka stretched his arms and yawned. "It's totally past all of our bed times. How did we even get our parents to do this?"
"Dad was okay with it," Katara whispered softly. "He's always like this when it's t-this time of the year you know?"
"Ooh," Sokka mouthed the word slowly and looked down. "Right."
"What time? Your dad's grumpy during the summer?" Toph asked, confused.
"No," Katara shook her head, and quickly took a quick wipe at her face. "This is around the same time our mom died a long time ago. My dad usually spends today at her grave, so he didn't have too many problems with us coming here."
"Then why aren't you at the grave with him!" Toph suddenly shook both of their bodies. "What kind of kids are you?"
"Because," Sokka laughed quietly, wiping his eyes as well on the sleeve that Toph had clutched Sokka with.
"This game helps us forget."
And they continued. Day after day, they would meet at the same large white rock, and it would always start and end the same way. Flying around on Appa. Fighting. And just as they learned as much about this world of Spirits, Avatars, and bending, so too did they learn more about themselves.
It was the end of the summer, which ended in a magnificent solar eclipse.
That was also the same day that their adventure ended. Zuko became the new Fire Lord. Azula was imprisoned but released to be redeemed. Aang saved the world, just as he promised he would at the start of the season.
When everyone met the next day, Aang wasn't there. It was definitely strange, considering that Aang had always been earlier than any of them when they played amongst each other.
They waited for a very long time, waiting until night approached, wondering where their Avatar had gone. By the time the moon had risen, all of them had gone home, confused at why Aang had not come.
The next day was the same. And so was the next.
Then Sokka discovered why.
"Aang must be taking a vacation!" Sokka proclaimed. "Every Avatar needs one right? That's what Kurok, Aang's past life did right? He probably wants to take a break. But we can't let him right? We need him to keep the world together. Don't you guys get it? We need to go after him to stop him from taking a vacation!"
And for a long time, they did get it. Excited with Sokka's new information, they rushed out of the park, grabbing a confused looking Uncle Iroh with them, and ran towards the orphanage that Aang had stayed at for his entire life.
When they reached the doors of a beautiful white building, with children running around in every which direction, they asked an adult where a bald boy named Aang might be.
The adult looked back at them, and Iroh knew those eyes were of pity and sympathy.
"You must be Aang's friends," the man said kindly, wiping a tear from his eyes. "If that is so, then this is what he told me to tell you."
"It's the end of the summer my friends. This is the end of the Avatar cycle. Hopefully we'll see each other in the next one."
A/N: Just felt like writing something a little bit on a sadder note. No other reason.