Book Two of The Third Child of the Fire Nation.
Summery: Kaiko and the rest of the gang went through some pretty bizarre adventures on their journey to the Northern Water Tribe. But, they are all still together as they venture to find Aang an earth bending teacher. Kaiko believes that they will be by each other's sides through everything and anything, but is she mistaken? Sokka/OC. Book 2. Rated T for language, minor sexual content and violence.
Book Two - Chapter One: The Avatar State
My gaze stays fixed on the wooden wall of our bunker as I feel the boat sway back and forth in the calm tides of the sea. It's completely silent besides the steady breathing of my friends fast asleep around me. My eyes fly around the room and I study the fancy patterns on one of the paintings hanging on a wall. It's of a beautiful, water nation princess being held by a handsome, water nation prince as they smile lovingly at each other, a new morning sun peeking out behind a frozen glazier in the background. It's a wonderful scenery. Makes you feel at peace.
Aang, Katara, Sokka and I have been sailing on a traditional water tribe boat with Master Pakku and a few other tribe members for the past week or two. We left the Northern Water Tribe pretty soon after we were victorious in battle, wanting to continue on our journey as soon as possible. Arnook set up an escort to lead us to Omashu where Aang hopes to find King Bumi and begin his earth bending training. Our escort is on the very edge of the earth kingdom and not too far from here at all. We leave tomorrow morning while Pakku and the other men will continue sailing toward their destination. The Southern Water Tribe, where they plan to reconstruct the two tribes back together.
It's the middle of the night, and I should be sleeping, but I just can't close my eyes and relax. Every time I'm about to drift off, Zhao's menacing glare appears in my mind. It haunts me almost every second of every day since he died. But, it's worse at night, when there are no distractions and just silence. Even though he's dead, I'm scared he'll come back and kill me, kill Sokka. I think the worst part about it is that he is dead. And partly, it was my fault. He'd want revenge. Some sick form of revenge that I don't even want to imagine.
I just have to keep telling myself that he can't get to me, he's officially dead, no longer here. I shouldn't be worried.
Just one cue, his face flashes in front of my eyes and I flinch before squeezing my eyes shut.
"Hmm..." I'm slightly startled by the sudden drowsy moan in my ear and I strain my neck to look at Sokka, who is laying beside me on the hammock. His already locked arms around me tighten and his eyes squint open. "Kaiko," he mutters quietly.
I smile warmly and twist in his arms so I am facing him. "Sokka," I greet back, mocking his tone. We make sure to keep our voice's hushed for the sake of our resting friends.
"Why are you awake?"
"Can't fall asleep, I guess," I say. "There's a lot on my mind."
He frowns, reaching his hand up and resting it on my neck comfortingly. "Do you wanna talk about it?" he offers thoughtfully.
I don't answer. Instead, I take a lock of his hair and twirl it around my ring finger. "I kinda like you're hair down," I admit randomly. He always took out his ponytail before going to sleep, but I never paid attention to it before. Now, that I do look at him with his short, shaggy brown hair that falls in his eyes slightly, I can't help but find him looking even more attractive than when he has it up.
"You do?" He takes the hair I was playing with and studies it shortly before letting it fall. "I thought it always looked stupid. It gets in my eyes."
"Yeah, but it's still cute. It makes you look more natural," I say and I plant a soft kiss on his nose. "I like the natural Sokka."
He grins. "Then maybe I will wear it down more often." His expressions suddenly turns serious. "You're changing the subject, Kaiko," he accuses and I sigh.
"No," I answer, burying my face into his chest. "I don't want to talk about it."
One of his arms stays secured around my tiny form and the hand that was cupping my neck inches down, his smooth fingertips tracing circles on the bare part of my back. I shiver, but not because I'm cold, but because of the sensation of his pleasing touch. "I don't like it when you keep things from me," he says in a whisper.
"I'm sorry." My voice comes out muffled from my mouth being pressed against his naked chest. I suddenly become very aware of the fact that he only is wearing pants and I'm dressed in my under wrappings, which only cover my chest and my abdomen to the tops of my thighs. If anyone were to see us, and not know the situation, they would of thought a very different thing went on under these sheets last night. I can't help the light blush the covers my cheeks. Thankfully, my face is covered from Sokka. "Just go back to sleep," I tell him, forcing myself to fake yawn as I peek up at him. "See? I'm getting sleepy. No need to worry."
He rolls his eyes, obviously not believing me, and turns onto his back before raising his arms above his head. He stares up at the hammock above us, where Katara is sleeping, with a unreadable expression. I prop up on my elbows, gazing at him with arched eyebrows. "So, you're not gonna cuddle with me now?" I ask, pouting.
"Nope," he replies, popping the 'p.' I would have been offended if I didn't catch the teasing glint in his eyes. "Not unless you tell me what's bothering you."
I groan quietly, careful not to wake the others up. "You're a poop head." I let my elbows collapse back down on the hammock and I lay my head on his stomach, closing my eyes. "I'm just scared."
I gulp. "Zhao."
He's quiet and I look up at him. He's staring down at me in confusion. "Kaiko, Zhao's dead," he states.
I click my tongue on the roof of my mouth. "I know that."
"Then why are you afraid?" he asks.
I sigh exasperated. "I don't know! I just keep on seeing his face whenever I close my eyes, whenever I am forced to think. My mind keeps trying to make me believe that he is going to come for me and that he isn't really dead. But I know he is, and I know he won't be able to do anything harmful to me or the ones I love. Yet, I am still so nervous and frightened." I feel tears prick in my eyes, ones that have been needed to be shed for a while. "I hate feeling this way, I want to feel on top of things, strong, invincible. But I just feel like I'm a weak, tiny bug just waiting to be stepped on."
He instantly yanks me up and hugs his arms around my waist, his lips kissing everywhere on my face, including the tears that have escaped away. "Baby, please don't cry," he pleads, caressing my arms that are scrunched up against his chest. "Nothing is going to happen to you. I promise. Zhao will never, ever, be near you again. He's gone, forever."
Even though I have thought these words before, hearing them come from his assuring voice comforts me. I bend my neck back and kiss his lips. "Thank you," I say softly.
"Anything for you," he says like it's the easiest thing in the world. "Now let's go to sleep, okay? Long day ahead of us tomorrow."
I nod, smiling, and suddenly I'm very tired. "Sounds good," I mumble and I bury my face in his chest again, breathing in his lovely scent. "Night."
"Goodnight, Kaiko." He yawns, tightens his hold on me and rests his head on the pillow. Soon enough, his breathing becomes steadier and I know he's asleep again.
I happily join him.
I climb up onto the deck of our boat from our bunker, stretching my stiff limbs as I glance around. I spot everyone standing by Appa and I smile, walking over to them. When I awoke a few minutes ago, no one was in their hammocks. Sokka must have been pretty careful not to wake me when he moved out of the bed because last time I checked, I'm a light sleeper. I had quickly slipped on my fire nation attire before coming up to find everyone.
"Kaiko," Pakku greeted me welcomely when I came into their views. "Nice to see you're awake."
I chortle. "Was I asleep long?"
"No," Aang answers from where he stood with Katara and Sokka, grinning. "Just a little longer than everyone else."
I nod once before Pakku speaks up again. "Go stand next to the others please, Kaiko." I oblige and take Sokka's hand when I'm at his side. He doesn't look at me, keeping his gaze on Pakku, but gives my a hand an affectionate squeeze. The corners of my mouth twitch upwards a little before I pay attention to Pakku, noticing he is now clutching a cloth bag.
"Katara, I want you to have this," he tells her, reaching inside the bag and pulling out a a very tiny water tribe amulet with a string tied to the top loop. "This amulet contains water from the spirit oasis. The water has unique properties, so don't loose it."
Katara smiles at him appreciatively when he hands her the gift, bowing shortly. "Thank you, Master Pakku," she says, gives him a small hug, and makes her way onto Appa's saddle.
Pakku then takes the next thing out and sets it in Aang's waiting arms "Aang, these scrolls will help you master water bending. But, they're no substitute for a real master." They both share a glance at Katara and I smirk when Aang beams brightly.
With no words, Aang just smiles genuinely at Pakku and bows too, taking his place on Appa's head after. I don't expect to be given anything so I'm surprised when Pakku motions to me, fishing around in the bag for something. I watch as he withdrawals his hand out and tangled around his fingers is a metal chain with a stunning, water tribe pendent attached. "For you, Kaiko, is this hand crafted water tribe necklace made just for you. With this you are now an honorable member of the water tribe," he says and I can't help but flash back to when Bato said those words to me. But now, I actually deserve them. He places the piece of jewelry in my palms and I give him a joyful grin, rubbing the smooth, stone-like texture of the pendent.
"Thank you so much, Pakku," I say and I embrace him for a quick moment. After I hoist myself on the saddle, I lace the necklace around my neck and clip it in the back. I discover that it would clash with my fire nation cloths and my other necklace so I tuck the pendent under my shirt collar so only the chain is visible.
I observe amusingly as Sokka steps up, waiting anxiously to receive something as well, but Pakku just pats him on his arm friendlily. "Take care, son," Pakku tells him simply and Sokka's shoulders slouch as he scowls disappointedly. He sends me a glare when I laugh and I stretch my hand out to him so he can take it. He clasps his hand with mine and I help him up next to me.
Pakku begins to give directions, "Fly straight to the earth kingdom base to the east of here. General Fong will provide you with an escort to Omashu. There you'll be safe and begin your earth kingdom training with King Bumi."
"Appa, yip yip!" Aang orders. Appa pushes off the deck and soars into the sky gracefully.
"Say hi to Gran Gran for me!" Katara calls to Pakku, waving franticly before they soon disappear from sight.
We fall into a peaceful silence, everyone lost in their own thoughts, before Katara suddenly speaks up. "Kaiko, do you want me to heal your scar?"
My gaze shoots to her, my eyes wide. "What?" I say breathlessly. My hand subconsciously moves up to my neck and my fingertips brush against the burn that I had gotten during the battle. It no longer hurts, but every time I look in the mirror, I glower at it. It's not only ugly, but it's always visible unless I wear something that covers my entire neck. He had given me the burn. He had given me a permanent, grotesque, reminder of himself. It felt like a slap in the face every time I laid eyes on it.
"Do you want me to heal your scar?" Katara repeats, her expression soft but serious.
"How could you do that?" I ask. "It's a scar and you can't heal scars. Anyway, you already tried."
"I know," she says before lifting up her amulet. It dangled from the string she held it from and I raised my eyebrows. "You know how Pakku said this water has special properties? It must work really well; much more powerful than regular water. I was just thinking that I could try it on you. I know how much you hate that scar."
My heart warms at her incredibly kind offer. She truly is amazing. She'd use this gift, that she could use in any other circumstances on anyone, on my simple scar that she knows I would love to not have imprinted on my skin.
I shake my head, smiling at her. "I can't let you do that," I say.
"Why?" she questions, confused.
"Because you could really need that in the future. On something more important. If that water is as powerful as we think, then it could be very useful for us," I explain. "My scar isn't that big of a deal. I'll live with it."
She nods, a sad smile playing on her lips. "Alright." She tucks the amulet away into her bag and I can't help but stare longingly at it, slightly wishing I would of agreed.
"I wonder what this Fong guy is gonna be like," I say, my gaze staying glued on my hands as I fondle with my water tribe necklace. We've been flying for a little more than a few hours now. It hasn't been eventful, just a little banter here and there and then silence. I haven't thought much about where we were going or the people we are about to meet. But, now that I have, we honestly don't know anything about them at all. I shouldn't be worried since Pakku sent us to them, but I still felt a ping of concern.
"Who knows. Pakku and Arnook know him, so he can't be that bad," Katara replies.
I move my eyes to them when Sokka speaks. "Usually when we think things aren't going to be that bad, they actually turn out to be bad."
I giggle at his comment. "Sadly, that's kinda true," Aang pipes up from where he's controlling the reins. We all share laughs before we once again ease into a soundless peace besides the few noises of the sky flying by us.
I hide my necklace behind my shirt again before looking out. I glance around until I spot a tall, concrete building in the middle of a range of mountains we are approaching. Large, thick walls surround the structure and everything is either a light cold or a creamy white. When I strain my eyes, I can see little earth kingdom figures scurrying around the building and I brighten up. "There it is!" I announce, pointing to our destination. They all join me to study the sight and smiles light up our faces just as Appa jerks and starts to head straight towards it.
Appa lands on top of the tall building and all of us climb off and begin to stretch our stiff limbs from not moving much for awhile. As I am bending backwards, my hands resting on the small of my back, I am startled by the sudden deep voice projecting from behind us. We quit and turn around to be met with a wide-set man decked in a fancy earth kingdom uniform. A dark, brown beard hangs down from his middle aged face and he grins at us, bowing with the multiple men behind him that are dressed in similar outfits just less formal. "Avatar Aang!" he greets honorably. "I am General Fong. And welcome to all of you great heroes! Appa, Momo, brave Sokka, the mighty Katara-and Kaiko." I can't help but catch the fact that he said my name with slight bitterness and that it was like he purposely separated my name from the others.
My smile falters and I glance around at my friends. Aang smiles hugely while Sokka beams cockily and puffs his chest out. Katara just smirks. "Mighty Katara," she says pleasingly, her arms crossed over her chest. "I like that." Momo flies over and circles around my shoulders, licking my cheek comfortingly. This action makes me smile again and I scratch behind his ear affectionately as he purrs.
Fireworks start to go off around us and I notice a few earth benders setting them off below us, celebrating our arrival. "Not bad, not bad," Sokka comments as we watch them burst.
Once the fireworks stop, General Fong leads us inside and to what must be his general station room. It's kinda like the way King Bumi's thrown area was set up, just more plain and a bit smaller. Windows cover most of the wall space, illuminating where General Fong is now taking his place in his seat that is placed by a long table and a few maps of the world. Guards stand around subconsciously as we sit on a mat positioned for us.
"Avatar Aang," Fong begins, "we were all amazed at the story of how you wiped out an entire fire nation fleet at the north pole."
Aang cuts in politely. "Thank you. But, the water tribe was much help, too. And Kaiko here was able to eliminate plenty of ships from the fleet." He motions to me and I give a small smile.
The general just nods, barely acknowledging my existence, before carrying on. Sokka shoots me a confused glance and I just shrug. "I can't imagine what's it's like to weal such devastating power. It's an awesome responsibility," Fong says as he strokes his beard
"I try not to think about it too much."
The general grins suddenly. "Avatar, you're ready to face the fire lord now."
Katara, Sokka and I gasp and Aang's eyes widen, his expression bewildered. "What? No I'm not!" he protests loudly.
"Aang still needs to master all four elements," Katara tells Fong.
"Why?" he asks, standing up out of his seat. "With the kind of power he possesses, power strong enough to destroy hundreds of battle ships in a matter of minutes, he could defeat the fire lord now!"
"But sir, the thing is, Aang can only do those things when he's in the Avatar State," Sokka states.
"See, it's this special state where-" Aang began to explain but Fong rudely interrupted him. Anger boiled inside of me.
"I'm well aware," Fong says in a matter-of-fact tone. "Your eyes and tattoos glow and you're able to summon unbelievable power." He strides over to one of the maps. "Without you, we'd be slaughtered before even reaching their shores. But with you leading the way, as the ultimate weapon, we can cut a swath right through the heart of the fire nation." My eyes follow his fingers on the map as he traces out the path we would take.
Aang sighs. "Right. But I don't know how to get in or out of the Avatar State. Much less what to do when I'm there," he admits solemnly.
"Then it's decided then." General Fong whips around to face us, his expression determined. "I help you get into the Avatar State, and then you'll face your destiny."
We shoot up from our sitting positions and my glare focuses in on him. "No, nothings decided! We already have a plan. Aang is pursuing his destiny his way," I tell him firmly, draping my arms over my chest.
"Well," he sneers. "While you take your time learning the elements, the war goes on."
"We are well aware of the war but-"
He cuts me off sharply, "I'm speaking to the Avatar." I purse my lips at his tone and it takes all my will power to not scream at him right then. Thankfully, Sokka takes my hand to calm me.
Fong looks back to Aang and motions to one of the windows on the right. "May I show you something?" he questions and Aang reluctantly obliges, walking over to the window with him. They stare downwards out of it as the general begins to speak again, "That's the infirmary. And those soldiers, are the lucky ones. They came back. Every day the fire nation takes lives, people are dying Aang! You could end it now." I clench my hands into fists when I see Aang's shoulders slump sadly. "Think about it." The general makes his way out of the room, leaving us behind feeling angry and stumped.
I already highly dislike this man, and I haven't even been here a full day yet.
I come out of the bathroom that's connected to our temporary room. My damp hair is wrapped up in a towel and I'm wearing a cotton robe over my under wrappings that was lent to me by one of the maids. The showers they have here are very soothing, the hot water jetting out on my skin, relaxing my tired muscles and washing away my troubles for the small amount of time I spend in there. Makes me feel refreshed and like I'm back to when I was eleven years old with no concerns and duties.
Katara and Sokka look up at me from where they are resting on the beds and smile. I return the smile before treading over to where Sokka was sprawled out on his desired bunk and plop down next to him. "How was your shower?" he asks.
"Great," I reply happily. "I miss warm showers. I used to take them all the time at the palace or on my brothers ship."
"I've never had one," They both say in unison and I gawk.
"Then you both must take one tonight or tomorrow!" I insist and they chuckle. Sokka sits up and wraps his arms around me, planting a gentle kiss on my cheek. I beam at him brightly as I lean into his embrace.
The door to our room suddenly opens and Aang comes trudging in, shutting the door quietly behind him before making his way over to his bed. His expression his etched with sorrow and troublesome, causing me to frown. "Aang, what's wrong?" I ask worriedly.
He stares down at the carpet before answering softly, "I told the general I'd help him, by going into the Avatar state."
My eyes widen at the same time Katara's do. "Aang, no. This is not the right way," Katara objects.
"Why not?" Sokka says. "Remember when he took out the fire navy? He was incredible."
I shake my head, disagreeing. "There's a right way to do this, Aang. Jeong Jeong always said the best way to accomplish things is with control. And you don't have control in the Avatar State," I say seriously. "General Fong doesn't know what he's talking about!"
Katara adds, "You need to do this with practice, study, and discipline."
"Or just glow it up and stop that fire lord," Sokka retorts.
I send him a glare and wiggle out his grip. He raises his eyebrows at me and I just shake my head, not looking at him. "You two need to think this through or it is going to turn out horribly," I tell them.
Katara gets to her feet furiously. "Yeah, if you two meat heads want to throw away everything we've worked for, then go ahead and glow it up!" She stomps out of the room just as Aang begins to call after her.
"Katara, I'm just being realistic!" he says, his voice pained. "I don't have time to do this the right way." She doesn't respond and continues to venture out of the room. Aang hangs his head sadly before burying his face in his hands.
I let out a troubled sigh and I rub my eyes frustratingly. "I don't trust Fong," I state. "Did you see the way he acted toward me? I thought after the north pole people would look at me like they look at you guys. But, I'm still thought about like the rest of the fire nation."
Sokka grips my hand in his and I lay my gaze on him, his sympathetic eyes making my heart drop. I scoot over and let him hold me. No matter how stupid he's being about the situation, his comforting words and securing arms make me feel a million times better.
"I'm sorry, Kaiko," Aang says genuinely. "But, I have to at least try to trust his judgment." He stands and leaves the room, most likely going after Katara.
I grind my teeth together and curl more into Sokka's arms, trying not to think about what this might get us into.
"May I speak to General Fong, please?"
For the past couple days we've been here, we've tried many, many things to try and force Aang into the Avatar State. Some tries making sense and some being completely irrelevant and stupid ideas. So far, he hasn't even come close to accomplishing the state and everyone was getting pretty antsy with frustration. Especially Fong.
I've stood on the side lines watching this waste of time and never saying a word for help. I refused to join in on this; I would only observe their idiocy in silence. If they wanted to keep on pushing something on Aang that is pointless and won't ever help him, then fine. But, I am not going to be a part of it. The only time I will step in, if one of the ideas work, is if Aang goes on with the plan to face my father like this. I won't let that happen.
I, myself, am getting utterly fed up with this. So, the only solution I can think of is to try and convince the general to leave this alone and stop. That's why I am here, standing before the two guards that are in front of Fong's quarters, and requesting a visit with him.
The stare uneasily at me and I can tell they are debating internally. "Why?" they finally ask.
"Because I have an important situation I need to talk with him about," I answer smoothly.
"What is the situation?"
"But, you're telling the general?"
"Yes, because it involves him," I say. "Come on, I mean no harm towards him. I am traveling with the Avatar remember?"
They share a glance between each other before sighing and stepping out of the way. "Go on in," one of them say and I smile gratefully. I push the large handles on the door and stride in carefully. Once in, I shut the door behind me and study the room.
It's not as big as you would think a general's room would be, but it's still pretty spacious. The walls are painted an earthy green and the wooden tiles seem freshly mopped. There's a dark green canopy bed on the left with a wooden frame and multiple blankets and pillows thrown on top of it. To the right there is a door, to what I assume is a bathroom or closet, and a simple, brown dresser. And finally, when I look forward, an abundant commission desk is placed with many different maps and other papers scattered around the floor and on the top of it. A cushioned arm chair is attached to the desk where General Fong is sat, bending over piles of paperwork with an ink pen clutched in his fist. His bushy eyebrows are bunched together in concentration and confusion and I hold back a laugh. Fong only ever shows himself being strong and so sure of himself around us. But now, he is showing a very different side to him.
Surprisingly, he doesn't notice my entrance so I cough for his attention. His head snaps up from his work and his vulnerable eyes meet mine for a split second before they narrow. "What are you doing here?" he asks sourly.
I ignore his cruel tone. "You need to stop this," I state, getting straight to the point.
"Trying to force Aang into the Avatar State," I clarify. "It's the wrong thing to do."
He smirks and leans back in his chair, purposely dropping his pen in the process. "And why do you think this?" he asks in a playful voice.
"Because," I spat through my gritted teeth, "it's just causing more stress for Aang, and that's the last thing he needs."
"He won't have anymore stress after we figure this out and he defeats the fire lord."
"He won't face the fire lord like that."
He raises his eyebrows. "I don't think that's your place to say, little girl," he says.
I clench my fists at my side. "It's just as my place to say as it is yours!" I shoot back.
"Why would it be a fire nation princess' place to speak about her own father's death?" he taunts, a malicious grin plastering on his lips.
I'm taken back by his words before I turn extremely angry. "Do. Not. Address. Me. That. Way," I hiss, dangerously quiet.
He laughs out loud, gets to his feet, and begins to advance toward me. "I'm addressing you as your proper title. The princess of the nation that's killed millions of innocent people. The nation that is careless, brutal, and evil." By the time the last word spits from his lips, he's in my face and a speck of saliva lands on my cheek.
I glare daggers at him as he towers over my tiny form, wiping of the spit with the back of my hand. "I am not their princess anymore! I'm traveling with the Avatar, betraying my nation just to help end the war! How am I part of the evil when I am doing that?"
"You're born into the royal family, you're always in the royal family," he says firmly.
"I suggest you don't get snappy with me or terrible things will happen to you."
I feel slight fear but it's overpowered by fury. "I'm not scared of a pathetic, idiotic, poor excuse of a general like you," I insult, glowering up at him.
Now, his expression twists in outrage and he jabs his finger in the direction of the door. "Out!" he shouts in my face.
"Gladly." I smirk, turn on my heels, and head toward the door. Without another word, I swing the door open and hurry down the halls, ignoring the questioning looks from the guards. My pace slows as I near our room and my head aches painfully. I stop, lean against one of the walls, and cradle my head in my hands. My eyes close tightly as I massage my temples.
Fong's threat keeps running through my mind. I suggest you don't get snappy with me or terrible things will happen to you. Does he mean that? Would he really attack me when he has Aang on his good side? Because I know for a fact, if Fong does do something harmful to me, Aang will no longer trust him or even tolerate him. And Fong wants Aang by his side so his plan will follow through. So, will he let his anger and remorse for me get in the way of what really matters to him? Who knows. But, he's a powerful earth bender, with strong earth bending guards. I do fear him. I couldn't face him, could I? I'm not strong enough yet.
"What did I just get myself into," I mutter to myself, sliding down on the wall and resting my head between my knees.
I hold Sokka's arm tighter, my own arms wound around his right one as we venture toward Fong's general station for today's tries on getting Aang into the Avatar State. But, last night Aang decided that he would not be forced into going into the state any longer. I think it's because Katara spoke to him about it. She isn't coming with us today though. She's upset about all of this, too. I would stay with her in the room but I didn't want to seem like a coward.
Even if I'm incredibly nervous about seeing him.
"Are you okay?" Sokka asks and I look up at him. His eyes are staring at my death grip on his arm and I blush, loosing it a little.
"Yeah, I'm just nervous about how General Fong's going to act when Aang tells him he doesn't want to go along with is anymore," I lie. He eyes me warily, like he knows I am bluffing. But, I can't tell them. It would not only worry them but distract them from the most important issue on hand.
"I am too," I hear Aang grumble from where he's trudging next to us. I give him a sympathetic glance. He must be just as - if not more - nervous than I am.
"It'll be fine, guys," Sokka reassures. "You're the Avatar, Aang. Who knows better than you?"
Aang and I nod at his words, letting them seep in to try and make us feel better. It looks like it helps Aang but I am still worked up about Fong's threat. I continue to cling on to Sokka's arm as we near the giant door of the general station. The guards let us in without any speaking needed and we reluctantly enter.
"Good day, everyone," Fong greets us from his desk, where he is scribbling something down quickly. Irritation bubbles inside me just from the sound of his voice, and when he lifts his head and his hateful gaze instantly meets mine, I have to purse my lips to not start yelling remarks at him. He glares at me secretly before smiling friendlily at Sokka and Aang. "Ready for today?"
Sokka and I stand off to Aang's sides as he steps up. "Actually, sir, I've been thinking. We might as well stop trying to figure this out. It hasn't worked so far and it probably won't ever. We'll never be able to trigger the state on purpose," he explains.
I tense, ready for an outburst, but Fong just speaks calmly. "You sure I can't change your mind?" he asks.
"I'm sure. I can only reach the Avatar state when I or someone I care about is in genuine danger."
"I see," he says, looking off to the side with an unreadable expression. "I had a feeling you'd say that."
Suddenly, his foot jerks on the ground and his desk is bended toward me. My eyes widen just before it collides into me. Pain shoots through my body and I grunt, the only sound I am able to produce at this moment. I hear Sokka and Aang crying my name as I fly out one of the windows with the desk on my tail. A high pitch scream invades my ears and it takes me a second to figure out that it belongs to me. I push my hands toward the ground, just as I am about to land, and create a big enough puff of fire under me so I don't hit the ground roughly enough to die. I crashed onto the concrete ground and the wind is knocked out of my system. I begin to gasp for air as I feel more pain overwhelm me.
"Men!" I move my shaky gaze up to see Fong standing at the window I flew out of and pointing his finger straight at me, his expression hard. "Attack the girl!"
I take a large intake of breath as my eyes grow incredibly huge. The men surround my already hurting form with either stances or weapons out. I scramble to my feet just as Fong jumps out of the window and lands perfectly on his feet, sending ripples in the ground at me. I hurriedly move out of the way and ease into my stance, my body still a bit shaky. "Don't do this," I say through clenched teeth. I can faintly hear Sokka and Aang struggling with the many guards in the general station.
"I warned you," he replies, grinning. "We're about to get very good results."
He bends multiple boulders toward me and I sprint out of the way. The men begin to do the same and I continue to dodge each one by rolling, running, or bending. I feel sweat beat down my forehead and my limbs throbbing as I notice Aang landing on the ground, about to come and save me. Just as he is though, Fong kicks earth at him and Aang is forced to pay attention to that. I fall to my knees populously when two giant rocks are aimed toward me before getting up and bolting away from more shots.
Aang keeps on trying to get rid of Fong to help me but he never gets the chance since Fong always on his tail. I burn up one of the boulders in thin air before ducking from the other one. This goes on for what seems like hours before I start to get utterly exhausted. And just as I am about to run away from another shot, the rock hits me and I get thrown back into one of the gigantic walls. I moan in pain and I feel warm liquid trickle down my cheek from my head. I pick my hand up and swipe some of it on my fingertip. I stare at it. Blood.
I now see both Sokka and Katara trying to get to me, but they are being fought off by men with spears on ostrich horses. I suddenly am pushed to my feet and brought in the middle of the everything by one of the men bending the ground under me. Besides the ones distracting Katara and Sokka, men surround me and block off anyway of escape. Aang is on the top of the stairs, trying to avoid Fong, who is now standing a few feet in front of me. He smirks at me and pushes his foot forward, causing me to sink downwards and I look down to see my legs completely buried under the ground. I struggle and discover how I am unable to move. "Try to save her now!" Fong taunts to Aang.
"Don't hurt her!" Aang shouts, jumping down and sending a gust of air at him which he blocks skillfully. He turns back around and digs me deeper into the ground as I cry out. My wrists and down are now buried and I feel hot tears start to fall down my face as I become devastatingly terrified.
"Kaiko! No!" I turn my head around to find Sokka bolting toward me, his face etched with concern while he whips out his boomerang. One of the men shoot a sharp boulder at him and knocks him to the ground into unconsciousness. When Katara tries, she is restricted by three guards tightly.
My eyes shoot back to Aang as I watch him run franticly towards us. "Stop this! You have to let her go!" he yells.
"You could save her if you were in the Avatar State!"
"I'm trying! I'm trying!" he says in a pained tone as he grips onto Fong's wrist, his own eyes welling up with tears.
I gasp as I am sunken deeper into the ground. "Aang! I'm sinking!"
"I don't see glowing," Fong growls at him and his hands flexes just as the ground swallows everything but my head.
I choke on a sob and scream out, "Please!" My whole being his overpowered by horror and then it hits me. He's going to kill me. I'm going to die today. My breathing comes out in short, pathetic pants as it gets harder to breath. I don't know what to think, if I should cry, so I just let the tears pour uncontrollably.
"You don't need to do this!" Aang cries, falling to his knees as he keeps his grip on Fong's wrist. My heart sinks as I see his own tears fall, his expression stricken with agony. "Please, she didn't do anything!"
Fong just shakes his head and with one more movement of his hand, and one more cry from me, I am entirely buried alive.
I don't feel anything. Not pain, not fear. Nothing. I can't move a muscle and it's as if my brain has shut off. It's just darkness.
The next think I know, I am being pulled away from the darkness and I am on my hands and knees on the concrete ground again. My chest heaves in and out and my body shakes brutally. Someone is screaming something by me, but I pay no attention to it as I lift my head up to see Aang controlling a huge, powerful, tornado. His eyes and tattoos are glowering brightly. My eyes widen when I realize what he's finally accomplished. He's in the Avatar State.
He slams onto the ground suddenly and all the men and Fong are flown backwards with the wind of the tornado. Violent ripples in the earth crash into all of the buildings and ruin everything in sight. Pieces of rock, buildings, and other things whip around in the powerful winds as Aang stands in the middle, an air bubble surrounding him. I see Katara and Sokka gripping onto something for support in the distance and after a little while, Aang's air bubble drops and he falls to his knees. His eyes and tattoos return to normal slowly and he studies the devastating damage he just caused. I get to my feet, steady myself, before rushing over to him just as Katara does. We kneel down next to him and I hug him tightly, my body still aching slightly. "I'm sorry Kaiko, Katara. I hope you guys never have to see me like that again," he says sorrowfully. He looks worriedly at me. "Are you okay?" I just nod, not finding my voice yet.
"Ha!" We glare at Fong as he approaches joyfully. "Are you joking? That was almost perfect! We just need to find a way to control you when you're like that."
"You're out of your mind," Aang says.
"I guess we'll figure it out on the way to the fire nation," he says as Sokka rides up next to him on an ostrich house, bangs him on his head with his boomerang, and Fong collapses into unconsciousness. I smirk.
"Anybody gotta problem with that?" he asks the men and they immediately shake their heads. Sokka hops down and pulls me into his arms, squeezing me tightly. "You're okay, right?" I nod into his chest and I wrap my arms around his torso while sighing tiredly.
"Do you still want an escort to Omashu?" the men offer and they bow respectfully. We all share glances before smiles light up our faces.
"I think we're all set."
That night on Appa, as Sokka cradles me, I fall asleep earlier than anyone else, the events of that past few days catching up with me.