Writtten for Prompt 32: Empty, for Avatar 500

Sokka lashes down the mainsail and the jib, then takes the tiller; it's not easy to sail a Water tribe ship by oneself but an experienced sailor can manage it. Sokka is not an experienced sailor, not like his dad or Bato, but at this moment he doesn't care.

I think we should break up.

Break up? Why?

The wind picks up, strong and smelling of cherry blossoms. It fills his sail and his nose. He tells himself that it's responsible for the water in his eyes as well.

I can't compete with her.

What are you talking about? There's no competition! There's only you!

That's not true, and you know it.

Sokka does not turn to look at Kyoshi island shrinking behind him until the horizon swallows it up, but he pictures it in his mind. The statue of the old Avatar, the stretch of chilly sand, the dancing villagers. The warriors...

I go months without seeing you, and that's okay. You go off with your friends fighting bandits, saving orphans, partying with kings, and that's okay. But when you're here, you're not really here. You're always looking at the sky. I thought I could live with that, but I can't.

Her voice never raised once, though Suki could bellow if she had a mind to. Sokka would rather she had yelled. The compassion in her voice made it so much worse.

But...I love you.

I love you too, Sokka. But you're not ready for me. For us.

The ocean stretches out before him, vast and empty, darkening to reflect the dimming sky. Stupid to sail alone at night, but right now Sokka isn't of a mind to be rational.

By habit his eyes drift up. Stars begin to peek out, one at a time, but they are alone in an otherwise vacant stretch of indigo. Between the sky and the water it's like sailing into an abyss. Of course the moon hasn't actually disappeared, but on nights like this it


might as well have.

Sokka shivers in the icy air. He draws a fur around himself and sails on.