A/N: So I am posting this sooner than I anticipated because I know a lot of you were confused by Future Echoes' ending. I promise, promise, promise that everything will make sense by the end of this story. It has a two-fold purpose: 1. To give Future Echoes a proper conclusion and 2. To give you guys a break from the neverending angst (I needed it too.) Trust me when I say that there is a method to my madness.
Now, onto the bad news. Weekly updates. I know I say that all the time, but this time I really mean it. I'm in my final semester of nursing school and I barely have time for anything that doesn't involve me wearing scrubs, so it will take me at least a week to write and complete an update. But, I owe you guys this ending so there's no way I'm not finishing it barring any life disasters. So, in keeping with that, see you guys next Saturday.
Disclaimer: I do not own Avatar: The Last Airbender. That belongs to Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and I'm incredibly glad that it does.
Katara was as good as her word. She concluded her interview in less than thirty minutes. Twenty seven minutes and sixteen seconds to be precise and she wasn't even overly concerned with the prospect that she had possibly blown it. Her mind had been someplace else…more specifically on someone else the entire time.
After she finished receiving their generic "we'll be in touch," Katara wasted no time scraping together her belongings and scrambling for the elevator to get back down to the lobby area. She almost broke her ankle in the process, still unused to the wobbling heights of her black stilettos, but she hardly cared. Her mind was focused on a single goal…getting back down to the lobby as fast as she could.
Of course, being that she was so urgent about it, the Universe then had to conspire against her. First, it took the elevator what seemed like half a century to arrive. Then, when it finally did arrive, it seemed as if a small village wanted to board along with her and, worse still, they moved with all the speed of oozing molasses. Katara tapped her foot impatiently, mentally cursed the other occupants, secretly blaming them for holding her up and tried not to lose her temper as she waited for the last of them to lumber inside.
On the ride down, she thought about what the man in the elevator had told her before and Katara felt a bit overwhelmed by the possibility. She was aware that the Avatar was staying somewhere in the Beifong Luxury Suites, but was it really possible that she had met him in the lobby or that he would be a charming goofball with an amazing smile? In all the times Katara had pictured the Avatar in her head, she had never imagined him anything like that.
Part of it was due to the fact that, the last time the Avatar had appeared in public at all, he had been Avatar Roku. But that had been more than a decade ago and Roku had since died and the new Avatar had been reborn. Granted, Katara had known intellectually that the newest avatar would be young given that Avatar Roku had only died sixteen or seventeen years before, but…
This was The Avatar after all, bender of all four elements and inarguably the most powerful being in their universe. She couldn't imagine him flirting with random girls in a hotel lobby and crouching behind potted bonsai trees. Surely, he'd be more serious, more dignified, more…avatar-y…right? Katara supposed that the best option she had available to her was to ask Aang directly and that was exactly what she planned to do.
Unfortunately, the execution of that plan was a bit tricky because, when she finally reached the main floor and rushed from the elevator in a mad dash, Katara soon discovered that Aang was nowhere to be found. She scrupulously checked behind every plant in the area as inconspicuously as she could, but he wasn't behind a single one of them. Most notably, though, the men in suits and the distinguished monks who had been there earlier had disappeared as well. Katara wondered if Aang had been discovered after all.
Mildly panicked by the thought, she made a beeline straight for the check-in counter for answers. She favored the hotel clerk behind the desk with a winning smile, but the woman merely regarded her with a dour stare. Undeterred by her less than welcoming expression, Katara chirped, "Hello, I was wondering if you might be able to help me. I'm looking for someone. There was a boy in here earlier, about six feet tall, gray, hooded sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers, the most amazing smile you've ever seen in your life…big, blue arrow in the middle of his forehead…you couldn't miss him."
"Sorry," the clerk said rather unconvincingly, "Haven't seen him."
Frustrated, but not completely thwarted, Katara set aside her belongings and leaned in closer to the clerk so that their conversation was less likely to be overheard. "Listen…between me and you, I know he's the Avatar. I just need to know what room he's staying in, so if you could just tell me, I'll be on my way."
"Miss, I can neither confirm nor deny that the Avatar is staying here in our hotel."
"You don't have to confirm it," Katara told her, "I know he is and I'm his friend. So, if I could have his room number that would be very helpful."
"If you were his friend, wouldn't you already have his room number?"
Katara started to argue that point, realized belatedly she had none and snapped her mouth shut, only to formulate yet another argument a split second later. "Okay, okay…perhaps, friend is too strong a word. Technically, we only met thirty minutes ago, but we were supposed to meet in the lobby because he owed me a cup of tea."
"Tea?" the clerk parroted dryly, "Really?"
"I realize that I sound crazy," Katara rushed out, "and that you're about five seconds away from having security throw me out on my rear, but have you ever met someone and there's this instant connection between you and suddenly you're overwhelmed with the need to know this person better? Well, that's me. I met this guy, this incredibly funny and sweet guy in your hotel lobby and I just want to get to know him better. Can you please tell me where to find him?"
"Miss, I'm going to have to ask you to leave now."
Katara dropped her head to the counter with a muted groan before straightening to gather her purse, jacket and portfolio with a defeated sigh. "Yeah…that's what I thought you'd say."