They didn't even know my name.
Nine months. Nine long months of excitement and joy, confusion and surprises, up's and downs. If one were to ask a random stranger on the street about the odd grin the airbender wore or the skip in his step that he sported, or the strange glow about his wife, the other person would laugh and say that the day would come anytime soon. It was a long nine months of waiting, and the expecting parents were counting the seconds until the big day came. No one could deny that the master waterbender looked positively radiant during her time with child, and honestly she wouldn't deny it either. If anything, she had a feeling this child would be so much like their father.
Everything got quiet and bright…
The big day came too soon for them. It had been nearly ten hours since his wife had been admitted to the infirmary, each of their friends and family waiting with him during the time. There were a few screams during the process, each making the airbender cringe and worry more and more. His brother-in-law tried to assure him that things were normal and everything would be alright. It wasn't until one of the nurses walked out of the room slowly, her head hung low did a deathly silence fill the room. Wordlessly, the Avatar stood and walked closer to her, his movements mechanical and stiff. When she lifted her head with tears in her eyes did he push past her, stopping at the sight of his wife on a small bed, her head tilted to the side. A glossy sheen of sweat clung to her skin, mixing in with the tears that fell from her dark blue eyes. They made eye contact for less than a second and he knew.
I thought I was ready…
It had been weeks after the event, the news taking a toll on the entire city. The Avatar lost his smile, and his wife was broken. The citizens of the new Republic City mourned the loss of the child, offering their condolences whenever they could. It wasn't until one night nearly three months afterwards did the airbender wake at an ungodly hour to find his wife missing from his side, already having a sinking suspicion as to where she was. After a few moments of standing outside the door, his heart already starting to shatter did he noiselessly push the door open. There she stood, arms crossed in front of herself with her back to him, gazing down at the empty bed. He swallowed past the lump in his throat and made his way over towards her, his hands wrapping around her. They stood in silence, both lost in thought. How did it happen? Why them? After everything that happened, after everything that they sacrificed, was it not enough?
"I'm sorry." She whispered softly, her face wet with tears. He shook his head, placing a gentle kiss to her shoulder. Whether she had directed the apology to him or the child he would never know. Honestly, he didn't seem to really care about it. He looked down to her arms, noticing that she was hugging a small stuffed lemur close to her chest. Without thinking he brought her closer to him, tightening his embrace. Spirits, she looked like she was about to fall apart on the spot.
"You aren't to blame, Katara. You did everything just fine. It just… wasn't meant to be." He responded, turning her around and wiping her tears away. This wasn't healthy for her. An empty room taunting her of what could have been. Toys that would go unused for who knew how long. None of it was fair to either of them, yet it still had happened. Once again, the Avatar couldn't help but let the thought of being the last of his kind cross his mind, the weight of the idea nearly bringing him to his knees much like it did so many years ago.
You loved me just the same….
Slowly, the city noticed the small smiles that no longer seemed forced from their savior. The gradual reappearance of his wife to the world. The laughter and light that eventually came back to their eyes. It was never the same, for every once in a while when the couple thought no one was looking they would sow a small defect in their armor: pained looks at a new family, a quick wipe at the eyes, and so on. Yes, it would never truly be the same for both the couple nor the city, but they were trying.
You didn't even know my name.