Narook's noodlery
A Night in the City
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Avatar: Into the Light





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Agent Slash

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Nightmares, Part 2

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It was a cool, breezy night in Republic City and a big night for all of the heroes that made up Team Avatar. All throughout the city, many of them got dressed up for what would definitely be a special night for everyone.

"Are you ready to go, Katara?" asked Aang, sporting a swanky suit.

"You bet your arrow I am!" said an enthusiastic Katara, emerging from the bedroom in a stunning, blue maternity dress. "It feels like it's been ages since I've been out of the house."

"Yeah, this is going to feel so refreshing," said Aang.

"And I'm sure that this time the only trouble we'll have to face is a rude waiter," Katara remarked.

Aang had a laugh at his wife's comment. "Yeah, I'm sure."

"And you know all of the others are going out tonight, too," Katara added.

"Yes," Aang replied. "I suspect that things will be very different after tonight."

"Yeah," said Katara. "Now come on. We have to get to Sokka and Suki's house fast so we don't miss our reservations."

"Why are we going to their house?" Aang inquired.

"They're having dinner with my dad, remember? We're going to stop by to say hi," Katara reminded him.

"Oh, right," said Aang. "So, shall we?"

Aang took Katara's arm and walked with her outside to where Appa was waiting for them. "Alright, get ready," Aang told his wife. He airbent the waterbender on top of Appa, placing her in the saddle. He then leapt aboard himself. "Yip, yip," he said. And with that, they took off into the sparkling Republic City skyline.

Meanwhile, in his Republic City suburban house, Sokka was struggling with his hair. There was one measly strand that taunted him by refusing to stay in place. "Alright, you think you're tough, huh?" the warrior whispered to what appeared to be no one. He licked the palm of his hand and slowly moved it to the top of his head. Then, in one rough motion, he slid it over his head. "So, now do you feel like staying in place?" he asked, sure that he had beaten the hair. The strand of hair responded by shooting right back up. Letting out a spastic, frustrated cry, Sokka proceeded to nearly rip his own hair out, being stopped only by the voice of his fiancée.

"Let me get that for you," Suki said, fixing up her husband-to-be's hair.

"Thanks, Suki," said Sokka.

"Do you know when your dad is showing up?" asked Suki.

"He should be here any minute now," Sokka said. A knock on the door was then heard. "Ooh! That must be him!" The Water Tribe warrior rushed over to the door quickly and opened it to see Aang and Katara standing there. "Oh, it's just you guys," he said in a deadpan manner.

"Good to see you too," said Katara, reciprocating the feeling. "So, I'm guessing dad isn't here yet."

"I am now," said a voice from behind. Katara and Aang turned around to see the elderly Southern Water Tribe Chief.

"Dad!" Katara and Sokka exclaimed, running towards their father. The three of them shared a warm embrace for the first time in a while.

"I can't believe how long it's been since we've seen you," said Katara.

"I know, it's been a while," said Hakoda. "And oh, my word, look at you," he said, placing a hand on Katara's belly. "Is it a boy or a girl?"

"We don't know yet," said Aang. "We want to keep it a surprise."

"Fair enough," said Hakoda. "Have you at least thought of some names?"

"If it's a boy, we're going to name him Bumi. If it's a girl, we'll name her Kya."

"That's wonderful," Hakoda said. "Your mother would have loved that."

"Hi, Chief Hakoda," said Suki, just now approaching them.

"Hello, Suki," said Hakoda. "And there's no need to call me Chief. Call me dad."

"Alright," Suki said, happy at her future father-in-law's acceptance.

"Well, it was great seeing you dad, but we have to go now," said Katara. "We have dinner reservations."

"Alright, take care, sweetheart," Hakoda said. It comforted his children to see him so warm in his later years.

Aang and Katara got back on Appa and flew off, leaving Sokka, Suki, and Hakoda to themselves.

"So, where are we going to eat?" asked Hakoda.

"It's this great place that just opened up," said Sokka. "I think the name of the place is Narook's. It's got the most authentic Water Tribe food I've ever tasted."

"Yeah, and their noodles are really top-notch," said Suki.

"Great, I've got a hankering for some good old fashioned Water Tribe dinner right about now. Are we walking or are we taking that eel hound sitting outside?"

"No, we can walk there," said Suki. "It's not very far."

"Then lead the way," Hakoda said.

The three of them then set off down the street for the restaurant.

Ai and Bo stood waiting outside of the restaurant known as Xu's. They had moved through the line for fifteen minutes and it was at last their turn to be seated. "Right this way, please," said the server. The two waterbenders followed and wove their way through the other waiters and tables in the restaurant, taking caution not to bump into or trip over anyone. Then they finally reached the outside patio where dozens of people were seated. "Here you are," said the server. "Your waiter will be with you shortly." And with that, the server promptly left. Bo and Ai sat at their table that overlooked Yue Bay.

"It's absolutely beautiful," said Ai.

"Yeah, it is," said Bo.

"So, what is it exactly that you wanted to tell me, Bo?" asked Ai. "It's not like you to just come over to my house and invite me out for dinner."

"This is what you wanted, right?" asked Bo. "More attention? Aang told all of us about your nightmare."

"Oh, right," said Ai. "Well, thank you, Bo. I really appreciate this."

"It's no problem," said Bo. There was a pause before he spoke again. "Actually, there is another reason I asked you to have dinner with me. It has to do with the nightmare I had."

"What is it, Bo?" asked Ai.

"Ai, in my nightmare, I saw... I saw you trying to kill me," Bo confessed.

"What? Why is that your worst nightmare? You're not afraid of me, are you?" asked Ai.

"No, no," Bo said. "Not at all. In fact, that's what snapped me out of it. I realized that, well, I love you, Ai."

Ai took a moment to take this in. "You do?" she asked.

"Yes," said Bo. "And I know you feel the same way about me. That time we spent on Ember Island should be enough to remind us how much we care for each other. I know we said that we should just stay friends, but I just can't accept that anymore. I'm not willing to give up on something that could be so beautiful just because of uncertainty. So, if you'll let me-"

Bo was silenced by Ai's lips meeting his. They continued to silence him for a few moments more and then they released him. "Are all of your romantic speeches this corny?" she joked.

"Well, I try," Bo chuckled, nervously.

"Truthfully, I've felt the same way as you ever since that night on Ember Island," Ai admitted. "I've thought about us being a couple many times before, but I was just too unsure of myself. Ever since I lost my old boyfriend, Cheng, I've been waiting for the right person to come around and, Bo, I think it's you. You're kind, you're funny, and you're basically my best friend already, so I think it's finally time to stop denying how we feel and embrace our feelings."

"Talk about corny," said Bo, jokingly.

"Oh, shut up," Ai said playfully back.

The two proceeded to press their lips against one another's once again until the sound of someone's throat being cleared interrupted them. "Are you two ready to order?" asked the waiter.

"We certainly are," said Ai. "Oh, hey, do you want to take a walk after this?" asked Ai.

"As long as it's with you," Bo said.

By the time Sokka, Suki, and Hakoda finally reached Narook's, Hakoda was near exhausted.

"You okay, dad?" asked Sokka.

"Yeah, son, I'm fine," said Hakoda. "I guess your old man can't get around anymore like he used to."

There was a certain sorrowful quality that both Sokka and Suki detected in Hakoda's voice. Sokka knew that being old and weak was not something Hakoda took to lightly. If he knew his father, he knew that he had tried to fight it for years – to deny that he was any weaker than he was twenty years ago, but the Chief couldn't fight it any longer. His own bones and muscles had defeated him and he was slowly accepting it, because he had no other choice.

"Let's go in," said Suki. "I'm sure we're all tired after walking all the way here."

Sokka shot an eye in Suki's direction that said, 'thank you for trying to help him feel better'.

Suki smiled back at him in response, letting Sokka know, 'you're welcome'.

The three of them walked in and seated themselves at a table. "The food smells delicious," said Hakoda.

"Oh, wait until you taste it," said Sokka, his mouth watering.

The waiter approached and spoke. "Alright, guys, what'll it be?"

"I'll take some sea prunes," said Sokka.

"And I'll have some five flavor soup," Suki said.

"And for you, s-" the waiter stopped midsentence. "Wait a minute, you're – oh, my gosh, I can't believe it! You're Chief Hakoda of the Southern Tribe!"

"Yes, yes, that's me," said Hakoda.

"Wow, what an honor to meet you, sir," said the waiter.

"Yes, well, I won't be chief for much longer," Hakoda said.

"What?" asked Sokka.

"Uh, I'll have the ocean kumquats," said Hakoda.

The waiter hurried back into the kitchen, presumably to tell everyone who he just met.

"What do you mean you won't be the chief for much longer?" asked Sokka.

"Well, Sokka, that's one of the reasons I came here tonight," said Hakoda.

"I thought the reason you came here was to celebrate me and Suki's engagement."

"It is, but there's also another reason. Sokka, I'm old. I'm weak. I can't protect our tribe anymore. It's time for me to pass on the torch of leadership to someone younger, someone with experience, someone who is my own flesh and blood."

"Hold on, what are you saying?" Sokka questioned.

"I'm saying it's time for you to assume your rightful place as Chief of the Southern Water Tribe."

Sokka's eyes widened at this news as did Suki's. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, time out! You-you want me to be what?!"

"It's time, Sokka," said Hakoda. "You're ready. You've looked after our tribe since you were a boy and I believe you can do it now."

"Look, dad, I'm sorry, but now is not the right time," said Sokka. "I'm getting married here, I have a mission here, all of my friends are here, well, except Zuko, but that's beside the point!"

"You and Suki can move back home after you get married."

"But what about everyone else?"

"Sokka, being a chief means you have to make some sacrifices. I learned that when I left you and your sister to look after our tribe."

"But, dad, I'm not the chief!" Sokka said.

"Sir, with all due respect, I don't want to move to the Southern Water Tribe either and it isn't fair of you to try to make us," said Suki.

"Yeah, what she said," said Sokka.

"Alright, alright," said Hakoda. "I can't force you and I don't want to spend the rest of this evening uncomfortably. It's just something to think about."

"Here you are," said the waiter as he returned to the table. He deposited the food on the table and left.

"Thanks," Sokka muttered, quietly.

At police headquarters, Toph sat at her desk annoyed when she heard a knock on her door. "Come in," she sighed.

Ho Tun, Penga, and The Dark One proceeded to come through the door. "Hey, Chief Toph, we just thought we'd tell you we're leaving."

"So go ahead and leave," Toph said. "What do I care?"

"What's the matter, Chief Toph?" asked Penga.

"What do you think is the matter? Nothing is happening tonight! I guess all of the criminals just decided to go to bed early or something."

"Um, isn't that a good thing, Chief Toph?" asked Ho Tun.

"Yeah, but now I'm really, really bored."

"What about all of your friends?" asked Penga.

"They're all going out to dinner," said Toph.

"Oh, well, we could go out to dinner with you, Chief Toph," said Ho Tun. "You could protect us from any doom that might be waiting for us."

"Go out to dinner with you lily livers? Pass," Toph said.

"Alright, then, fine," said The Dark One.

"Have a good night, Chief Toph," said Penga.

The three of them left, leaving Toph to herself. It didn't take long for her just how bored she was. "Alright, guys, wait up," said Toph.

As she ascended the steps of the apartment building, Rong couldn't help but take a mental note of how all of her usual nervousness had vanished. Ordinarily when dealing with Ling, she would always feel very uneasy, but now she felt confident and collected as she approached his door and knocked.

"Come in," said Ling.

Rong opened the door and stepped into the apartment. "You didn't even ask who it was," she said.

"I knew it was you," said Ling.

"Then I guess you know why I'm here," said Rong.

"I can only guess, but I'm just going to assume that it's because of whatever nightmare you had," said Ling.

"Yeah," Rong said. "What about you? What was yours like?"

Ling walked over to Rong and stood right in front of her. "It was the same as yours," he whispered. "If yours was about seeing our breakup over and over again and cowering in the corner wishing that you hadn't done it, then it was exactly the same." He paused before pointing something out. "Hey, you didn't back away from me that time."

"What?" asked Rong.

"When I came over and stood in front of you, you didn't back away. You didn't even flinch."

"I'm done being afraid of you," Rong stated. "You're not a monster, you're just hurt and I can see that fully now." She slowly extended her arms forward, touching her former lover's hair and gently brushing it out of his face, revealing the person underneath. "This is who we are, Ling. We're meant to be together and all I want is to love you as much as I did back in the early years." She was now shedding tears.

"And that's all I want, too," said Ling. "That's all I need."

For the first time in eight years, Ling and Rong embraced each other in a passionate kiss that lasted for what seemed like an eternity.

It was the end of the night and Sokka, Suki, and Hakoda had returned to Sokka and Suki's house. "Thank you both for a wonderful evening," said Hakoda. "I can't wait to come to your wedding."

"Thanks, dad," Sokka said.

"It was good seeing you again, sir," said Suki.

"It was good seeing you again, too, Suki," the Chief replied. "Take care," he said as he walked off.

Sokka and Suki started towards the house with a lot on their minds. "So, what are you going to do?" asked Suki.

"I don't want to talk about it," said Sokka.

Suki acknowledged this and didn't say anything more about it.

At the restaurant known as Ho Tsung's, the three metalbending stooges were causing quite a commotion and disturbing everyone around them.

"There's a mosquito hornet in my soup!" Ho Tun shrieked. "I knew there would be doom here tonight! I knew it!"

"Stop it, Ho Tun!" Penga shouted. "You're spilling your food all over my brand new shoes!"

"I hate you guys," said The Dark One. "Yet at the same time, my soul burns for the company of you nitwits!"

In the midst of the commotion was Toph, banging her head against the table. "Ugh, this was such a mistake," she said, annoyed past her limit. "If you lily livers don't shut up then I'm going to put you on crowd control duty for the rest of your miserable lives!" she bellowed.

This made her three students stop immediately. "Sorry, Chief Toph," they all apologized.

"Now, if you three idiots are done with the show, I'm going home," Toph declared, leaving the restaurant in a huff. "I wonder what Yukio is up to," she wondered aloud.

Aang and Katara sat overlooking Yue Bay as they finished their meal. "I'm so happy, Katara," Aang said. "Happier than I've ever been. There are no lightbenders, no signs of danger save for the occasional nightmares, and we're going to have a baby here in less than a month."

"I know," said Katara. "It almost seems like it's too good to be true. And look at this city. To think that eleven years ago, this was all just an idea."

"I know. It's really come far. I'm just so happy to live in it with you." The two of them kissed and didn't stop until a good two minutes had gone by.

"Things couldn't be better," Katara said.

In the dark corridors of City Hall, Mayor Qian approached a room and opened the door with many men present. Most of them were standing in rows while the other was standing in front of them all. It was this man than Qian approached. "Zhu, the election is in less than two weeks. Are they ready?"

"They will be soon, sir. I just need a few more days with them."

"The longer this takes, the greater risk we run of exposing ourselves. Do you know what would happen if the public found out what is going on here? Not only would I lose the re-election, I would be arrested. Get it done quicker," Qian demanded.

"Yes, sir," said Zhu.

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go see a man about a glider."

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