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"I've put these people in danger that I can't protect them from!"
Aang
Aang depressed
Anxiety and Exhaustion
Chapter information
Series

The Vengeful Spirit

Chapter

2

Written by

RedRapptor

Chronology
Last chapter

The Rescue

Next chapter

Confrontation

Synopsis

Chang and his wife welcome Team Avatar to their home as Aang's weariness and mental burden weighs down upon him.

After being invited to Chang's estate, Aang, Katara, and Sokka along with Appa and Momo are escorted to his property by him to partake in a feast in their honor and rest for the night.
Aang [Walking alongside Chang.] Chang, you should know that the monster that was attacking you before... [Scratching the back of his head and looking at the ground.] isn't dead.
Chang I didn't expect you to kill it. You're an Air Nomad, it is against your morals to end a life. I would be shocked if you had slain the beast.
Aang Well, I'm glad you understand, but aren't you worried it'll come back?
Chang Not while I have the Avatar beside me.
Aang swallows nervously. The group is led across a bridge and over a cobblestone road. A large, royal Earth Kingdom mansion enters their view. As they draw nearer, the building begins to tower over them. Aang and his friends stand in awe of the intricate architecture strewn across the impressive structure, and the lush beach neighboring it.
Chang Welcome to my home.
Katara [Eyes glowing in amazement.] This is amazing! You live here?
Chang [He nods.] Indeed. My wife Haoke will no doubt be waiting for us inside, as I have been out much longer than either us anticipated. Come.
Chang leads Aang and his friends to the front door, while Appa and Momo wait outside. Chang peers inside a window as he passes by to see a crying woman with brown hair tied up in a fancy knot, sitting on a couch with her face buried in her hands. Moving away from the window, Chang slides the front door open. With tears streaming down her cheeks and dripping off of her chin, she quickly turns her head to face her husband. Haoke's face changes from anguish to euphoria as her eyes meet her husband's.
Haoke [Rising from her seat.] Chang!
Chang Hello, my love.
Haoke gleefully runs into the open arms of her husband, and the couple embrace. Witnessing this brings a warm smile to Aang and Katara's faces.
Haoke [With her hands on Chang's shoulders.] Chang, my darling, what took you so long? You were gone for over a day!
Chang Forgive me, Haoke. I went to protest Chin Village's absurd Avatar Day, and I should have seen my inevitable arrest coming. Those hooligans have the most laughable judicial system I've ever seen.
Aang, Katara, and Sokka nod in agreement.
Chang I would have been condemned to rot in their filthy prison if not for the Avatar. When Aang came to town, he and his friends changed the meaning of Avatar Day, and Tong set me free.
Haoke So this young boy... is the Avatar?
Aang waves awkwardly with a crooked smile while Chang nods.
Haoke [She gasps.] Avatar Aang, [Bowing down to him.] you grace me with your presence.
Rolling his eyes, annoyed by such excessive praise.
Aang It's nice to meet you too...
Haoke And who are the other two children?
Sokka [Crossing his arms, insulted.] Children?
Chang This is Katara and Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe. Katara is a waterbender, the last of her village, and her brother Sokka is a brave warrior, tasked by his father with protecting his tribe.
Haoke [Bowing to Sokka, then to Katara.] It is an honor and a pleasure meeting you both.
Katara [With a friendly smile.] Likewise.
Chang I owe these three my life. Not only did they liberate me from my cell, but they later stumbled upon me as I fell under attack by an elusive firebending creature, and saved me.
Haoke Thank you kids, sincerely, for bringing my husband home safely. I don't know what I'd do if you three hadn't happened along.
Chang I wouldn't be here right now if it weren't for these heroes. As such, I am keeping true to my word, and preparations for the feast I mentioned earlier shall begin immediately.
Aang [Pointing a finger up and suddenly speaking out.] Excuse me, Chang, I'm really tired, do you think you could show me to my room for the night?
Chang Do you wish to postpone the feast?
Aang Yes, please. I just need some sleep right now.
Sokka [In protest.] Aang, what are you doing? I'm starving here! [Shaking his fist at Aang, who holds his hands up in front of him defensively.]
Katara [She punches her brother's arm scoldingly, to which he reacts by rubbing the affected area.] Shut up, Sokka.
Haoke Not to worry, we can get Sokka something from the kitchen to hold him over until morning when we will have the feast. Come on.
Sokka [While walking to the kitchen with Haoke.] Hey, ya got any bean curd puffs?
Haoke Plenty!
Chang [To Aang and Katara.] Now that Sokka is satisfied, follow me and I will lead you to your rooms.
Chang leads the kids to the second story, and down a long hallway to the left. The hallway is lit by rows of sconces on the walls, and the floor is adorned with a green gold-trimmed rug of silk. After passing by several closed doors, Chang stops and opens the fifth one, revealing a bedroom complete with a king-sized bed, window through which the moonlight may shine, and wardrobe.
Chang Here is where you will spend the night, Aang. There is plenty of room for your belongings in the wardrobe, and should you find yourself in need of anything, do not hesitate to ask me or my wife. Oh, and I will see to it that your bison and your lemur are given their own quarters for the night, as well.
Aang Thank you, but I prefer that Momo sleep in here with me. He loves getting into trouble, but I know how to keep him out of it.
Chang. Very well, I'll bring him in shortly. Come now, Katara, let's get you to your room.
As Katara and Chang slip out of Aang's room, she notices him lie down and stare at the ceiling, stressed. She worries for him, but continues to follow her host. They stop at the door neighboring Aang's.
Chang Here we are. Get some rest, and, as I said before, my wife and I will be around to assist you if need be.
Katara [Sitting down on the bed.] Thank you, Chang.
Chang [Smiling.] Goodnight.
Chang closes the door as he exits down the hallway. Katara lies down, concerned about the utter silence of Aang's room next to her. Lost in thought, she dozes off. Hours later, shortly before dawn, Katara reawakens, unable to get back to sleep. Giving in to her curiosity, she leaves her room to talk to Aang. When she opens his door, she is surprised to see Aang already awake, sitting on the edge of his bed, resting his arms on his legs and staring at the floor.
Katara Aang, why are you awake?
Aang [Looking up at her.] Why are you awake?
Katara [Noticing the bags under his eyes.] Have you gotten a minute of sleep all night?
Aang ... No.
Katara Well, can I come in?
Aang Yeah. Just be quiet, Momo's still asleep. [He points with his thumb to Momo who is slumped over on the window sill, snoring.]
Katara [She walks in quietly and sits down next to Aang, speaking in a half whisper.] So, what's kept you up all night?
Aang The monster from last night... it was terrifying. But I'm not just scared of it. I'm scared it's going to come back.
Katara You were able to drive it off last night. What makes you think you couldn't do that again?
Aang Because I didn't make it go anywhere. It just, left for some reason. That monster wasn't retreating. It's not afraid of me... but I'm horrified of it.
Katara How would that thing know about this place? It attacked us at least a mile away from here.
Aang I could tell it was a big animal. A really big, flying animal, at least three times Appa's size. It could probably see this place from the sky when it flew away. It might already know we're here. It could start raining fire any minute like it did out in that field, and I wouldn't know what to do about it. I've put these people in danger that I can't protect them from!
Aang starts sweating and shaking as his eyes moisten. In response, Katara turns him around slightly to hug him.
Katara [While still holding him and rubbing his back.] Aang, please, settle down. I know you're worried, but you can't let this get to you. If that creature comes back here, we'll be ready for it. It'll have no place to hide, and I promise, nothing bad will happen to anyone. [She releases him, and places her hands on his shoulders, giving him a reassuring smile.] Okay?
Aang [He wipes away a single tear.] Thank you, Katara. [Katara stands up off the bed. Aang stretches while yawning, then lies down.] I think I'm ready to get some sleep now.
Katara I'm glad to hear it. Rest up, the sun will be rising soon.
Katara notices Aang is already snoring. She tip-toes out of the room and carefully closes the door behind her. She steps into her own room and returns to bed, drifting asleep while smiling contently. Several minutes later, Katara is awoken by the urging of Aang who is shaking her shoulder.
Katara [Being shaken by Aang, she slowly awakens, rubbing her eyes and looking at him drowsily.] Wha-? Aang? Is something wrong?
Aang [Panicking, pupils dilated.] Katara, I heard the monster! Outside! It was outside my window, growling at me like it did before!
Katara Slow down, Aang. What exactly did you see?
Aang [Admittedly.] Well, nothing... when I looked outside my window, it wasn't there. [Insistently.] But I swear I heard it growling out there!
Katara [With a comforting arm around him.] Aang, you haven't even gotten one hour of sleep in over twenty-four hours. I'm sure you were just hearing things. Please, don't worry about it. You just need to go back to sleep.
Aang [Conflicted, he closes his eyes as his eyebrows twitch.] I want to believe you Katara, but I know I heard it. It was too real. There's no way I just imagined that.
Katara [Concerned, with a gentle hand on his cheek.] Aang...
Aang [He places his hand on top of hers.] I'm sorry, Katara, but we owe it to these people to stay as long as it takes to ensure their safety.
Aang places Katara's hand back in her lap before standing up and walking to the doorway. He turns to face Katara.
Aang We'll begin our search for the beast at dawn.
Aang closes the door and returns to his room. Sympathetic of Aang's distress, Katara lies down uneasily, falling asleep once more during deep thought. A few hours later, Aang wakes Katara.
Aang C'mon. It's time to break the news to everyone.
Katara What do you mean?
Aang We need to tell everyone that the monster is back. They deserve to know, right?
Katara [She sighs, doubtful of Aang's suspicion.] I suppose so.
Aang and Katara meet downstairs with Chang and Haoke who are preparing the feast for Sokka and Momo at the dinner table. They walk to the center of the kitchen, facing everyone.
Chang [While stewing a pot, he turns his head to greet the kids.] Ah, welcome, you two. Sokka and Momo have eagerly awaited you.
Sokka sits at the dinner table with a fork in one hand a spoon in the other while Momo sits atop his head, looking out for food to appear in front of Sokka to steal.
Sokka [Contradictively.] Actually, we're eagerly awaiting food. Right, Momo?
Momo purrs patiently and attentively.
Haoke In any case, the food is almost done. Have a seat, we'll lay it all out on the table when it's ready.
Aang [With a straight face.] There's no time for the feast. We have a problem.
Haoke [Confused and worried.] W-what is it?
Katara takes notice of the terror in Haoke's eyes, and changes her mind.
Aang The-
Katara quickly covers Aang's mouth to replace his words with her own.
Katara Bathroom! The bathroom. Aang needs to know where it is; he really has to go.
Aang's muffled voice angrily protests Katara's actions unintelligibly through her hand.
Haoke [Relieved.] Oh, the nearest one is just up the stairs, in the first door on your right.
Katara offers a toothy smile of thankfulness, and exits the room, pulling Aang along while continuing to cover his mouth. Katara runs up the stairs and drags him with her. Shortly before reaching the bathroom, Aang blows Katara's hand off of his face with airbending.
Aang [Angrily pointing at Katara.] What are you doing?!
Katara [Sensitively.] I'm sorry, Aang... I just don't want to get everyone worried about nothing.
Aang Nothing?! I told you already, it's here! You want them to be oblivious of the danger they're in?
Katara But Aang, you said you didn't see anything. You said you heard it, but you were exhausted. It had to have been your imagination.
Aang looks at the ground ponderously.
Katara Please, Aang. Stop worrying about this. For all of us.
Aang [Stubbornly.] ... You sound like you have everyone's best interests at heart, but if you really did, you'd believe me.
Hurt, Katara closes her eyes and lowers her head.
Aang [Walking down the stairs, heading toward the front door.] Do whatever you want, I'm going to find the monster, and put an end to this.
Katara [Trying to stop him.] What are you planning to do? Kill it?
Aang [Stopping in his tracks.] No.
Determined, Aang continues on his way outside, much to Katara's dismay. She returns to the kitchen to join Sokka at the dinner table.
Sokka [Waiting impatiently for food, Sokka rests his head on his hand.] Hey, where's Aang?
Katara slouches in her seat, speaking glumly.
Katara Bathroom.

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