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|Haru and the Curse of the Mustache|
July 31, 2012
You lucky turtle duck, you; you found the Bonus Scene!
After editing Air I realized there were a few fun scenes that really didn't fit right in the story. However, I was loathe to part with them completely, so I've decided to try something a little unconventional and add them on as specials. I don't know how many of these I'll have throughout the story -probably not many- but keep your eyes peeled for those links! ;)
Haru and the Curse of the Mustache
Originally, Air began with a prologue introducing several characters and what they've been up to over the last few years. I decided not to start with this prologue. Several elements made it into the story -like- but others did not. This scene, in case you hadn't guessed, is about Haru. It's kind of silly, but it amused me and helps explain his current frustration with the fairer sex.
Haru ran. He ran as he'd never run before. The pursuers' footsteps were close behind him. If they caught up to him, Haru knew he was doomed. The thought spurred another boost of speed.
The forest trail turned sharply. Instead of following it through as he rounded the bend, Haru leapt between the trees and cowered down behind the thickest trunk he could find. Peering through the bushes, he watched as his pursuers raced by, oblivious to his sudden change of course. They disappeared down the trial, but it was still several moments before he dared to move.
Finally, Haru allowed himself to relax. His tense muscles loosened. He bowed his head, sighing with relief. Slowly he stood and began to amble back the way he had come, this time careful to keep to the trees instead of the path. That had been his big mistake, one he couldn't make again. He stroked his mustache, almost ruefully. He couldn't walk down the trail, or show his face in the market or venture out alone where no help could be found if he were caught.
These were definitely dangerous times...
He continued stroking his mustache until he arrived –by no means of public travel– across the street from his home.
He slipped from the protection of the trees to the small alley between two homes. Sliding carefully along one wall, he peered cautiously out into the street. He jerked his head back almost immediately.
His pursuers had beat him here! Would they never give up?
Haru felt desperation like a gaping hole in his chest. What could he do?
That was when he spotted an old friend, Taak, leisurely watching him from down the street. He was snickering.
If ever I needed you, Taak, Haru thought, now's the time.
He gestured pleadingly at his friend. When Taak slapped a hand over his mouth to keep from bursting out with laughter, Haru glowered at him.
Taak's grin slipped. He swallowed hard. Haru's glower could dishearten many staunch men. But he quickly recovered his composure and waved dismissively.
Haru knew that wave: Keep your 'stache on, pretty boy. Give me a second. Taak cleared his throat. He made a big show of dusting himself off, straightening out his tunic and smoothing back his hair –just to annoy Haru.
Haru scowled again, but this time it had no affect on Taak. Raising his foot, Haru stomped, sending a ripple through the earth right under his friend's feet. It might blow his cover, but Taak was getting on his nerves. Besides, it was worth it to watch him flail for balance.
Taak righted himself, then flailed his arms wildly. Okay, okay, I'm going! He was making quite a spectacle of himself. Not that it really mattered, because no one of great importance paid much attention to Taak –a fact Haru of which was constantly reminded.
Taak strolled inconspicuously past the mob of pursuers. He could have been conspicuous and they still wouldn't notice.
Just steps past the mob, Taak slammed to a dramatic halt. "Wait!" he cried in exaggerated tones, jabbing his finger in the opposite direction. "Is that him? Yes! Look! Haru's right over there!"
The pursuers whirled about, scouring out the landscape where Taak's finger pointed. They couldn't see anything that looked like Haru, but then the earthbender was quick and clever. One could never tell. As one, they surged down the street, their pounding feet raising more dust clouds than a score of earthbenders.
Haru didn't allow himself a second to hesitate. Covering his face with his arm, he raced across the street to his home. His heart hammered in his chest. He was certain one of his pursuers would realize the trick and spot him before he reached his goal.
But no one did.
He flung the door open and just as quickly slammed it shut again. He fell against the frame, trembling with exhaustion and heaving labored breaths.
After a moment of recovery, Haru became aware that the eyes of his parents were locked on him. He turned slowly. His mother and father were seated at the table, staring at him in surprise. Worry was etched on their faces –at least, until they realized what kind of horror their son was running from.
"Are they chasing you again, Haru?" His mother tried hard to sound sympathetic, but there was laughter in her eyes.
His father, Tryo, didn't bother keeping it in his eyes. He leaned his head back and roared with laughter.
"It's not funny!" Haru protested.
His mother turned so he would not see her own giggles.
"This is serious!" Haru tried again. "They've got to stop!" But his weak argument could not be heard over the combined laughter of his parents.
Haru slumped into a chair at the table, shoulders drooped and head lowered, the picture of a beaten man. He lowered his head and began to pound it against the wood.
Tyro patted his shoulder. "Don't worry, son," he said reassuringly. "It's not all that bad."
Haru stared at him. "Not all that bad?"
"It was bound to happen," contributed his mother.
"It's all the fault of that mustache, of course," Tyro added.
Haru banged his head against the table once more, with considerably more force.
His stupid, stupid mustache...
"Won't it ever end?" he asked. It had been thirteen years since he'd grown the mustache, and still they wouldn't leave him alone!
His father chuckled. "Not likely."
"At least," his mother added. "Not until you settle down."
Settle down, thought Haru. She'd been bringing that up a lot lately.
There was a knock at the door.
"Come in!" Tyro called at the same instant Haru leapt to his feet in a panic, hissing, "No!"
The door flew open. Haru prepared himself for a mob, but to his relief it was not the girls of the village.
"Tyro, there's been a message from the Avatar. It's for you."
Haru straightened from his cringed position. A man of the village stood in the doorway, a message hawk perched on his arm. The amused look in his eye did not escape Haru.
As he handed the sealed message to Tyro, the man winked at Haru. "My girl Lucetta's been looking for you."
The mood was darkened by Tyro's scowl.
Haru forgot his own troubles. "Bad news?"
Tyro nodded. "Very bad," he said, handing him the scroll.
Haru read it. It made him scowl, too. His own scowl was not nearly as pronounced as his father's, but it was a close second. The news was indeed upsetting, and his own frustrations were quickly overwhelmed by sadness and anger as he read the lines. Until he reached the last line. It was a special request from Aang, and he was once more reminded of his own dilemma.
"Of course they want me to escort a girl," he muttered.
Yes, this title is reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie. It's not just your imagination. ;)
For the collective works of the author, go here.