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|The Waterbending Scroll Part 2|
12-The Waterbending Scroll Part 2
Katara's limits are reached when she is made a fool of by a newbie waterbender, Aang. She unleashes her anger on him, but quickly realizes how out of line she had become and turns over possession of the scroll. But you can't keep a fish out of water, and so she clung to a new chance at using the scroll. This leads to her capture by Zuko, and shortly afterwards a quick escape with Aang and Sokka thanks to Appa.
Bad Katara, Iroh was just being nice to you! Even snapping at Aang. Very mean, she is, in this chapter. But I love it lol this was fun to write. =] I specifically found her dark demeanor with Zuko entertaining.
I like the recaps; when they're just talking with each other about whatever happens to be on their mind. Such as while around the campfire, eating dinner, what do they discuss? They spend lots and lots of time together, and yet it goes by so fast.
After an agonizing five minutes of straight flight of clinging to Aang's leg, Katara's arms strained to maintain her hold. "Aang...I'm losing grip!"
Sokka cast a look of supportive worry for his sister. "You won't fall." He muttered truthfully to her. He means to catch me? How? He's holding on too!
"Relax! We're here already." Aang stated reassuringly. "Takin' ya down now guys." He joyously remarked.
Approaching dry land again, the sound of roaring waters caught her ears. They had safely escaped the pirates! Finally, I can put all this behind me. Just above the ground she purposefully released Aang's leg and dropped, stumbling to her palms and knees as she hit the ground.
A moment later she had scampered back to her feet, threw back her hair braid and patted herself down to assure her prize, the scroll, was still in her possession. She smiled mischievously; it was still tucked in her gown, safe and sound.
Clasping her hands behind her, she slipped her left foot back and playfully danced the tip of her shoe into the ground. "You know, I used to kinda look up to pirates." Aang began, snapping his kite shut before dropping down to lean against a rock. "But those guys were terrible!"
"I know." Katara replied wittily as she narrowed her eyes. Gingerly, her hands crept about her body, sliding into her gown just long enough to pull out her prize. "That's why I took, this." Out popped the scroll, gripped proudly in her hand.
"No way..." Aang leapt up at the drop of a hat; backing away from her as he straightened his staff against the ground and eyed her in shock.
"Isn't it great?!" Katara exclaimed, directing her attention on her waterbending pupil.
"No wonder they were trying to hack us up!" Sokka retorted as he leapt into her face. "You stole their waterbending scroll!"
Oh? She closed her eyes, maintaining her smile as she crossed her arms, pulling the scroll snugly against her chest. "I prefer to think of it as...high risk trading." Katara quipped readily as she felt proud for liberating it.
Her smile only broadened when Aang laughed in support of her. "Good one Katara!" He pointed at her with an immense grin. Awesome! He gets it.
Her brother didn't look any happier. Do you really need me to spell it out for you? "Sokka, where do you think they got it? They stole it from a waterbender!"
"It doesn't matter!" He paused, raising his hands in arrogant denial. "You put all of our lives in danger so you could learn some stupid, fancy splashes!"
Lifting the scroll between them, she scowled at his arrogance. "These are real waterbending forms. You know how crucial it is for Aang to learn waterbending!" Though a part of her knew she didn't take it for Aang's sake.
"Whatever." Sokka huffed, spun around and trudged away from his sister.
After a single moment of silence Aang returned his attention to Katara. "Well, what's done is done. We might as well learn from it."
My thoughts exactly. She beamed joyously to have his support. Sokka dropped to seat himself on a nearby rock. Unrolling the parchment atop a tree stump, she readily ignored him and called for Aang. "Here, take a look."
Aang stepped over to her side as she bent over the scroll, pointing at the third row of diagrams. Running her finger along the forms, she observed the stances it displayed for her arms and legs to be in, and grew giddy with excitement. REAL waterbending! Not just me making things up; this stuff is legit! "I just want to try this one move first; and then it's all yours." Clutching the scroll, she lifted it and handed it for him to hold. "Here. Hold it open for me."
Aang spread it out before him, just below his face, with a confident smile. She backed away for the water. Observing the scroll carefully one more time, she reassured herself that she had the moves correct in her mind.
"The single water whip..." Just saying it made her heart flutter with excitement. "Looks do-able."
Bending forward, reaching for the water as she drew back; water danced atop the surface and rose following her arms' motion. Next...I have to... Slipping back, she lunged for the river as her right arm lifted up behind her.
A sudden sting struck her blind for a moment. "Agh!" What just happened!? She covered her face in surprise and stood up, quickly followed by cruel laughter from her brother. She frowned in embarrassment, realizing she had struck her own forehead with the water. That was not anything to laugh at. "What's so funny." Katara rhetorically dared Sokka to say something.
She shouldn't have, he obviously would take the opportunity. "I'm sorry but, you deserved that. You've been duped! She's only interested in teaching herself." Aang will learn. He's MY pupil. I will teach him MYSELF!
Her back to them, she continued with a sharp snap. "Aang will get his turn once I figure out the water whip!" Now do it right this time! She hastily reattempted her technique, stepping through the moves as quickly as she dared was accurate.
Too fast, too forceful, she hadn't learned the moves right. Leaning out with her right arm stretching away from her this time, she grew astonished when her stream of water was nowhere in sight. Where did it... Momo's sharp cry filled the air to her left. Huh? With only a moment to glance, she noticed she had whipped Momo.
"Ugh! Why can't I get this stupid move!" She exclaimed in fury raising her fists before her, feeling quite the spectacle before the two.
"You'll get it." Aang quietly reaffirmed. He didn't. She whipped her head toward him, noticing he was walking to the water and had placed down the scroll. Oh no you don't...not again! Her face tightened in sudden anger, she knew for sure Aang was about to truly make her look a fool.She watched him merrily position himself and begin. "You've just gotta shift your weight through the stances." In just the time it took him to say that; he had moved for his very first time through the form, snapping the water successfully before him. AGH! Screw it! Why do you always have to be so good! It's not fair...I'm supposed to be the one teaching you! Not you me...
And yet he continued to teach his teacher. "The key to bending is..." She broke.
Hastily stomping toward him as fast as she could, she thrust her face in his and shouted. "Will you PLEASE shut your air-hole!" Clenching her fists tight up in front of her, her face grew even tighter. "Believe it or not, your infinite wisdom gets a little old sometimes." Continuing her rant, she jerked back and threw her hands up. "Why don't we just throw the scroll away since you're so naturally gifted?!" Throwing her arms down, she dropped her face directly in front of his and glared.
So wrapped up in herself, she didn't notice Aang had actually back-stepped from her verbal attack. From the corner of her eye she spotted her brother lean forward off of his rock. Turning to him, he dropped his head and cast a stern frown upon her. "What?" Go on, say something, I dare you.
She turned back to Aang with her same stern glare, her heart racing as her head throbbed from the disdain for her failure. Only; now she saw him. Aang had fell stiff, leaning away from her with pure sorrow in his eyes. Aang...what have I done... Tears were just begging to be released from his grey eyes. "Oh my gosh Aang..." Now she really felt the fool.
"I'm so sorry..." Crossing her arms over her chest, she leaned forward. Her scowl faded completely, dropping her expression to utter shock at what she had just done. "I don't know what came over me..."
She couldn't look him in the eye. Turning away, her blue eyes fell to the lone scroll resting on the stump. I can't do this...not...that...that wasn't me. "But you know what, it won't happen again." Scooping up the scroll in her hands, she rolled it up and pressed it into Aang's hands. "Here, this is yours." She shyly clasped her hands low below her as she continued. "I don't want to have anything to do with it anymore."
"It's okay Katara." Aang quietly responded. Really...?
"What about Momo?" Sokka butted into her apology. "He's the real victim here."
Don't start this... But it's true; she had whipped the poor lemur. Glancing aside she sighted Momo actually rubbing his backside, likely where she had struck him. Erm... Stepping quickly to the poor creature, she knelt behind him and gently ran her palm along his large furry ears. "I'm sorry Momo."
"And what about me?" Sokka continued. Goodness, give it a rest already... "There's that time you–"
"No more apologies!" She shouted, thrusting her hand into a sharp wave to cut him off. Momo, startled by her sudden shout, scampered away from her quickly.
"Okay, okay! Jeez, don't go into another tantrum." Sokka retorted. This only warranted a downcast stare from his sister in reply, lifting to her feet once again. Leave me alone.
"Aang. You can go ahead and practice, I'll just...well, I'll see you later."
"Okay. Where are you going?" Aang shyly questioned, still remaining where she had left him.
Her eyes averted; still unable to stare him in his eyes. "Um. I'll see about camp." Quickly she turned and paced off into the woods to find a good campsite, but more-so, to get away.
For the longest while she had successfully kept herself distracted, not considering what she had done. Hours had passed and sunlight was fading. Single-handedly she had set up camp and had set a pot of stew boiling from starting a small fire and had even gone so far as to wash what clothing they had left that their morning's waterbending fiasco had earned them.
But now she was out of things to do. Bedrolls were laid out, food was ready, they just needed to come and eat it. She sat idly on a stump near the campsite, a solid frown weighting her expression as she mulled over the events of the day.
How could I have done that... She let out a crisp sigh. This felt different than when she had shouted at Sokka in the past. This actually felt horrible. Still, it isn't fair...I mean, I know he's the Avatar so he should be gifted, but...I'm a waterbender. Why aren't I? Idly she played with her thumbs, her hands wrapped together tightly.
I'm sorry Aang. She shut her eyes, still unable to shake the feeling that her throat had swollen as it ached occasionally with a solid pulse. She had already apologized to him, but it wasn't enough. However, unable to help herself, her mind wandered back to the scroll in stark surprise she had given it up so easily. With a shake of her head, she grew torn at her giving up who she was as a waterbender, it just was not possible.
Back came her friends. "Hey." She feigned a smile from her stump, pretending to not have been stewing. "Soup's ready, you're just in time."
"Sounds great! I'm starving." Aang hurried to the pot she had prepared, lifting a bowl as he helped himself. How can he just ...forget it like that? He seems so happy.
"Dangit; I bought meat Katara! Where is it?" Sokka shouted as he clanked his bowl against the pot.
You're never happy. Besides that is for Aang, he deserves it. She subtly stared at him with her chin buried against her crossed arms, not giving him a reply. "Fine, whatever, keep pouting." Angrily he dipped his bowl into the soup and pulled out his portion.
Her attention shifted as she noticed Aang standing beside her. Her eyebrows rose as she lifted her head, he was holding a bowl out for her. "Here; have some."
She couldn't help but smile. "Th-thanks." Taking his offer, she directed her attention into it. She just couldn't get over the difficulty of staring him in the eye. How can he be so forgiving and happy all the time? I just don't understand.
As the meal dragged on, topics were slow and few, but thankfully for her the events of the day were not brought up. "I wonder what happened to Shyu." She idly stated when the topic had shifted to their time at the fire temple.
This was followed by silence, a real topic killer. Sokka shrugged and pulled his sleeping bag over him, night had fallen. Katara lay in hers on her stomach, enjoying the fur-lined warmth. She still found it interesting how the subtle cold of night now bothered her a little. "I spoke with myself." Aang stated in a sudden stupor.
"Sokka does that all the time." Katara smiled at her joke.
"Hey..." Her brother lifted his head, gazing at her with a subtle frown.
"No, I mean I really spoke with myself." Aang restated. "Roku; my past life. We actually talked...to one another, back at the fire temple."
"Oh." She mused for a moment, turning her head slightly. "I was wondering about that. What happened, really? I mean...you were him. I saw Roku with my own eyes, but he's dead...how did that happen?"
"You did?!" Aang leapt to sitting upright, staring past the campfire they had left going after they removed their pot of soup. "You saw him too? Whoa..."
Sokka kept his head upright. Not one word was spoken; he simply remained still with his eyebrows raised dubiously. "You mean, you don't remember any of it?" Katara pressed on.
"No; nothing. I was speaking to him, and he warned me there was danger waiting for me. Next thing I knew, you and Sokka were helping me up."
She turned her blue eyes, dancing with the glow of firelight, upon her brother with a smirk. "I've been meaning to ask you – so, do you believe in past lives now, warrior boy?"
The same continuous frown tugged at his lips. Without answer, he dropped his head back to rest, rolling over to ignore the two. "Good night."
Aang laughed at the notion before dropping back to his sleeping bag in turn. "Goodnight guys."
But she didn't move. A half hour passed and she still remained lying on her stomach, unable to stay her mind. In the dancing firelight, her eyes wandered to the few bags strewn on the ground until she finally spotted the Water Tribe symbol poking out from a bag beside Sokka.
Her forehead knotted at the sight. It called to her desperately. Another minute passed, but her eyes continued fixating on it vigorously. Okay...okay...just for a little while. Assuring herself they were asleep, she quietly slipped out of her warm bedding and gently crossed the campsite, leaning by Sokka's head.
In just a moment, she had slipped the scroll into her clutches and turned to sneak away from the two. Turning her head to the direction her body was carrying her; she froze stiff when Momo's large green eyes caught her by surprise directly in front of her.
He cooed. Oh don't blow my cover! "Ssh! Momo, go back to sleep!" She whispered to the creature, slipping just past him. A moment later, Momo softly cried out just a little louder than before. Whipping only her head back, she reemphasized her request before continuing off into the woods. "Ssh!"
This time she took a different route, finding an opposite stream to train at; otherwise she'd be too close and possibly wake them. Here she laid the scroll upon a nearby stump, letting it sit idly on its own. "Okay. First, the basics."
For warm-up and self-confidence, she practiced moves she had already taught herself, even so far as to attempt to freeze a ball of water. That didn't work too well, she froze half of it and the other half just dribbled back into the stream. Regardless, now it was time for something new.
After half an hour of attempting the first two maneuvers on the scroll, she had grown exasperated. "I'm kind of getting it but ugh!" She balled her fist and shook it. Each time she attempted to make a water shield before her, it kept moving. She'd already given up on the second set; it was far too dynamic to control her arms and legs at the same time to move so much water.
"Okay, back to the water whip." She had tried that again several times, nearly getting it but not quite right, something was off still.
Finally she was losing her nerve. She streamed water up in mid-air, but simply assailed her arms at it since nothing else had been working. The water flexed and shook before it burst back down into the stream, leaving Katara grunting with her movements by herself. "S-shoot!" She flung her arms out, fists clenched. "Come on water, work with me here!" She shouted, pulling her hands before her mouth before reattempting her maneuver.
This time she followed the stances a little more closely yet, sped too quickly through her motions and attempted something new. "Okay, what if I just–" Pow! Another blow to her forehead. "Ow! Stupid scroll!" At least nobody saw that this time.
Okay. Just like Aang said... "Okay Katara, shift your weight through the stances..." She slowed up, attempting to do it right. This time she went too slow, letting the flow of chi she felt run cold. Plop. The stream of water simply cascaded into the water below. "Urgh!"
The sound of something heavy and metal scraping pierced the quiet night. She stood straight up, turning back to the bushes barring sight down the river. What was that? Cautiously, she tip toed to the bushes and slid her hands in, pulling back enough to take a peek.
A boat. A small metal transport vessel sat steaming on the shore. She gasped in horror, she wasn't alone any longer. Oh no, oh no no! She leapt back and spun away quickly to run across the river, but as she did so she slammed into a large shirtless pirate that she hadn't noticed before.
Quickly she jerked away to run but his heavy hands snatched her shoulders and pulled her back. "No! Let go of me!" Her arms free, she slipped her legs into a waterbending form and used a technique she was well able to, streaming the water, though much faster. She wrapped the water around her body and over her head, curving it to slam into the pirates face and topple him back a step.
RUN! Free of him, she twisted away and took off. Just after she bolted however, she staggered her steps and gasped quietly in horror when she ran directly in front of the firebender who had been chasing them for so long, Zuko. Before she could react, his hands firmly lurched forward and snapped her wrists into his hold, leaning into her face as he jeered. "I'll save you from the pirates."
Her heart thundered, staring deep into his scornful golden eyes. This was it, pirates and firebenders had her, completely alone. She didn't even know what to think but just began to shake for a moment. "Where is the Avatar? I know he's with you."
Oh no. She considered how all this was her fault and regretted ever leaving the camp. Quickly she replaced her fear with determination, jerked her arms straight back as a scowl overtook her, and slammed her leg straight up to kick him by surprise. Sensing her motive, he quickly shifted so that a loud clang echoed as she kicked his leg's steel armor. "Ah!" She sharply cried out from the pain that brought her.
She pulled away from Zuko, but didn't have the strength to run after that impact. She leapt away and hobbled on one leg before Zuko sprung forward and gripped her arm once again, spinning her back toward him. "Feisty, aren't you? Now you know better than to attack me."
"Let. Me. Go!" She demanded, pulling against his hold. Using her other arm she stretched for the river, bringing up a small stream of water. As she did so, a firebender guard seized her free arm, forcing her to watch her final waterbending attempt plummet to the stream.
"Fine. Bind her!" Zuko spat out, pushing her into his guards's hands. After a second guard gripped her other arm and began pulling her toward a nearby tree, Zuko stepped a short pace away and tilted his head downward. Here he gazed dominantly as he awaited his guards to finish their task.
"You can't keep me here!" She shouted, yanking as hard as she could to escape the firebenders' hold on her, but to no avail as a rope seized her wrists cruelly. Gasping in surprise from a sharp pain shooting through her shoulders, an immense pressure tore her arms straight back. The rope bindings had been tightened, leaving her back flat against the tree with her arms bent behind her. "That hurt! Let me go, I'll show you just how feisty I can be! Let me–"
"Enough!" Zuko yelled, interrupting her rant. Advancing some steps toward her, he halted as his line of firebenders formed up behind him. The entire gang of pirates stood just off to her right. All in all, Katara had nowhere to go and nobody to turn to. Finally, though, her mind was settling now that she had no options left for her.
She cast Zuko a look that could kill, her lips tucked into a fierce frown. "Again, where is the Avatar?" Zuko questioned. Right, like I'm really going to tell you. Fire Nation scum. She turned her head away, fully ignoring him.
Apparently Zuko didn't like this. She heard a low grunt, mixed with a small crackle of flame, as he stepped to just a yard before her position tied to the tree. What do you think you're gonna do, hm? She turned back to him, returning her deathly stare intently on the fallen prince. "Tell me where he is, and I won't hurt you or your brother."
Ha! "Go jump in the river!" She bellowed out sharply, straining against her rope as she leaned forward to shove her words in his face. Whatever. Hit me all you want. I'm not putting this fate on Aang, this is my fault.
Zuko hesitated, turning away from her as he seemed to devise an alternate plan. Finally he turned back to her and kindly held his arms out low in explanation, readdressing her. "Try to understand." Forget it. She leaned back against the tree as Zuko stepped closer. Quickly she pivoted her head away, unwilling to look on the scarred prince's face.
He circled beside her, whispering quietly as he wound his way behind the tree. "I need to capture him to restore something I've lost; my honor." As he finished, he rounded the tree and leaned his head in close to her ear from behind. I wouldn't give you the cold. She whipped her head the other way, gazing into the distance through the pirates. "Perhaps in exchange I can restore something you've lost."
I don't want anything you– He reached his arms forward, one across each of her shoulders as he held her necklace just ahead of her neck in both hands. She was dumbstruck. Dropping her mouth wide, her eyes took in the sight of the beautiful choker that once had once belonged to her mother.
"My mother's necklace!" She exclaimed suddenly, turning to face Zuko as he haughtily slipped away from her side and paced back for his guards. A sinister smile rest on his lips, obviously he had found something precious to her. "How did you get that?" Katara demanded, tipping her head toward him as he walked off and tauntingly dangled the necklace in mid-air by his side.
"I didn't steal it if that's what you're wondering." Oh, cute. Her slick smile faded to scorn again. Zuko reached his hand out and pointed directly at her, his tone holding firm authority. "Tell me where he is."
This warranted a single quick lean away from the tree. "No!" You ignorant–
"Enough of this necklace garbage!" The pirate leader bellowed. Katara's eyes narrowed in even greater disdain for Zuko, shifting her gaze off to her left. "You promised the scroll!"
Zuko whipped out the scroll from his belt, holding it just in front of his face as he opened his other palm beneath it. "I wonder how much money this is worth." As he stated this, his open palm harnessed a ball of rising flame, licking at the lower edge of the scroll.
"No!" The leader cried out as gasps filled the air. Katara turned back, her blue eyes taking in the dancing flame. For a moment she wondered if soon he would carry through with his threat and hurt her afterward.
"A lot, apparently." He coolly replied. "Now you help me find what I want, and you'll get this back, and everyone goes home happy. Search the woods for the boy and meet back here!"
"Fine!" The leader quipped, turning as he waved his fellow pirates to follow him into the forest.
No...Aang... Don't find him! What have I done? After the pirates had left, Zuko turned back to her. "This could have gone much better." He held her necklace up again, ensuring her eyes met its pendant. Don't you do it, don't you burn my necklace! "I offered this back to you, but you refused. I think I'll just hang on to this for now." Finishing rubbing salt in her wound, he shoved it back into his pocket.
"Hey! You can't keep that!" She shouted in anger, jerking and pulling against her rope again.
"Watch me." Zuko simply smiled as she leaned back against her tree, scowling fiercely at him.
Jerk! You jerk! You have no idea what that means to me! She grunted and strained, but finally gave up when she felt her wrists begin to burn from the constant wear. Instead, she turned her eyes away and muttered spitefully. "Ironic. A prince from the Fire Nation, banished from his own home, and now he might just wear a Water Tribe necklace. What a loser."
Flames burst from his mouth and licked up the side of his face. "Silence you peasant! I am the rightful heir to the throne, and I will earn it!"
"Oo, touch a nerve?" She sneered, eyeing him spitefully. He thinks I'm the only one with a soft spot. Ha!
"Zuko." A deep voice resonated from a round-bellied elder man as he approached. "Let it go; she is under much stress and is not thinking clearly." She slid her lip out into a hateful frown. I'm not thinking clearly huh?
Zuko reached out and slapped away the older man's hand; he had apparently been holding a small cup of steaming tea. "Do I look like I want any tea, Uncle!?" Jeez. She shook her head at his antics. He's even cruel to his own family.
"Very well, perhaps later." The man instead helped himself to his delicacy, releasing a mighty sigh after he finished enjoying the cup.
The two walked off together, leaving her tied to the tree with two very uncommunicative guards. Nearly three hours later, her entire body ached and her legs felt like jello. So...tired... Her head nodded as her eyelids fought to take away her sight.
The next thing she knew, she leapt upright against the tree feeling extremely lightheaded. A heavy voice pained her ears, unable to make sense of its words. Finally, her eyes adjusted on the sight of the older man once again, seeing his pointed beard and smiling face in front of her. "You look so terribly uncomfortable, young lady. Please, would you accept a warm cup of tea? This night chill must be very harsh for you."
Her thoughts swam as she felt herself awaking. She must have dozed off at some point during the night, but she couldn't remember doing so. "If you agree, I will unbind you, and you may rest until it is time for our departure. Do not worry, you will be safe. You see, my nephew is good at heart...he will free you once he has what he is after."
"Yeah; Aang." She spoke in a pained rasp, scowling at the large man. "If you think a stupid cup of tea and kind words are going to make me turn him over to you; think again!"
Iroh's eyes softened, as if he pitied her. "You do realize you already have?" Her scowl tightened as she jerked her head aside, not responding. "Very well, it is as you wish." He stated solemnly, before heightening his voice in soft, calm explanation. "You may sleep in this tree's embrace if it is your desire." With this, he turned and headed back for his vessel.
Hours later, her eyes slipped open to a distant voice echoing in her mind. Morning sun rays temporarily caught her by surprise, squinting against their sting. Lifting her head, it felt horribly stiff as her neck popped. Oh.. my.. gosh...Ow! Her entire body ached; her spine, neck, arms, wrists and legs mostly.
Apparently Zuko had said something; he was standing in front of her. However his attention was directed away somewhere else. His uncle stood directly by her side with nary a smile, simply observing. Following his eyes, she noticed the group of pirates had returned, and... Aang. They captured Aang, I ... Her eyes swelled at the sight. "Aang, this is all my fault!" She was horrified as she admitted this."No, Katara, it isn't." Aang reassured her.
Zuko's uncle's deep voice called out just beside her ear. "Yeah," Turning her head slightly, she narrowed her eyes and frowned as he continued. "It kind of is." You're so helpful...
"Give me the boy!" Zuko adamantly requested. It's happening. What can I do?
"You. Give us the scroll." The leader threatened.
"You're really going to hand over the Avatar for a stupid piece of parchment?" Sokka spat out. ...Sokka?! Whose side are you on?
"Don't listen to him!" Zuko spat out instantaneously, jabbing his finger in Sokka's direction among the pirates. "He's trying to turn us against each other!"
The pirate leader turned to the young airbender, gazing at him in a stupor. "Your friend is the Avatar?" Katara bore her teeth, clenching them together as she hesitated for what was about to come.
"Sure is!" Sokka popped in. "And I bet he'll fetch a lot more on the black market than that fancy scroll!" Oh my gosh Sokka! If anything happens I will beat you when I'm free! She completely disregarded this was her fault.
"Shut your mouth, you Water Tribe peasant!" Zuko blared out with malice. Listen to him! Gosh, I can't believe I'm siding with Zuko!
"I'm just sayin'...it's bad business sense!" Sokka began emphasizing his words heavily, leaning to and fro among the pirate crowd. "Just imagine how much the Fire Lord would pay for the Avatar. You guys would be set for life!"
"Keep the scroll! We can buy a hundred with the reward we'll get for the kid." The leader decided. Katara's jaw dropped, staring in amazement as the pirates were preparing to leave.
"You'll regret breaking a deal with me!" Zuko retorted. Oh...this...nice! The pirates and firebenders lunged at one another, erupting in a fierce battle and loud cries as pirates' smoke bombs blinded her vision of the fight.
During the excitement, she heard a soft coo from the treetop. Glancing up, Momo came scurrying down the tree and began chewing on the rope at her wrists. Oh yes, thank you! I'm sorry I whipped you. She grinned merrily at the creatures' aid for her. Snap, he chewed the rope in two. "Thanks Momo! I owe you a bushel of apples."
She had to act. Stiff limbs or not, she had to do something. Scouring the distance with her eyes, Katara spotted the pirate ship resting upon the shore. That ought to work. Time to leave!
Nearly a minute later she stood by the front of the large ship shoving with all her strength, much to her muscles displeasure. No good! This is no good! "Katara, you're okay!"
She glanced left to spot Aang and her brother charging her. "Help me get this boat back in the water so we can get out of here!"
They joined her at the bow of the ship, shoving with their combined strength. Despite their best effort, the ship refused to drag an inch across the sand. As the two gave up, she leaned back with them to stare at her failed escape plan. "We need a team of rhinos to budge this ship." Sokka claimed.
Hm... She stared thoughtlessly at the wooden bow, wondering what to do. "A team of rhinos..." Aang began with a joyous hint in his voice. "Or..." She felt his eyes fall on the back of her head and spun back to him. "Two waterbenders." Aang... This nearly brought a tear as her heart warmed at his words.
"Come on Katara; let's get this in the water." He stepped up beside her and entered his stance. She was overjoyed, falling into her position readily as the two began to work in unison to push and pull a vast tide of water up beneath their feet and onto the shore.
A sounding creak echoed as the ship lifted atop the rising water. It worked... "Everybody in!" She shouted proudly, running for the rope ladder idling over the side.
Racing onto the deck, they hurried to the quarterdeck. Taking the helm, Sokka directed the path of the vessel down river. "I'll take control of this! Y'know, since I have piloted ships before."
More like canoes. "I don't care so long as you get us out of here, Sokka!" Katara nearly shouted while Aang leapt to the roof of the captain's cabin.
A moment later, he leaned back and called out to her brother. "Sokka, can't you make it go any faster?" What? She lifted her eyes to stare at the nervous airbender. What do you see?!
"I don't know how! This thing wasn't made by the Water Tribe!" He shouted in defense as he twisted back from the helm.
Oh... The front of a Zuko's metal transport lumbered up beside their stolen pirate ship. That was all it took for pirates to begin streaming aboard their own vessel and charging the quarterdeck. Her eyes widened at two spear-wielding pirates approaching her, stepping back in brief panic with her arms stretched before her in shock.
Whoosh! An immense wave of water soared aboard the vessel and slammed the pirates off their feet, just missing her as one flew overboard. Thanks Aang! But one pirate got hung on the rail and was spared, rising to his feet to glare at her. Uhm...
Biting her lip, she looked away fearfully, what could she do? Wait on Aang or Sokka to help? No. She shoved back her expression, replacing it with an iron will. I'll take care of him myself! She thought furiously as she scowled at the man.
Quickly she poised herself, drawing a stream of water from the remains of Aang's wave. Okay, shift! Leaning forward over her hip she thrust her arm offensively toward him. A solid snap echoed as the water covered the distance in less than a second, cracking the man square in his face so that he was flung overboard with a pained grunt. Yes! Got'cha! Oh yes! She beamed with pride. "Hey, you did the water whip!"
"I couldn't have done it without your help!" She joyously thanked Aang for his support.
"Would you two quit congratulating one another and help me out!" She heard her brother bellow. Aang disappeared to see to Sokka. Wait, is that? A roar downstream caught her ear. Oh no...
Following after Aang to her brother, she stopped for just a moment as a man sailed through the air shouting in front of her. Okay then. She slipped around the corner, spotting her brother and Aang on the main deck, but immediately she discovered her assumption had been right. "Aang, look!"
She bolted for the edge of the ship, reaching over the rail to gape in awe at the sheer drop approaching them. Waterfall...Okay, so my escape plan sucked too. Aang ran up behind her, catching her attention. Okay let's fix this! "We can stop the boat! Aang; together, push and pull the water!"
Quickly the two repeated their earlier motions, reaching out ahead of the boat then drawing their arms back toward the rear of the ship. She felt a firm tug against her arms with each movement, focusing on the strain of the water that began spiraling against the currents.
The ship spun sideways against the whirl of water resisting the sharp drop just ahead. "It's working! It's slowing down!" Aang and Katara's water pools separated, one at each side of the vessel as it stopped dead center of the two. "We're doing it!"
"But we have another problem!" Sokka shouted. Huh? What's th– The echo of wood splitting deafened her as Zuko's transport plowed into the mid-side of the pirate ship. Shouts filled the air as she fell to the deck and slid down against the rail.
Nearly standing on the railing, the ship now on its side, Sokka and Aang both fell beside her. Time froze. For this moment she saw eternity, disguised by the distance toward the water below. All she could think of was how sorry she felt knowing she would die with them due to her own mistakes.
"Juuuump!" Aang began shouting as he took Katara and Sokka's hands. All three fell off the deck head first, helplessly watching their target close in fast. She was surprised nothing crossed her mind, just holding her teeth tightly impacting one another as her heart raced of its own accord.
Thump. Her face bashed against the side of Appa's saddle as she tumbled safely onto her stomach.
Not quite a minute passed before the three were able to accept their surroundings. I'm. I'm alive. "I knew a bison whistle would come in handy!" Aang proudly readdressed purchasing the whistle back at the docks. Oh. Ooh... "Thanks Appa." He kept his back to the two siblings, smiling down to his lifelong companion.
"Yeah, we owe you one." Sokka followed up. Appa welcomed the compliments with what could be considered a large gulp – perhaps he had been interrupted while eating.
"Okay. Sorry to make fun of your shopping earlier, y'know, since it saved our life and all..." I guess you're right Sokka. Katara rolled over, pushing herself back to sit upon her legs. She remained quiet and still, leaning back against the saddle to stare thoughtfully at the two.
"So... sis..." Sokka crossed his arms and turned a cold stare to her. "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!" He burst out as his thrust into a mad flail.
A single eyebrow bunched up against her forehead in emotional distress. I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Turning away, her blue eyes fell to observe the treetops below growing smaller and smaller. Appa was heading for the clouds. "Uuh."
"Did he hurt you?" Aang asked softly, ignoring Sokka's infuriated response as he turned to face Katara.
"No." She shook her head, glancing momentarily to Aang in reply. "Though he threatened to. But, he did hurt me... in a different way." She laid her hand on her arm and dropped her gaze to the saddle sadly.
Sokka leaned forward as he slipped his own hands down to his lap. "Just how?" He questioned over-protectively.
Closing her eyes, she pulled her arms closer to her stomach. "I don't know how he did it; but he has my necklace."
"Oh." Aang dropped to sit squarely in the saddle, as Momo flitted down from following them aimlessly in the sky. "Sorry..."
Hmm. "You shouldn't be apologizing to me." She quietly uttered, hanging her head toward the saddle as she clasped her hands atop her lap. "Aang. I still owe you an apology." She hesitated as her brother likewise shifted his eyes idly upon her, seeming to sneer softly to himself. You're not getting one. "You were just so good at waterbending without really trying. I got so competitive that I put us all in danger." Her voice dropped to a mere whisper as her eyelids drooped low. "I'm sorry."
"That's okay Katara!" Aang exclaimed with just as joyous a statement as ever.
Comforting herself, she continued. "Besides, who needs that stupid scroll anyway?" But she kept her head dropped, absorbed in a hint of self-pity.
"Is that really how you feel?" Sokka jeered, waving something into the air in one hand. Hm? ...What!? Her expression exploded with pleasure as she caught sight of the waterbending scroll in her brothers' hands.
"The scroll!" She exclaimed and lunged forward to her knees. Propping upon one hand, she reached out to grab the scroll just as Sokka pulled it back.
"First!" He spat out with a smile, shoving his empty palm into her face to stop her. "What have you learned?"
"Stealing is wrong." I learned I still want that scroll! Her eyes remained fixated on the rolled parchment, keeping her hand mid-air waiting for the slightest chance to nab it. Sokka gave her this chance, smiling as she had said just what he wanted to hear. Just as the scroll came close enough, she leapt out and snatched it right out of his hands, pulling it back into both her hands' firm hold. "Unless it's from pirates!" She jeered tauntingly, now that she had what she wanted.
Aang's laughter filled her ears, drawing her attention to him with a smile. "Good one, Katara!"
"Look, just don't do anything stupid and get us in trouble again." Sokka crossed his arms and leaned into the back of the saddle. After a moment, he seemed to be staring sullenly at her. What... "And... be careful." Well aren't you sweet. She smiled pleasantly at his concern. The three sailed on into the distance, remaining out of sight darting from cloud to cloud in attempt to mask their retreat.
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Props to Ianbernard for helping make this wonderful chapter template with images! (he created the images)
The Boy in the Iceberg