|More from Vulmen||Adventure/Drama||G (all ages)||Positive||News (Eyes of Katara)|
|Those Left Behind|
3-Those Left Behind
Against constant warnings from Katara, Aang returns to his home in the Patola Mountain Range, the Southern Air Temple. Once there, he finds it is nothing like his memories, having been long abandoned. Denying the reality of the situation, he explores what has changed, and attempts to answer questions as to his origin as the Avatar alone. Things turn for the worse, when Aang discovers Monk Gyatso's skeleton amid a Fire Nation skeletons.
Additional notes Edit
It was during this chapter my front page Fanon's image got deleted. I had made a picture collage using images from the series; which meant I had altered the image from its' original state. I've drawn a picture to replace it for now, though I'm not positive I'm finished with the idea yet - I may go all the way to complete it to my highest expectations. But hey, for now, a pic's up again and it's hand made! =] (Eyes of Katara main page) I think it's one of my best...
This is an emotional chapter. I chose the name Those Left Behind to try and best depict the aftermath that war can leave behind, on everyone. Katara and Sokka both have felt its' effects already, and Aang has now been touched in a way no one ever considers happening to them. I still applaud Mike and Bryan for the depth of this series.
On a different note: for those of you that have read the first two chapters, and now this one, do you have any opinions on my additions? Do they stick out like sore thumbs, or flow in a way that you can't even detect them as not being part of the series? Erm, dumb question. If the latter, how could you properly answer it. Ha!
For the rest of the trip, Aang wouldn’t stop talking about the various creatures he’d encountered and how he wanted to ride them all. Sokka had rolled his eyes long ago and dropped his head back again, though Katara could swear she heard him snoring from time to time. “I think Sokka needs to take a rest.” Aang finally broke his attention and returned to his friends.
They landed at a nearby beach, not too far from home yet. “Mm yep, sleep. Sounds great.” Sokka mumbled half-heartedly as he stood and stretched. “Now if you’ll just excuse me, I’ll be taking my sleeping bag and–Uwah!!” He shouted as he stepped over the saddle, completely forgetting how high he was as he fell with a slam to the beach below.
Katara gasped as she held her hands to her face and glanced over the edge of the saddle. Is he alright? Aang winced, before grinning broadly and peering down towards Sokka’s backside, his face firmly planted in the sand. “Watch that first step! You’ll get the hang of it.”
Sokka lifted a finger into the air behind him, speaking muffled against the sand. “I meant to do that, this is as soft as a pillow. Now, excuse me while I sleep.” He lied.
“Sure thing!” Aang shouted out as he leapt past Katara and unbound Sokka’s sleeping bag. He hurled it over the side, which brought a solid shout and grumble from an unhappy Sokka.
Shortly afterwards, all three had fallen into a restful sleep on the beach.
“Katara, are you ready?”
She jarred awake, opening her eyes to Aang as he loomed over the top of her, staring down into her face. Lifting one eyebrow, she gazed up into his in return. “Ready for what?”
“Today’s the big day! We have to pack up now!” He shouted as he bounced away from her and began snatching up his sleeping bag beside a smoldering campfire in preparation.
She yawned once and climbed out of her sleeping bag. Wow, the sun is there? I slept this long? She blinked away her sleep, rubbing her eyes. Readily she began to tie up her bag and re-bundle their leftover goods for their journey. Sokka lay firmly by, putting on a great performance of snoring.
“So, how do you like flying?” He grinned as he patted Appa’s neck.
“It’s great.” She replied, though she glanced aside sheepishly as she said this. “I don’t like leaving the saddle though.”
“What?” He called out in surprise; wondering what could possibly scare her of being hundreds of feet in the air. “Today, you’re gonna ride front seat! Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe.” He provided her an immense grin. “And I’ll be sure to tell you first-hand of all the sights!”
“Uh, if you say so.” She grimaced. She wasn’t sure she wanted to sit on Appa’s head still, but she trusted that Aang wouldn’t let her fall.
“So…how long does he usually sleep?” Aang asked, gazing over the saddle down to her brother.
“Huh? Oh; as long as you let him.” She rolled her eyes, before carrying some of their gear up Appa’s tail and into the saddle. Aang apparently had seen to it that Appa had ate his breakfast, since she heard him munching something while she busied herself re-packing their goods into his saddlebags.
“Wait ‘til you see it Katara! The air temple is one of the most beautiful places in the world!”
She stopped momentarily; worrying heavily that Aang was setting himself up for a painful discovery. She turned to face him; he was still tightening the reigns around Appa’s horns. “Aang, I know you’re excited but, it’s been a hundred years since you’ve been home.”
“That’s why I’m so excited!” He positively beamed back at her, uncontainable excitement filling his energetic eyes.
“It’s just that, a lot can change in all that time.” She spoke softly, her heart heavy.
“I know, but I need to see it for myself.” He stated before leaping off of Appa’s head, airbending to float gently to the ground.
She didn’t want to suggest what she feared, would it be true? How would he take it? She watched him sorrowfully, wondering how to keep him from losing all his happiness. He walked over to Sokka in his sleeping bag, and spoke loudly. “Wake up Sokka! Air temple, here we come!”
Sokka broke his snoring for a moment, and let out a sharp groan of protest before rolling away from Aang. “Sleep now, temple later…”
Katara grinned; it wasn’t her trying to wake him up this time. This was fun to watch. Aang approached Sokka again, after picking up a stick that lay nearby on the shore. “Sokka! Wake up! There’s a prickle snake in your sleeping bag!” He cried out loud as he rubbed it along the sleeping bag.
Sokka’s eyes bugged out of his head as he bolted upright, sleeping bag and all. “Aaah! Get it off! Get it off!” He cried aloud before tripping over a rock on the shore, falling forward with a slam.
“Great! You’re awake, let’s go!” Aang joyously stated, while Katara broke into laughter behind them on Appa’s saddle.
After a moment of further protest, Sokka bundled up his sleeping bag and made for Appa. “What about breakfast? Did you guys eat without me?” He seemed to ask with certain trepidation.
“No, we just got up ourselves.” Katara answered.
“We’ll eat when we get there. I’m sure we can find something. Come on, let’s go!” Aang shouted out urging his companions to move with haste.
Katara’s joy faded once again as she gazed at Aang’s back while he leapt for Appa’s head. Her eyes softened. Does he really expect to find all his old friends, the airbenders, just waiting for him; ready to serve a grand breakfast?
Sometime later mid-flight, Sokka’s stomach reminded him he failed to fill it. He gripped it firmly and glowered down. “Hey stomach, be quiet alright? I’m trying to find us some food.” He dug into a bag he intended to snack with. “Hey, who ate all my blubbered seal jerky?”
“Oh, that was food? I used that to start the campfire last night, sorry.” Aang honestly replied, as Katara sat calmly on Appa’s head. Flying on his head wasn’t so bad, really.
“You what?! Aww, no wonder the flames smelled so good…” Sokka whined to himself.
Katara kept fighting herself inwardly; Aang was going to suffer so hard when he saw the devastation of his home.
“The Patola Mountain Range! We’re almost there!” Aang ecstatically announced to his fellow fliers.
She had to tell him something, anything. “Aang, before we get to the temple, I want to talk to you about the airbenders.”
“What about ‘em?”
“Well, I just want you to be prepared for what you might see.” Shutting her eyes, Katara dropped her face, her tone falling sympathetic. “The Fire Nation is ruthless, they killed my mother. They could have done the same to your people.”
He waited a moment, before answering optimistically. “Just because no one has seen an airbender, doesn’t mean the Fire Nation killed them all. They probably escaped!”
“I know it’s hard to accept.” She laid her hand on his shoulder, feeling even worse that he was in so strong a denial.
“You don’t understand Katara. The only way to get to an air temple is on a flying bison. And I doubt the Fire Nation has any flying bison. Right Appa? Yip-yip!”
At this, Sokka and Katara dropped to their stomachs and grabbed tightly at whatever they could. The flight was straight up as they scaled the cliff side, now this caused her to return to fearing flying on Appa’s head, at least momentarily. Once they topped the cliffs’ crest, the view of a wondrous temple caught Katara’s eye.
“There it is. The Southern Air Temple.” Aang announced their arrival merrily.
“Aang, it’s amazing!” Katara gaped in awe at its grandeur. She began to ponder, perhaps she was wrong. Maybe there would be airbenders still here; it certainly was breathtaking.
“We’re home, buddy. We’re home.” Aang called out, before patting the back of Appa’s head. He replied with a groan of gratitude to be back.
Once they had dismounted, Katara had already warned Aang, there was little else to say. She held her tongue and waited to see the outcome for the moment. Besides that, Aang left both Katara and Sokka behind as he bolted off charging along the winding pathway to the temple.
She didn’t even try to keep up; he had way more energy than she ever would. Instead, she idled back and walked steadily with her brother. “So where do I get something to eat?” Sokka protested, gripping his stomach in both his hands.
“You’re lucky enough to be one of the first outsiders to ever visit an airbender temple, and all you can think about is food?!” Katara argued.
“I’m just a simple guy, with simple needs.” Sokka claimed in honesty.
Up ahead, they reached Aang. He readily began explaining what lay before them. He began by pointing to an immense series of stone pillars variously arranged, with two large square-like goals with circular centers. “So that’s where my friends and I would play airball. And over there is where the bison would sleep. And…” He dropped his fingers to his side and let out a disturbed sigh, stopping his tour.
“What’s wrong?” Katara questioned.
“This place used to be full of monks, and lemurs, and bison. Now there’s just a bunch of weeds.” After a moment passed, he continued. “I can’t believe how much things have changed.”
Katara looked deeply into Sokka’s eyes. Please cheer him up… She seemed to beg, he was good at humor. If she knew her brother, he could think of something.
They both approached Aang, as Sokka began his idea. “So uh, this airball game. How do you play?”
Before he knew it, Sokka was already being blasted off the top of a pillar, through the circular backside of those square goals by a powerful ball that Aang manipulated with his airbending.
Aang laughed joyously as Sokka flew through the ring one more time, landing with a hard thud onto his stomach as he skidded to a stop near the side of a short cliff. “Aang seven, Sokka zero!”
“Making him feel better is putting me in a world of hurt.” Sokka whined to Katara, as she grinned for her brother. He was a good sport.
He crawled forward, spotting something of interest. “Katara, check this out.”
She followed him quietly, glancing at his item of interest. She frowned; all her hopes went down as she saw the red helmet below the short, snowy cliff side. “Fire Nation.”
“We should to tell him.” Sokka replied.
She listened to her brother for once, turning to Aang as he patiently awaited Sokka’s return. “Aang. There’s something you need to see.”
“Okay.” He merrily began making his way towards her, spinning the hollow ball with diagonal slits into the air around him playfully. She eyed him with great sorrow; she was asking him to walk straight into pain. Her eyes welled up with concern, not wanting to see him hurt so deeply.
No. She turned to Sokka, and raised her hands in preparation. With a quick downward thrust, she controlled a small avalanche to heap down atop of the helmet, and her brother, covering both.
“What is it?” Aang asked once he drew up beside her.
“Uhh.” She placed her hands behind her back, turning to face Aang. “Just a new waterbending move I learned.”
“Nice one! But enough practicing. We have a whole temple to see!” He called out and turned away.
After Aang was out of earshot, Sokka finished brushing off the snow and spoke very responsibly as he stood beside his sister. “You know; you can’t protect him forever.”
Her eyes fell to the ground as she walked away, readily ignoring him as they made their way after Aang up towards the entrance to the temple.
Crossed the stone threshold of the entrance, Sokka addressed his sister once again, ensuring Aang was just out of earshot. “Katara, firebenders were here. You can’t pretend they weren’t.”
“I can for Aang’s sake. If he finds out that the Fire Nation invaded his home; he’ll be devastated.” She spoke softly, unable to grasp hold of her own feelings due to worrying fully for Aang’s.
“Hey guys!” Aang called out as he stepped away from a statue and raised his hand. “I want you to meet somebody!”
“Who’s that?” Sokka inquired, glancing at the statue in question.“Monk Gyatso. The greatest airbender in the world. He taught me everything I know.” He bowed towards the statue, and seemed to blank out, remaining with his head bowed for a minute.
Katara approached him slowly, before laying her hand on him gently as he snapped back to reality. “You must miss him.”
“Yeah.” He answered sadly, before simply walking off and climbing steps into the entrance.
“Where are you going?” She asked curiously, still worrying he was about to become seriously hurt.
“The air temple sanctuary. There’s someone I’m ready to meet.”
Katara glanced back to her brother. Aang really thinks he’s going to meet someone? After all this time? Now she really feared for him. Sokka just shrugged, as they followed after him.
Nearing an immense pair of wooden doors, Katara kept attempting to dampen his high expectations; hoping to be able to absorb some of the pain he may feel soon to come. “But Aang, no one could have survived in there for a hundred years.”
“It’s not impossible. I survived in the iceberg for that long!” He interjected, maintaining his ultimately high optimism.
Hmm. She touched her finger to her chin, pondering that. “Good point.”
“Katara, whoever’s in there might help me figure out this Avatar thing!”
“And whoever is in there might have a medley of delicious, cured meats!” Sokka ran forward and slammed face first into the door, before shoving on it with plenty a grunt before slumping down to the floor. “I don’t suppose you have a key?”
“The key, Sokka, is airbending.” Aang stated with pride, before bracing himself in a prepared stance to show the power of airbending. He drew in a deep breath, poised back on one foot as he outstretched his arms. Then, in the next moment, he stepped forward and stomped his foot to the ground, drawing his arms in towards his chest, before lunging forward as he exhaled a mighty breath. A powerful gust of wind soared past Aang’s body and into the door, working its mechanisms and turning its locks, each one releasing pressurized air in a series of three beautiful organ notes.
Steadily, the door gave way, swinging wide back into the thick darkness. “Hello? Anyone home?” Aang called out, though he received no answer. He wasted no time, treading forward and into the darkness beyond.
This is it. Katara worried. Would he find things not like they are supposed to be? She hoped not. If she could, she would shelter him from this discovery all the way off from the air temple. Quietly they entered the room, walking amongst a series of assembled statues. They stood in an expanding circular pattern, stretching along a circular line that reached to the wall and wrapped up into the air.
“Statues… that’s it? Where’s the meat?!” Sokka cried aloud in angst.
“Who are all these people?” Katara asked Aang, gazing at the swarm of statues carefully arranged. Perhaps he would know.
“I’m not sure; but it feels like I know them somehow.” Aang answered curiously. Aang’s attention lit when he spotted something of interest. “Look, that one’s an airbender!” He pointed to a statue with an arrow depicted on its forehead.
“And this one’s a waterbender.” Katara spotted, recognizing the wolf regalia adorning a statue. “They’re lined up in a pattern. Air, water, earth, and fire!” She pointed at each in turn.
“That’s the Avatar cycle.” Aang stated his teachings he recalled.
“Of course. They’re Avatars! All these people are your past lives, Aang!” Katara stated in surprise.
“Wow, there are so many!” He stated, before walking away from Katara to gaze at the innermost statue with a long flowing beard.
“Past lives?” Sokka jeered. “Katara, you really believe in that stuff?”
“It’s true! When the Avatar dies, he’s reincarnated into the next nation in the cycle.” She protested to her brother; fully believing the story of the Avatar. Only now, she glanced for where Aang wandered off to. She spotted him a short distance off, gazing as if frozen into the eyes of a statue. She walked over to him, and laid both her hands on his shoulders, shaking him back to reality. “Aang, snap out of it!”
“Huh?” He gazed to his side, up into Katara’s eyes.
“Who is that?” She looked at the bearded statue of interest.
“That’s Avatar Roku, the Avatar before me.”
“You were a firebender?” Sokka spoke inquisitively as he finally stepped over and joined the two. “No wonder I didn’t trust you when we first met.”
“There’s no writing.” Katara noted. “How do you know his name?”
“I’m not sure. I just, know it somehow.” Aang pondered aloud.
Well that’s strange. She eyed Aang curiously. Sokka groaned in disgust. “You just couldn’t get any weirder.”
The sound of a gust of wind filled the air; playing an organ note as it brushed by. The three glanced back to the doorway to spot a long trailing shadow approaching. They bolted behind two nearby statues to hide. Aang and Katara sat closely together; pressed up against the back of one. Sokka gripped his club and readied himself behind the other statue nearby. Observing the shadow, he whispered his discovery to his friends. “Firebender. Nobody make a sound!”
“You’re making a sound!” Katara spoke all too loudly in protest to her brother.
Both Aang and Sokka put a finger to their lips and shushed her.
“That firebender won’t know what hit ‘em.” Sokka stanced, ready to strike as soon as he was close enough.
He leapt out, ready to strike, but paused. It was a creature, a small creature. He just stared for a moment. Aang leaned around the side and eyed what had caught Sokka’s interest. “Lemur!” Aang shouted loudly as his echo filled the room.
“Dinner.” Sokka uttered, as he scrupulously eyed his possible meal.
“Don’t listen to him, you’re gonna be my new pet.” Seriously? We’re going back to pets, again? She could swear he only ever thought about games and animals.
“Not if I get him first!” And instantly they both darted off after the terrified lemur, bolting down the open hallway. Katara lifted an eyebrow, staring after the two childish boys chasing an animal. But, she couldn’t help but crack a smile. They were both so happy. Although, she honestly hoped Aang would keep Sokka from catching the poor thing.
She rose to her feet and walked the line of statues, resting her hands on each to feel the differences, eyeing the beauty and masterwork that went into each. She admired all the past lives that Aang used to be, finding particular interest that he used to be female as well. What on earth does it feel like to have all those memories? She ran her hand along the statue, before stepping back and gazing into it. “Avatar Kyoshi.” She read aloud, curious entirely of his memories of her.
Turning, she paced forward to the statue that Aang felt most connected with, Avatar Roku. She gazed up into his eyes. Just what was it that captivated him so much about this statue? Then, its eyes lit in the same white-light fury that she had seen Aang go into earlier. She gasped in terror as the same light scaled each statue, rising line after line up into the depths of the ceiling. “Aang!” She turned and bolted down the hall, chasing after her friend.
But where was he? A sudden loud explosion blew a roof off a building, dust flailing madly into the air. Found him… She ran closer, and found her brother kneeling behind a rock and clutching to it for safety. “What happened?”
“He found out Firebenders killed Gyatso!” Sokka cried aloud.
“Oh no! It’s his Avatar Spirit, he must have triggered it! I’m going to try and calm him down.” She stated boldly as she turned and stepped forward, fighting off the fierce gale.
“Well do it! Before he blows us off the mountain!”
She drew closer and closer to Aang as he stood in a wide stance, a sphere of powerful air whirling around him like a contained tornado. She tripped and staggered against the force rushing past her, before she witnessed the air lift him up off of the ground and began to raise him skywards. The force grew unbearable, forcing her back several feet as she skidded away.She retreated behind a nearby rock, ahead of Sokka, and grabbed hold of it as best she could to shield against the wind. “Aang, I know you’re upset. And I know how hard it is to lose the people you love! I went through the same thing when I lost my mom. Monk Gyatso and the other airbenders may be gone, but you still have a family. Sokka and I, we’re your family now!”
Much to her surprise, her speech got through to him. The wind began to diminish, as he began to drift down to the ground. As his feet touched surface, the sphere of air rippled apart and vanished. Sokka and Katara safely approached their still glowing friend. “Katara and I aren’t going to let anything happen to you. Promise.” Sokka stated, backing up his sister’s words of kindness.
Katara reached out, and took hold of his hand. Finally, Aang’s emotions settled; causing the glow from his tattoos and eyes to suddenly cease as weariness overpowered him. Weakly, he sighed, falling into Katara’s arms, as she knelt and took him into her hold. “I’m sorry.” He weakly replied.
“It’s okay, it wasn’t your fault.” She glanced slightly away, remembering the pain she felt of her mother's loss. It must be so much harder for him. I still had my tribe…
“But you were right. And if firebenders found this temple; that means they found the other ones too.” He paused and sank his head further into her body. “I really am the last airbender.”
She nearly cried; feeling so much sorrow in her arms. She reached up and gripped him firmly, wrapping her arms about his neck and head, drawing him against her body tightly as she laid her head atop his. She wouldn’t let him go through this alone. Sokka stepped closer, and dropped his hand on Aang’s shoulder supportively.
There was nothing more to say. All the words that needed spoken, were out. Several minutes passed of calm, quiet melancholy as the three grouped tightly together and allowed time to pass them by.
After further time had passed, Katara gently began to rub the side of Aang’s head with her glove. “Aang. We need to get going. I’m going to go to Appa and pack up all our things. You just relax, okay?” She spoke without gazing into his face, simply keeping him pressed into her neck still. He still seemed so wounded.
“Yeah buddy, I don’t think we should linger here anymore. We have many other places to go to, I’m sure we’ll find something to cheer you up.” Sokka attempted to encourage him.
“Actually, I’m going to go back to the temple statues. When you’re finished I’ll be there.” He calmly stated, keeping himself rested in Katara’s arms.
“Okay.” She patted him gently once more before gently releasing him and rising to her feet.
“We’ll be back for you in a minute.” Sokka said as they left Aang sitting on the ground.
“I told you we should have let him know.” Sokka didn’t even glance to his sister, as he tied down their belongings on Appa’s saddle straps.
“I tried to warn him.” Katara stopped for a moment, keeping her hand rested on the back of a strap as her mind mulled over all the warnings she gave him, and just how much he obviously wished none were true. She sighed, and finished tying down the straps. “But it’s over now and he knows. Thanks for being so supportive back there brother.” She smiled back to Sokka, a tear caught in each of her blue eyes. It means the world to me. She thought quietly, proud of her brother, but unable to say so.
“Anytime sis.” He patted her back. “Let’s get back to Aang.”
As they returned the winding rock pathway that led to the temple, Sokka sighed as he crossed his arms low before him. “What’s wrong?” Katara questioned, turning to him.
“It’s now nearly noon and breakfast was only jerky crumbs.” He shrugged, rolling his shoulders back. “Y’know, nothing major like starvation or anything.”
Katara narrowed her eyes at her brother’s sarcasm. “Stop moaning…none of us have eaten Sokka, I’m sure we will as soon as we get the chance.”
He gripped his stomach as he hunched forward, pacing slower than he had been a moment before. “That’s the problem! It isn’t me that’s moaning, it’s my stomach!” Katara just rolled her eyes and pressed on, leaving him behind.
Once they reentered the dark chamber, they both found Aang idly staring into the statue of Roku once again. What is so special about that statue? Katara pondered, as she approached him from behind, her brother still slowly catching up. “Everything’s packed. You ready to go?” She called out sweetly, hoping to help him recover from this.
“How is Roku supposed to help me if I can’t talk to him?”
“Maybe you’ll find a way.” She spoke optimistically, there had to be some hope to hold onto for Aang. After all, it was his past life. There had to be some way to reconnect with himself, he was the Avatar.
The same sound of a wind charm filled the chamber, the three turned to spot the same lemur they chased out earlier darkening the doorway. It scuttled quickly over to Sokka’s feet, and dropped a collected handful of various fruits at his boots. “Looks like you made a new friend, Sokka!” Aang exclaimed, smiling once again.
“Can’t talk, must eat!” Sokka ushered with his mouth stuffed, munching down on the food given to him.
Aang grinned joyously as the lemur scurried to his side and wrapped up alongside his body, holding onto the side of his bald head. “Hey little guy.” Aang responded to it. Katara smiled warmly; perhaps this lemur was exactly what Aang needed.
Katara and Sokka packed up the various foods that the lemur had apparently scrounged up and left sitting by Appa. The creature seemed particularly friendly and resourceful! While they did this, Aang stood back with Appa and the lemur, gazing towards the air temple. “You, me, and Appa. We’re all that’s left of this place. We have to stick together.” He turned to his friends, as he approached them; the lemur perched on his arm. “Katara, Sokka, say hello to the newest member of our family.”
“What are you gonna name him?” Katara asked curiously. Just as she did so, it bolted off of his arm into the air, snatching a peach right out of Sokka’s gloved hand he was about to bite into. It bolted back to Aang’s arm, and began chewing on its prize.
“Momo!” He decided pleasantly. Katara and Aang laughed joyously, though Sokka didn’t find any humor in losing his snack and simply stood watch.
“Well let’s go, before Momo decides to eat all the food he brought me.” Sokka groaned as he climbed Appa’s tail.
“Us, Sokka.” Katara corrected as she followed her brother into the saddle.
Just a moment later, they took to the skies. Katara sat with her brother on Appa’s head. “See, it’s not so–” She consoled her brother as he sat gazing down past Appa’s horn.
“Don’t, Katara.” Sokka shoved his gloved hand over Katara’s mouth, stopping her comforting.
Her eyes widened in shock, before dropping her eyebrows in brief anger. She slapped away his arm and glared back at him. “Stop that! I don’t want your dirty glove in my mouth!”
Staring haughtily at his sister, a smirk lifted one side of his lips as he crossed his arms before his chest arrogantly.
“Ugh! You steer. I’m going back to the saddle.” She threw the reigns to her brother and quickly crawled past him.
“Wha–hey! You can’t do that! This is my first time in the drivers’ seat; do you want me to wreck him?” Appa roared in answer, apparently finding insult in the thought of being wrecked. “Easy there snot-monster. I meant no disrespect.” This warranted a second bellow as his head shifted back slightly, scaring Sokka to fall back onto Appa’s neck with a shout.
Katara giggled mockingly at Appa’s reaction. “You’ll do just fine.” Then she finished climbing into the saddle. Aang sat idly at the back, leaning over the saddlebags and gazing towards his lost home; with a cooing Momo wrapped around his shoulder. Her eyes softened at his sight. Instead of approaching him, she knelt at the saddle’s front. Katara wasn’t going to bother Aang; knowing all too well he needed to finish mourning his loss.
Props to Ianbernard for helping make this wonderful chapter template with images! (he created the images)
The Boy in the Iceberg
For the collective works of the author, go here.