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"Alright I got my sword, knives, good clothes... at least the best I can afford and," Vakama said as he shot a blast of fire in the air, "My Firebending.
Today was a great day for the Fire Nation. The Fire Nation won an important battle against the Earth Kingdom which went on longer than they expected. Nevertheless the citizens and military were graceful for their victory and wasn't afraid to show it by celebrating. The younger men and women in training had the privilege of taking a break for a week and rejoice with their families while the adults had to stay at their bases.
Vakama already spent the first three days with his family and decided to spend the last four with his girlfriend Jin and friends.
He was currently waiting for her at her village. Which happens to have a small, but intimidating statue of their powerful ruler Fire Lord Azulon.
Vakama stood next to it admiring the craftsmanship while wandering how statues in the Earth Kingdom would look like.
After all, they could just bend the rocks themselves
In that moment he heard a voice calling his name in the distant. Vakama immediately turned around but was sadden to see no one there.
He then went back at observing the statue's details when suddenly he felt someone jump onto his back and wrap their arms around his neck. He was about to grab the arms and swing his own back so the person would fall in front of him, but he learned many lessons while training, and one of them was to make sure not to attack allies.
He made a hesitant turn and felt a sudden rush of surprise and happiness when he saw the beautiful eyes that could only belong to Jin.
"Vakama!" she cried with her sweet voice. She couldn't seem to find any other words to say, as the only thing she could manage to do was embrace him tightly, with small tears walking down her face.
Vakama didn't cry, but felt very warm and cold inside. They broke their embrace and Vakama smiled. A sad smile. He then wiped a tear away with his thump, feeling her warm skin, and hugged her again. No words were needed, they knew they had each other for this small amount of time and wanted to make the best of it.
"Jin...wow we haven't seen each other for months...we have a lot of catching up to do...how's your archery skills going along?"
Jin frowned. She seemed like she didn't want to talk on the topic, like she wanted to talk about more...personal things. Still, she couldn't blame him. They have both been training immensely hard and didn't know when the next time they would see each other was. Being away from each other under all the pressure surrounding them made them more focus on their training instead of each other in time, and it may take a while for them to feel the connection again, but they knew they couldn't develop really powerful feelings now...not when both of them were training for war. This was only a modest relationship, and they both knew that.
At least that was what their heads were telling them.
She felt as awkward as Vakama was and didn't prepare anything to say, so she thought she would go along with the topic and hope it will lead up to something more interesting.
"I'm getting a lot better than I was before, in fact," she pulled a red apple from her bag, "put this on your head."
Vakama looked at Jin, then at the apple, then back at her. He slowly took the apple from her grasp and raised it toward his head.
In the last moment he took a quick bite from the apple and said, "Mmm, thanks I needed that," smiling with his mouth full.
"Vakama!" Jin yelled happily as she ran toward him and gave him a friendly slap in the arm.
"Sorry but the apple was too tempting," he said with another smile.
Jin gave him another hug and took the apple from his hand, and then she took a bite of her own.
"You would! Now seriously put it on your head."
"I'm not sure this is a good idea..."
"Why you don't trust me?"
"No I trust you, I just don't trust having bows being shot at near my head."
Jin chuckled and said, "Then you don't need to worry."
The next moment she fired her bow so quickly Vakama thought this would be the last moment in his life. When the bow hit the apple directly in the middle without leaving a scratch on him he knew he should never doubt Jin's skill with a bow again.
"Do you trust having bows being shot near your head now?"
"Only when you're doing it again."
She smiled again and went over to pick up the arrow embedded in the apple.
"No need to ask, I'm pretty sure the Yun Yan Archers will recruit you soon."
"It's tougher then you think. It is one of the most elite forces in the Fire Nation and only a few make it in. I'm just glad they
let man and woman join. They want you for your skill and don't care which gender you are, which is hard to find in a respectable faction."
Vakama couldn't believe how Jin was talking now; she talked more like a soldier now and sounded much more mature than the typical fifteen year old girls from her village, an attribute Vakama admired.
"Eh just keep on practicing and you'll achieve your goals...just don't practice on me."
She smiled again and bite her lower lip. He didn't know why but it had a crazy affect on him whenever she did that. She then hugged him again.
Vakama felt the tears starting to come but held them in; he didn't want to get too emotional. Emotions make you more vulnerable he thought.
"I missed you too," he said while running his hand down her head, "let's walk around a little."
After a few hours fell by, nightfall slowly descended upon them and they prepared to meet up with their friends who were waiting at a camp site.
"Oh, there are a few things I should tell you before we meet with Chan and Ziki..." Jin said.
"Alright, what's up?"
"Ziki told me a yesterday that they were going out, but it's nothing serious yet."
"What? I can't imagine them as a couple..."
"That's what they said about us remember?"
"Yeah but look how much they were wrong," he said and he held her tighter.
When they finally got to the campsite they saw three tents, one of them slightly larger than the other two, a pile of campfire
wood, logs to sit on, and two figures who can only be Chan and Ziki.
"Finally you guys got here!" Chan said as he got up to meet the two.
After greeting Jin he pulled Vakama over and gave him a hug.
"Vakama man you look so different, what's new?"
"Nothing much, military training, we won a battle against the Earth Kingdom, you're going out with Ziki."
"...Who told you?"
"Right, you were going to find out eventually anyways, let's go back to the girls."
Vakama followed Chan back at the campsite and was slightly disappointed to see Ziki sitting next Jin while he had to sit next to
Chan. He didn't say anything though; it was for the best that they caught up with each other before sitting back with their girlfriends.
After a couple of hours of sharing stories and eating, everyone started to feel drowsy and things settled down. There was an awkward silence and the only sound was those of insects and frogs. The fire was dimming slowly but no one made a comment, trying to enjoy the moment, then Ziki said, "I'm getting kind of cold..."
"You are? Here I'll fix that," Chan said as he got up to throw more wood in and then augmented the fire with his bending, making the area more brighter, much to the disturbance of Vakama and Jin.
Ziki sighed and said, "Never mind, I'm going back to the tent and calling it a night, goodnight everyone." She then left to one of the smaller tents leaving Chan sitting on the log alone.
"Did I do something wrong?"
Vakama shook his head slowly and mouthed the words "Watch and learn."
He then purposely made the fire dimmer again and held Jin closer to him, making her smile as she laid her head on his shoulder.
Chan closed his eye as in thought, seeming sad by the bad move he made. He then got up and said,
"Alright guys I'm heading off to my tent, see you tomorrow."
"But wait there's only one tent left, we have to set up the forth before we all sleep." Jin protested.
"There isn't a forth tent."
"Then where is Vakama going to sleep?"
This made Chan burst out loud and made Vakama give her a certain look, he was only joking though of course.
"You guys are sharing the third tent; it was Ziki's idea," He smiled, "goodnight."
Vakama then woke up from his dream about one of the most memorial and emotional days of his life. He yawned and then got up to see where Koh was, the only other being he got to talk with. Koh suddenly crept from the shadows from his personal chamber, slithering around Vakama slowly. Of course Vakama wasn't frightened by this attempt to scare him as Koh redid this pattern many times, however this time it was different. He added a new face to his collection, a face that became familiar to him right away.
"Jin!?" Vakama yelled while finally showing emotion through a terrified face. Koh grinned and declared,
"You're mine!" and leapt toward him to snatch his face.
Now Vakama really woke up and sighed, it was only a dream.
- As you might notice I have a hard time picking names so I usually use some names from the original series.
- This chapter opens up about Vakama's past and give some insights on his personality.
- For some reason my computer was acting weird I was writing this and that's why it looks poorly formatted, I did my best to fix it though.
For the collective works of the author, go here.