|More from PSUAvatar14||Hurt, comfort||G||None yet|
22 July 2014
Aang tries to comfort Katara after she used bloodbending against Hama.
It was a vital part of them.
It was one of the reasons why they grew so close to each other.
It was one of the reasons why their relationship blossomed into a deep love.
They always knew when to come for the other and put them at ease.
She wanted to be alone that night.
She didn't feel like she deserved to be comforted, held, assured, nothing like that.
She felt she had just given herself away to the darkness.
She loved to waterbend, but not this aspect of it.
Standing on the shores of a nearby lake, Katara tried to stop the silent tears that rolled down her cheeks one by one, recalling what she had just done. She wanted no part of what that wicked woman was trying to teach her, but in the end, she capitulated to using it, lest her best friend and brother suffered harm.
Katara may have won, but she felt like she had lost.
Back at camp, Aang, Sokka, and Toph prepared to call an end to this wild and fearful night. The former two laid out their sleeping bags while the latter quick put up an earth tent. All were glad to be far away from the old woman.
"Having a room was nice," Sokka remarked, "but not at the cost of being at the will of Hama. I knew there was something off about her."
"Well, there's that," Toph added, "but I just missed my natural sleeping grounds." She fell onto the dirt ground below her and rested her hands under her head. "Ah, now this is relaxing."
Sokka looked at the blind earthbender with a look of curiosity. "Toph, I'll never understand how you can just lay on the ground like that. How can that be comfortable for anyone?"
"If you were an earthbender, you'd know," she answered. "Twinkle Toes doesn't count."
Speaking of "Twinkle Toes", the Avatar was pacing around camp somewhat. They had all seen Katara take off quite a while ago, seeking out time on her own, but she hadn't been back. No sign of her was to be found, and given they were still in Fire Nation territory, there was always that risk they could be recognized and taken away.
"Will you sit down, Aang?" Sokka requested. "You've been walking around so much, you're going to sink this camp into the ground."
"It's Katara," Aang answered. "Where is she? It's been over an hour!"
"Knowing her, she's probably by the lake or something practicing her bending. She'll be fine," the warrior tried to assure him.
"She seemed so upset before after bloodbending," Aang remarked. "I don't know...I think I should go find her. She could use someone right now."
Sokka approached Aang and stood next to him. "Look, I'm not sure if that's a good idea right now, either. She was really hurt and it's probably the last thing she wants to think about. Let her vent, whether it be through that practice or just by crying it out."
Aang sighed. "I can't just let this go. She has been there for me so many times when I was hurt. Now I think it's my turn to be there for her." He thought back to those moments when Katara became his lifeline, a true friend to him, someone he had fallen for...
Sokka rested a hand on his shoulder. "Well, I guess I can't stop you from trying. Good luck, I hope you can get through to her. You may just be the person she needs right now."
"Just stay up," the Avatar advised his friend. "You're her brother and could be just as important to helping her."
"I'll be here if you need me." The Tribesman smiled and watched as Aang went on his way.
The airbender didn't know what to expect as he walked through the forest; on Sokka's advice, he decided to look for a nearby lake. Would she be willing to talk about what happened, or would she be pushing it out of her mind? Would he be able to get close, or would he get dismissed by her? If he could talk, what exactly could he say to cheer her up?
All the meanwhile, Katara took a seat, folding her legs up to her chest. She buried her head in them, continuing to allow tears to leak from her eyes. She told herself she was no better than Hama, now exposed to that dark bending form and having used it. No matter what, it was something that could not be done.
She still didn't want anyone around her, but that request was to be denied when she heard rustling from the forest behind her. The teary-eyed waterbender lifted her head up and turned to it, wondering just who it was.
That's when she saw him, his disguise that was actually that school uniform, the headband, and grey eyes that projected a feeling of deep worry.
"Katara?" His quiet voice murmured.
Unable to stop the tears, she just looked briefly longer at him with her continued crestfallen look. "Hi, Aang," she said softly, turning her head away from him at that moment. Why is he here? I don't deserve him right now.
Seeing her turn away from him made Aang want to turn back to camp, but he knew he had gone to her for a reason. He couldn't exactly let that go, so he made his way over to Katara, sitting down next to her and laying a hand on her shoulder. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Katara wanted to just slip away from him and not even bother, but him being there brought a feeling of ease that she needed in that moment. So she lifted her head back up to him and tried to gather the words. "Aang...you know what I did, didn't you?" Her voice was a near-tremble as water continued to flood her saddened eyes.
Aang nodded sadly, trying to grasp what she was going through. "I know, and I can only imagine how much it must be bothering you right now." He glanced away for moment, trying to think of what he could say to help her; he wasn't exactly used to being the comforter. "Is there anything I can do to make it better?"
The waterbender sighed and wiped some falling tears away. "I don't think I exactly deserve to be in your presence right now...but just staying here is fine." She tried to force a smile.
"Oh, Katara..." Aang muttered. "There's no need to think that way. Of course you can be here. You've been here for me so many times, even when I thought I didn't deserve you. The least I can do is be here for you now."
"Thanks," she whispered. "I just...what kind of person am I? Now that I've been opened up to bloodbending..."
"It was an act of desperation," the airbender tried to assure his friend. "Think of me and the Avatar State, how I only went to it mainly when someone or myself was in danger. Bloodbending, in a way, kind of turned out to be your Avatar State. It's not something that controls you...as long as you control it, this won't happen again."
Katara could not find solace in these words. "But Aang, you had special training, plus, not to mention, you really can't go into the Avatar State now. It's not a risk for you...but for me, I could always wind up slipping back into bloodbending. What if I do? It was bad enough I succumbed to using it."
"But you had no choice," Aang reminded her. "I know you didn't want to use it, but if you didn't, I would probably be dead, and who knows what Hama could have done to Sokka as well. It's not like you want to use it regularly like she did. Just get the thought out of your head. You're not the kind of person she is."
Katara idly nodded, but still felt upset over what she had done. "I understand...but it's not the person I am supposed to be. I'm not a bloodbender."
"You don't have to be." Aang rubbed her shoulder. "I know it's not who you are. Forget Hama, and forget bloodbending. Just remember that, again, you saved me. You saved Sokka, and helped the village by restraining Hama and allowing the villagers to imprison her. You made a lot of good happen tonight, just like you always have. One use of bloodbending doesn't make you a bad person...you're still the kind, caring, sweet girl I first met."
The waterbender somewhat perked up at these warm words from her friend, raising her head again and finally looking him in the eye. She adjusted her kneeling stance so she was now facing him. "Thank you...but please, make sure I never turn to that again. Remind me that it's not right to use it, unless, spirits forbid, it is absolutely necessary. I want no part of it ever again."
Aang smiled. "Of course I will help you. I'm glad to, Katara...never will bloodbending be a problem for you, again. I promise."
Katara nodded and her smile grew a little more. "I know I can rely on you. Thank you."
Seeing her look grow all the warmer, he wrapped his arms around her. "No, thank you for always being here for me...I know I can rely on you just as much. Tonight, the least I could do was come for you."
"Oh, Aang," she murmured, hugging him back. "You didn't have to...but I'm glad you did. Thank you so much for being you."
"I'll always be me," the airbender replied, "just as I know you will always be you."
Katara relaxed and rested her head atop his shoulder, glad that she always had him, even if she did perform something she quickly came to consider as pure evil.
And isn't that what made the two work?
Always there to comfort the other when they needed it.
- Katara comforting Aang was quite common in the original series, so I wanted to try it the other way around. Hope it came out well.
For the collective works of the author, go here.