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|More from HammerOfThor||Romance||PG||Positive||None|
|In the Spirit of Love|
July 27, 2013
"I have to do this."
Somewhere in the Southern Water Tribe
The snow crunched lightly beneath the man's feet. The shortness of his stride, as well as the slight raggedness in his path, revealed the extent of his years, but his steps were otherwise determined. He was well covered against the late evening cold, one of the requirements of living at the South Pole, and as he trudged further up the hill, he pulled his coat up higher to better protect his exposed face. His destination was difficult to see in the relative darkness, a slowly increasing glow over the top of the mound the only indication he was making any progress. As he came over the summit, the glow from the moon intensified, illuminating just how far he had travelled from the settlement near the base of the hill.
He had waited until that night to make his journey; only in the full glow could one truly appreciate the distance its light could reach. Staring intently up at the night sky, he hoped she would come. He had made the same journey many times before, each time in vain, and each time, he had returned from his trip a little less hopeful she would appear. He would try again, but he had begun to wonder after each journey just how many more times he could travel the same path.
He thought back to the very first time he had met her. A young man, idealistic maybe, sarcastic certainly. He had made a promise to protect her, a promise he had broken. She had chosen to accept her fate for the good of her people, but he always felt he could have done more, done more to ensure she wouldn't be placed in that position. He fought hard to keep back his tears, the memory of that night, so long ago, still painful to remember.
Several hours passed, and still the man waited, in spite of the chill he felt in the air. As every time he had made the journey, he did nothing, said nothing, just waited. But as he did, he began to wonder, as he had done several times before, whether he was doing the right thing. Would seeing her again help him move on, or just convince him further he should have done more? Would she ever appear, or was he simply chasing a lost dream? He stared out at the night sky again, trying to find an answer, as he had tried so many times before.
Several more hours passed, and still she did not come. He sat in silence, the source of light his only companion. The moon had been full on every other journey to the top of the hill he had made, but this night, this otherwise ordinary night, it seemed so much brighter, so much more, alive. Staring at, he almost felt like it was listening, as though it could hear him from so far away.
"I'm sorry," he said. He didn't know why he spoke, but something, a feeling, he didn't know where it came from, told him that he should.
"I'm sorry," he said again. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you. I'm sorry I didn't keep my promise to protect you. I should have done more. If I had done what I swore to do, you would still be alive. I have tried for so long to let go of this guilt, but letting go means accepting you are gone, means accepting I failed." He broke off, expecting something, anything, to happen. But nothing did. The sky was still clear, the moon still shining as brightly. Nothing to indicate that that feeling wasn't just in his head. Resigning himself to the fact that he had again made the journey in vain, he turned his back on the scene before him and began the journey back down the hill.
He turned at the sound of his name, and found her floating there, shining brightly, just as he had hoped for so long she would. She looked at him, her youth a deep contrast to his own advancing years, but her eyes seemed far older, seemed to know far more than her years suggested.
"You finally came," he said, his voice slightly more shaky than he would have hoped. "I had begun to think you never would."
I felt it was time.
"I'm sorry I couldn't..."
I heard what you said. You never failed me Sokka. You did your duty, as I did mine. I am never gone, I will always be listening. And I will always love you.
The man felt overwhelmed with emotion, overwhelmed that she had appeared after all this time. In the end, he could manage to utter only a single word.
- This one-shot is a slight departure from the stuff I usually write, but I thought I'd challenge myself to try something outside my comfort zone. I'll admit it wasn't easy, but I hope you enjoyed it.
- The basic plot for this story came in two parts. I came up with the idea of setting it around Sokka near the end of his life, and as I was brainstorming ideas for what I could write about, I thought about things he might have regretted during his life. After re-watching the last episode of Book One: Water, I decided to explore how an elderly Sokka might feel about the circumstances surrounding Yue's death. From there, the story blossomed.
- The word count for this story is 786.
- The opening paragraph was my favourite to write, mainly because it allowed me to explore a lot of visual imagery, and really set the scene for the story.
- The story received a score of 9.1 in Ty's one-shot competition, and won its writer the award for "Writing out of His Comfort Zone".
For the collective works of the author, go here.