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Lean On Me (Not the Glee Version)
Chapter information
Series

Avatar: The Last Black Dude

Book

One

Chapter

Eleven

Written by

Jeff The Hippie

Release date

December 20, 2011

Chronology
Last chapter

The Foreshadowing

"Man, Aang," said Sokka with a frown. "You sure look beat."

Aang just laid there and took what was quite possibly the longest drag on his medicine that had ever been done. "You said it," he replied calmly afterward.

Whilst the cigarette hung between his index and middle fingers his new bison whistle, held up by his right hand, now took the previous position of the joint between Aang's lips.

"You've been blowing that whistle for a while," Sokka commented.

"And?"

"And... Appa's right here. Ya know; we've been riding on him."

Aang took another long drag before responding. "And?"

"What's the point in blowing on it? It's probably getting really annoying for Appa at this point."

Once more Aang had a little puff before saying anything. "Appa wants a boyfriend and this is the only way I know to attract Sky Bison," he said gently, clouds of smoke coming from his mouth.

"A... A boyfriend?"

"Yeah; a boyfriend. You got a problem with that?"

"Uh... N-no."

Aang finished his medicine and threw it over Appa's side. "I'm just gonna take it easy now," he said as he got curled up into a little ball.

His eyes remained closed for about five seconds before Katara interrupted his golden slumbers.

"Look," she said, pointing over Appa's side.

"What?" asked Aang, his eyes still closed.

"Look down there. They look like two refugee groups."

"Like the Tom Petty song?" he asked, now with one eye open. She shrugged and he closed his eyes again for another five seconds.

"Aang," she called sweetly.

"Yes?"

"They seem to be arguing."

Aang looked down at them again. "I see." He tried to close his eyes again, but she wouldn't have it.

"I thought you'd... wanna help them."

"You know I do," he said as he sat up, "but something about recently being beaten about the back with poles just derails your motivation."

"Just go down there to help them," Sokka butted in.

"Nah," Aang responded loosely as he laid back down on his stomach. "Seems kinda boring and pointless. I mean, I'm the Avatar. I have more important things to do than help some refugees having a fit over..." He looked back down at them for about ten seconds. "What looks like a fit over who goes into the canyon first."

"What important things? Smoking weed and taking a catnap?" begged Katara, making Sokka laugh hard.

"Ugh, fine. Sokka, gimme that bottle you've had since, like, Kyoshi."

Aang wrote a note, put it in the bottle, and dropped it down after yelling "Gangway!"

Meanwhile, on the ground...

"No, the Zhangs get to go first!" one side argued.

"But we were here first!" the others shouted angrily.

CRASH!

"What's this?" asked one Gan Jin. "A note?" He picked it up and read aloud:

Dear refugees,

Try Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Sincerely, your friendly neighborhood nigga.

"Hey," said one Zhang. "That could work."

Meanwhile, up in the sky...

"There," Aang said gleefully. "I just did in thirty seconds what you would have had me do in two days. Now please just let me sleep."

A few days later...

"Aang, calm down," Katara said affably. He had just awoken from yet another nightmare and was sweating vigorously.

"Don't worry," he said, panting. "I'm... fine."

"Are you sure?" asked Sokka. "This is the fourth ti-"

"I'm going for a walk," he said as he stood. "Just go back to sleep."

His eyes were like stone. His voice was toneless... Even more than usual, if it is possible. He was 100% deadpan. It wasn't until morning that they realized how bad it was.

"You never went to sleep last night, did you?" Katara asked sharply.

He shook his head. "I couldn't sleep."

They got on Appa and soon learned that they were out of cash and out of food; someone needed a job.

"Well it's not gonna be me," said Aang as he sat down in protest. Sokka noticed Katara staring at him, and he knew what that meant.

"Nuh-uh," he said as he sat down next to Aang. "I'm not working. Why can't Aang?"

"Do you honestly have no recollection as to the turmoil I have just recently endured?" asked Aang as he pulled a joint out of the inside pocket of his jacket. He examined it for a few seconds and then returned it to its original place.

"Fair enough."

"Besides; I'm the Avatar! My job is to protect those who would otherwise have no protection, not flip patties."

"I said fair enough!" Sokka picked up a rock laying next to him, chucked it, and stood back up. "What job am I supposed to get anyway?"

Aang pointed to a man and woman having an argument. "The husband and wife are fueding," he said amiably as he pushed up his hair.

"How'd you know they're married?" asked Sokka.

"That."

"Wha... Huh?"

"That. How'd you know that they're married. And trust me; I know that kind of rage. That type of fiery dispute can only be brought forth by the soul-sucking, devilish execution of the commitment of matrimony, and act that not only binds you to the same sack of meat for the entirety of your natural life, but only relieves you from that horrid, drunken disease of a decision if you give that wretched, now fully dead inside dreg of a person at least half of your stuff."

"That's... dark," Sokka commented.

"Almost as dark as the perilous, incoherent abyss that is the suicidal commitment of marriage."

"Whatever. What can they pay me to do?"

"Go and find out," advised Katara.

Later...

"You're the one who said I needed a job," Sokka said as he loaded cargo onto the vessel.

"Yeah," Aang said as he pointed toward the sky. "That was, however, before those big scary clouds rolled around the corner.

Sokka sneered at him. "You're the Avatar. If there's any trouble I'm sure that you can fix it."

Aang face-palmed as he knew what was coming next. The old man ran over.

"You're the Avatar?" he asked.

"That's right," Katara replied blithely.

"Weren't you listening?" asked Aang, only to be ignored.

"Well don't be so smiley about it," the fisherman proclaimed blatantly.

"I never smile, punk," Aang replied dispassionately. The sailor shot him a scornful look and went on.

"The Avatar disappeared for a hundred years! You turned your back on the world."

The rude man churlishly poked Aang in the chest so he vehemently pushed his arm away, all the while keeping solid, intimidating eye contact.

"First of all," Aang said, now poking him in the chest, "quit talking about me as if I'm not standing right in front of you. Secondly, if you ever disrespect me like that again I'm gonna go all Mike Tyson on that finger and feed it to my Flying Lemur."

"Ha! You'd be locked up in a second."

"That's cool. We can go toe-to-toe in the middle of a cell."

"If you fight anything like you protect people I think I'll do just fine."

"Okay, break it up," Katara said as she stepped between the two. "That's enough. You both should be ashamed."

"Your boyfriend's a coward, honey. Sorry."

"Aang is not a coward... And he's not my boyfriend!"

"Well, I can't speak on the boyfriend part, but but as for cowardliness..."

He pointed behind her. She turned around to see Aang escaping on his glider. Katara gave chase on Appa.

"Damn hippies," the old man mumbled.

Once inside the cave...

"Aang," she said smoothly, interrupting his meditation. "Are you okay?"

Before he responded he took out the joint again, looked it over slowly and stuck it behind his ear.

"It's kinda ironic," he said faintly. "I was so ashamed over losing my temper because of that old dude by threatening him that I came up here and started punching the walls, once more showing my immaturity like some sort of buffoon. Gyatso would be exceedingly disappointed in my previous decisions... He always taught me 'Just count to ten', 'Turn the other cheek', 'Patience is a virtue'. It was like his mantra..."

Katara noticed his solemn discontent and felt deep compassion for her companion.

"You seem... Deep in thought," she said as she sat down next to him. "Care to talk about it?"

He shook his head, staring intently at the wall directly across from him as if he expected it to jump up and begin dancing for him.

"What is it about? Jet?"

"What's there to ponder about him? He's just some mixed up kid who forgot the second lesson in drug dealing. All he has is connections to some covert organization with half of Columbia in their noses." He took the joint from behind his ear, lit it up and smoked it as he talked. "Ya see, I was often coerced into playing the role of the black sheep... No pun intended."

Back in my day...

"How come you never wanna stay outside, Dhani?" Aang asked. He shrugged in response.

"It's too damn bright."

"You sure do curse a lot."

"You curse even more than I do!"

"Yeah, but I don't just curse for no reason. I do it when it makes sense."

Aang rolled a joint and Dhani was appalled.

"Aang," he said, nearly having a heart attack. "That's illegal!"

"What's your point?"

"You could get in a shit ton of- don't light the damn thing!"

He pulled his medicine away slowly from the brightly lantern and took a brief, cheerful puff.

"Chill out, bro," Aand said mellowly. A dopey smile rested upon his vibrant face. "I can work the system like Catholic immigrants worked America's railroads."

Dhani shot him a confused face. "What the fuck are you talking about?"

Aang shrugged. "I have no idea. I think it's the cannabis speaking." Aang took a long draw and Dhani went on with his attack.

"Ya know, I simply cannot fathom why an intelligent individual such as yourself would ever indulge in such a handicap of that stature," Dhani stated, waving smoke away from his face.

"Oh? And to what does that pertain to?"

"Pot just makes you feel like you've spun around in a circle for a while."

"The only people who say that are those who've never enjoyed the mental and spiritual awakenings which the herb bestows upon people."

Dhani shook his head. "You just don't want to admit that you're addicted."

"Addicted?" Aang burst into laughter that lasted for about fifteen seconds. "Guess how long it's been since I last smoked." Dhani made a few guesses and finally gave up.

"Two months. Given that amount of time Kim Kardashian could get married, divorced and film an entire season of her mind-numbing, tasteless garbage that that the masses refer to as reality television. As for addiction, I'd much rather be drinking a cup of tea, but I am currently at a loss when it comes to the beverage, so the grass will make a fine substitute."

They were about to continue on the subject when the old men/monks came by.

"Aang," said Gyatso as the legion of old dudes grew closer. "Come with us. We need to speak with you."

Aang took a subtle, almost unnoticeable step back. "You guys didn't happen to look under my bed, did you?" he asked.

"Uh... No."

Aang nodded and turned to Dhani. They high-fived and hugged. Then he caught up with the monks.

A few minutes later...

"You see, Aang," explained Gyatso inelegantly, "you... You're the Avatar."

"Okay... And?"

The monks all quietly gasped. Aang could tell by the looks that some were conveying that they were about to, excuse my French, flip their shit like crappy pancakes.

"You're not at all surprised?" asked one, a slight twitch making itself visible in his left eye.

"Not really. The last Avatar, Roku, was a firebender, which would make the next and airbender, and I'm the best around."

Most of the monks were glaring at him and he was sure that they had noticed his reddened eyes.

"Normally we would have told you of your identity when you turned sixteen," said Gyatso, cutting the silence like butter, "but there are troubling signs. Storm clouds are gathering."

"I fear that war may be upon us, young Avatar," said the middle monk.

That's not my name, Aang thought irritably as he sipped his mate de coca.

"Not to be a smart-ass," Aang said, clearly attempting to be a smart-ass, "but storm clouds gather all the time. It's no reason to worry. Trust me; I am the Avatar."

Gyatso laughed but the other monks just stared at him.

"Tough crowd," Aang commented.

He finished his coca tea pondering what sort of misadventures awaited him in the near future.

"Avatar Aang," said one monk, pointing an aged, withered finger at him. "Your eyes are red. Why?"

Aang sniffed the air audibly before replying to seem casual (because, ya know; people always just sniff the air loudly for no apparent reason).

"I have allergies," he said as he analyzed the floor tiles and the little insects that crawled across them.

He looked upon the critters with all of the imagination he had stored inside of that humongous afro of his. He no longer saw bugs crawling toward a hole. He saw immigrants looking for a better life in a strange new land. Perhaps a recent war had just ended. Maybe they were finally allowed to leave the oppressive government of their old selves behind.

"Allergies to what?"

"...Old people."

He didn't mean to be disrespectful; it just came out. He wasn't really paying attention. Nonetheless the monks gasped loudly prompting Aang to look up and forget about his immigrant friends.

"Oh, no disrespect, Gyatso," he said.

"Me?" Gyatso replied as he brushed off the top of his head. "Why would I be disrespected, Aang?"

Gyatso and the middle monk laughed.

Unflashback...

"So you were upset that you were the Avatar?" asked Katara in an attempt to wrap her mind around things

"What? No! What would give you that idea? Anyway, as I said, black sheep. No pun. Moving on."

Reflashback...

"There is a house in New Orleans," Aang sang as he played bluesy riffs on his guitar, "they call the rising sun."

"It's been the ruin of many a-young boy," Dhani sang, rocking along with his sitar, "and God, I know I'm one."

The two jammed through the remainder of the song and after drank some tea.

"It's official, Dhani," Aang said as he aimlessly played the G chord. "They've finally ostracized me."

"What?" Dhani replied confusedly, putting his harmonica playing on pause.

"That Man's been trying trying to keep me down since the day I was born. With the abrupt news of my spiritual state the mindless sheeple that are the other airbending youth now completely ignore me as if I have Leprosy. The Man has won, brother."

"That's a damn shame," Dhani candidly commented as his harmonica neared his lips.

Once they connected he played a maddeningly intricate solo. "Now you try."

He threw the instrument at Aang, but he just let it hit him.

"I don't think you understand me," he said. "The Man has won!"

"It's all in your head, dude," Dhani assured him.

"If only it were that easy..."

Later...

"You seem troubled, Aang," Gyatso said calmly as their game of Pai Sho commenced.

Aang sighed, staring at the board. "Ya know you're one of the few people around this joint who still call me Aang?"

"Well, that is your name."

Aang sighed again and moved a tile. "Sometimes I wonder..."

A silence followed, but it was brief.

"Look!" Gyatso cried as he pointed out the window behind Aang. "It's a thing!"

Aang turned around, then realized his stupidity and turned back around. When he did he noticed that Gyatso had rearranged many of the tiles.

"Nice trick," Aang commented, trying to move the tiles back to their original positions. "I'll have to use it sometime."

"Okay, but you owe me a copper piece for every time you use it."

Aang cracked a quarter of a smile and they continued playing.

"You know, Aang, you could get into some serious trouble for your... your habit."

He wasn't fully certain of what Gyatso was talking about for quite a while. It was silent until he figured it out.

"I suppose. Then again, I could get in trouble for just about everything I do. That's the day-to-day life of an outspoken revolutionary."

"You? A revolutionary?" Gyatso took a moment to chuckle to himself. "Surely you don't believe that smoking hash and complaining makes you a revolutionary."

"That's what Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin did."

Gyatso chuckled a bit even though he didn't fully understand the joke.

"Seriously though. Now that I'm the Avatar I'm going to be able to o a lot more. I've mastered airbending. Next on my plate are water, earth and fire. Once I've mastered all of them I can become Grand Poobah of the Universe and fix all the wrongs in the world."

"Patience is a virtue, my son. Remember that."

Suddenly the door burst open and in came Aang's least favorite monk.

"You're playing games with him?" asked the monk, astonished and angered. "The Avatar should be training!"

That's still not my name... Aang thought irritably.

Both monks were conversing so Aang just tuned them out until he heard the rude monk tell him to come with him.

"Maybe after our game is finished," Aang said as he moved one tile. He looked up and noticed the monk, clearly offended. Aang was proud of it. "You're welcome to stay and watch."

"Avatar Aang, you'll come here so I can train you right this instant," mean monk said, his teeth held tightly together in enmity.

"I think I would proclaim Ronald Reagan as the greatest president before I came within spitting distance of you."

Gyatso shot Aang look as if to tell him to respect his elders. Aang ignored it.

"Get over here right now!"

"Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!"

The monk left, respiring boorishly.

Gyatso and his pupil continued their game in silence for about three minutes.

"Gyatso," Aang began, "why is it that coca leaves, besides continents residing far from us, only grow around our temples?"

Gyatso thought hard on this, but ultimately gave up.

"I'm not certain," he said, "but wait about fifty years and I'm sure there will be some pretty radical theories involving conspiracies and beings from other planets."

Aang cracked a half-smile and their game continued.

Yet another unspecific amount of time later...

You tell 'em, Gyatso, Aang thought as he looked on the monks as the discussed Aang's practices.

"You've babied him, Gyatso," said the coarse monk. "You never have him train."

"He is actually very skilled in many different forms of battle," the awesomest monk ever stated. "I wouldn't be surprised if he was able to defeat you in a duel."

The least awesomest monk brushed that statement off of his shoulder and continued his attack.

"Also, we can't forget his bad influence on the other children. What with his long, big hair and his strange clothes. Why can't he just get dreadlocks?!"

"He says wearing the same clothes as all those surrounding him is a submission to the machine. I'm not quite sure what he means, but it's clear that he is adamant on the subject. Furthermore he claims that growing his hair out naturally is the only hairstyle he could be seen in. I personally have no qualms about it."

"He challenges our way of life, Gyatso. He refuses to grow anything in the garden, for instance. He will only ever grow any plants from inside a closet! What sense does that make?!"

"You don't say..."

"That's enough," said Pasang. "I've made my decision. Aang will go to the Eastern Air Temple to continue his training. It is what's best for the world."

Reunflashback...

"They planned to ship me away like an old Genesis record on eBay..."

He stood up, his hands balled into fists, and hit the wall like it owed him money. The cave crumbled around his fist and fell to the ground below him.

"Calm down!" Katara ordered.

Aang closed his eyes, his back turned toward her, and took a deep breath.

"There I go again," he said dramatically.

"It's alright," she said with an accommodating smile.

"No, it's not. A fist is for a barbarian, Katara. A brain is for an intellectual."

"I feel for you, Aang. I can't even imagine how terrible it would be if I had been taken away from my people."

"Taken away? Ha! I wish..."

Reflashback... Again!

"Don't do it," Dhani advised Aang.

"I have to," Aang replied, sipping his favorite tea. Little did he know it would be a long time before he got another cup.

"Look out that window," Dhani said as he pointed passionately toward it. "It's dark. It's going to rain. Let me tell you what that means for you: you're going to fucking die!"

"It's do or die, man. Who knows when they're getting rid of me?"

"The other temple won't be so bad, dude. For instance... Well... Besides you, it'd all girls there."

"I prefer Fire Nation chicks," he replied blankly.

They both got quiet and Aang finished his tea.

"What's the point of running away?" asked Dhani as he poured himself another cup.

"I've mastered airbending. There's no point in going there, man. It'd just be a big waste of time. If they'd keep me here I'd be happy to stay, but that isn't the case."

"So what's your plan then?"

"First I'll go down south and master waterbending. Then I'll learn earthbending in... Probably Omashu. Then firebending. Then I'll change the world forever, fuck bitches, get money, die, live again, and have hilarity eternally ensue. The end."

Aang had been looking all around for something for quite a long time, so Dhani finally intervened.

"You alright, bro?" he asked.

"I can't find my Afro Sheen... I know I have some someplace."

"Fuck your Afro Sheen, dude! If you don't get moving quickly you'll drown at sea! Besides, I'm sure you can pick some up at whatever Water Tribe you visit."

"I dunno, man," Aang protested.

"Trust me, dude. You'll be fine."

Aang scratched his head and finally nodded.

"I... I guess that's it," Aang said. They hugged and Aang was all ready to leave when Dhani called him back.

"Hey," Dhani said as he reached into his right pocket. "Catch."

He did; it was Dhani's harmonica. Aang tried to argue, but Dhani cut him off before he could make a peep.

"Just keep it."

Aang dropped it slowly into his pocket. "Thanks," he replied shakily.

They hugged once more and Aang finally left.

"My, my, hey, hey," sang Aang once Appa was in the air, playing harmonica in between lyrics. "Rock 'N' Roll is here to stay. It's better to burn out Tahn to fade away. My, my, hey, hey..."

Rereunflashback...

"Then I woke up with you standing over me," he said, concluding his story.

Katara rested her hand on his shoulder as to console him. She was in the middle of telling him that everything happened for a reason when a crazed old woman entered the cave (which doesn't really make any sense considering that Katara needed to use Appa to get up there). It turned out that she was the fisherman's wife. She came in peril to tell them that neither her husband nor Sokka had returned. Aang and Katara vowed to save them.

"Go nigga, go!"

As they flew around Katara grew increasingly worried. Aang wasn't, though. He knew he would save them. He knew he would because if he didn't... He wouldn't know what to do with himself.

After a long time of searching they found the ship; it was nearly underwater.

"Grab the reigns!" Aang ordered. Katara did and he immediately jumped down to the ship. Once he was on solid footing he ran to the two living people on the ship. With his right arm he grabbed Sokka. With his left he grabbed the older man. With all the strength he could muster he squatted down and jumped for the sky. He just barely made it to Appa.

Katara immediately turned Appa around. As they looked back they could see what remained of the ship being consumed by a massive wave. They went back to the cave to reunite the husband and wife.

"You owe this boy an apology!" the woman yelled at her husband.

"As nice as an apology would be," Aang said, just a few steps away, "an apology is bullcrap if it doesn't mean anything."

Sokka didn't get paid that day, but he got a fish. Katara didn't get a fish that day, but she did get more knowledge about her friend, Aang. As for Aang... It seems that he learned a little about himself too.

Trivia

  • "We can go toe-to-toe in the middle of a cell" is a line from NWA's 'Fuck the Police'.
  • The second deal of drug dealing, don't get high off your own supply, is a Scarface reference.
  • I got Dhani's name from Dhani Harrison of Thenewno2 (the son of George Harrison).
  • The song Dhani and Aang jammed on was 'The House of the Rising Sun' (or 'House of the Rising Sun', or even 'Rising Sun Blues' depending on who you ask).
  • Aang's "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me!" was a subtle reference to the famous lyrics in Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the Name'.
  • Dreadlocks are often used as a substitute in Tibetan Buddhism for the more common shaved head, which is why Tashi suggested Aang get that hairstyle.
  • The song Aang sang was Neil Young's well-known 'Hey, Hey, My, My,'.
  • I hope that ending was as cheesy and sickening for you to read as it was for me to write. I promise that from now on I'll find a way to end my chapters better than that.

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