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December 31, 2014
Ty Lee clutched the bundle close to her chest as she ascended the stairs. Each step creaked as she pressed her feet against them, not that it mattered. If she wanted to be sneaky, no one would've heard her.
And I'd stay off of the floor. The thought made her smile.
She knocked lightly on the first door she came to, and a voice pushed through.
Ty Lee slowly opened the door and greeted her daughter—who was sitting on her bed with an open book in her lap—with a grin. "Hey, San," she said, "Happy Birthday."
Sanaki perked up and slipped a small piece of paper in between the pages before closing the book. Ty Lee noticed her aura's subtle shift in brightness. "Thanks, Mom!"
"Seventeen years old already! Boy, does time fly..." she said.
"Yeah...this last year in particular was a bit crazy," San replied, and the noblewoman noticed her daughter's aura diminish slightly.
"It's been a year of ups and downs, but at least we got through it." She held out the bundle she'd been holding on to. "Here, it's from your father and me."
San eyed the package carefully, appraising it in a way very much like Yun might. Ty Lee looked on as her daughter carefully undid the wrapping and gazed at what was contained within.
"Legends: A Look at the World of Spirits." She grinned. "Oh, I think I'm gonna enjoy this one!"
"I found that while I was walking through the farmer's market," Ty Lee replied. "Your father agreed that it was something you'd absolutely love."
Sanaki's aura shifted again, this time from its usual cool orange to a slight peach color. She was both happy and curious.
"Will you stop that?" San joked. "It's not fair that both of my parents can tell exactly how I'm feeling."
Ty Lee smiled. "Am I so obvious about it? I guess it is kind of a habit."
"I swear, no one else I know has to deal with this level of scrutiny." She ran her finger along the cover of the book.
"Chikyuu probably does," the noblewoman replied, "and knowing Toph, she doesn't get off so easily."
San giggled. "You're probably right." She opened to the book's first page; it was a table of contents. "Wow...Wan Shi Tong, General Old Iron, Hei Bai, Enma, the Knowledge Seekers, Tienhai...this book has a lot of stories!"
"Some of those sound familiar. Aang mentioned a few of them when he told us stories; I guess he would know a lot more about them than most people."
San flipped through the first few pages, allowing just a few words to sink in; she would have plenty of time to actually read it later. When she flipped back to the table of contents, her eyes widened.
"They...they actually have an entry about Usha in here! The spirit that attacked Tenzin..."
Ty Lee cocked her head. "Really?"
"Yep. Now I really want to know who the author of this whole thing is." She closed the book and flipped it around, but no name was present on the bindings. When she looked at the first page, the works were attributed to anonymous. "Hm..."
"Find anything, Sweetie?" Ty Lee asked.
San pursed her lips. "No. If I had to guess, I'd say that this came from Ba Sing Se. With a formal university, it's likely a professor or student wrote this using what they learned."
Ty Lee shrugged. "Sounds good to me. Glad your present's got you thinking, already."
Sanaki's aura shifted again, but this shift was drastic. It went from orange to purple. San was no longer in the conversation; she was focusing on something.
"What's wrong, Sanaki?"
Her daughter glanced up and closed the book. "Really, Mom? I'm fine. Stop doing that."
"Well, if you know I'm doing it, then you know I know you're not fine," she replied.
San sighed. "It's just...after the whole thing with...with Sora in Republic City, Tenzin told Lu Ten, Kyani, and I something."
"What happened, Sweetie?"
"He told us that Sora's Bloodbending was tied to the Spirit World, but that she had refused to tell him how. I'm just...what if a spirit did something to her? Usha already seemed to know what was going to happen."
Ty Lee bit her lower lip. "I see..."
"Are you okay, Mom?"
"You...you've never mentioned what happened—Sora's death—to me before. We've never...you haven't told me or your father anything. I just assumed you were fine, that you—"
"Mom, you didn't do anything wrong," San said. "I didn't come to either of you because...I worked through that on my own. Well, we kinda worked on it together."
Ty Lee pursed her lips. "I know you and Kyani did...but I can't help but feel I should've said something. Been there."
"You were there," she replied as she rested a hand on her mother's shoulder. "You cheered me up by being who I've always known you were." San brushed her free hand over the cover of the book. "It really is a beautiful gift. Thank you. I didn't mean to dredge up all of that. I was just...thinking."
The noblewoman smiled. "You do do that a lot." She sighed. "It's been a year, but I'm just glad you're safe and happy, Sanaki." Ty Lee pulled her daughter close. "I love you, Sweetie."
San smiled and returned the embrace. "Love you, too, Mom."
- This was written for Round 8 of the Fanontastic Fanon Contest!
- Can you imagine having two parents that can tell exactly how you're feeling/if you're lying at any given moment? You couldn't get away with anything.
For the collective works of the author, go here.