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|Of Birds and Fish|
Chapter 1: Of Birds and Fish
The Southern Water Tribe was cold, as always, and Tenzin could barely tolerate it. He much preferred the Northern Air Temple, where himself, his father, and his siblings often visited the people who lived there, all of whom had been declared honorary Air Nomads. A few had even volunteered for an Energybending experiment in order to gain the ability to Airbend. Tenzin smiled; that was one thing he was very good at.
He chuckled as he watched his mother, Katara, and twin sister, Sora, teach the little ones in the Tribe Waterbending. Katara taught combat while Sora focused on healing. The children were clumsy and inefficient compared to his mother and sister, but he didn't fault them for it. The beauty of the moment was cut short by another frigid gust of wind, causing him to grimace and wrap his overcoat more tightly around himself.
"You never were one for this climate, eh Little Brother?" Zheng, the only non-bender in the family, walked up beside him.
"Astute observation." Tenzin watched as the children stiffened slightly, signifying another gust. As the air moved toward him, he exhaled the warm air from his body and used it as a buffer for the oncoming current. "I can't believe you actually like it here. Sora and I can't stand this stupid snow and ice."
The elder brother shrugged. "I guess I'm the odd one out. Oh well, twins tend to think alike anyway."
Tenzin shrugged. "I guess that's why we're the ones going to see the United Republic as opposed to you."
"You know how I feel about change."
The youngest waved him off. "Yeah, whatever, you have to be at least a little jealous of us."
"Do you have to leave now?" Katara asked as she got Sora and Tenzin's packs ready. "The kids were really hoping to have you there in Republic City..."
Aang offered her an apologetic smile. "I know, honey, but a summons from the Spirit World does not come lightly."
"I just don't understand why you can't just meditate here. I mean, why the Spirit Oasis?"
Aang shrugged. "I wish I had an answer for you."
Katara sighed. "I guess you'll take Appa, then?"
"Yes. The children can take Teela to Republic City."
They both tried to stifle helpless laughter at the mention of the still young Sky Bison. Teela had been one of the first in the herd Aang had found ten years ago, and she had always had a knack for getting into trouble. But none of that could change how much of a friend and companion she had been to the children.
They both exhaled. "Fine." Katara said. "Go be the Avatar." She kissed him on the forehead. "But you and I are getting some quality time in when you get back, understand?"
He grinned. "Completely."
Sora filled her water skin and put the one vial of spirit water she owned around her neck. She didn't often show it, but today she was excited. Today she would leave to see Republic City.
"You almost ready?" Tenzin leaned against the doorframe, eagerness evident in his eyes.
Sora smiled. "Yeah, almost, but..."
He raised an eyebrow. "But what?"
"Won't it be strange going to a big place like Republic City? I mean, even with Dad—."
Tenzin shook his head. "Dad's not coming."
"He's not coming. We're on our own." His mouth formed into a grin. "But I have a plan to change that."
Sora rolled her eyes. "I don't want to know until we're a good distance away from here."
"What's the matter?" Tenzin gave her a tiny shove. "Afraid that you'll chicken out if you here my little plot beforehand?"
"I'm afraid I'll come to my senses."
Teela made a noise Tenzin thought might be the equivalent of a purr when he scratched behind her ear, a spot that was hard even for him to reach as she was quite a bit larger than Appa now.
"I hope you're ready, girl; we're gonna be all over the place."
She groaned in response, a questioning tone that made Tenzin narrow his eyes. "Of course I know what I'm doing! This'll work; you watch."
Teela snorted and moved toward a hay bale.
The young Airbender rolled his eyes. "Thanks for the vote of confidence."
"She's pretty intelligent, Tenzin; I'd pay attention, if I were you." Tenzin shook his head as Katara walked up behind him, carrying both his and his sister's packs.
He took both of the packs. "Here, let me get that." He supported both containers on his shoulder as a gust of air pushed him up onto Teela's saddle. "My plans have worked out fine in the past."
"Mm-hm..." Katara rolled her eyes and began to make her way back to her home.
"Way to be a supportive mother!" Tenzin called after her. I can't believe it! No one thinks my plans are any good, and I haven't even told anyone what I'm planning yet! Completely absorbed in his internal fuming, he almost got clocked by his own glider. Fortunately, his reflexes were quick enough to prevent that.
"Nice catch." Aang, his father and the Avatar, stood next to Appa, rubbing his side. Tenzin hadn't even heard them coming. "You're okay with the fact that I'm not coming with you?"
The young Airbender shrugged. "Yeah, Sora and I'll be fine. It should be fun." Tenzin grinned at what, had Aang not known better, might've appeared to be mere elation at the prospect of travel.
"Just remember to be careful and stick to the nicer areas of the city. Also, be sure to ask your aunt and uncle's permission before kidnapping Kyani."
Tenzin rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah, Dad, I know; Sora and I will—wait what!?"
Aang chuckled. "C'mon, son, remember that I've been through everything you have. I know that you intend to take advantage of the fact that I'm not coming along, and I'm okay with the fact that you want to bring your cousin along. Just ask first."
Tenzin's jaw dropped, but he quickly shook it off. "Y-yeah, sure."
Aang jumped into Appa's saddle. "I mean it, Tenzin. Because if you don't, I'll leave you to deal with Aunt Suki."
Tenzin shuddered as his father flew off toward the Northern Water Tribe.
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