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Chapter Eighteen: Rainbow
"Ready to practice your octopus form?"
He rolls his eyes. "But, we just did that—yesterday!" he complains. "Sifu Katara," he adds swiftly.
She deliberately raises one eyebrow slightly. Oh, did we now? "Of course, Pupil Aang, but we still have much, much to practice. You're the one who was excited to learn Waterbending, no?"
"Of course I was," he defends, lowering his arm into the cool liquid and flicking his wrist. She easily catches the splash and turns it into a water whip; his eyes widen; she smiles nastily; and the whip wraps itself around his ankle so tightly it hurts.
She jerks backwards.
"Mfm!" He's under the water, though he rapidly sits up and gasps for breath. "That's . . . were . . . you . . . trying . . . to . . . kill . . . me . . .?" he wheezes, sucking in vast quantities of air even she didn't think possible.
"Oh come on, Aang. You're not a meadow vole. Stand up and let's practice," she answers laconically, finding great interest in a speck of dust along her arm. "Stand up."
She tries not to laugh when he makes a great show of standing and shaking himself out, purposefully directing the water droplets towards her, though when he begins to hop on one foot to rub the tortured ankle, her giggles burst out of her, and she doubles over, clutching her stomach.
"Oh—Aang—my mouth hurts from laughing, you idiot!" she cries, rubbing the inside of her cheeks with her tongue.
His grin is a mischievous one, and the twinkle in his eye is unmistakable. "If you say so, Sifu Katara . . ." His voice trails off dangerously, but she cannot take a defensive stance, as she is too busy snorting and chortling and letting the mirth roll off of her like a band of water caught in clothing as one surfaces from the deep center of the sea. "What was that about an octopus form?" he murmurs, his words carrying a hidden meaning she recognizes but cannot decipher.
The tentacles reach for her, and she attempts to Waterbend them, but she is still in the throes of merriment, and her efforts merely splash the water about a tad and do not aid her. Curiously, the tentacles follow a strange circular pattern, surrounding her like gusts of wind, darting in gently tickle her before reaching out. She can't catch a single one, can only fall back into the water, the tickling driving her crazy. He isn't Waterbending, she protests in her mind, he's Airbending, only with water.
She has laughed so much that it pains to move, but he is not in any danger of stopping, it seems. Biting her lip, she struggles to raise herself from the water, struggles to cast off the laughter, and she notices it.
In each tentacle are reflected their faces in multitudes of color.
Radiant . . .
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