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September 16, 2012
Katara had woken up late in the day, the sun already peeking through their window. Due to her habits of traveling in her youth, she normally woke up very early, but it was nice to sleep in every once and a while. She turned her head to see her husband, staring at her with listless eyes. She spoke softly in her tired state. "How long have you been up?" Aang continued his peaceful stare. "Not long. Right now I'm just wondering how it is I managed to get you to marry me, and how lucky I am to wake up next to you every day."
Once again, Aang's charm hadn't failed, and a hot flush ran towards Katara's face. "Well, I didn't marry you because you would watch me sleep." Aang let out a giggle. "I used to hide it better when we were kids." Katara looked at him with a quirked smile. "You did not watch me sleep when we were kids!" Aang's giggle turned to a laugh. "Well, we were traveling and I had to save the world, so I figured I deserved it." Katara jokingly pushed her husband away from her. "You were such a little creep!" Now both of them were laughing together. "I'm the all-powerful Avatar. If I wish to peek at women while they sleep or take a bath in the river, it shall be done!" Now Katara got very flustered.
"You did not peek at me while I bathed!" The water bender was borderline angered, but Aang continued to laugh. "Alright, that part I made up. Still, nice to know how you would react to your beloved simply showing interest in you." Katara returned to giggling with her husband. "There's a line, you old coot!" Aang pulled her into an embrace while they lay in there bed and kissed her passionately. Slowly pulling away and eyes still closed, he said, "So what do you want to do today?" Katara pondered the question for a moment.
She never lost sight of why they were on this trip, but regardless of how she felt, she wanted to have a great time. If not for herself, for Aang's sake. "There's a festival in the town. We can all go enjoy the games and festivities for a few hours." Aang smiled a little more than he was before. "Perfect. Let's go see if everyone else is up."
As the couple walked down the steps together, they saw their family enjoying breakfast at the table. Toph was the first to acknowledge their presence. "Hey, lovebirds! Good to see you're both awake!" Sokka was next to address them. "We made breakfast! A plethora of meats fit for a king! And some fruits and stuff for Aang and the little arrow boy." Sokka liked to poke fun at Tenzin and the rest of his sister's children, but Tenzin always liked being reminded of his arrows. Whenever he thought of them or looked at them he felt a sense of pride.
Aang and Katara sat at the table with the rest of the family. "Thanks for the breakfast, Sokka. By the way, Katara came up with something we could do today." Everyone fixed their attention to the master water bender. "There's a festival in the town going on today. I figured we could all go." Bumi was first to accept the idea and stood up from his chair. "Great idea, ma! Let's get going!" Kya, Lin, and Tenzin stood from their seats ready to follow the wild man, but the elders seemed content at the moment. Sokka said what was on the minds of all of the adults. "We'll catch up with you young'ins in a bit. Us old folks need to wake ourselves up a bit." Toph kicked her feet up on the table. "Maybe you old gas bags need to wait around, but I'm ready to go whenever."
Katara looked at the aged earth bender. "Oh yea, why don't you head out with the kids and leave us 'old gas bags' behind?" Toph took a bite of her meat stick. "Eh. I can't leave you old folks alone. What if Snoozles over there falls and breaks a hip?" Sokka leered at his blind friend. "My manly hips don't need any supervision! They can take care of themselves!" Aang laughed at the banter between his friends. "Thanks for sticking around with us, Toph. You kids go have fun. We'll see you there."
The youngest of the group left the beach house and headed to the town with energy that was reserved for their youth. As they set their eyes on the entrance to the town festival before them, Bumi and Kya got very excited. The wild man grabbed hold of his younger brother. "Tenzin! Me and you, strength test game!" Bumi pulled the airbender off to the game before he could protest, and Kya was left with Lin. The earth bender took the initiative. "Bah. Let the boys enjoy their games. Come on, Kya, let's go gamble!" Kya smiled deviously and ran off into the festival with her earth bending companion.
Bumi and Tenzin were each in line for the strength test game. They heard they game vendor shout every so often, "Ring the bell! Who can master the mighty hammer and claim the prize!" Bumi became more and more excited as their turn neared. Finally, he was up. The vendor addressed him as he handed him the hammer. "Good luck, young man. Nobody has yet to ring bell today, maybe you will be the first!" Bumi lifted the massive hammer onto his shoulder as a half-smile appeared his face. "We'll see." He walked over to the game, hammer positioned at the ready. The wild man let out his battle cry as he swung down the hammer.
He hit the lever right on the mark, sending the metal object flying toward the bell at a high velocity. It rang the bell loud enough for all to hear, the game master staring in awe, but quickly gaining his composure. "Congratulations, young man! Such strength, such power! I dare any man here today to match this feat!" Bumi, clearly letting the praise get to his head, took the giant stuffed rabaroo, and flaunted it towards his brother. "Let's see what you've got, air boy." The air boy quirked a smirk. Tenzin's martial art wasn't based upon strength, but he had a teacher that believed in being well rounded. He stepped up to the game, picking up the hammer. He swung the hammer in a strange, circular motion landing it on the lever.
The bell rang just as loudly as Bumi's attempt, making Tenzin feel a bit smug towards his older brother. The vendor, again, was aghast. "Darn it! I'm gonna run out of rabaroo's at this rate." Bumi grabbed his brother by the shoulder once again. "Good on ya, little brother! Let's go play a few more games!" The two went off again to enjoy the festivities, a wild man dragging his reluctant air bending brother with him again. In truth, Tenzin was more than happy to spend time with his older sibling.
Lin and Kya had found their fun in something their parents enjoyed in their younger years: scamming street vendors. Lin and Kya were sitting at a game of 'which cup is the pebble under'. Thanks to Lin's extraordinary earth bending perception, she guess right every time. After their sixth victory, the vendor pleaded with them. "You ladies have to stop this, you're cleaning me out!" Lin took her handful of silver pieces and walked away laughing. Kya, who had found sunglasses, put them on as she flipped one silver piece to the game master, looking cool as ever as she walked away. She walked up behind her friend, standing next to her. "So, what other games you wanna go win at? Maybe we could use my waterbending to-" She was cut short as she was practically tackled by a man with a giant stuffed rabaroo.
Bumi was not very subtle in his encounters with other people. "Hey, sister! Look what me and Tenzin got!" He showed her their stuffed toys they had won through various games. There was a mass quantity of plush huddled in his arms. Kya enjoyed how her younger brother sought to impress her ever since they were kids. "Very impressive, little one." Bumi enjoyed the attention, despite the fact that he didn't like being referred to as 'little one'. A small child walking by saw all of Bumi's toys and stared in awe. "Wow, mister! You sure won a lot of toys!" Bumi looked down at the scrawny child. "You like toys, do ya?" The child nodded and smiled. "Yea, me and my brothers and sisters love the stuffed animals here!" Without a thought, Bumi dropped his massive collection on top of the child. "Here ya go, kid. Enjoy."
The young festival goer was dumbstruck. People on Ember Island were not known for their generosity. "Wow, thanks mister! What's your name?" Intent on making a spectacle of himself, the wild man placed one leg on top of a bench and triumphantly pronounced, "You may call me King Bumi! Master of all challenges!" His siblings and Lin looked at one another in embarrassment of their comrade, but the child beamed at his newfound hero. "Thank you so much, King Bumi! I'm gonna go bring these to my family." With that, the child took off with his new treasures and a new story. Lin was first to speak up at Bumi. "That was a bit vain, yet thoughtful." Kya hugged her little brother. "You are just the sweetest." Tenzin also had to admit to his brother, "That was very kind, but what about all your toys?" Bumi pulled away from Kya to explain to his brother.
"Eh, the kid seemed nice enough. Plus, who needs prizes when you've got-" He reached behind his back to reveal to the group his hidden treasure. "Cotton candy!" The group laughed at Bumi's antics and each took a stick of the fluffy treat as they all sat down at a bench, enjoying their desert. They sat, eating their festival food, when Kya spoke up. "Dad will really love that we're all spending time together." Tenzin nodded in agreement. "I have to admit, it's nice having the family back together. After the two of you left, things were very different. Now, at least, we are adding to our time together." Kya shared her youngest sibling's sentiment, but tears began to slightly well in her eyes. "I'm really going to miss him." Lin consoled her friend by putting a hand on her shoulder, while Bumi became unsettled.
"Kya, dad isn't going to die, don't worry." Kya shot her head towards Bumi. "Bumi, he told us-" Out of nowhere, Bumi's voice became very elevated and cut her off. "I don't care what he told us! He's not always right!" The group sat in uncomfortable silence, until Tenzin tried to ease things. "Bumi, father wouldn't bring this up if it weren't very likely. It's okay to be afraid of-" Again, Bumi's overpowering voice cut off his sibling. "I'm not afraid! There's nothing to be afraid of!" The wild man stood up off the bench and stormed off. Kya took off immediately after him.
Now Tenzin and Lin were left alone. Together. Alone. Things were very uncomfortable, and Lin's attempt at starting the conversation didn't help. "So how's Pema?" She quickly regretted using that as her opening conversation point, but she wasn't stopping now. Tenzin kept a very calm demeanor. "Lin, please don't start this." Now the earth bender was agitated. "She's my friend too, you know. I can ask how she is doing." Tenzin let out a sigh. "She is doing very well. Thank you for asking." The airbender's nonchalant attitude towards certain things always agitated her, but considering the circumstances of their gathering on Ember Island, she had to try to be nice.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap like that." Tenzin's expression didn't change at all. "You are forgiven." He was usually fairly distant, but Lin noticed that he was more off than usual. There was no need to guess the cause, but how she would deal with it was complicated. Asking about his dying father wasn't really her place, and their current relationship status had complicated things. But still, Tenzin was her friend, and she would try to console him. "How are you holding up?" Again, Tenzin didn't show any emotion. "I am doing well." Lin was not convinced. "You know, you told Bumi it was okay to be afraid. Are you afraid?" Tenzin now gives her his attention and looks toward her. He answers her very calmly. "No. I would prefer if my father were to live on longer, but given the unchangeable circumstances, I have accepted his fate."
Lin was dumbfounded by her friends cold detachment. "You don't feel anything about the fact that your father may die?" Tenzin returned his gaze to the distance in front of him. "I love my father very much, and I will miss him when he is gone. But it is the airbender's way to detach themselves from worldly concerns, and death is no exception." Lin couldn't fathom the level of repressed emotions that were swirling around in his bald, tattooed head. But for now, she had pushed as much as she deemed appropriate. "Alright." They sat in silence, waiting for the brother and sister to return.
As Kya ran after Bumi, he walked down an alley where he thought he wouldn't be disturbed. Kya lashed at the wild man. "What is your problem?" Bumi turned to face her. "What's my problem? What's your problem? You keep saying that dad is going to die. Well he's not! He beat every assassin, every enemy, faced every challenge he ever had to face and came out on top every time. He finished a war! He's not going to die now." He then turned away from her. Kya, now felt very sympathetic towards the fear that Bumi had. Their father had been a role model to Bumi, and the fact that he wasn't going to be around much longer really took a toll on his psyche. She took a step towards him.
"I know you're afraid, and it's hard to accept, but do you think dad would lie to you about this?" Bumi began to feel a watering in his eyes, his usually overpowered voice coming out soft. "...Maybe he's just wrong. Maybe he doesn't have to go." Kya took another step towards him. Now he began to tremble a bit. "Bumi, this is something that you have to try to accept. I know it's hard, and I'm going to miss him too..." She began to tremble as well in the midst of her sentence. "...but we will be there for each other. Through the good and the bad we need to help each other through this, because darn it I need you too right now!" She began to break down crying, her brother turning to tend to his older sister. He pulled her into a strong hug, letting her cry hard into his shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Kya. I'm just scared. And angry." He gripped her tighter. Kya responded the same way. "I know it's scary, but I don't want you to be angry. I need my happy-go-lucky-wild-man brother here with me. I need for us to get through this together." She pulled away and they both smiled at each other. Bumi was still agitated, but his sister always had a way of calming him down. "We'll always be here for each other."
Damn you, Bumi, you mad genius! Making me feel all these feels!
This chapter was all about the little tikes in the series. Sorry, Gaang. You get your screen time next chapter.
Yea, I thought it would be hard to write Bumi and Kya's relationship considering the fact that I know nothing about them, but I feel like it flowed naturally.
I love the tension between Lin and Tenzin. I find it amusing to put him in uncomfortable situations. Sorry, air boy.
Aang and Katara's old people banter in the beginning was quite fun, and I hope I made it fun for anyone to read.
Thanks for reading :)
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