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|Silent As the Grave|
She passed through a sea of headstones. A thousand nameless people who she would never stop to remember. How could she? She had never known them, and reading a name told you nothing. It was despairing to think of all the stories that lay here untold. Stories that had died with the people who lay stiff in their caskets, and would never again fall on ears that needed to hear them. Katara wondered what they would say to her if they could. What wisdom would they pass on? She couldn't help but think the same thing of Kya and Kanna. What would they say to her if they could whisper from beyond the grave, or, better yet, if they were still here in flesh and blood, warm and real with breath in their lungs.
She had reached it now. It was a nice little plot. Kya and Kanna rested side-by-side under a twisted oak tree. There was an empty place for Hakoda as well. One he had bought before leaving. Many years ago Zuko had also bought a bench to place in front of them. It was his way of saying sorry for all the pain he had caused them, but sometimes it was only a reminder of the dark stains that blotted their past. Katara brushed a few stray water droplets from it and sat down. She read Kya and Kanna's headstones just like she had a thousand times before. Both read 'Beloved Mother'.
She had come here to talk to Kanna. That she knew, but the words seemed to catch in her throat and all she managed to get out was a small, squeaky sound. Katara took a breath. At least she wasn't overcome with emotion. At least she wasn't crying. She tried again and this time the words made their way out successfully.
"Gran Gran. I went to church today." She crossed her arms, whether from cold or discomfort at talking to a dead person she didn't know. "Remember how you were always making me go when I was a kid? Especially after Mom died? Remember how I hated it? Well, not much has changed apparently. But I hated it for different reasons this time." She paused as if giving Kanna adequate time to answer if she wanted to. "Bato was there. He has been back for who knows how long and he hasn't even called. It made me just... so furious with him." Katara recalled his words. How he'd said she was just like Kya. She wondered what he had meant by that.
She stared down at the headstones a little while longer. How many times had she come here before? How many times had she kneeled in the dirt, ignoring the perfectly good bench, and cried and cried and cried? How many times had she whispered apologies to the two women who lay in the ground before her? Countless. That was how many times. No need to do it again. She had nothing left to say to them. Nothing more to give or gain from them. Still, she couldn't seem to move from the spot.
Maybe a secret part of her hoped that this visit would be different. That some great revelation would strike her. That all the pain of all the years would seep out of her and replace Kya and Kanna's places in death. But no matter how long she sat there she knew this time would be exactly the same as the others. She would leave just as broken as she had come.
Just before she prepared to trudge back across the soggy grave yard she realized that there was one thing that needed to be said. One thing she couldn't leave without promising. It had been Kanna she had come to talk to but Katara found herself turning to Kya's head stone.
"He won't get out. I swear it."
Song is Paradise by Coldplay. Thought it fit well with this one.
Also, I really don't consider this a chapter per se. It's so short, but I felt like it needed a page of its own. I hope that this one doesn't have too many errors I think I proofread well so fingers crossed.
For the collective works of the author, go here.