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30th March, 2014
laziness of the heart/spirit; failure to embrace spirituality
You've never really believed in all that spiritual mumbo jumbo. Your sister essentially breathes the stuff, but then again, she kind of has to. You don't. You don't have time to play in the snow like she does. She practises her skills for fun. You have to practise to survive. You can't slack off with anything, because it won't just mean your death; it'll mean hers, and everyone else's.
But there comes a time and you have to choose. Because sometimes, providing food and warmth isn't enough. Trekking out to the ice-shelves to hunt for meat is all well and good, but when the men leave, you notice something strange happening.
Everyone starts dying.
You think it's your fault. You blame yourself
-you aren't strong enough, good enough, skilled enough-
but it doesn't take long for you to grow. It doesn't take long for you to realise.
You turn fourteen in the spring, only a few months after your father leaves. You feel like a man (even when your sister laughs at your voice), and you take the time during your hunts to think. You think about life and death (because what else is there to think about?), and you realise what was missing.
It's not your fault. It's not. It can't be, when they're dying because they lack the one thing that you can't give them.
They have no more hope.
Perhaps that's why Gran-Gran has lasted as long as she had, though. Katara brings hope, in her smile and laugh. In the way she always has a kind word or a fun game. In her waterbending.
You hate how much you hate it.
You should be happy for her, but it's hard when you're working so hard and achieving so little. So when she saves him, that boy in the iceberg, you are secretly happy. Now she has more work, because she's the one who saved him.
You didn't realise that he would be even better at the 'hope' thing than she.
You didn't realise he was the Avatar.
You didn't realise a lot of things.
You're almost glad when Gran-Gran forces you out of the tribe to save him. And yes, well, it was mostly Katara, but you were there for moral support...
... and that's who you stayed. The guy with a boomerang, and the warrior's wolf tail. You just sort of stagnate as Katara and the boy, Aang, only get better. But you're a good big brother, and you complain about everything but that because you'll only damper their spirits; in a war such as this, standing on knife edges, it is better that you try and remain positive. It's already hard for you. Why would you make it harder for them?
But, you arrive, eventually, at the destination. You're still not sure if the journey was worth it, but you think back to the good moments. Perhaps it was, as a certain red-haired warrior enters your mind.
You think of her, after you first see the white-haired girl. There's a difference, see, and you're not sure what to think. Because, you like Suki. Of course, she made you feel incredibly emasculated, but she also helped you to be better. To be stronger.
And that was another good thing. Perhaps you didn't 'just stagnate'. Perhaps you grew a little, even if it wasn't in the skills you had hoped. Perhaps that's why it's so easy to talk to the Princess (easy being entirely relative, of course). And, for the first time in years, you have fun. You go flying on Appa, and show her the scar on your thumb (not mentioning the fish hooks). In turn, she shows you how to tie a Spirit knot (which is far superior to the other knots you've learned) and she takes you to the Spirit Oasis.
After the pain of her death lessened, it filled you with some sort of pride to say your first time was with a gorgeous woman who saved the world, and became a spirit.
After that, you had time for Spirits. You realised why you never believed in them, and of course, Yue managed to show you otherwise.
Abandoned by the world, as you lived out your (probably short) life in the Southern Water Tribe, it was easy to blame the spirits. After all, there couldn't be any if they just let the world die like this. There couldn't be a higher power watching over, or else his looking glass was faulty. But, Yue made you realise that it wasn't really about that at all.
She made you realise why the spirits did nothing.
It wasn't because they were lazy, or didn't care. It wasn't because they thought humanity should wither away like a flower far beyond its prime, nor that they didn't have the power to help.
They did nothing because they knew that people could be better. That there were people who were just as thoughtful and selfless to help save the world.
They knew that there were some people who were destined to become spirits in their own way.
Some people already were.
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