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|More from Anonymius||Drama||PG||None||No update page|
|The Fire Navy Vessel|
December 17, 2013
"Hey Katara," said Sokka, "I was thinking maybe when Hikoda gets back, we should take him along on our fishing trip."
Katara looked at Sokka as if he had lost his mind.
"Why would you want to do that?" She asked apprehensively.
"I'm just thinking that maybe we should keep an eye on him," He told her, "I don't like how he goes off on his own all the time. I mean what if he's giving intel to the Fire Nation about us like our location or something?"
Katara frowned. As much as she hated Hikoda, she really doubted that he was a Fire Nation spy. Besides, she wanted to spend as little time as she could with him. Before she could answer, however, they heard a large growl outside.
"Wh-what was that?" Sokka asked.
They went outside. Sokka's jaw dropped and his eyes widened. Coming towards their camp was Hikoda followed by a large beast with six legs.
"Hikoda what is that thing?" Sokka demanded to know, "What have you brought home this time?"
"This is Appa," Hikoda patted him, "Along with his owner, Aang."
"I'm sorry, what?"
Appa and Aang were frozen in ice, and I got them out, and told them they could stay here for a while."
Everyone stared at him.
"I'm sorry, what?" Sokka repeated.
"Aang's an airbender, and he was frozen with his flying bison for who knows how long."
"Riiiiight," Sokka replied, "and I helped a flying boar fish escape from a net awhile back. I think you're suffering from Midnight Sun Madness, Hikoda."
"It's true," Hikoda told him, "Well, I'm not entirely sure about the flying bison bit, although the creature did leap a good deal in the air in spite of it's weight, but I saw him airbend and everything! I mean didn't you see the great big light earlier?"
Everyone just stared at him.
"Seriously? The whole of the south pole must have seen it!"
Katara walked up to Appa, noticing the sleeping Aang.
"What did you do to him?" She demanded.
"Hey, I didn't do anything!" Hikoda protested. "We were up all night and he fell asleep!"
"And you brought him here?" Sokka exclaimed incredulously," Hikoda, did you accidentally drop your brain along the way from wherever you found this kid? What if he's working for the Fire Nation?"
"Yeah, I really doubt that the Fire Nation's master plan is to freeze kids in blocks of ice, send them off floating around the world just for the off chance that a passer by MIGHT blow up an iceberg, cause said ice block to rise to the surface and then later free them and take them to their village."
"Well, he's here now," said Kanna, "So we might as well look after him. Hikoda, since you found him I'm sure you have no problem with him sharing your tent?
Hikoda nodded. His mother, however, did not look so keen on looking after this stranger, let alone the giant monster that he was riding on.
"I have no problem if he can stay with us Gran Gran," Katara told her grandmother.
Kanna raised her hand.
"No," she said firmly, "Hikoda found him. This boy is his responsibility."
After bringing him to his tent (and getting a couple of hours sleep as well), Hikoda went to wake up Aang, in order to introduce him to the tribe.
"Aang, this is the entire village. The entire village, Aang."
Aang raised his hand.
"Um, nice to meet you, entire vil-lililigelige!"
He hid behind Hikoda.
"Aang, what's the matter?" He asked.
"Who's that girl over there?" Aang whispered, He was pointing a shaking finger towards Katara.
"Oh, that's Katara?" Hikoda whispered back, "Don't worry, she won't bite. Unless you're a firebender, that is."
Aang looked up at him.
"Do you think she'll go penguin sledding with me?"
Some of the villagers, however were afraid of Aang, and hid behind their parents.
"Why are they all looking at me like that?" Aang asked, looking down at himself, "Have I got something on me?"
"Don't take it too personally, Aang," Hikoda told him, crossing his arms, "This tribe doesn't take to kindly to those who are different."
The whole tribe seemed stung at Hikoda's words.
"Well, no one's seen an airbender in almost a hundred years," Kanna explained, "Until this morning we thought they were extinct."
"Er, yeah, Hikoda mentioned that," Aang told her.
Sokka took a look at Aang's staff, wondering if it was supposed to be a weapon. Aang explained that it was actually a glider that helped him to airbend, demonstrating it to the village. While impressing everyone with his airbending, Aang accidentally crashed into Sokka's watchtower, getting him covered in snow.
"Great," Sokka muttered, "You're an airbender, Hikoda's a firebender, Katara's a waterbender, now all we need now is an earthbender in the mix in order for society to completely crumble."
"You're a waterbender?" He asked Katara, who seemed surprised at Aang taking an interest in her.
"Er, yeah," She told him, "Well, not yet at least -"
At which point Kanna dragged her away, telling her that she had chores to do.
Later that day, Sokka was attempting to train the 'men', aka, the boys in the tribe from ten to two.
"Hey Sokka," Hikoda greeted, interrupting one of Sokka's speeches, carrying a spear over his shoulder.
"Wait what? Hikoda, what are you doing here?" Sokka demanded.
"Well, you were rallying the men," Hikoda told him, "And since I'm older than you I assumed that I count."
He was also technically the only man in the tribe, but decided that Sokka would not take too kindly with him rubbing that in his face. Two years ago he begged his mother to oversee him undertake the iceberg dodging ritual that proved you a man and your full acceptance into the tribe. After doing so he was awarded the Mark of Courage (Although his mother told him he should have been awarded 'The Mark of Absolute Sheer Stupidity'!)and rushed back to the village to announce his manhood. He watched on the shore as the Water Tribe men had left before he came back. He remember Kanna telling him it wouldn't have mattered anyway, as the ritual needed to be overseen by the boy's father, not his mother (Of course that didn't matter to Hikoda).
"Man, everything freezes in there!" Commented Aang, coming out of an outhouse igloo.
"How many times must I tell you, Hikoda?" Sokka shouted at him, catching Aang's attention, "No firebenders! Only those we can trust!"
"Alright, fine," Hikoda shrugged, "Just don't come crying to me when a Fire Nation soldier is about to simmer your butt."
And he walked away.
"Hah!" Sokka cried, pointing at Hikoda, "The day I need help from you is when the Avatar comes back!"
Aang could not help but notice the way everyone was looking at Hikoda. Those stares. Those frowns. It was worse than the way everyone was looking at him earlier.
"Er, hi. Aang, is it?"
Aang was being addressed by the girl Katara.
"Er, hi," He blushed, "Is there something I can help you with?"
"There is, actually," Katara answered, "See, I've never had a bending teacher, and I was thinking that since you're a bender if you mind teaching me?"
Aang instantly brightened up.
"That's a great idea!" He said.
"It is?" Katara asked.
"Yeah!" Aang replied, "Only, the problem is –"
"Hey Aang," Hikoda greeted, walking up to them, "I was wondering if you wanted a tour around the area or something."
"Do you mind?" Katara snapped at him, "We're in a middle of a conversation here!"
"Okay, I'm sorry."
"Well check next time!"
Aang looked from Katara to Hikoda.
"Actually," he said, "A tour around the area sounds like a great idea! Are there any penguins nearby?"
"Er, yeah," Hikoda answered, pointing behind himself, "Right over there near the shore."
"Great!" replied Aang cheerfully, preparing his glider. "How do you feel like flying there?"
"Wait, what do you mean- AAAAAAAAAAAAH!"
Hikoda yelled as Aang placed his feet under his armpits, carrying him with him as he flew.
"Wait, Aang!" Katara called, "What about teaching me bending-?"
Aang was cheerfully crying out 'yeah!' as Hikoda yelled about being carried in the air. Katara growled and clenched her fists, going after them.
"Remember!" Aang called down to Hikoda, "Grab onto the the glider!"
"Wait, what, AAAAH!"
Hikoda screamed as Aang tossed him into the air, forcing him to grab hold of the glider. Soon his absolute terror turned to absolute joy of flying. Soon they start to suffer from turbulence.
"What's going on?" Hikoda asked.
"I don't think this glider can carry more than one person!" Aang told him, "I don't think I thought this throuuuuuuugh!"
And they ended up crashing in the snow below. Instead of being injured, however, they were both laughing.
"I am never-" Hikoda gasped "doing that again!"
Aang looked up, something catching his eye.
And he ran over to play with the penguins, attempting to capture one.
"Hey, come on, little guy," he said to one that he was chasing, "I just want to go sledding!"
However, he was unable to capture one, falling to the ground. He looked up at Hikoda.
"I have a way with animals," He laughed.
"I can see that," Hikoda told him, "But you'll never capture a penguin like that."
Aang used airbending to get himself upright.
"Can you show me how to do it?" He asked him.
"Sure," Hikoda told him, "It's just like catching fish."
He took out a small fish from his sleeve.
"You've got to use bait."
And he threw it at Aang. Once he caught it, the penguins were eager to get it. Afterwards, Aang and Hikoda went sledding down a slope on the penguins. Hikoda shouted with enjoyment.
"I haven't had this much fun since I was a kid!"
"You're still a kid!" Aang told him.
"Aang?" Katara was calling, "Aang, are you around here? Aang-"
She looked down, and saw Aang and Hikoda having fun, penguin-otter sledding.
"Uuh!" she grunted. This wasn't fair! She finally had a chance to have a teacher and Hikoda was hogging him all for himself! Trust Hikoda to ruin everything for her! She thumped her fists on the snow, causing it to tumble towards Aang and Hikoda.
"Avalanche!" Aang cried out, noticing it. Aang was able to steer from it well but Hikoda was not so agile. They ended up falling off the penguin-otters and onto the snow, laughing.
"Ugh, forget it!" Katara cried, storming off, hoping to catch Aang at some other time, when Hikoda wasn't around.
Getting up, Aang saw what was in front of him.
"Whoa. What is that?"
"A fire navy ship," Hikoda told him, "A relic of a dark part in the Southern Water Tribe's history."
Aang got on, followed by Hikoda.
"We're not supposed to come here," Hikoda explained, "But sometimes I come here anyway, to see what kind of people the Fire Nation were."
Aang was confused when Hikoda was telling him about the war, saying that he had friends all over the world, even the Fire Nation, and he hadn't heard anything about a war. When Hikoda asked how long he thinks he was in the iceberg for, Aang answers a few days. When Hikoda suggested that it was perhaps a hundred years, Aang expressed skepticism, asking if he looked a hundred and twelve.
"Well you were frozen. You could have been in there for any amount of time and still remain the age you were when you went in. I mean no one's seen an Air Nomad in a hundred years, and the war's been going on for that long. The only thing that can explain why you don't know about the war was because you missed it."
Aang looked horrified at what he was saying, slumping against the wall, devastated. Hikoda joined him.
"I'm sorry Aang. Maybe there's a silver lining in all of this?"
Aang looked away.
"If there is I can't see it."
"I'm sorry Aang," Hikoda apologized again, "You know, it's a shame that the Avatar isn't around. I bet he could end war, bring peace. Create a world where no one has to be judged on their national heritage. Or their bending skills." Aang looked at him. Hikoda got up, offering his hand. "Come on, let's go explore some more."
"So you said that you met the people in the Fire Nation? What were they like?"
"Um, warm, friendly?"
"I don't know. They were just like anyone else in the world!"
"Like everyone else? Huh. That's actually hard to imagine. Maybe that's how they started. It's just that when you grow up being told that your people were monsters it's hard to imagine them as anything else."
"Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the Southern Water Tribe your people too?" Aang asked.
"Pfft, try telling them that!" Hikoda replied derisively, "They have difficulty accepting the fact that a firebender is a part of the Water Tribe!"
"Is that why everyone is so rotten to you?"
"I'm sorry," Aang quickly said, "It's just that I noticed how everyone was looking at you-"
"No, it's okay," Hikoda told him, "But yeah, that's pretty much why. Not to mention the fact that I look Fire Nation! I think I'm a reminder of everything they hate."
"But there must be some people who are friendly to you surely?" Aang asked.
"Not really," Hikoda replied, "Well, there is my mom, but I think even she has trouble loving me sometimes. Someone who has a face that reminds her of the man who brought her so much pain and suffering."
"I don't get it. If you're so unhappy, then why don't you leave?"
"Leave? Well, it's not like that I have a map of the world! If I got out on my canoe right now I might end up lost and starve to death or at the bottom of the ocean if I'm lucky!"
"Ah, but you forget! I have a flying Bison! Appa and I can take you anywhere in the world if you want. Even the Fire Nation!"
Hikoda was still rather skeptical about the whole flying bison thing, but nevertheless...leave home? Could he really do that?
"I don't know," Hikoda told him, "I can't exactly abandon my family, no matter how they treat me. They need me, especially my Mom."
"Okay, it was just an idea," Aang told him, walking ahead, "I'm just thinking that maybe aside from thinking about the happiness of others you should think about your own happiness as well."
My own happiness? Aang makes it sound so easy. Perhaps it is where he comes from, at the Southern Air Temple, where people can fulfill their dreams and can go out in the world on flying bison as young as twelve. But he was always taught that there was nothing more important than family, that the community came first before the individual.
"Besides," Aang added, "A bender needs a master."
"No," Hikoda quickly said, that he was sure of, "I never want a master."
"Why?" Aang asked, "I mean I know there are probably a lot of bad firebenders out there but I'm sure that there are a few good ones who will happily teach you –"
"I DON'T WANT TO LEARN FIREBENDING AANG!"
Aang stared at him.
"Aang I'm sorry," Hikoda apologized, turning away, "I'm really, really sorry."
"That's okay. But why are you so against learning firebending?"
Hikoda gave Aang a bewildered look.
"How can you possibly ask me that? What good will come out of learning how to make more destructive fire?"
He looked down at his hands.
"I hate firebending," He told him, "And yet I can't stop. I can never stop using it. It's like I'm addicted to it. I know it's bad but I can never stop because it makes me feel so good; it makes life bearable for me."
"Hikoda," Aang placed his hand on his friend's shoulder, "No element is either good or bad. All for are capable of destruction, even air."
"That's easy for you to say. You get to fly around or run at super-speed with your airbending. Do you know how much I wish I was an airbender, or be able to heal as well as fight like waterbenders can. Heck, even Earthbenders can do things constructive with their bending! But fire? Fire only brings destruction, pain, and suffering. What good could possibly come out of fire?"
"Well...You got me out of that iceberg with your firebending, didn't you?" Aang pointed out.
Hikoda was taken aback with Aang's fact. His eyes rolled to the left.
"I'm sure I could have found another way to get you out."
"You must have done some good with firebending over the years."
"Well...I did use it to catch a lot of fish – of course that just shows that the only thing fire can do is destroy...then again, I used to make ice sculptures when I was a kid ... though that's not a particularly practical use of it –"
"All I'm saying is maybe you should focus on the good about fire, rather than always thinking about the bad."
Aang continued to walk down the corridor.
The good in fire? Is there such thing as the good in fire? He was always told that firebending was evil, that no good can come out of it. Then again, isn't it fire that keeps people warm in the cold? Could – could firebending really not be that bad, as long as you can control it?
"You know," Hikoda chuckled, looking up at Aang, "You're pretty smart for a - AANG, WATCH OUT!" Hikoda had just noticed the trip wire at Aang's ankles. He was too late as Aang tripped over it, trapping them in the room. But that wasn't the worst of it. They heard a sound. Looking up, Hikoda's heart dropped as saw a flare being set off, visible for everyone to see.
For the collective works of the author, go here.