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|The Love of the Daughter|
14 Febuary 2011
The Love of the Daughter is the first chapter of's second book, and the thirteenth chapter overall. It is the first published chapter of the series to be written by someone other that .
Well, we now begin our journey into Aang's life as a father. Not being one myself, this is definitely a less realistic view than most of the Dragon himself, so we are both satisfied with the final product.chapters, but I feel it is accurate enough a portrayal. This was crafted under close scrutiny from the
Aang experiences some parenting issues while learning of his new role.
The Avatar Family
In the months following Sora's birth, Aang spent much of his time either in her room or desperately trying to get above three hours of sleep. The world's struggles seemed to be of little importance when compared with the monumental duty of being a father. Each action was carefully crafted as to not upset the baby, who was prone to crying at any unusual sound, or the mother, who was still recovering from the birth. Though she was improving by leaps and bounds every day, Aang still requested that Katara rest, saying it was his turn to do the work.
The mighty southern Waterbender relented, allowing the Avatar to pamper her since her body would now allow for it. While she relaxed, Aang was learning the hard way why parents lose sleep. From dusk until dawn, his routine was a constant travel to her room from his or the way back. Frequently, her cries would reach him before he made it back into his bed. It was a true labor of love; he made sure her needs were met before his. One night, as he climbed into bed, he glanced to his left. His wife lay on her back, soundly sleeping. The moonlight shone through the sole window and caused her motionless figure to glisten. Leaning over her, he gently kisses her forehead before moving to lie down. As the Avatar closes his eyes, he hears a voice from beside him. "Aang?"
"Nothing, just Sora."
"Oh, thank you for helping."
"It's no problem."
"I love you,"
"I love you too." There had never been truer words emitted from his lips. Aang watched as Katara slowly closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep. The love for the mother spouted the love of the daughter. Though he would always love his wife, this was a new feeling; a different love. Sora's entire life depended on him. At this moment, he received another request. Sora's cries echoed through the hall while Aang let out a sigh. As he approaches her room, her cries seem to lessen and the sound becomes more bearable. Poking his head through the doorway, Aang catches a glimpse of Sora, his daughter. "What's wrong Sora?" Aang says, his voice barely above a whisper. Sora's cries have vanished, and a small giggle was heard in their place. Aang walked over and picked his daughter up, placing her in his arms. The feeling was as magical as the first time; a sense of pride mixed with worry. This all was dwarfed by his immense love for the young girl, someone who had no personality yet he knew so well. Once she was in his arms, Sora ceased making noise. Aang could barely hear the sound of her light breathing as he walked her around her room. He took to walking in circles, lulling the baby back to sleep. The unintended monotony of his path along with his lack of sleep caused Aang to fade in and out of consciousness.
Aang accidentally gets his foot caught on Sora's crib frame, causing the already exhausted Avatar to drop his precious cargo. As the weight left his arms, Aang realized the severity of the situation. His eyes snapping open and his heart rate skyrocketing, Aang formed an air ball around Sora that kept her suspended in the air.
"What was that?" The harsh voice broke the nighttime atmosphere, causing his heart to skip a beat. Aang pulls Sora into his arms and turns to see Katara standing in the doorway, her eyes wide open in shock.
"Really, it was nothing," Aang stammers, as Sora's face begins contorting.
"It's okay," both parents exclaimed at the same time, desperately trying in vain to calm their child. Aang rocks her gently in his arms, kissing her forehead. The child's cries dissipate as Aang places her back in her crib. Katara gives Aang a glare and turns back to exit the room. Glancing back towards Sora, Aang knows he will be in for a verbal battle when he exits the room. But considering Sora's dreamlike state, he could not justify waiting in her room for any longer.
Aang exits his room, seeing Katara get back to bed. "She really wasn't in danger," Aang begins explaining as he approaches the bed.
"Don't worry about it," she replies. "You're just exhausted from taking care of her all by yourself for the past few days. You are too tired, so I'll take care of her tonight. In fact, I'll just take over for the next day or two," she says, giving him a kiss and motioning for him to lie down. "Go to sleep, you need it." Aang puts his head down and drifts off into a state of peace. Sora was quiet for the rest of the night.
Over the course of the next two days, Katara became Aang's shadow. His every move was analyzed by his wife, who had become nearly paranoid about Sora's safety. A simple trip to change her became a full blown ordeal, with Katara coaching him through the motions he already knew how to do. "Don't drop her," his wife reminded as he moved her from the changing table over to where he was sitting.
"Trust me, Katara."
"You've already dropped her once."
"And I caught her. I know how to take care of her." The Avatar resented having his parenting skills called into question, though decided now was not the time to continue pursuing the topic.
"I know you do. I think this is just something I need to go through. Would you mind if I took care of Sora for today?" Aang looked from his wife to Sora, repeatedly shifting his gaze. He loves his daughter, and feels a need to spend time with her. The feeling is not a new one, but merely a nuance of the power of his newfound love. The feeling in his arms was the most brilliant sensation he had ever felt; the mix of passionate affection and abundant joy was sublime. His eyes then fell upon his wife, who had grown into her maternal role.
"If you think that's best, it's fine with me," Aang lies. His desire to be with his daughter would be put on hold for a day, though he knows Katara must handle her newfound problem on her own. He walks to his wife, hands her their baby and kisses both foreheads before exiting the room.
Aang knew he had to find something to take his mind off Katara and Sora. He knew the temple well, though he felt like reliving old memories might help. He found his old room and entered the dusty abode, feeling a connection to the room. After taking a few moments to see each and every detail, he opened the small closet each child was given. The meditation candles were still within its confines, though most were deformed beyond use. He manages to find a single candle that had retained its form, he lights the wick and sits it on his windowsill. As he begins relaxing, his trance is shattered by a deafening sound from outside. The Avatar opens the curtain and sees the Fire Nation military preparing to defend the temple's entrances from a possible Black Lotus attack. "I need somewhere quiet," he mumbles as he picks up the candle, puts its flame out and exits his old room.
Zuko's orders were clear: the Fire Nation staff was only to make contact with Aang if the situation demanded it, and parts of the temple were allotted for the staff's residence. Aang had entered the part of the temple that was left alone, but it was still within earshot of the Fire Nation's activities. As he paced through the halls, he approached a large door that only he could open. After a brief display of his native element, the door unlocked and revealed the Avatar Sanctuary. He walked around in circles, admiring the craftsmanship of the room and the deeds of his past lives. After a lengthy walk, he reached the center, and the most recent Avatar: Roku. Deciding that this was the silent seclusion he needed, he creates a mighty gust that closes the Sanctuary doors. Lighting his single candle, he sits down and lets his thoughts flow. Inevitably, his mind returned to Katara and Sora. Their images flashed after every thought, consuming the time he had scheduled for cleansing. Aang's trance breaks, and his head falls into his hands. "I miss you..."
"It is allright, Aang." The wise voice broke the silence.
Aang's head snapped up to see the candle illuminating the face of Avatar Roku.
"Roku? Why are you here?"
"Yes, Aang. It is me. The past Avatars know your need for guidence. We could all sense your despair."
"Katara wants to take care of Sora alone for a while. I don't know how to deal without Sora..." Aang trails off, and Roku decides to take over.
"In my life, I allowed my duties as Avatar to consume my home life. I missed Ta Min very much, she was the love of my life. I missed too many key events in my children's lives. You are worried because you are afraid of missing something too. As the Avatar, your duty to the world compels you to leave behind your worldly attachments for the greater good, no matter how much it hurts."
"But Kuruk's love for Ummi caused Koh to steal her face. What can I do?"
"It was Kuruk's carelessness, not love, that caused Koh to steal Ummi's face. Love is nothing to be ashamed of Aang. You can only reap its benefits. Love is powerful, but be wary of obsessions. They will lead you down a dangerous path..."
"What is the answer then?" Aang asks, remaining puzzled as ever.
"Balance, Aang. You must find the balance." Before Aang can ask another question, Roku fades into the darkness. As Aang searches for the former Avatar, he sees only statues. Deciding to leave, he opens the door, exits the room and locks the door. Roku's words continued to haunt him as he walks through the temple, only distracted by the sounds of the Fire Nation drills.
By her Side
Katara tucks Sora into bed, having finally calmed the child down. As she stumbles back to her room, she hears the cries of her newborn. Letting out a sigh, she turns around and heads back to Sora's room. Upon entering the room she checks Sora's diaper, though that is not why she is upset.
Eventually, Katara has run through the list of potential problems, none of them being the cause of Sora's apparent discomfort. Katara resorts to the typical motherly routine, holding her child in her arms and rocking her to sleep. Waking up, Aang decides to see Sora. Not looking towards his wife's side of the bed, he quietly exits the room hoping that Sora does not wake Katara up. As he looks into the room, he sees Katara facing away from him, clearly rocking Sora. He is about to return to his room, but hears Katara yawn obnoxiously. Aang begins to realize her exhaustion, and feels compelled to continue watching.
Aang sees Katara's head begin to droop as her body sways. Loosing her balance, the exhausted mother fell backwards, baby in arm. Reacting quickly, Aang runs and takes hold of his family before they hit the floor. His wife is too tired to know what had just transpired, so Aang takes over. He lifts his wife and child into his arms, lifting them off the floor and carrying them into the parents' room. He lays the mother and child on the bed, making sure not to trample Sora in the process. Rising from his motion, Aang admires the sight of his wife and daughter, the two women he cares about most. After taking in the new splendor of his life, he crawls back into bed.
Katara awoke to Aang carrying Sora out of their room. "Aang?" she asks while trying to keep her eyes open.
"Good morning. You fell while taking care of her last night. I caught you, and you both slept in here."
"Where are you going?"
"She needs changing."
Aang enters Sora's room, placing his daughter on an earth platform used as a makeshift changing table. It was at this moment that Aang slightly regretted the simplicity he had requested during their stay. He removes the diaper and prepares to dispose of it, but Sora stirred. Her small giggle shocked him, causing him to drop the diaper onto his legs. He looks up to a liquid yellow blur. He reflexively moved his hands in front of his face, unknowingly spreading the liquid the room. His groan was heard by his wife, who left the bed to discover its source.
Upon entering the room, she saw the catastrophe unfolded. The Avatar had inadvertently bent some liquid onto the room's walls, onto the supply of clean diapers, and onto the baby herself. "What is going on here?"
Aang turns around sheepishly, using his sleeve to clear his eyes. "I'm changing her?" he asks shyly.
Katara was not amused. "The room is ruined!"
"I'll fix it!" he replied, but the damage is done.
"We need to move her. The next room will have to do." With that, his wife picked up the child and left the room with the intention of cleaning her. Aang slowly began cleaning the room while lamenting his inability to even change a simple diaper.
As most of the usable diapers had been soiled by Aang's mishap, Aang and Katara went to the Fire Nation staff stationed at the temple to gather the sustinance goods they required. The diapers were soaking in the sunlight, but the process was taking too long to be allowed to continue on its own. The pair went to the nearby defenders and asked to be pointed to the nearest supplier. They motion towards an older man named Cang, who was deep in conversation with an officer of the guardian force. As the couple approaches, he brushes the soldier aside to attend to his primary focus. "Avatar Aang and Lady Katara, I have been instructed to provide you with anything you need. What is your desire?"
"We need some more diapers. We had a bit of an... accident with our other ones. Zuko told us that you would have some," Katara said calmly.
"Certainly, my lady. Right this way," Cang motioned for her to follow him into a store room. Aang waited outside, making sure to avoid the busy officers who were constantly making sure that the Black Lotus had not been at the temple. After an eternity his wife stepped out, carrying a large mound of diapers. Chang closely followed, carrying large buckets of two different blue-colored liquids.
"What are those?" Aang asked.
"These are paints, made from ancient Air Nomad dyes!" Katara exlaims, her eyes lighting up. "I got two different blues, for Sora's room!"
"A new child is a wonderful experience," Cang adds. "It is a very special time, and you should not waste it. Love your child, and they will love you." The merchant bowed and resumed his duties, having fulfilled the duo's need.
Katara hands Aang the load of diapers, opting to carry the small amount of paint to their room. On the way to the room, deep in thought about his mediocrity, Aang trips and spills the diapers around the temple hall. "I'm going to go check on Sora. I'll see you up there," Katara says, leaving Aang to pick up his mess.
Since the diaper incident, Katara had taken to changing Sora's diapers alone. It was expected then, that Katara would change her when she began crying while the two were trying to sleep at about sunrise. Since it was about time for him to get up anyway, Aang awoke soon after. His sleep had not been a pleasant one; he tossed and turned wondering about his parenting abilities. How was he to stop a war if he could not stop his wife from thinking he was a failure? How could restore peace if he was not competent enough to even change a diaper?
He needed something to at least restore faith in himself. Sitting up in bed, he glances across the room to see the containers of paint resting against the wall. I'll get the painting done, and then Katara will know I'm ready! He quickly leaves the bed and picks up the containers, moving them to Sora's old room. Smiling, he opens the paint and admires the colors. We're going to paint the wall with the dark color on the bottom and the light on the top. It will be the ocean and the sky; her heritage all at once. Katara's words echoed inside his head, solidifying his idea. Entering the room carrying the paint, he moves the small amounts of furniture out of the way. He opens the paint up, looking upon the two liquids within. One is clearly darker than the other, and Aang pulls a small amount of the dark paint into a ball that hovers above his hand. Crouching down near the wall, Aang blows at the sphere, sending a mist of blue towards the wall. The vapor spreads out along the wall, leaving its mark along the wall's surface. Aang continues until the paint vanishes from his palm, at which time he draws more from the container.
Aang takes his time, making sure to smooth the paint before blowing a cold gust to dry the pigment. Aang worked his way around the room, covering every inch of the bottom half of the room. As he looks up towards the top half of the room, he raises a stone pillar to reach the top easier. By the time he had begun working on the top, Katara entered the room. "What are you doing?" she exclaimed in shock. The Avatar finished spraying the paint onto the wall before descending to meet her.
"I'm painting the wall. I decided I would surprise you," Aang says, approaching Katara with gentle steps.
"But you ruined it!"
"How? This is exactly like you said to paint the walls!"
"This is all wrong! I wanted to do this together for a reason!"
"And that would be?"
"The paint you're putting on the top dries dark. It get a lot darker! I wanted to tell you, but you seemed too tired for me to wake you up," Katara adds. As his wife finishes, Aang looks at the bottom of the walls. The color looked closer to a sky blue than to an oceanic color, while the top was looking a few shades shy of a twilight color.
"I didn't know-" Katara storms out, leaving Aang standing alone in Sora's old room. Thoughts raced through Aang's mind: Where was she going? What was she going to do? Aang sat on his earthen stool, lamenting his situation.
After a seemingly endless period of thought, Aang decides he must see Katara. He exits Sora's room and enters his own, hoping to find his wife. The room is empty, and he turns to go to Sora's new residence. As he passes through the walkway, he sees Katara holding Sora in her arms. "Hey," Aang says, as he couldn't seem to come up with another greeting.
"Hey," his wife responds.
"It's okay. It's only paint. We can fix her room whenever we want."
"It's not just that."
"Maybe there was a reason Air Nomad babies were taken from their parents to be raised by monks and nuns..."
"You're not a horrible father," Katara begins, though her husband snaps at her again.
"I haven't done a thing right!"
"So you painted her room the wrong color. You ruined a few diapers. So you might have dropped her once; I did too. You are not just your mistakes. You are a good father, I know."
"You love us too much to fail. I really don't know the answer to everything, but I think the key to being a good father, to being a good husband, to being a role model for the world; love each person deeply, from your heart. For me, I can only hope that I will love Sora enough that I'll be a good mother."
"But you are a great mother!"
"Aang, I'm trying as hard as you are, even if I seem to have it under control."
"Well, at least I'm a good Avatar. The peace really is making everything better." Aang tried sarcasm every so often, but wasn't too good at it.
"Gran Gran told me that what we love defines who we are. I know that by loving your daughter, you will become the father she needs just like you have become the husband I love more everyday. If you love everyone in the world, you will find the strength to save it. When things are hard, Aang, love harder."
The Avatar was moved to tears. He leans into his wife, who kisses his forehead again. He wraps his arms around the two, a tear falling onto Sora's forehead. As the baby giggles, Aang finally smiles. "I love you..." he thinks, though the words pass through his lips as a barely audible noise. Katara was unsure who he was talking to, but she moved closer, allowing his arms to encircle the two.
"We love you too."
While on Gmail chat with, The Bos was asked to write the first chapter of Honor Thy Father. While The Bos initially accepted, his schedule forced time crunches. With his recent completion of , he had a case of writers block. Several scenes were dreaded, as The Bos has had little experience with caring for babies. Though he faced difficulties from several of the more challenging scenes, he eventually made it through them. While some scenes were difficult to write, other, more love-based scenes flowed easily.
Cang was an original character for this chapter, with his name meaning 'store' in Chinese. This is due to his role as a merchant who supplies Aang and Katara with what they need.
Katara's theory on becoming a good father was taken from here.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Honor Thy Father Chapters|
| Hope Against Hope - A Change of Pace - Tainted Sanctuary - A New Home - Recovered - Empowered - When In Doubt - The Hunt - Full Moon - Reckonings - Sora
The Love of the Daughter - The Wasted Warrior, Part 1: Cycles- The Wasted Warrior, Part 2: Regrets- Daddy - The Charade, Part 1: The Shadow - The Charade Part 2: The Beast - The Charade, Part 3: The Fool - The Breakthrough - Redemption, Part 1: Dejection - Redemption, Part 2: Dominion