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Southern Water Tribe harbor city
The Mask You Wear
General information
Genre

Drama

Chapters

One-Shot

Total word count

6,891

Runtime

10 October, 2014

Production
Writer(s)

Bomochu

Chronology
Channel

Avatar Wiki Fanon Portal

Related

Avatar: The Legend of Korra

Plot

Essentially my theory about a certain character from The Legend of Korra and who their parents are, in the form of a fanon. Hope you enjoy ;)

The Mask You Wear

A young boy sits in the snow, happily playing with his wooden toy soldiers. He smiles, laughs, imagines, and dreams, his stories filled with heroism and triumph. His parents stand nearby, looking on proudly at their adorable little son. They wave to him, and he waves back, a grin emerging on his chubby face and laughter pouring from his mouth.

But as you watch the boy, you remember that you were once like him. You WERE that boy, sitting in the snow, happily enjoying the life which you had been born into...

These were your favourite days; the ones when it wasn't snowing, though the cold white substance was spread as far as the eye could eye, covering hills and homes leaving only pockets of colour of the things it blanketed. The reason you loved the sun was because of the warmth it brought, and you were able to play outside in the snow when the weather wasn't so bad.

You used to look over at your parents ever so fondly on these days, the two of them smiling into each other's eyes, holding each other's hands as they danced under the morning glow. Sometimes you would run over and interrupt their union, though they wouldn't mind. They would laugh and hold you close, patting your head or kissing you on the cheek. You were an only child, never competing for love and attention, both of which you depended on as much as you did food and water. Life... Was good.

Playing outside, toy soldiers in hand

Living in a world where snow covers the land

Enjoying life's joys, as happy as could be

With two parents, who love me
...
One day your parents decided to teach you the ways of their weapons. Outside in the snow you stood, your father brought you his. He once had a spectacular weapon, made from the rare metal of a meteor, though his new one would have to do. The sword was clumsy in your hands, like an appendage that didn't really extend from your body. To your father's disappointment his expert skills in the way of the sword had not been passed down to you.

Though he loved you all the same, and laughed every time you held the thing in your hands, swinging it about like a lunatic with an arm half paralyzed by a shirshu. You looked so adorable to him, and his love for you knew no bounds.

Next up, your mother tried to teach you how to use her weapons. She dressed up for the occasion, like she did when she had training on your winter vacations to the island. When she displayed her talents, all you could do was gawk. Like your father was with his weapons, your mother was very skilled with her golden fans. Under the morning sun they reflected its glow, sparkling and shining at every twist and turn her elegant body performed. Now it was your turn.

But again, to your mother's dismay, the fans were not your forte either. Instead of a deadly weapon they became a toy to you; you would hide your face behind one of them and put on a voice, pretending to be someone else. You would give your parents time to guess who you were, and they happily played along with your little game. But once they would 'give up', you would quickly flip the fan shut and scream your name, revealing your identity.

Alas, on you your mother's weapons had become analogous to the flippers of an otter penguin; nothing more than vestigial limbs that resembled the flight capabilities of a past ancestor, yet served the entirely different purpose of swimming.

Though she loved you all the same, and laughed every time you flapped your arms around like a bird, or played your little game of deception. You looked so adorable to her, and her love for you knew no bounds.

Playing outside, father's sword in hands

Swinging it incompetently, no better with the fans

Enjoying life's joys, as happy as could be

With two parents, who love me
...
Eventually, your father found something he could teach you: How to use a boomerang. Your eyes lit up when you first saw it, the 'L' shaped weapon like gold in your hands. It was the deception of the weapon that you loved so much; one could fling the weapon and miss their opponent, making them believe that they had a chance to strike. Yet the boomerang would surprise them, returning to the thrower and immobilizing the opponent. Your father gave you a wooden one at first, lest you fling a metal or bone one and accidentally hurt someone. But you took to the weapon with great zeal and enthusiasm, and with each practice you improved tremendously.

Your mother had always been good with the arts. Her fighting style was in many ways like a dance; a set of specific moves that when choreographed correctly looked spectacular. She was also talented with face paint, and she wore hers every time she went to training at the dojo you visited in winter.

At first you didn't like it; her eyes were the same but her face paint scared you, the red bands above her eyes and the white all over her face made her look like someone else. Someone... Tougher, ready for combat. Fearless and able to stare down any enemy. The warm loving face of the mother you knew was sort of there, but hidden. However, later on you began to appreciate it because you learnt two very important rules from her and your father:


1. Whether one knows it or not, they have a mask they wear.

2. Whether one knows it or not, they have a face beneath the mask they wear.


Your mother's mask was this: a mimic of Avatar Kyoshi. Though she had a face underneath who you knew as 'Mom'. This is what you learned about life, and one day you would forge your very own mask.

But in the meantime, your mother would paint on your face, not Avatar Kyoshi of course but other things. A tigerdillo, a polar bear-dog, maybe a sabre-tooth moose-lion. You would love looking at your mother's handiwork in the mirror, and running around your home pretending to be whatever animal you had painted across your face.

Again with the deception, pretending and all. It did come from somewhere.

Playing outside, father's boomerang in the sky

Mother painting faces, tigerdillo or butterfly

Enjoying life's joys, as happy as could be

With two parents, who love me


But like all good upbringings, something had to go wrong.

It always did.

All good things come to an end.

And the 'end' came in the form of a girl.

...

You knew this girl already; your parents had many friends, and when they would all get together they would bring their kids with them. You were a lot younger than most of them, and so you weren't as close with any of them. But you liked this girl; she was fun to play with, and she was an earthbender. Though for you bending was a much bigger deal as neither you nor your parents could bend, and so seeing the others practice their various forms and bend their elements was unreal. The girl's name was Suyin.

The girl's mother was none other than Toph Beifong, metalbending master and Chief of Police of Republic City. She was an interesting lady, blind with her glazy eyes, yet could walk around as well as anyone. She got on well with your father. That was, until the argument.

One day while playing in the snow with the other children you noticed the blind lady pull your father away for a moment. Curiosity got the better of you, and you left the game of Earthbenders vs Waterbender and Airbender (which to be frank, you and Bumi really had no hope of winning) to follow them.

Around the back of your house, you sneaked up and hid behind a mound of snow, peeking ever so slightly above its crest. Your father had his arms out; you couldn't hear what was said though you could tell he was angry. He was hardly ever angry at home, and listening to him now was like hearing him speak some foreign language. She was angry too, waving her arms about as she spoke. It ended with her storming off and your father left alone, nearly in tears.

You thought about running over to him, making him laugh or smile. No-one should be unhappy. But before you could you felt a warm hand slide over your shoulder. It was your mother, standing behind you. Though her gesture of holding your shoulder suggested that she was happy, her face told another story. It was filled with jealousy and distrust. Hurt and anger. But she noticed you looking up at her and kneelt down so she could look you in the eyes, forcing a smile on her face.

Don't worry about us.

Go inside, I'll have dinner ready later.

I need to talk to your father.

You nodded and obeyed like a good son, hoping that whatever this problem was it would be resolved here and now.

It wasn't.

(Lets shift to present tense, just so you can relive the moment...)


The rest of the night is filled with shouting. You keep your pillow over your ears, trying to block out this strange and unfamiliar sound. But unfortunately the walls aren't really that soundproof, and you catch snippets of your parents arguing:

...You betrayed me!...

...I told you, I'm so sorry...

...I can't believe this is happening...

...Everything was just too much; we were having problems being apart for a long time...

...I thought you loved me?...

...I needed you, things were so hectic, but you were too busy with your own life!...

...She's 12 now! You had twelve years to tell me! Were you ever going to?...

...I swear I didn't know for a long time!...

...You have a duty as her father? What about our own son!...

...I'm so sorry...

There was only one 12-year old you knew at the time, that girl, Suyin. Toph was her mother. Was this whole argument about Suyin? Why was she so important?

Eventually your parents go to bed, sleeping in different rooms for the night. You try and get to sleep, but you can't settle your thoughts. All you can think about is a way to make your parents happy again.

Remember playing outside, father's boomerang in the sky?

Remember mother painting faces, tigerdillo or butterfly?

Enjoying life's joys, as happy as could be

With two parents, who love me.
...
It's been a week. Neither mother nor father talks to each other. The occasional word or two though nothing more, lest it turn into another contest of who-can-scream-the-loudest. Though sometimes you wish you could compete and yell at them, screaming at them to stop and actually acknowledge you.

Mother wears her mask almost every day now; each morning is begun by carefully painting the red stripes under her eyebrows, the white paint over the rest of her face. One morning you try and stop her from doing it, just so you can see the loving and kind face you remember your mother had. But she snaps at you and turns away, telling you she already has one male telling her what to do all the time and she doesn't need another. Tears form in your eyes, your mother's words feeling like cold ice shards against your skin. She turns back to you, a guilty look on her face (though any emotion is hard to distinguish when her face is caked in paint) and she places her hand on your shoulder, apologizing and sighing deeply. She takes you downstairs to get you something to eat, and then quickly disappears so she can finish putting on her mask. It takes time to forge a mask.

You sit alone in your room for hours that night, wondering what you should do. What was the problem with Su? Why were your parents arguing about her? Tears stream from your eyes, your face buried in your hands. All you want is to see your parents smile again, for them to notice you and play with you. All you want is for them to love you. Though the way they are now ignoring and fighting each other you feel as though you have become invisible to them.

But you come up with a solution, and plan it out all night. Maybe you can get your parents to talk to each other again, maybe even get them to smile, just like they did when they took you outside and danced under the morning sun. You grab some of your mother's paints, take a dagger from your father's collection, and steal a bundle of firewood from the woodshed. With a determined look on your face you begin, taking the dagger and shaping the wood until one surface is smooth. You then take the paint and spread it over the block, using a brush and making wide strokes with your hand to form the characters of a name. After a while you look down at your creation and smile, a wide hopeful grin emerging on your face. This had to work. This had to make your parents smile again. Reluctantly you go back to bed, too eager for tomorrow morning.
...
The next morning you summon your parents. The lounge has all been set up for today's event, with two chairs at one end conveniently placed next to each other. Though when your parents arrive the chairs end up at opposite sides of the room. You frown at the sight, though your excitement bubbles onto you face again, and with a silly grin you check the rest of your set up. The board you painted sits on the table, with two posts underneath it holding it up and a dark blue cloth covering it until ready. Underneath that another cloth covers a set of objects. Everything was going to plan. Once your parents are seated, you muster up enough courage to conquer you nerves, and begin.

"Ladies and gentlemen!" You start, "Welcome to today's magic show, hosted by..." You take a moment to pull the cloth of your creation, and then scream your 'stage' name as it is written on the block of wood. You stand there a few seconds waiting for your parents to respond, and it takes them a short while before they realize that you are about to perform a magic show for them. Yep, that's right; you're a world-class magician. That is the mask that you wear, the one which you forged last night. It was appropriate, as you had always been fascinated with magic tricks. The man down the road often performed on the street, and you used to watch him with awe and excitement with what he could do. And now you were about to do your own magic tricks.

It was already working; your parents had started smiling again, clapping and cheering for you as you begin. You put on a different voice, the exciting and eccentric one you sometimes used when behind those golden fans. "And now, whoever can solve this challenge will win the ultimate prize!" As you exclaim your words you hold your arms out, adding extra emphasis.

Your father grins, "Yeah? And what's the prize?"

A look of nervousness appears on your face. How could you have overlooked this? There was no prize! You only said that to add excitement. No, it couldn't end like this. Improvise! After looking on the floor to your right you notice your father's dagger that you used to make your sign. It would have to do. And besides, you could sell anything when you had your mask on.

"This warrior's dagger!" You pick up the weapon up and hold it in front of you, smiling like a shady salesperson as you continue with you story, "This very weapon was once used to defeat seven dragons at once, and a sea serpent! It could be yours if you win!"

Your parents laugh. It was working; already you had brought a much needed joy to their faces. But just as quickly your father frowns, "Hey, isn't that one of my daggers?" He asks you.

"Huh?" You mutter, a shocked expression forming on your face.

"And did you use some of my paints on that sign of yours?" Your mother enquirers.

The back of your neck tingles with fear. You should have known that this could happen. Now that they've seen right through you there was no hope in making them happy again. "I'm sorry," You mumble, hanging your head low, "I just wanted to put a show on for you."

You expect your parents to scold you, but to your surprise your mother smiles and laughs, "Hey, it's alright. I don't mind. What you've made looks beautiful." You look up and face her, warmly smiling at you.

"Yeah, it looks like you've put a lot of work into this. Keep going." Father chimes in agreement. Perhaps it wasn't hopeless after all.

Your usual smile returns to your lips and you continue with the show. Pulling off the dark blue cloth you reveal the other items; a set of three cups standing on the table upside down. You pull out a coin from your pocket, placing it under the middle cup as you spoke, "The coin has been placed under the middle cup here, and if you can guess which cup it is under after I have shuffled the cups you can win this ultimate prize!" You add with a wink.

Your parents smile in response, your father now laughing a little. You begin shuffling the cups, smiling with a mixture of anticipation and anxiousness. Your parents are smiling back at you, just like they used to when they watched you playing outside. This had to work.

"You know," Father began, "This reminds me of a game I once saw when we were in the Fire Nation during the war." You briefly look up at father while he talks. You've always enjoyed his stories. "We were in Fire Fountain City, and we came across a scam were someone would shuffle a rock under a set of cups too," He laughed a little before continuing, "Though our friend with us was an earthbender and she could tell which cup the rock was under."

Thankfully there were no earthbenders in the room then; you couldn't have them spoil your magic trick now could you? It was nearing the critical point, and soon you would have to sneakily flick the coin into your sleeve...

"You just had to bring her up, didn't you?"

Your eyes dart up at the sound of your mother's voice. The warm smiling expression that was there just a few minutes ago had vanished. You pause your shuffling of the cups.

"What do you mean?" Your father questioned defensively. "I was just telling him something from our past."

"Just telling him something? Well, while you're at it," You mother stood up, her anger flaring up, "Why don't you tell him about how his father is a lying, cheating, man who betrayed us!"

"Suki!" Your father had started yelling as well, "We agreed to tell him later!"

"Why? You're planning to abandon us and move to Republic City soon anyway so he should know what kind of a father you really are before you go!"

Father sighs loudly, trying to calm himself while he stands up as well. "Look, there are many reasons that I feel I should take the job offer as a councilman, though none of them are so I can abandon you. You are my family and I have always put you first!"

"You just want to be closer to her! You want a new life where you can be involved in Su's life as her father!"

"Toph needs the support; she already has another child and a stressful job! No one will know our connection, but I can help look after Su by being involved in her life. I have a responsibility to make things right!"

"Toph doesn't want your help!"

"I don't care what she wants! I know what she needs!"

You don't really hear the rest of the fight; only small sections of what has been said stick with you. Quietly you pack away everything which you had set up, your parents not even noticing you do so. They're too busy shouting and screaming at each other, their arms waving and faces contorted in anger. As you turn and walk back to your room, the truth finally begins to sink in, that you are once again invisible to your parents.

Remember playing outside, father's boomerang in the sky?

Remember mother painting faces, tigerdillo or butterfly?

Looking for life's joys, where on earth could they be?

With two parents, who love me?

Who love me?

Who love me?
...
The tears just won't come. Supposedly you had cried so much last night that it wouldn't happen now. Either that or you just aren't sad about it anymore. You just feel... Angry. No, stronger than that. Hurt. Hateful. Bitter. Confused. Distrusting. Invisible. Unloved. Unwanted. Abandoned. And a whole host of other swarming emotions that cannot be put into words. But they can be expressed into actions. You pound the wall several times. You place your head in your hands, and finally the waterworks arrive in torrents. You hold a pillow to your mouth, screaming until your lungs burned. You feel so hurt, so betrayed. But this was the night that you learnt those two very important rules. Remember what they are?


1. Whether one knows it or not, they have a mask they wear.

2. Whether one knows it or not, they have a face beneath the mask they wear.


Life was full of masks and faces. Some chose to wear their mask with pride, and others chose to be themselves.

Your mother has a mask and a face underneath. She is a Kyoshi Warrior with her mask, and your mother underneath. But now which is the mask and which is her face? They have molded together; she has constantly worn her mask until it has now morphed who she is. She no longer smiles at you like she used to, and hardly acknowledges your presence. She doesn't laugh like she used to, or sing to you, or hold you. She has become like a fearless warrior stiff and still, never showing emotion.

Your father too has changed. His mask now is one full of lies, deception, and betrayal. You can't understand how he can just leave you here? How he can just leave to become someone else's father? But why would anyone want to wear such an ugly looking mask? Perhaps then this is actually his face, and the mask he wore has been removed. Perhaps his usual cheerful and selflessly loving face was actually his mask. Perhaps he has been wearing a lie ever since you knew him. All those times he had fondly smiled your way, or looked at you as if you were his greatest joy in the whole world, was it all just a mask?

Another tearful cry makes it past your lips. Your head is spinning, your thoughts flying around in your mind and unsettled. You're just so angry at the world; everything is shrouded in lies, false-perceptions, and vanity. Why were there these 'masks' in the first place? Because of them you no longer knew what was true anymore. You no longer knew who your parents were. And now you are left a whimpering sobbing mess on your bed, so uncertain and untrusting of everything and everyone around you.

But... Maybe this is just the way things are

Maybe... We all have to wear masks at some point.

Maybe...I can make my own mask.

Your eyes catch the sign you made earlier, your stage name spread across in paint. It was the name that man had used down the street, the one who does the magic tricks. You love the way your lips connect with your bottom front teeth when you say the first syllable. You love the way the last part of it sounds when you click against the roof of your mouth. Saying the name aloud makes you smile.

So, say it again.

And again.

Repeat it, savoring each vowel and consonant.

Say it.

Repeat it.

Own it.

And better yet, wear it. Wear it with pride. Speak as if you wear it. Act as if you wear it. Walk, talk, breathe, eat, sleep, and exist like you wear it.

You stand up, smile fading but your head clearing. The fogginess of your mind has dissipated. You've stopped throwing yourself into spirals of questions that begin with 'Why?' and 'How could you?', now knowing what needs to be done.

Your show isn't over yet. There's still one more disappearing act to perform.
...
You tell yourself not to look back. It would only make it harder to keep moving. But you can't help it. Was this really a good idea? Was this really the answer?

Tears forming in your eyes, you turn back to the coast and keep walking. Your parents don't care about you anymore. Both of them are too caught up in their arguing that they probably won't even notice you are gone. But when they do, they will probably try to track you down. Perhaps you can avoid them by hopping from ship to ship, starting with the one leaving early tomorrow morning? That way you would never be in one place for long. Though whatever way you keep hidden doesn't really matter, as long as you do stay hidden. Than one day you really will be gone, hiding under your mask until it feels real.

The chilly winds have picked up now, causing you to shiver. Or maybe it was just from your crying? But you continue to push on through the weather not giving home another glance. Pressed on to your goal which you believe is the only solution you have.

Remember playing outside, father's boomerang in the sky?

Remember mother painting faces, tigerdillo or butterfly?

Looking for life's joys, where on earth could they be?

With two parents, who no longer love me.


No, that's not quite true...


With two parents, who never really loved me.


It's a big night for you tonight, here in Republic City. All the big-wigs and wealthiest men and women will be here. You know you have to impress. You know you have to sell yourself. And you know you can; you can sell anything with the mask you wear.

That's right. Funny you would be thinking of that old saying you had at a time like this. Though they were more like rules to be precise. How did it go again?


1. Whether one knows it or not, they have a mask they wear.

2. Whether one knows it or not, they have a face beneath the mask they wear.


That night when you left your home, becoming someone new. That was the night when you discovered the truth to life, and how it was actually filled with masks and faces. Masks and faces. Was life really like that? Or were you just emotionally unstable at the time, coming up with theories on why the world is the way it is? Maybe it was a bit of both. Either way, you decide to take a walk along the pier. You need a clear head for tonight's event.

The pier was nice at this time of night; the golden lights of the great metropolis shining behind you. The sound of the water moving against the pillars of the pier. You take small steps, breathing in the cool night air. It had been mentioned in the paper that Avatar Aang would be coming to this event, along with some of his friends. Why the Avatar would be concerned with a new line of ship engines is beyond you, but you don't mind. Where the Avatar goes, many follow, and many people equal a greater chance of getting donations. Soon you wouldn't have to rely on other's money anymore, well, if you could have this deal signed tonight of course. Yes, if all went to plan you would be sailing the seas in some big fancy yacht somewhere, with so much money you just wouldn't know how to spend it.

You've also heard it mentioned that Councilman Sokka and his wife Suki would be here. There was a time where you knew them as 'mother' and 'father', but that was a different you, or perhaps you could say a different face under the mask you wear. But you have worn your mask for so long now it feels real, as if this is really who you are now. Everyone else is fooled; they buy your backstory that you tell them when you meet. That little boy from so long ago is just like a dream, some past archaic legend that never really happened.

Still, you've sometimes wondered what it would be like to hear their voices again. Or be close to them, just to be near their presence.

You hear someone say your name from behind you, their male voice sounding familiar. You almost dread to turn around because you believe it to be that man. But it couldn't possibly be him. He was turning up tonight, supposedly, but how would he find you here?

But indeed, it is him. Councilman Sokka stands before you, dressed in his usual Water Tribe clothing. He looks much older though, some of his hair going grey. Though he still shaves the sides, and it's a little surprising that the look still suits him at his age. You swallow, eyes widening at the sight. This was the first time in many years that you have seen him, but he can't find out who you once were.

"I knew it," He barely whispered, choking on his words. Tears formed in his eyes, though not enough to run down his cheeks. "Suki!" He quietly called to someone on his left.

A woman leaning on the railing turned around. She has brown hair, and bright eyes which sparkle under the moonlit pier. She's wearing an emerald green dress, nothing too flash, but quite pretty with its dark green swirling patterns stitched onto it. She turns around at the sound of her name, and makes her way over. But with each step she takes her eyes widen, maintaining their gaze into your own eyes. "Sokka, you... Do you think that this is...?"

"Yep," Sokka wiped a tear which had flowed from his eye, "That's him. Our son."

It was clear by this stage that this woman was Suki, wife of Councilman Sokka. She stops in her tracks for a few seconds, but after hearing her husband's answer she bursts into tears, cries escaping from her lips. Before you have time to move, she lunges at you and wraps her arms around you, emptying her overjoyed tears onto your jacket. You don't know what to say, or how to respond. It was all happening so fast! As she squeezes you tight you stand motionless like a statue, but mutter something unintelligible instead. She pulls away and looks into your eyes, noting your distress.

"Uh, I'm... Sorry," She mumbles in response and quickly steps back in line with Sokka. He holds her as she leans against him for a few seconds, trying to collect herself after this emotional reunion. It's funny, you remember her looking just like this. She isn't wearing a mask tonight, no face paint, and although she is older she still carries the same smile with her warm and loving expressions that you can only identify as the mother you once knew. Her crying even caused you to tear up, even if just a moment.

"We saw your picture in the paper," Sokka began. He grins while laughing, "And we thought you looked so familiar, though we weren't sure it would be you. But now that I'm here standing before you..." He does't finish his sentence. Instead he takes a moment to wipe his eyes again, already refilling with tears. "We... Can guess why you ran away all those years ago. We were so busy fighting that we neglected you. We're not angry. I... Know that the whole thing was completely my fault."

"It was both of us, both our faults," Suki joins in. She makes a small glance in Sokka's direction before turning to face you, starting to tear up again.

"We were just so lost when you left. We didn't know what had happened to you. We'd always thought that you may have made it, and didn't just fall victim to the storm that night." He smiles again, so lovingly and full of warmth, "You must have done well to avoid being picked up by that tracking team and shirshus."

Again you try to respond, but all that leaves your mouth are murmurs and strange whispers. You have to keep your mask on, and not let them know who you once were. Though seeing your parents before you now was like looking back into the distant past, a time long gone.

"I can't help but think that somehow... This encounter was meant to happen," Your father takes a few steps closer. "Perhaps now that we have been reunited we can be a family again," His smile quickly fades, "If that is okay of course."

A frown appears on your face. You're not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, you cannot forget why you left in the first place; your parents abandoned you! Your father was planning to move to Republic City and leave you all alone in the Southern Water Tribe! But on the other hand, hearing your parents' words, seeing their crying and remorseful faces, is like some small child's hands tugging at the strings that lead to your heart. Perhaps that little child from so long ago was the one tugging at your heart strings. All you ever wanted was to be loved and accepted.

"I know I have done so much to hurt you, and it took me and your mother a long time to sort things out," Sokka turns to his wife, their eyes meeting. "Though I realized that I love your mother so much, and you both are the closest people to my heart. What happened all those years ago was an honest mistake, though Suyin herself is not a mistake. She is a wonderful woman, and that's why your mother and I decided to move to Republic City a while ago so that we could help her and Toph out. Suyin doesn't know anything, which is what we all thought were best at the time."

"It took me a while to forgive your father," Suki responds after collecting herself, though her eyes are still glassy, "I was bitter about everything for so many years. But... I realized that I really did still love your father. We had gone through so much together; raising a son and then losing you...," She let out another flurry of tears, "But we were there for each other when we needed comfort. It took me even longer to forgive Toph for what had happened, though I managed to find it in my heart to forgive her. The fact was that forgiveness wasn't the issue; we had to do what was best for Suyin, since she had no choice as to how she was brought into this world, and that meant that Sokka had to be there for Toph and Suyin, at least for those early years while things were tough. And I realized that I still loved your father and wanted to be by his side through this difficult time." Suki looks back to her husband and kisses him on the cheek. It was clear that Sokka still feels a terrible guilt even to this day; it is painted on his face.

"But now that we're all here," Suki moves closer, "We can begin to heal, much like me and your father have."

"All we want is to be a part of your life again," Sokka holds his wife with one arm, both of them tearing up. "We're so proud of you and want to be involved if we can. Even just knowing that you're alive has brought so much joy to our hearts," He nearly can't finish his sentence because of his tears. It is a strange sight; you have never seen Sokka this upset ever before.

Both of them just stand there looking at you with tearful eyes, red from all the sadness and joy that has been shed. They stand there waiting for your answer, but all you can do is stare. You had dreamed of this reunion before, though now that it is here in front of you you can't respond. You can't seem to form words with your lips, or perform motions with your body. Until you remember something important.

It's too late.

It is too late; you have already built a name for yourself. People know who you are. What would they do if they realized that you have been lying about your past this whole time?

You close your eyes and inhale loudly. All that sorrow your parents have shared about when you ran away has made you realize something crucial. If this was the cost of forging your mask, all your parents' tears and sadness and guilt, than you cannot let your mask go to waste.

After you exhale, you open your eyes, "Councilman Sokka, Suki," You turn your head to each of them as you address them, "I am very sorry for your loss. But I am not your son."

A cry surfaces from Suki. Sokka lowers his head, though nods. Perhaps they did half-expect that this would happen. That you would disown them.

"I am not your son; my name... is Varrick."

Now that you're finished, you stand up straight and walk back the way you came. Out of the corner of you eye you can see Sokka holding his wife in his arms. She lets out one last wail before controlling herself, keeping her sadness inside. Sokka simply watches as you walk away, though his eyes are so sorrowful.

You make it a few more steps before stopping in your tracks.

It can't end like this.

Are you really just about to walk away? All you ever wanted was for your parents to love you, and here they are bawling their eyes out because they've found out that you are still alive. You're not invisible anymore; you're visible to them. No, more than that. You are all they can see at the moment. All their hopes and dreams revolved around you still being alive, and here you are, walking away from that.

You turn your head back slightly, making contact with their faces. "I am very busy at the moment, so if you want to talk about the business you will have to arrange a meeting with my assistant, Zhu Li..." You pause a moment, still considering what should be done. "Though I would be... Happy to meet with both of you sometime tomorrow... Perhaps, er... Near that tea shop? I'll have Zhu Li give you directions--"

Suki obviously took your response as an approval, since she ran towards you and wrapped her arms around you before you could finish. "We love you so much," She manages to say in between her sobs and tears. Sokka walks over and at first places a hand on your shoulder, gently rubbing it with his thumb and looking into your eyes. But even his tears of joy catch up with him, and he too holds you close while gently weeping.

This brings back memories; you used to run in between your parents as they were holding each other under the morning sun, though in those days you were much smaller. Now you're taller than Suki, and nearly as tall as Sokka. The feelings of acceptance and love, just like those which you felt as a child, come rushing back in waves like those at a beach. And even you can't stop the edges of your mouth curling up into a grin, or a few tears streaming down your cheeks.

The mask you wear is still on you of course, and it would have to stay. But for once in your life since you've been wearing it, you feel as though you can let it all out. All this pent up anger and hurt that you've tried to suppress under that mask, or tried to ignore through your eccentric personality, is now gone. You smile again while looking out into the distance, never wanting to leave your parents' embrace again.

And the best part is that you can still be Varrick. That smooth-talking, charming, eccentric, sarcastic, charismatic man is still there – now he just has two parents who love him.

No, that's not quite right

Now you have two parents, but they have always loved you.

Author's notes

  • This is essentially my theory of who a certain character's parents are in the form of a fanon. I'm pretty sure this won't be the case, but you know, it's fun to dream and write AUs ;P
  • Originally this fanon was going to end with the main character walking away from his parents, but then I realized that all my fanons so far have been utterly depressing and thought I would try my hand at writing a 'happier ending'. :D
  • This is also my first attempt at second-person, so feel free to let me know what you think ;)

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