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|The Night Session|
October 21, 2016
Two weeks have passed since the adoption of waterbending abilities. One morning, steps out of his hut and finds Singi a few meters away practicing along the bay. He blinks a couple of times before walking over to her., and has shown improvement in her
"You're up early," Gekkō comments.
At this, Singi stops bending and turns to face her instructor.
"Well, what can I say? I just want to perfect my waterbending," Singi replies with a slight smirk.
"Hmmm..." Gekkō hums, without changing his expression. "I want to do something new with you. We will train tonight, instead of during the day."
At this, Singi cocks her head slightly in confusion and raises an eyebrow.
"Why during the night?"
"You'll find out then," Gekkō states. "In the meantime, you can continue practicing if you wish, tend to Jiefeng, meditate with... whatever you feel like doing."
With that, Gekkō turns and walks away from his student, his hands clasped together behind his back, while Singi watches before resuming her waterbending.
Later that night, Singi and Jamyang are in their tent over a bowl of steamed vegetables and rice when Gekkō calls to Singi from outside. Pulling back the curtain, Singi pokes her head out and finds her instructor standing before her.
"Have you finished dinner?" Gekkō asks.
"Pretty much," Singi responds.
"Fine. Let's go," Gekkō orders bluntly, while Singi crawls out of the tent and follows him to a stretch of beach a mile away from the settlement. Once there, they begin their training as usual, only Singi feels as if she is able to do more tonight—she feels more powerful. As Singi maneuvers two large streams of water around her body like a ribbon-dancer, she finally asks her pressing question.
"Alright, so why are we training at night?"
After a brief pause, Gekkō sighs slightly, causing Singi to turn her head to her instructor in curiosity and bend the water back into the bay before standing at attention.
"Do you know why I was named 'Gekkō'?"
Singi shakes her head in response.
"When I was born, my parents had a vision that their son would grow to be one of the most skilled waterbenders of our time. When my father was teaching me, he and I would often train at night, as it is the strength of the moon, and its ability to push and pull the tides, that enhances our ability to bend water."
"Oh, wow..." Singi exclaims in wonder. "I never knew." Putting both hands in front of her, she begins a pull-and-pull motion towards the bay, creating waves that move back-and-forth and increase in intensity. She loses her train of focus when Gekkō begins to speak again, and listens intently.
"I took my parents' vision to heart, and trained vigorously to become the best waterbender known. They never pressured me, even with their vision, but I pressured myself, and became a perfectionist. I focused solely on my bending, with little concern for my health, well-being, and relationships. Eventually, my parents informed me that they felt sorry for ever telling me of their vision, that they never were able to see me as their true son, because I spent so much of my time training. They blamed themselves for my behavior, and I could never forgive myself for what I did."
At this, Gekkō begins to sit in lotus position, a faint glint of tears beginning to form in his eyes.
"And so this is why you see me as the indifferent, stoic person I am today. I try to hide the burden I've been carrying since that day."
Singi stays silent for a moment, taking it all in as she watches a faint trickle of tears flow down her instructor's cheeks.
"I am so sorry if I have ever made you feel uncomfortable, Avatar Singi. My personality is not a reflection of my feelings towards you, but towards myself."
After another pause, Singi wraps her arms around Gekkō's right arm, and the two stare at each other.
"While your parents' vision may have come true, and you didn't get to spend a lot of quality time with them, I am sure that they never stopped loving you."
At this, Gekkō gasps slightly in shock.
"My early life was somewhat quiet. When I was six, I discovered I was an airbender, and I trained with Monk Jamyang for many years and eventually mastered the element. I even created a new airbending move, where I first form a cloud, and then bend a shield of air around it; I can whizz around close to the ground while protecting myself! After creating this new technique, I got my airbendering mastery tattoos at the age of eleven. Besides my teachings, I would often spend time with my parents, or time alone along the West Lake enjoying life. Just two weeks ago, I found out that I was the Avatar—the great bridge between humans and spirits. Now, I have to carry on Avatar Wan's incredible legacy and duty to guide the world towards peace. I had to leave my parents as a teenager and set off to master the other three elements and make sure that the different cultures of our world can live together in harmony. I don't know when I'll see my parents again, but I know that they will always love me, as the Avatar and their daughter."
At this, Singi chuckles slightly, "I think I've got you beat."
Mouth slightly agape, Gekkō simply continues staring at Singi in shock.
"Besides, you're a master waterbender, and you're teaching the Avatar! I think your parents would be proud of you, were they still alive today."
There is a lull between the two before Gekkō shifts his right arm from Singi's arms and wraps his arms around his student in an embrace. Singi blinks a couple of times in surprise, but then returns the embrace, smiling in understanding.
"Thank you, Avatar Singi. You are the first person I have discussed my upbringing with, and to only now know that my grand mistake for all of those years was not entirely in vain... it has... it has given me a new lease on life."
Singi simply smiled warmly, "I'm glad I was able to help."
At this, the two stand and continue training for a couple of hours before calling it a night. This time, before parting, the two exchange a bow of respect, smiling with a newfound sense of understanding and reverence.
The next morning, Singi is up at the crack of dawn by the bay, training alone. After an hour has passed, she hears the faint wisp of footsteps brushing along the sand, and turns to find Gekkō approaching her.
"Well, you're up rather early," Gekkō exclaims with a slight grin.
Singi chuckles slightly, smiling. "I've been up since the crack of dawn, and I'll be ready for another night session, should you want to do one tonight."
Gekkō gives a nod of appreciation, and soon, their moment is interrupted when Jiefeng rushes into the scene rather clumsily, her nimble yet short legs not yet ready for such brisk running. At one point, she falls forward, somersaulting twice before landing in the sand in a heap.
"Jiefeng!" Singi cries while quickly trotting over to her animal companion and scooping up the chick in her arms, using a portion of her robes to clean the chick of any sand particles, focusing particular attention on her eyes.
"You're such a silly cranefish," Singi coos, as she finishes her grooming session, Jiefeng looking up at Singi with innocent curiosity.
Not long after, Jamyang arrives, and his expression changes from one of worry to relief upon seeing the chick in Singi's arms.
"There you are, little one. You had me worried."
"Did Jiefeng miss me this morning?" Singi asks, lifting Jiefeng up and placing her cheek beside the animal in affection.
"I'm afraid she did..." Jamyang chuckles. "As soon as she woke up and realized you were not in the tent, she gave a loud call which woke me up, and ran out of the tent to look for you."
After a brief pause to take in the affection being exchanged between the two, Jamyang concludes, "I'm glad she was able to find you, though—the mark of a true animal companion!"
"I guess she didn't exactly like my waking up at the break of dawn to train. I don't do it everyday, so it was a bit of a change for her."
"Well, it's rather fitting," Gekkō chimes in, "seeing as how water is the element of change."
At this Singi warmly smiles at her instructor, and Gekkō returns the gesture. Jamyang can sense something has occurred between the two of them last night, but does not bother to pry, and simply smiles at the two of them in silent understanding.
"Water is the element of change," Singi remarks, as she and the others face east towards the rising sun.
- While not explicitly stated, Gekkō's hair is grayed due to the years of stress he has endured as a result of both his waterbending training combined with the guilt he has harbored over not spending time with his parents.
- The unique airbending move Singi created will be known as the "air bullet," but will not be called as such by the characters, given the time period.
- Having created the air bullet at age 11 (compared to Aang inventing the air scooter at age 12), Singi is one of, if not the youngest airbending master in Air Nomad history.
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