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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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THE PAGE OF NOSTALGIA
Katara thought to herself, a tear falling from her cheek as the ink pressed against the blank pages of her journal:
I even remember Jet, lying to us in his last moments so we wouldn't worry. He died so young---so suddenly. Just as Princess Yue had, and---I struggle to even imagine the Air Nomad genocide---all those children. My mother, my Gran Gran, and the countless others that I've watched die. Right before me, and I could do nothing to stop them from leaving. My family, it seems they are all slipping away from me---dying…
Katara wiped her eyes and set down the pen. "I have seen so many loved ones pass on..." her voiced choked, "I never thought that it would end this way---I never imagined that it could hurt this much to think about."
"Katara?" Aang knocked on the old wooden door of their bedroom and walked inside, supported solely by his childhood staff and a frail timeworn smile. He coughed a few times and asked, "I heard you sniffling dear, are you alright?"
Teary-eyed, Katara nodded her head swiftly and smiled the strongest way she could muster… "I'm experiencing nostalgia is all sweetheart, go on about your business." She waved him away and he gave her an honoree look before turning to walk back down the hall. Katara sighed deeply and turned back to her book, reminiscing as she continued writing down a few memories:
Our children have started different lives on their own; they are all grown and moved away now, and they no longer need their parents for protection and care. In the years past, Aang and my oldest son, Bumi, and Zuko's daughter dated. He and young Honora got into so much trouble together that I think Zuko and I made a holiday once a year just to punish those two in case we ever missed something they had done. "National Grounding Day" I think that was what we called it. Bumi eventually left home and became a strapping young soldier in the United Forces Navy. He was so brave and as much as it pains me to think of it, Bumi had many dangerous adventures while he was traveling the seas. He made a best friend out there, a boy named Lee, who had on more than one occasion saved my boy's life. He and Bumi also made a few irreplaceable friends that I know they'll keep in touch with for the rest of his days, just as I do. Now, Bumi once told me that he had planned to marry Honora once he had earned enough credit through the army. He always thought that he had to be something special before he could ever ask for the hand of the princess, but in that time that he had waited, his plans became suddenly obsolete when he and his best friend found themselves in love with the same woman. After Zuko's little secret mission to Tu Zin, Bumi and Lee had earned the ranking of captain after showing such bravery and valor. Bumi had his honor and his rankings to finally confess his love to the woman he had given his heart to fourteen years ago, but the universe had other plans, and my Bumi watched as Honora married another man, as well as his very own best friend. One thing Bumi has never been is a grudge holder---he never once complained about losing his love, and in the end he even became the best man at their wedding. Just recently, Bumi and the new prince of the Fire Nation became the youngest high ranking captains of the United Forces, an army that is still dedicated to promoting peace for all types of benders and non-benders all over the world. Its base is located somewhere within the Fire Nation Capital where Bumi still resides to this day and never ceases to make Aang and me proud.
Tenzin was a tricky boy to raise. He was always so serious and practical---it took a strong person to make that kid have fun and I was actually relieved when he and Lin Beifong became friends. Lin is every bit of her mother and more, and she really got Tenzin to enjoy himself more so than any of us ever could. Tenzin left us to pursue some crazy spiritual quest that kept him out of our lives for ten long years; a whole decade that boy stayed away from us, and I fear it was all because of his duties to the Airbending population. Aang and I hated that the weight of that fell onto his shoulders alone, but it really was an important thing in his life that we had hoped would just come naturally like ours did. He came back after a decade and resumed dating Lin, though in the years of his absence, she had grown fierce, distant, and even more brutal than she had been as a child. Tenzin became a council member of Republic City as the Air Nomad representative; meanwhile, Lin became Captain Beifong of the Metalbending Police Force. She has made it abundantly clear that she does not want a family, which worries us, but Tenzin and Lin, even though they are growing distant they are still in love and sometimes I worry about them and how much they really love each other---rather how much they don't want to ruin their lifelong friendship.
In lighter news, it seems that just a few years ago, Zuko learned that his son, once thought dead, had been alive and well all this time, living in Omashu with Mai's family. It was a tragedy turned into a blessing that the two were able to find each other and settle their differences. The young man's name is Rook, and he is Zuko's spitting image from head to toe. I have yet to meet him in person, but I've seen photos and read about him in the papers; it simply amazes me how much like his father the boy could be without Zuko even having raised him. Honora, Lee, and Iroh all accepted him instantly as a member of their crazy family, and it is almost as if Rook had never been kidnapped and that he had lived at the palace all his life---despite his lack of knowledge for his homeland's customs, that is. Meanwhile, the new prince is settling into his birthright lifestyle of luxury quite nicely the last I checked, and from what I've heard, the Fire Nation has never been more prosperous, not to mention excited that their lost prince had finally returned home.
My brother's daughters are all married, most of them with children of their own. Let's see now, his oldest, Yue, she is married to a fine young soldier in the Northern Water Tribe named Bing, and they have a handsome son who they named Kue. He's about twenty years old now, a strapping young man, and a soldier just like his father. Kue was born with hair as white as the princess his mother was named for. We all believe that he might serve some strong spiritual purpose one day (hopefully nothing as serious as Princess Yue once was responsible for). Kue is a respectable young man, just like his mother and father, and they have taken to the Northern lifestyle quite nicely these last few decades.
Sokka and Suki's twins, Koko and Sukka---they both married later in their lives than their two sisters did. Sukka wed to an incredibly smart detective named Huyan, and though I have never met him, Sokka brags about those two all the time on our visits. They live in Shu Jing at the castle of Master Piandao, now named the oldest man still living on this planet. Together they train the White Lotus Sentries that watch over my home and protect my husband, and the ways of the White Lotus Order. They seem to be the craftiest, and most notably skilled of Sokka's children---always getting into mysteries and helping people one case at a time.
Then there is Koko, the stubborn woman who swore that she would never fall in love. She is the acting leader of the Kyoshi Warriors on Kyoshi Island, and just a few years back her home had been ransacked by a bunch of pirates. Koko and the warriors fought them off and she somehow managed to drive them back into the waters, but not before getting herself captured---and not before falling head over heels for the captain. Koko is forty-seven years old and her parents are beyond panicking about her choice of men, though the fact that her wedding forever binds Kyoshi Island with safe ports untouched by any clan of pirates is good news, right? The boy is rumored to be kind enough, and as long as they're in love, who are we to judge Koko's new husband---or her new posse of ruthless ex-pirates? Koko and Enki have managed to mesh together the skills of a Kyoshi Warrior with the strict ruling and freedom of a pirate; the warriors have even spread to naval bases becoming a whole new breed of warrior that is capable of fighting in Unagi Bay.
Kanna, my brother's youngest daughter, she was named after our late Gran Gran, and she married long ago. Now she and her husband have two lovely children: a son named Ramen, who is a genius mathematician at Ba Sing Se University now; and then a mischievous daughter named Chi who is a teenager that has as much knack for getting into trouble as we did at her age. Kanna's husband is a sweet and brilliant boy named Lugh, the son of our old friend Teo from the Northern Air Temple. They are considered the greatest minds of our century as well as renowned scientists, geologists, inventors, and excavators. Right now they travel to all corners of the world in order to dig up artifacts and recover ancient history before the world managed to forget it. They also hold numerous seminars explaining their theories and the numerous wonders of the inventions that Lugh has made in the past couple of years.
Sokka's only son, Koda, is the new self-proclaimed leader of the Southern Water Tribe; he lives there near Sokka and Suki with his growing family. At the age of thirty-seven, Koda, his wife Ualani, and their five children: Pakko, Nini, Kimi, Kavo, and Arick, reside near the Southern Tribe Capitol, a new addition to the growing tundra where my brother and I were raised. There have been many new families moving down to the South lately and frankly, a few people are starting to question just who exactly should lead the ever-growing tribe. One thing Koda, Sokka, and even my father have never been very good at is leading the tribe up close and personal. They were exceptional leaders during the war and they always managed to keep us safe, but they were warriors and natural leaders---not so much political figureheads. I fear the stress of it all is starting to affect Koda as the weight of this new responsibility is being thrust to his shoulders.
Katara wiped away a tear and wrote on:
Just as I felt, each and every one of our family will stop living for the longest of moments, the most dreadful of minutes as they read what Aang has written to them. Their lives are going to change forever when they each receive a very grim letter from Air Temple Island...telling them that---telling them that---
Katara held a hand to her mouth.
"Katara," Aang coughed, his voice low and sad as he watched his old wife's hand trembling above the pages of her book. He sighed and took her by the shoulders, "Stop torturing yourself and come outside with me for lunch."
"How long have you been standing there?" She teared softly.
"Long enough," he smiled, "You make faces when you write, you always have. I know what you're saying in that journal, and I'm telling you that it can wait. Now, I made you sea prunes for lunch and it took every ounce of courage that I had; so please, come join me out on the porch for a picnic---just like we used to have with the kids when I was home, please sweatheart."
She stood and Aang wiped the tears off of her cheek with his thumb before holding out an elbow to escort her outside. Katara smiled solemnly and took his arm as she and Aang left the room. That page of her journal to this day remains unfinished.
THE END OF A CYCLE
Aang was old, growing sicker and weaker by the day, and he knew that these would be his last few days---his last hours alive. Knowing this, he sent out a vast message alerting all of his closest friends and family of this fate. Those loved ones brought word along to other friends and acquaintances of the Avatar, steering free of the press somehow as this massive intel was set in motion. The night came when each of them met on Air Temple Island, some traveling far and wide just to say their solemn farewells to their old friend, the Avatar. A massive group such as this all appearing on the Avatar's island all at once, of course it did attract the press, but thanks to Toph and the Metalbenders, the island was heavily protected from stranglers and paparazzi, all in order for the family to meet in peace They lined up on the courtyard of Air Temple Island, the evening night drifting in as the smell of the ocean tides started to splash against the coast below. There were many faces on the Avatar's yard, many new ones that he had come to know recently and numerous old friends that he had never once forgotten in all the years of their friendship. Aang insisted that he say goodbye to his loved ones and he also demanded that he do it his way. The fading Avatar griped tightly to his cane and he slowly but surely walked down the steps of his home and personally met with each and every face that had come to see him on this evening's melancholy night.
"You have lived many adventures my Kya..." Aang laughed to his daughter, "Never stop exploring new things dear, and--when I'm gone, can you promise me that you will keep an eye on your mother from time to time? You two always were the closest, and I know she's going to need your strength. I only wish I had been able to be as close with you as your mother is, and for that I am truly sorry. I love you, Kya, never forget that."
"I love you too Dad..." Kya sobbed lightly as she and her father hugged tightly. Kya and Aang let out a similar sigh, one similar action that they have shared all her lives. Teary-eyed, both let out a tiny chuckle and ever so slowly, Aang let go of her shoulders and Kya let go of his hands, then Aang turned his back and walked away from her in order to speak with the rest of her family and friends. Kya could only stand firm, no matter how much she wanted to hog the rest of her father's time for herself, she knew that other people needed to talk with him too. She clenched her fist and watched as Aang stopped next to her brother, all the while she tried so hard to remain strong like he'd asked her to before he left her alone with her mother yet again.
Aang stepped over to his eldest son and with a bright smile on his wrinkled old face, he slammed a hand down on Bumi's shoulder and laughed, "Stay out of trouble son---or should I say Captain?"
"Trouble is in my genes, Dad..." Bumi added with solemn smile and a big hug to his father.
"You have made me extremely proud Bumi," Aang whispered, "Never forget that, son. You never needed bending and you always had my love. I know it might seem like your mother and I played favorites with your siblings, but you never needed the guidance that they did. You made yourself into a man all on your own and I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of that man you have become. I love you son."
"Ditto Dad," Bumi tried to smile but just wound up swallowing back air.
"And try not to make up so many ridiculous stories, alright?" He teased.
"Hey, I told you Dad, every single one of those tales were 100% true," he grinned back.
The crazy captain stood tall, a tear creeping down his cheek, but Bumi kept his attention stance and allowed his father to continue walking away from him. A life of feeling inferior to his sister, and mostly towards his younger brother---deep down it did bother him, but he kept on living just as his father had said. Bumi knew he didn't need bending to make his parents see him as an equal to the rest of the family, and now a ranking captain in the United Forces, Bumi swore to keep up the good work and to always continue making his father proud of him.
"Tenzin---" Aang started, but his son cut in and hugged him quickly; Aang laughed, patting him on the back as his old voice spoke brightly in his ear, "You are a great master my son, and we have had so many great adventures together. I taught you all that I could about your heritage and all that I was capable of as your father, I hope you pass it along to future generations and never forget those lessons."
"Of course Father, they will be with me always," Tenzin said, all the while he tried to sound collected and calm, but his whole body was shaking just trying to keep his emotions in check.
Aang smiled, "I look forward to meeting you again for the first time, Tenzin."
Just hearing the words made Tenzin's eyes widen and Aang pulled back, now holding onto his son by the shoulders; Tenzin's blue eyes quivered uncontrollably now in frightened tears as he stared his fading father in the face. Aang smiled at him and that smile only widened when he looked to Tenzin's forehead and saw that blue arrow starring back at him proudly.
"This isn't goodbye. I am sure our relationship is so strong that it transcends into the next life, I know it will."
Tenzin clasped his eyes closed and nodded calmly as he felt his father's hands fall from his shoulders; the sound of his light footsteps and the clacking of his cane drifting away as he turned around to see the orange sun setting behind Republic City in the distance. The skies now a blend of purple clouds and pink sky, Tenzin watched in tears as he wondered what the future truly holds.
Lin stepped forward toughly as soon as Aang was near enough to her, but past her unmovable stance and stiff upper lip, she bore tears in her eyes and tried to fake it with a pout just as she used to do as a little girl whenever she got upset. Usually whenever Lin was sad, Toph would call Aang over to cheer her daughter up; she said that Aang was better at compassion than she was and that Lin really took his words of advice to the grave. Old Aang eased in and hugged the Metalbending Lieutenant until he felt her stiff spine limp over and surrender into the hug as well. He spoke warmly in her ear as Lin felt the hot tears about to overwhelm her. "Lin," he said, "you'll always be like a second daughter to me. I want you to stay strong and never give up. The city needs you, and our family needs your guidance just the same. Don't let anyone go running amok now and keep everybody in line, do you hear me? I have complete and utter faith in you."
She wiped her eyes and nodded toughly, "I promise, Aang. I won't let you down."
He held her scarred cheek in his hand and smiled at her tenderly, "And be happy child, that is all I could ever hope for you."
She smiled and chuckled down at her shoes as she sensed Aang step away and stop in front of her mother.
Toph marched up to him, ready to punch, but instead she leaned forward and gave Aang a kiss on the cheek---too torn to say anything further at first. Finally she scoffed and blew a loose strand of hair out of her face, her old voice gruff as she spat, "You feel awful."
Aang who had now started to lose his sun-filled attitude smiled at his old friend, and choked back a cough as he said, "Don't worry Chief, I have this all under control, but thank you for all the years of training; without you I never would have made it this far," he teased, "Thank you for all the years of abuse and friendship, I will never forget it---believe me, some scars don't heal all the way."
"Wh-whatever you say Twinkle toes," Toph cracked a smile as the tears rolled alongside her cheeks. She sensed every pain filled vein in her old friend's body; it seemed like a miracle that he could manage moving around like he was. I must be taking every reserve ounce of strength that Aang has left. Toph shook the thought away… Scars---Aang had been talking to her about scars, so she needed a witty comeback. Toph laughed and declared, "I told you before, the scars tell a story, you should be grateful that they came from a Beifong, it's almost like an autograph. You wouldn't be able to forget me if you tried, Aang."
He almost chuckled, "No, I suppose you're right, Toph."
No longer able to bear the pain and awkward silence, they parted ways and Aang continued walking. Toph grabbed hold of Lin's hand and held hard as Lin soon realized the flow of silent tears raining from her strong mother's face. After so long, so many years together, Lin had never seen her mother seeking comfort, but to see her do so now, only made Lin all the more determined to be strong for the people on this island who she loved like family. She held her mother's shoulder and stroked soothingly against her arm, her head on Toph's as Lin tried to hold back the tears and still comfort her mother. Toph's hand suddenly appeared on Lin's and her other now brushing back through her hair. Toph hadn't shown such affection to her daughter in years, and like a breaking point for the strong-willed Beifong women, both could not help but feel the unbearable aching in their hearts. Now all the two could do was stick together and finally release the tears that they have holding back for so long. And, do so they did.
Aang gave Princess Honora a large hug and he smiled, "Watch out for that old father of yours, he's a tricky one," Aang laughed and added, "You know the royal family---they all get harder to handle with age. Try to keep these boys sane Honora, you are the only one I know of that can manage to do it. You're a bright young woman, and a strong leader. You will make a great Fire Lord one day."
She only nodded in tears and the old Avatar crouched over as far as he could manage, then he gave a firm handshake to her son, Prince Iroh. He and Aang had always enjoyed their company together, it was short lived, but eight year old, Iroh, had an immense respect for Aang already achieved thanks to all of the stories he had heard from his Grandfather Zuko. Today everyone around him looked so sad, even his own mother was in tears, but little Iroh wasn't quite sure of the grim circumstances and confused, he only shook Aang's hand in return and smiled whenever the old man laughed down at him warmly.
"Do your best to be a great man just like your father, your uncle, and your grandfather. Listen to your mother, help your uncle out, and keep training those dragons to be the best that they can be. Remember Iroh, that honor, love, and courage will take you anywhere you want to go, and will help you accomplish anything."
Iroh nodded and Aang stood back to the support of his cane with a small groan before looking into the eyes of Honora's husband, Lee.
Lee, the newest Fire Nation noble by marriage, Aang had come to know him well. He had been a great friend to Bumi for years and has always been a brave young man in Aang's eyes. Aang shook his hand and Lee placed his other hand on top of Aang's own with a look in his eye that was pained and longed for words to back it up. Aang nodded in understanding to Lee's lack of words and let him go with words of luck and farewell.
"Keep an eye on Bumi, would you Lee?" He whispered.
"Always a pleasure, sir," Lee nodded somberly.
"So---Rook," Aang's old voice continued warmly towards his next recipient, "Is your new family everything you hoped they'd be?"
"Yes sir," he nodded with a smile, "Every bit as crazy as you had warned me about." He shuffled nervously. "I apologize for not being very good with these sort of things---I practiced with Sparky on what I might say to you if I got the chance, but---for the life of me, sir, I cannot remember a single word I was going to say." He blushed a little and stretched anxiously, "I must look ridiculous babbling to the Avatar, admitting to giving speeches to dragons for reassurance...I-I'm going to stop talking now, sorry sir."
Aang laughed, "You are just like your father, Rook. And such a good heart you have my boy, try to back it up with a little of that Fire Nation confidence and nothing will stop you in the future, no matter how destiny changes."
Rook gave off a clumsy Fire Nation style bow to Aang, who laughed again and fixed the young man's backwards hand signs. "You'll get the hang of it eventually, trust me!" the old Avatar reminisced.
Sokka walked up to Aang and he opened his mouth to say so much, but in the end, the old warrior fell silent, and so too did the Avatar. In the end, he and Sokka embraced tightly in a sincere hug, before the old Avatar backed away to wave at Sokka's family in the distance; they stood in the grass, each of them with puffy eyes and frowns on their faces that they could not hide from him; each of them too afraid or too distraught to actually come forward to say something, but the thoughts were there and Aang treasured the memories he had of each of them.
"Sokka, do you think you can manage all those kids of yours without me?" he tried to laugh.
He wiped a tear away and gave his family a glance, "As long as nobody gets kidnapped again." Sokka swallowed, "Aang---I---I'm glad you fell into our lives---d-did I ever mention that?"
Aang shed a tear and nodded, "All the time Sokka."
Suki cut in and cried, "I hope you'll be watching over us, Aang. Sokka doesn't know what he's saying. Between the kids and the grandkids, we could always use an extra set of eyes to keep everybody safe."
"Woman, not now," Sokka squeaked, "I am trying to have a touching moment here."
"You're not good at "having a moment" old man!" She snapped, "You never have been good at expressing your feelings, and you're not exactly the most sensitive guy around. Or don't you remember that one time when you---"
Aang chuckled and cut off their bickering, "I know what you meant you guys, and thank you."
"No Aang," He frowned, his tired old eyes, still red and swollen with tears; Sokka looked over his spectacles at his oldest and dearest friend, and he remembered all of the adventures they had been through together. It was a fun ride back then, and even recently the action just kept piling up for the two of them. Sokka wondered how he would be able to embrace the future without Aang there to back him up---Aang was always just a phone call away before, but now...who knows what might happen? Sokka chuckled and his face twisted to come out for the final time and say, "Thank you for everything---brother."
They grabbed each other by the arm, a traditional Water Tribe handshake that Aang had grown accustomed to. The men stared each other in the eyes with a determined, yet soft gleam which was all that was needed to transfer the touching thoughts of the two brothers for one final time. Then Aang turned and continued his march, his step slowing drastically as the effects of pain and sadness were starting to catch up with his old body. This would need to end quickly if he intended to make it back inside before his final hour. As he continued his path back to the house, a few other familiar faces all gave him the same look of desperation and agony, all the bodies returning his wave and simply watching as he struggled to maintain each step across the courtyard.
Aang made his way over to the White Lotus members and coughed, "Promise me that you will look after this new Avatar. Make sure they receive the training they need and keep them safe from harm. I trust you will do everything you can to give the next child a happy and healthy lifestyle."
"Yes, Avatar Aang, it shall be done," The Lotus bowed respectfully.
Finally as Aang rounded back to the stairs leading up the porch to his house, he came upon a face that he had not seen in quite a few years.
"Zuko, you came?" Aang murmured, a slight questioned tone hidden behind his tiny smile.
"You didn't think you could get out of saying goodbye to me that easily?" Zuko laughed. He placed a hand on Aang's shoulder and continued smiling as he continued, "I hunted you for far too long to let you slip away without a--- without a farewell?" Zuko choked on his final words and lost the happy that he had been trying to fake so hard for all this time. "I apologize for not being able to visit with you more in these past years, even when you were at the palace to see Iroh---I just---"
"Zuko, life stops for no one, especially the Fire Lord. You don't need to apologize, I understand."
"No," he shook his head, "There is no reason I should ever become so busy that I do not spend time with my closest friends and family."
"Believe me," Aang nodded, "I do understand. Only now do I realize it myself, so just try your best not to forget that. You have a chance to change it old friend, don't be like I was and yearn for more time with your family."
Aang and Zuko hugged and the old Avatar rested a hand softly on the Fire Lord's shoulder, "Without you, Zuko, none of this would have ever been possible. Stay flamin' and don't go off the deep end anymore Sifu Hotman, that's a promise now. Can you keep it?"
"You're never going to let that go, are you?" The old Fire Lord chuckled… "And stop talking like that or people will begin to think you're an old man."
"We wouldn't want that would we?" He smiled.
"If you're an old man, then people are going to start thinking that I am one as well. I still have my dignity and a few more fights left in me before then. Too many to count."
Aang's laugh started to fade and all he could do was grin and say, "Take care of them, Zuko."
"I promise," he nodded, "Always old friend, and I'm grateful to you for being just that---for being my best friend through all of these hard and prosperous long years. Goodbye, Aang---I will see you again---someday."
"But not too soon, remember Fire Lord, you are definitely no old man. Not yet at least." And with that Aang parted ways with the Fire Lord and continued walking closer to the door of his home. Zuko stared after the man he had come to know so well and to see his back turned to him, walking away from him for the last time---Zuko shed a tear and grabbed at his sore eyes just before his family crept up to mourn alongside him.
Aang was trying to pretend like everything was fine, but at the steps, he coughed ferociously loud and Katara intervened just in the nick of time; she helped him stand and supported his frail body up the stairs to the porch. they made their way slowly up the stairs and Katara turned them around gradually to witness all of the faces standing on the lawn of Air Temple Island. Every face stared up in sadness, their glowing eyes glistening with tears as the moon started to radiate in the sky and the stars peeked out into the gentle nighttime. Torches of fire lit the courtyard as Aang saw not just his loved ones standing before him, but he saw his whole family clearly for the very first time, all together in one place. He couldn't help but smile at them as he looked into each and every one of their eyes and noticed the love and adventure that he had gotten to experience with this one group of people---with his family.
Katara then helped her husband inside and into bed while everyone waited outside the temple. After he was tucked away in bed, Katara sat beside him and she couldn't help but start crying as she took hold of her husband's hand tightly. In a calm, happy voice, she tried to lie and act alright, but her face thought differently and the sheer sorrow was permanently marked in her eyes… "You shouldn't have done that---you can barely move as it is. How did you manage to walk around, laughing like you did---you old fool, you."
"It was something that I just had to do," He shut his eyes tiredly and sighed hoarsely as his head sunk back against the pillow. "I'm sorry I worried you again sweetie."
Her grip around his hand tightened and she asked him with a teary smile, "You---do you really have to go, Aang?"
In a weak, old chuckle, Aang replied heartily, "I'm one-hundred and sixty-six years old, Katara. I think my time has to come sooner or later."
"But---I'm not ready to let you go..." She whispered at his hand.
Aang wiped away her tears, tilting her face to look up at him; his hand on her cheek, he was just smiling away, looking into her blue eyes, before he finally opened his mouth to speak. "I'm so happy that you found me in that iceberg Katara," he said, a long-imprisoned tear escaping from his eye as he grazed her face and hair to grasp her hand in his. "Remember that I will always be with you, and I will always love you more than anything."
Both in silent tears now, Aang coaxed her to lay with him for his last few moments. Hand in hand they lay there peacefully, Aang had one arm wrapped around his wife's shoulder, and before he knew it himself, the two fell asleep in the peaceful quiet. Aang had a dream, a flashback of every moment he lived that was happy and wonderful. He saw Katara for the first time, trained with his friends, met a lot of new people on his journey that fateful summer to defeat Ozai; he kissed Katara for the first time, the second, and third---up until the point of their wedding, then they had a beautiful daughter, then a strong son, and then his legacy, Tenzin. Aang remembered teaching Kya some Waterbending techniques at the waterfall, and he remembered chasing the kids one winter as a monster snowman...then they tackled him and everybody laughed. He remembered that time he tried to show Bumi how to throw a boomerang like Sokka, however, Aang wasn't as good as Sokka was at aiming, and they broke a window---running away like lightning before they were caught by the angry Air Acolytes. He remembered teaching Tenzin Airbending and meditation; they got into trouble in the city with that Bison whistle and then before he knew it, Aang was proudly tattooing arrows along his son's skin. He taught Kya how to dance, and he taught Bumi how to saddle a Sky Bison... He took Tenzin on so many adventures to strengthen their spiritual bond and help with his Airbending. Aang only now realized how little time he had actually had with the rest of his family in comparison to all of that. He wished that he could have had more time with all of his children, but he knew that Tenzin needed his guidance more so than the others. He hoped that Kya and Bumi would forgive him for that.
Still, he loved them all equally as a part of himself, and every night that he was home, he would kiss each of his children on the forehead goodnight, and every morning he would kiss them on the forehead until they woke up. They would have picnics and play with the Sky Bison---pull pranks on the Acolytes behind Katara's back. Sure Aang had a few political things here and there, but he did get to spend a great deal of time with his family he realized. Even as their father, Aang was proud to admit that he was the mastermind behind most of the ploys that they all got into trouble for. Fruit Pie tossing at the White Lotus Sentries, Penguin Sledding into Hakoda's house, Prank calling the Metalbending Police Line--- In hindsight, that last one probably wasn't a good idea. Toph did come over and yelled at everyone for that prank, and Katara took away everyone's phone privileges for two weeks, Aang's included. Still, Aang remembered how much fun he had with his kids growing up and how much trouble they got into together.
In the dream, Aang remembered many long years with his friends and his wife. Then an old Katara and Aang holding hands tenderly, fades into present day where in reality, Aang and Katara are still tightly holding each other's' hands. Aang, with a wide grin across his face and happy tears falling from the corners of his eyes, let out a small sigh and his face went still and peaceful. Suddenly, the hand around Katara's shoulder fell off to the side and immediately she woke up to feel Aang's touch against her fingers had gone abruptly cold and stiff.
"Aang?" Katara asked breathlessly, and when no one answered her, her voice cracked and she asked again a little louder, "Aang!?" Then when he said nothing, his eyes locked in their forever slumber, refusing to wake; his cheeks wet from tears, and that tiny grin barely faded from his face, Katara could only lay her head back on his chest, her words coming out in silent tears as she shut her eyes tightly and griped onto the warm cloth of his shirt..."Aang..."
A few moments later, Katara left the house with a broken facial expression and everybody realized that Aang was gone. The strong willed Beifong women were crying, Lin strapped onto Tenzin's neck, as he also shed a silent flow of tears. Kya was wrapped around her cousins, sobbing as they tried to comfort her, and Bumi was the same way. Sokka was torn, as well as Suki, and they consoled their niece and nephews alongside their grown kids, all of them too torn for words and too grief-stricken to speak. Toph coaxed Lin away from Tenzin as Katara headed their way, all eyes on the widowed wife as she held her head high and tried to appear strong for her family. Zuko embraced her for only a moment, his touch full of sympathy and understanding as he watched her with tears clouding his vision. Gracefully, Katara held her head high and continued her on path for her three children, but as soon as she reached the three of them, they all rushed up to hug her as she collapsed into them and burst loudly into tears. Her sobs echoed the silent island until finally every person on the courtyard joined into the masses with memory-filled sobs of their own. Katara, Kya, Bumi, and Tenzin all mourned the loss of their beloved Avatar, father, and husband. Avatar Aang was now gone from the world.
Now onto a less-depressing environment, where a young couple had just given birth to a happy, giggling baby girl in the Southern Water Tribe. Her skin soft and lovely, eyes wide and blue, she smiled and looked to the new world with an eager gleam in her eyes as her new mother held her lovingly in her arms.
"Senna, she's beautiful! She looks just like you," The father gleamed in awe as he gazed down at his brand new daughter and ran a finger across the bit of brown hair on the baby's head. The child cooed and grinned so wide for an infant. Already she struggled to try to move around on her own; she was strong and so independent---the new baby was certainly something special, that much was certain.
"What are we going to name her?" Tonraq asked his wife.
"I was thinking we should go with that name that we decided on last month---that one you thought up after we met the Avatar and Master Katara."
"Oh really, Senna?" He hummed proudly, "It was a special stroke of luck that I thought of it, do you really like it that much, dear?"
"Korra," the new mother said with a tired smile, "Our daughter is going to be something very special I just know it Tonraq...she needs a special name. I love it."
"Korra----" he repeated, stroking the baby's face tenderly, "It's perfect."
There was a light knocking on the door as the metal hinges creased together and a young man peeped inside the darkness.
"Sir," he said softly, a twinge of fear in his throat.
There was a low reply, a sinister voice that erupted calmly from the dark shadows of the chamber as if coming from the air itself. "I thought I told you never to disturb me at this time of night," the voice stated.
"Many apologies sir," the Lieutenant swallowed, "But---there was a massive alert sent out on the radio a few moments ago---I---I thought you might need to hear it for yourself..."
With an annoyed sigh, the Lieutenant heard a figure shuffle and click on the radio in his pitch black room, while he himself remained in the darkness listening to the dripping sounds of the eerie echo in his boss's bed chamber. Past the regular static, the radio announcer's voice could be heard revealing his newest scoop on the air:
"For those of you just tuning in, I regret to inform you of grave news to this nation, if not to the whole world..." There was a pause and the announcer could be heard sighing heavily as his voice cracked sadly in his next sentence: "I am receiving word that just moments ago, Avatar Aang has passed away in his home on Air Temple Island. That's right everyone, the Avatar is no more…" The static increased as the announcer, Shinobi, his voice cracking on air; he had started reading off consoling letters and saying kind words of regard to the family, but the radio had clicked off before he ever got the chance.
There was a shift in the room. Amon was standing, his eyes wide, shaking madly as the Lieutenant stood his ground halfway out the door and listened to the disturbing silence.
"What will happen now sir," he asked timidly, "With the Avatar gone---aren't all of our plans ruined?"
There was a loud grunt as Amon's radio shattered against the wall near where the Lieutenant stood. The poor kid jumped and trembled until he heard his boss speak in his regular smooth and unwavering tone of voice. "No Lieutenant...our war is far from over."
"Wh---what do you mean Amon, sir?"
"As we speak there is a new Avatar out there---helpless, confused, a brand new light to the benders of the world..."
"Yes, I suppose there is?" he nodded unsurely.
"All that has changed is our date of attack," Amon declared, "We will wait and bide our time as this new Avatar grows stronger. We will use this setback to gain followers, tear down the city's walls from the core to the very ends of society; our numbers will increase and our name will be known to all the world and only then---when the time is right---will we strike fear into the new avatar and equalize this new hope along with the precious city of "equality"."
He stepped out of his lurking corner, his chest and feet bare as he walked across the floor in his sleep pants. The Lieutenant gasped as soon as he saw the light striking that smile carved into his leader's mask, Amon's blue eyes piercing as they seemed to shine in thought and malice. He chuckled a low and wicked series of laughter as the Lieutenant joined in too and all too suddenly baby Korra had found herself an enemy who was already prepared to take her down and destroy her in front of thousands.
"Lieutenant," Amon's voice seemed to revel, "I hope this new Avatar will be well worth the wait..."
- This is the last official chapter in TYATHYW.
- This is the first story in any year that has been written as an entry for the journal Aang gave Katara in Year 51. The last time any year was written with this similar method, was for Tenzin's journal back in Year 44.
- The Image "All Grown" has similar backgrounds as previous years. Tenzin and Lin's slice of image was a reboot of: "this image" from Year 33, and Bumi and Lee, were seen walking together just like they had when they were both new recruits in "this image" from Year 40.
- Tarrlok can be seen in the United Council's line behind Tenzin, meaning he was issued into the council around this time.
- A comment by DancePowderer once asked which dragon Zuko's long-lost son, Rook, would get, and in the image it appears that the dragon is none other than the Orange one, Sparky.
- In 2012, this chapter was one of the nominations for the Fanon Award of: OUTSTANDING WRITING IN A NEW SERIES.
- 39 of the comments from this year are located on the previous year because I made a miscalculation in my math.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|The Years After the Hundred Year War|
|Intro - Year One - Year Two - Year Three - Year Four - Year Five - Year Six - Year Seven - Year Eight - Year Nine - Year Ten - Year Eleven - Year Twelve - Year Thirteen - Year Fourteen - Year Fifteen - Year Sixteen - Year Seventeen - Year Eighteen - Year Nineteen - Year Twenty - Year Twenty-One - Year Twenty-Two - Year Twenty-Three - Year Twenty-Four - Year Twenty-Five - Year Twenty-Six - Year Twenty-Seven - Year Twenty-Eight - Year Twenty-Nine - Year Thirty - Year Thirty-One - Year Thirty-Two - Year Thirty-Three - Year Thirty-Four - Year Thirty-Five - Year Thirty-Six - Year Thirty-Seven - Year Thirty-Eight - Year Thirty-Nine - Year Forty - Year Forty-One - Year Forty-Two - Year Forty-Three - Year Forty-Four - Year Forty-Five - Year Forty-Six - Year Forty-Seven - Year Forty-Eight - Year Forty-Nine - Year Fifty - Year Fifty-One - Year Fifty-Two - Year Fifty-Three (Part One)|
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