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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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"Katara," an Air Acolyte eased as she walked into the Kitchen, "Miss, there is mail that arrived on Air Temple Island today, would you like me to bring it to you?"
"Oh, yes please, Orella," Katara motioned, "That would be lovely, thank you."
"That's right? Sokka told me about the new mailing system..." Aang chuckled, setting down a newspaper article to prepare for the messages... "Well, bring it on Republic City---the Avatar is ready for your letters!"
"Here you are miss," Orella struggled, tossing the heavy bag on the kitchen floor.
"Goodness!?" Katara choked, "Is this all from this week?""It would appear so?" she laughed back in a shrug... "A lot of people wish for your guidance." Orella bowed and turned to leave, saying, "I'll just leave you to it then..."
"Gosh!" Aang gasped... "I never knew so many people would want to get in contact with me?"
"Strange?" Katara muttered as she shuffled through the mail.
"What's wrong?" her husband wondered, "Is there bad news?"
"No...It's just..." She held up a handful of letters and smiled in astonishment, "These are all for me?"
Confused, Aang dropped towards the pile and he and Katara continued picking through the letters...
"Ming from Gaoling; Chi Po from the Fire Nation; Xi Tu Li from Kangaroo Island---They're letters asking me for advice and consulting...isn't that the craziest thing?" Katara's grin widened.
"Y-yeah..." Aang nodded, still searching for one letter in the mountain that was for him and not his wife... "You're lucky---I don't seem to see a single message for me in here?"
Katara frowned and let out an exclamation as she handed him a fancy looking letter... "Oh! Look honey, here's one addressed specifically to the Avatar...here you go."
With eager eyes of wonder, Aang snatched the letter away excitedly and ripped it open to read it allowed... "Dear consumer, it has become apparent that you might qualify for Sato Mobile Insurance...this is a once in a lifetime offer, up to a thirty yuan value! All you need to do is send us a copy of your----What....What is this?"
"I think it's just junk mail sweetie..." she giggled.
"Junk Mail?" he huffed, "Wh-what kind of an evil-minded person would send people letters about stuff they don't even need? Who I ask you, WHO!?"
"Oh....sorry honey," Katara blinked back to reality, "This letter from the Earth Kingdom was asking me how I cope being the wife of the Avatar and raise kids while still managing to fix my hair so perfectly?"
"I helped raise the kids too..." Aang frowned jealously before sliding his hand across his bald head... "And my lack of hair is a life choice---"
"I'm sorry you're getting so jealous about this honey," Katara pouted with amusement... "Maybe the people of the world just realize you're a busy man, so they thought it would be better to contact you through me?"
Aang gruffed and folded his arms deliberately; making Katara chuckle and she stood, giving her husband a kiss on the head before walking out of the kitchen, calling for an Acolyte to help her sort through all this fan mail.
Aang scoffed after she vanished and reached down to pick up another letter, reading: "Dear Master Katara, you are such a role model to my children, I want to thank you for coming to read to them at our school; it changed the life of the education as we knew it! Thanks again... Sincerely, Principal Ju Geng of the Republic City Elementary Academy."
The Avatar was astounded.
"Katara!" Aang called, "How long have you been reading to the kids in Republic City?"
"It was a random call they asked me to come in that day!" she replied, "They've been asking me to make public appearances all over the United Republic---like last week I got to send a cruise ship to Ember Island, it was so much fun!"
"And this!" he hollered through the house, reading the rough handwriting of one letter with squinted eyes, "When did you help---re-structure---the gardens of the Royal Palace on Whale Tail Island!?" he set the paper down and laughed maniacally... "When did you even go to Whale Tail Island!?" he mumbled... "Wait... when did that country even turn into a monarchy?"
"Aang honey, you have more important things to do than worry about my schedule...You're the Avatar after all, I'm sure you have loads of work that needs to be done."
"She's right sir," a fellow Acolyte interrupted, "In fact, the council has sent over the new foreign policy issues as well as that bill that requires your signature before being sent to parliament. Oh... and there is still the matter of discussing the outreach program between Cabbage Corp and the people of Ohmashu.
"Thank-you, Che Ting!" Aang shouted in distress, causing the Acolyte man to make a face of discomfort before easing back out of the conversation.
"What!? You gave a toast at King Kuei's son's coronation----and his youngest boy's birthday party?" Aang continued.
Katara leaned in the doorway and smiled at him, obviously taking some joy in watching him stress out... "Dear, I am one busy woman," she gave him an honoree smile... "Now...you go help the world Avatar Style, and I'll deal with these issues, Katara style, okay?"
"Fine..." he pouted, "But I literally saved the world hundreds of times and never got a single letter! Not one!""Avatar Aang!" Orella exclaimed, "My apologies Avatar, but this letter was found outside for you...it must have fallen out of the bag."
"Well," he coughed smugly, "It's about time!" He took the letter and read: "Dear Mister Avatar, you are the greatest Avatar in the whole wide world and thank you for all you do to make my world fantastic! Love, Hema Lee, from the North Pole. Age 10"
Katara and Orella snickered from the hallway as Aang's voice exploded valiantly, "Ha ha! Read it and weep Katara---I got a fan letter from Hema Lee and you didn't! Bwahaha!"
"That's great sweetie," she restrained her laughter, "N-now how's about you sign those documents for the Council?"
"All in a day's work for the Avatar---it's all for the fans baby! All for the beloved people!"
As soon as the door shut, Orella snickered and asked, "Katara, are you going to send him a fake fan letter every week, just so he doesn't get jealous?"
"To make that man happy? Of course I will..." she chuckled, "It's all in a day's work for the Avatar's wife."
THE MEN OF THE SOUTHERN WATER TRIBE"My boy is finally getting married!" Sokka cheered, "I can't believe you never let us meet her, what's her name---you should have sent Hawky out to your mother and me weeks ago! I want to meet this little lady."
"Ualani isn't a lady dad---" Koda replied; Sokka looked to him concerned, but in a romantic swoon, Koda continued, "She's a woman."
"Oh..." Sokka laughed nervously... "For a second there, I thought you meant---n-never mind."
"So...what is this little "hunting trip" going to prove?" Koda wondered, "I thought I became a man when you took me Ice Dodging when I was fourteen?"
"Let's just say this is another Water Tribe custom for us manly men," Sokka boasted.
"He's right," Hakoda smiled, "We're going on a mighty hunting trip to prove your worth to your people. After you're married Koda, you will inherit the leadership of our tribe."
"Wow..." he grinned, "B-but wait, I thought you were leader Gramp Gramp?"
"Technically---" Sokka eased gradually... "I am technically the Chief or our tribe, son."
"Since when?" Koda scoffed.
"Since before you were born Captain Sarcasm!" Sokka muttered, "Wow...never thought I'd ever call anyone that---been hanging out with Toph for too long..."
"You see Koda," Hakoda tried to explain as the men and their spears wandered aimlessly through the tundra... "See... Sokka is an away ruler, he makes sure we're taken care of, but he also takes care of the United Republic as our Representative...it's a very complicated honor."
"How can you command a tribe without being in it?" the young man continued, "Honestly though I---"
"Alright!" Sokka interrupted in annoyance, "Let's hunt down this Arctic Leopard and get back to the tribe."
"Arctic Leopard, huh?" Hakoda was amused, "Looks more like a pack of Wolves? Maybe just the scouters, one---two dogs tops perhaps?"
Koda leaned closer to the tracks and examined them, "Not to bash your theories old men," he chuckled, "But you both need your glasses checked. This is a Polar Bear Dog...a small one...not that much of a threat."
"Ah, but that is where you're wrong Koda," his grandfather chuckled, "Where there is a little Polar Mutt, there will be a bigger one...the most feared beasts of the South Pole... Only the bravest warriors go after these monsters."
"So take us to your leader, you delicious little meat-creature."
Koda gulped unsurely and followed his father and grandfather into the snow towards the den of the soon-to-be dinner that was this Polar Dog family.
"There they are," Sokka whispered from the secure hiding ledge above the Polar Bear Dogs' den. He tightened his grip on the spear and smiled, "It's been so long since I've had to hunt for food...I sure hope I still have my warrior instinct.""You're my son, Sokka," Hakoda smirked, "A man's instincts are a trait no warrior can ever forget. You will always have your skills."
"But do I?" Koda shook, "Dad the only thing I ever hunted was a spider-bat in Kanna's room...I don't think I'm cut out for this sort of thing?"
"You're a Water Tribe man, Koda, and you're a hunter by heart...when the time comes my boy, you'll know what to do."
Koda gulped, all the while Sokka and Hakoda were sending each other signals using only their hand motions and snuck below the snow rift to avoid the wind giving the Polar Bear Dog family the whiff of Warrior scents. Koda eased down with his father and although he was every bit of the man his father was, Koda had never hunted---not in the city---why would he ever need to, what with the store being three blocks away and all? This was one thing Sokka failed to ever teach his son and right now, Koda didn't know if he had the guts to take an innocent animal's life, even if it was as vicious as a Polar Bear Dog.
"You know what..." Koda eased again, "Polar Mutt meat is supposed to taste terrible... now look, I remember seeing a set of Arctic Seal prints near the ocean, let's bag a couple of them---or better, an Arctic hen...let's do it!"
"Hush...you're going to scare away the food," Sokka whispered. He flashed another sign to his old father, and the two Water Tribe hunters pounced out of hiding and took the massive creatures by surprise. The Polar Bear Dogs each roared a bloodthirsty snarl at the men and as one ushered her polar pups inside the cave. The monster stood tall and shadowed over Hakoda as Sokka came roaring in with his spear and distracted it. The large monster smacked Sokka into the snow with its large paws and Hakoda lunged at it only to be nudged aside by the mother who had come to aid the male.
Koda gasped as he watched the monsters taking out his family and tightened his grip on the spear as Sokka's words echoed through his head... "When the time comes, you'll know what to do."
"I'll know what to do?"" Koda gruffed... "I'm going to be a leader of a whole tribe and I can't even hunt...some leader...I'm worse than my father..." then it clicked, "That's it, isn't it...I'm worse than my father...I'm his attitude, his sarcasm, and his wit, but amplified by the thousands... which means my ideas will surely be one thousand times more effective..."
The papa Polar Mutt snarled as it inched towards the toppled hunters and Koda lunged from the rift gaining his attention, "Woo hoo! Hey mutts, look at me!" he pounded his chest and earned the creatures' spite, "Come on fur balls; come after me then!"
The dogs started to charge and Koda turned and bolted towards their cave. He had one spear and a wave of snow frozen over the dog's den... the timing had to be perfect. He heard the frantic huffing of the monsters' breaths as they charged in to tear him to shreds, but Koda could sense their position (it was one trait he picked up from his many years at the Beifong place)..."Three..." charging footprints, "Two..." frothing teeth, "One..." time to slide.
Koda stabbed his spear into the ice and slid a sharp 90 degree turns right at the door of the beasts' cave and then as he slid, Koda chunked the spear at the roof---the two Polar Bear dogs slid and tumbled into the cave and just as soon as they crashed against the den, the spear hit the wave of snow and utterly trapped them inside.
Hakoda and Sokka woke a moment later and asked frantically, "Where are the mutts?" and in Sokka's case he wondered groggily, "Where'd the meat go?"
"Depends," Koda asked, "How long does it take for a Polar Mutt do dig out of the snow?"
"Not long..." Hakoda grunted.
"Well, then I guess we need to hide our tracks and take cover?" he chuckled, "Come on you old geysers, let's go."
A loud, hasty roar made the three soldiers jump and Koda grabbed onto his elders and the three made a hasty retreat into a nearby cave just as the blizzard started to rage.
"Well, the good news is that the Polar Bear Dogs won't pursue us in this weather," Hakoda started, "The bad news...we're stuck in this cave until the storm lets up."
"This manly hunting trip isn't going exactly as I planned?" Sokka gruffed.
"If it weren't for Koda, you and I would be dog food, Sokka."
"And If I had stayed home and been the leader that you needed me to be, we wouldn't be in this mess."
Hakoda gruffed, "Sokka, I know you had duties to the city---you were always our leader---"
"No!" Sokka boomed, "You were! You were always there for the tribe Dad and when you went away they looked to me for guidance and Gran Gran when I had none to give. I swore I would be a great leader like you someday---I would never turn my back on my tribe, but I did---I did just like you did! I left leadership to another while I barely glanced this direction. For the love of---I mean---Hahn is a better chief than I am! At least he stays where his people need him most!"
"Come on Dad..." Koda inched, "don't be so hard on yourself."
"And you! My own son doesn't even know how to hunt---I've spoiled my children in the city...I don't deserve to be the Chief---I never did..."
The three men sat around the fire in silence until Hakoda gruffed and sighed, "Truth is Sokka, I never wanted to be the chief...and when I was, it was all I could think about---protecting my people...If I---If I hadn't been there for them, then Sokka, I could have saved her...I would have been able to save your mother."
"Dad..." he frowned.
"No Sokka I think it's time we open up and I can't think of any better time than when we're stranded in this storm." Hakoda took a breath and stared into the fire lost in thought... "I was a young man when I met your mother...a boy in fact, not even old enough to Ice Dodge. My father was killed when the Fire Nation took away all the Waterbenders from our village. It was the day that I lost my father, and Kya had lost her family many months before the attack---her Uncle was all that she had left and the Fire Nation took him from her just as easily as they did my father. When the soldiers had finally gone, there were many of us that were alone...Bato, Kya, and I all lost family...but Kya was all alone. A local tribe took her in, and raised her---we were too young to remember, and Bato and I we grew up raised by his father and my mother. Mother would scold us and do most of the disciplining, but Bato's father taught us how to fight, trap---he really helped me grow into a warrior."
Hakoda took a pause to smile and continued remembering..."Hey Bato!" a young boy called quietly, waving an octopus around mischievously...
"What do you plan on doing with that thing, Hakoda?" the slender boy snarked unenthused.
"I'm gonna scare the skirt off of Mother, that's what... now come on you big chicken-sheep, I need your help."
"Whatever, but I am not putting anything on my head again..." he pointed.
Hakoda gruffed and pouted, "Fine...I'll do it! But, you be ready with the voice."
"OoooooOOOoooooo!" Bato's voice rang out...
Kanna was trying to cook dinner at the window of their igloo and she saw the wriggling tentacles of the Octopus sliding around on the top of Hakoda's costume.
"Kaaaannnaaaa!" Bato spoke eerily, "You have dishonored the Water Spirits and for this you must be punished!"
She screamed and tossed a bowl of Sea Prunes into the air running wildly out of the igloo as the people of the village watched in wonder.
Hakoda and Bato high fived each other, laughing maniacally as a young girl walked up to them with folded arms. "That wasn't funny you big jerks!"
"Go back to your lady work, Kya!" Hakoda shooed, "This is manly stuff."
"Yeah...Manly stuff!" Bato agreed.
"Well then I suppose you two "men" won't mind me telling your mom what really happened."
Hakoda and Kya met equal glares as though they had just clashed swords... he gritted, "You...wouldn't...dare!"
"Try me ponytail!" she stared back.
"Quick Bato, grab her!" Hakoda ordered. The two boys charged after the little girl, but fell right into a well set trap and instantly found themselves dangling in midair by their ankles.
The villagers all circled around, Kanna and Bato's father rushed over as well, as Kya motioned to the sky and smiled smugly... "May I present your Water Spirit everybody."
"Mom sounded pretty much like a tattle tale?" Sokka smiled.
"She was...and for years this is how things would go. Bato and I caused mayhem, Kya got us into trouble, and constantly we each tried to trap each other whenever we felt the urge."
"And then you discovered you liked her..." Sokka rolled his eyes knowingly.
"I'm so sorry for your loss, Bato...Hakoda..." an older Kya apologized... "He was a good man..." Bato nodded and Hakoda stared back at her as she added, "I was too little to remember my family---they were killed in the weather---and I can't remember much about my uncle being taken from me...but---I know the same pain."
Hakoda's present voice told the story... "It all started when Bato's father passed away... there was a switch that somehow clicked inside of her and for once Kya only cared about keeping the two of us safe and happy. For old time's sake though, I laid a trap out for her, and I wound up taking the fall for it myself. I couldn't bear to actually trap her---and when I was helpless---it was the very first time she kissed me."
Kya laughed and snarked, "Nice try Hakoda..."As she walked off Bato laughed for the first time in days as he cut his buddy down and watched him face plant into the snow.
"That tears it Bato...that is the final straw..."
"What do you think you're going to do?" he rolled his eyes.
"Something I never thought I'd say in a million years..." Hakoda huffed...climbing Bato until he came to a stand and firmly shook his buddy by the shoulders--- "I'm going to marry her."
"WHAT!!?" Bato spat.
"You got to help me brother...help me marry her!"
"You must have hit your head too many times---you're talking crazy---"
With a heavy sigh, he rolled his eyes again and sighed, "Fine...but you're insane. When you come to your senses, don't say that I didn't warn you!"
"By the time I finally set the perfect trap---I finally caught that stubborn woman in one of my snares...I was too shy to even ask her the big question...So I made Bato do it." Present day Hakoda chuckled.
"I didn't know that?" Sokka snickered.
"Of course there was a huge misunderstanding and one huge fist fight later everything was cleared up. Beforehand, Kya didn't know that Bato was simply my messenger."
"Wait...." Koda stopped, "Uncle Bato tried to marry your wife?"
"He loved her too---but later did he realize the love was more like a sister, than a wife...and eventually Kya and I were married and we had a family---I was chief---a title I had feared and turned my nose at ever since I was a boy. I had all of this responsibility now, and I shoved aside my childish ways and looked only to protecting my loved ones."
Sokka groaned, "Then the Raiders came."
Hakoda groaned and nodded as the memory came rushing back.Katara's fearful voice screaming out at him for help...then they rushed to the house, Hakoda burst through the door...but there was no stranger in the house, only the still body of Kya. Katara was too small to see what had happened, but Hakoda saw the small, scorched tear at the cloth above her heart. Kya had been struck by a dagger of fire...and she was so silent. Bato came and gasped at the sight, but Hakoda hushed him and motioned for him to take Katara and keep her and Sokka out. With a tear, Bato grabbed little Katara and took her away as she fought to stay. Alone, Hakoda fell to his knees and grabbed Kya in his arms, but she wasn't there...the love of his life was cold and her heart scorched and silent. Hakoda's wife was dead.
"If I had just been there..." he frowned, "Maybe I could I saved her...but it seems we were never allowed to outrun those Fire Soldiers---they came back for all of our families in the end."
"Those men are either dead or in prison now Dad," Sokka eased, "They got their justice..."
"The point Sokka, is that I wasn't there, but I was still responsible for what happened. I was in the Tribe and I still failed, and when I was in the Earth Kingdom, none of my people died, my tribe was kept safe... I was a better leader when I wasn't leading them...and while you represented us in the city...it kept more people safe than I ever did." Hakoda took his son's shoulder, "And I have always been proud to be under your leadership---even when you weren't around physically, you were there in heart...you were a good leader Sokka, you truly were!"
"You were a good leader too Dad..." Sokka sniffed.
"And Koda...whether you stay or leave, you will do your tribe proud! It isn't the place of the Chief, but the actions he takes that effect his people."
Koda wiped a tear away and looked outside only to notice the snow had let up... "L-Looks like we're free men?"
"We can't go back to the tribe empty handed..." Sokka eased.
"We aren't," Koda smiled, "I think we all are going back with a lot more than we had before."
Hakoda and Sokka shrugged Koda's hair and Sokka proudly stated, "You're right...Now---Let's go get you married..."
"Sounds like a plan, Chief."
Sokka stood and thought it over before wondering..."But first, Koda----Where exactly did you see that Arctic Hen?"
- Orella is a name that means "Message" in Latin.
- Used to, mail was delivered by Messenger hawk or by Ostrich horse, but thanks to the new Sato Mobiles, now mail can be delivered much like the postal service in our world today.
- Note: people sending letters to Katara is supposed to reference the duties of the First Lady and her public image to the people of the world. Meanwhile, the President (or in this case) the Avatar, is busy slaving away over paperwork.
- Che Ting comes from the Chinese Translation: "Qiètīng" (窃听) meaning "Eavesdrop." I wonder why?
- Let it be known that once a week for the next ten years, Katara will have Orella deliver a fake fan letter to her husband, just to make him feel happy and appreciated.
- Ualani is a Hawaiian term meaning "rain from heaven".
- This Year explains a lot about Sokka's career and his position as a Chief living in another land.
- This is the first bonding moment between Sokka, Hakoda, or Koda.
- This is the first mentioning of a Polar bear dog.
- The "Water Spirit" prank was first mentioned in the ATLA episode: "Bato of the Water Tribe".
- This is the first time Kya's death was truly explained since seeing the threatening images in the ATLA episode: "The Southern Raiders".
- By the end of this year, Koda and Ualani will have their first son, Pakko. The name will later be mocked by Tenzin in his journal in Week 30 of Year 44.
For the collective works of the author, go here.