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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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EARNING MY ARROWS
"Morning son," Aang greeted.
Tenzin grumbled and wiped the sleep from his eyes as he took a seat at the breakfast table... "Why does Airbending Training have to start so early in the morning?"
"You've been waking up this early for years, honey," Katara yawned, "You think you would be used to it by now?"
"Yeah," Aang exclaimed, slapping the table in a happy manner--- "And, one day you'll be as chipper as I am!"He looked up tiredly to see a morning mirage of madness circling his father's head; beams of sunlight, chirping birds, happy tunes of enlightenment...etc.
"Every morning?" Tenzin groaned.
"Tenzin you are half Water Tribe, and my people, mainly your mother, is not a morning person--- sorry dear, but you got that from my side of the family..."
Tenzin pounded his head on the table and groaned again before his father dragged him outside for more Airbending lessons.
"Now today, you are going to show me what you've learned so far---think of it as a stretching exercise---it should be easy, now come on..." Aang gestured.
Tenzin let out one final yawn before blowing out precise gusts of air left and right. He did positions for a few minutes before switching to wall runs, super speed, the marble trick---Air Shield, Air Blasts, Air Swipes---flying, wind tunnels, and even the Air Scooter.
"Very good Tenzin---very, very nice!" Aang applauded.
Tenzin flew back to the pavement and bowed respectfully as his father patted him on the back. Wide awake now, Tenzin added, "I do have one more move that I've been meaning to show you..."
"Oh yeah?" Aang pondered, "I don't really remember showing you anymore moves----but, go ahead Tenzin, you have my full attention."
"Now, I've been practicing with this one for weeks, but I think I've finally perfected it."
Tenzin took a breath and started sprinting before jumping high in the air and flipping the wind around his body like a sphere, landing on a ring of air and skating across the courtyard. His father was amazed and bewildered, impressed at the sheer sight of this new move...and as soon as Tenzin stopped, Aang started babbling excitedly at his son for an explanation.
"I call it the Air Wheel," Tenzin smiled, "Cool isn't it?""Incredible son, you must teach that one to me!" Aang clapped proudly.
"Really?" Tenzin's smile widened, "You want me to teach you something?"
"Of course," Aang chuckled, "There comes a day in every teacher's life when their students surpass them and eventually become masters themselves..."
"Masters?" Tenzin questioned eagerly.
"Tenzin, this will be your final lesson," Aang stated seriously, "If you can meditate uninterrupted for as long as it takes---you my son, will become an Airbending master!"
"Wow!" he exclaimed, "W-wait, "as long as it takes?" What does that mean?"
"It means that you must be prepared to meditate for hours---days---you will be so consumed by your meditation that you will not need to eat or sleep, simply be at one with the earth and the self---"
"But, how will I know when I can stop meditating?" Tenzin wondered.
"Oh, trust me son, you'll know..." he smiled, "Do you believe you're ready, Tenzin?"
"Yes," he bowed confidently, "I'm ready!"
"Then let the process begin..."
For three hours, Fifteen year-old Tenzin sat in the temple, fists together, legs crossed, simply concentrating on his meditation practice. Aang came in and saw his son still hard at work to become a master, when he shouted, "OH MY GOSH TENZIN, THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE, WE HAVE TO EVACUATE THE ISLAND!"
"What!?" Tenzin jumped, panicking in an instant as he started scrambling about the temple.
Aang caught his son and sighed, "That was a test---you must not be moved if you are to become a master, Tenzin."
"But---But---" he started to argue, before Tenzin bowed and resumed his meditating. Many more long hours pass and Aang tried a similar trick, "OOGI GOT OUT AGAIN, WE NEED TO GO GET HIM!"
Tenzin didn't budge, and Aang smiled and left the temple.
By the time it had become too long to keep track of time, Aang came in with a large pale of water, and without hesitating, poured the entire container on his son.
Dripping wet, Tenzin coughed and stood up yelling, "DAD! What the---What was that for!?"
"Unswayable..." was all he replied, and Tenzin groaned with a growing frustration before sitting back in his puddle of water to continue his test.
By the next afternoon, Aang came in and he tried yelling, he tried the bucket, he poked Tenzin all over his head and back with a stick---but Tenzin was unmovable. To ensure Tenzin was truly lost in meditation, Aang took a single feather and placed it on the bottom of his son's foot, tickling with all of his power, but Tenzin didn't even flinch. Aang let out a small chuckle of pride and went down to his home to fetch Katara."I don't like this Aang----" Katara worried as she and her husband stood before Tenzin in the empty temple.
"Everyone had to do it," he smiled, "He's earned it..."
"It won't hurt him will it?" she eased stressfully.
"He won't feel a thing and what's better is, when he finally wakes, our Tenzin will be an Airbending Master."
"You won't mess up, will you?" Katara bellowed.
"If you keep shouting over my shoulder like that, I will! Now shush......" he smirked sternly.
Katara bit her nails and yanked her hair-loopies as Aang dipped a sharp, slender tool down in a pot of rare blue ink...and with one final breath, the Avatar began the process of Tenzin's Tattoos. It took the span of the afternoon, into the evening, and then well into the night before Aang was finished...Tenzin's body was completely covered in professional arrows, marking him a new Airbending Master.
"They look like they hurt----I thought you said they wouldn't hurt?"
"Mother Worrywart," Aang teased tiredly, "If you would be so kind as to use your healing abilities on Tenzin's scars, his tattoos will heal much, much faster."
She scoffed at Aang, but immediately started healing the scabbed wounds where the needle had pierced her son's flesh. Aang took all of the equipment and hid it away for future generations just in time to come back to the tower of his temple to see that Katara had finished healing Tenzin. The proud parents stood and looked down at their son, his beautiful, blue arrows spanning across his arms, legs, and forehead.
"They look fantastic," Katara sniffled, "He looks so grown up now..."
"I'm so proud of him..." Aang smiled, a single tear falling across his cheek before he wrapped an arm around his wife's shoulder... "I would give anything to see the look on his face when he wakes up---but I think that is a moment he needs to himself..."
"You know, I'm proud of you too, honey," Katara kissed... "That couldn't have been easy.""It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do---but, in the words of Monk Gyatso, "It was well worth it in the end..." Aang sighed and recalled in a tone touched by old memories... "You know, Gyatso was the one who gave me my arrows--- as did his master before him, and---well---every person in the council---it has always been this big tradition for my people..." he chuckled, "We thought they just magically appeared...there was a story that the other kids and I would pretend...the Great Air Spirits would come in our sleep and give us our arrows---only later did we realize that it was the monks all along...but it was alright...we were older by then, so stories didn't matter---it just made it all the more fun to tell to the younger kids."
Katara hugged him for a few moments before changing the subject abruptly..."Come on," Katara pulled, "I want to get Kya and Bumi up here for a celebration when Tenzin wakes up---poor child has to be starving, and I am going to give my little master the greatest feast of all time!"
"Alright...let's not go too far overboard though, okay sweetie?" Aang eased.
"Aang!" Katara stressed, "Tenzin is the first person to master Airbending in over ONE HUNDRED YEARS!!! This is perfect cause for an overboard party! Oh, I wonder if I can get him on the front page of the gazette? I'll have his name announced on every radio in the world---even the most hidden of places will know of Tenzin's achievement!"
She shot out of the room and headed down the corridor eagerly, as Aang tried to stop her; meanwhile, Tenzin sat perfectly still for hours until the morning sun rose and warm sunlight poured into the temple. Tenzin finally flinched and groaned, rubbing his forehead as he slowly crept back into reality. His muscles popped and woke along with his body as young Tenzin stretched back into consciousness. He smacked his lips a few times and took the time to scratch at a few itches before he tiredly lifted his eyelids and noticed the sunny, empty chamber in the Meditation tower.
"That was weird?" he yawned groggily. Then Tenzin's blurred vision caught glimpses of blue and his eyes shot open to notice for the first time, the perfect sets of arrows trailing across his arms. Tenzin gasped and touched them, rubbing his hands across the tattoos to make sure they were really there. He then lifted the legs of his pants and noticed the arrows on his legs and feet, then he sprung up stumbling with excitement as he ran over to a mirror on the far side of the wall. His reflection copied his every move and Tenzin looked down from his feet, all the way up to the tip of his head, and he noticed the large arrow, proudly stamped to his forehead. He gasped with the exhilaration of a young child on Christmas Day, before swiftly rushing down the steps of the tower, out into the daylight which greeted him with a blinding gleam and a loud uproar of people cheering in the distance.Wearily, Tenzin rubbed his eyes and adapted to the sun, only to see all of his friends and family waiting eagerly in front of a massive party atmosphere----and the new master was utterly speechless.
"Bout time you woke up, snoozles!" Lin teased loudly.
The large crowd chuckled and Tenzin regained his motor skills enough to point at his forehead with an astounded honor.
"Congratulations, Master Tenzin," Aang bowed. Soon after more and more people followed until everyone was bowing to young Tenzin, and he bowed back before dashing right towards the buffet and stuffing his face to the fullest.
"Good going Baldy!" Bumi clapped.
"Proud of you baby brother," Kya shagged his head.
"My big man!" Katara kissed.
"Hey, remember you have to teach me the air wheel now Sifu Tenzin!" Aang called.
Everyone from the Chief of Police, the Fire Lord, Hakoda, and all of his closest relatives all congratulated him as he ate, and Tenzin finally set down his plate as Lin came over and punched him in the arm to gain his attention.
Tenzin burped once and then blushed before Lin started laughing and she punched him again.
"So how does it feel to be a Master-Airhead, Airboy?" she chuckled.
"It's the greatest feeling in the world!" he replied, "You should know---being a Master Earth/Metalbender?"
She shrugged sheepishly and replied, "It's not the same as this---you're really something special now Tenzin."
He blushed again and the two sat there, looking around before Lin snuck him a quick kiss and followed close behind with a harsh blow to the shoulder, before walking off.
Tenzin was frozen stiff until his uncle came over and tapped him with his elbow, giving him an honoree smile as Tenzin brushed him off and muttered in embarrassment, "Shut-up..."
Not long after Tenzin became a master, did he start to realize his newfound feelings for his oldest friend, Lin. They had been through everything together all of their lives, but now---only after that kiss a few weeks ago---did Tenzin realize he was now feeling something more? It was late evening on Air Temple Island, and after a long day of practicing his Airbending, Tenzin paced across his room in the dead of night, thinking about that one, little kiss...for some reason it was the only thing he could think about---and he just didn't understand this---why did it torment him so?
"It wasn't like Lin meant anything by it, right?" Tenzin thought to himself, "She---she was just proud of me---for once---I'll bet that was it?" For hours all he could do was think about it...he even tried meditating a little bit to figure out what was wrong with him, but nothing helped.Tenzin picked up Momo, the elderly, old Lemur and set his sleeping carcass on his bed. All he ever did nowadays was sleep and eat---surely the effects of old age were hitting the Flying Lemur and hitting him hard...Still, young Tenzin got on his knees and he started talking to Momo as though he were talking to Lin, saying "Hey Lin! It's been a few weeks since I saw you---at my party---yeah, so I'll just cut right to it and be blunt---I know how you like things to be directly to the point---" he slapped himself in the arrow and sighed, "then she'll probably punch me, and then I can say---so, about that kiss?" he groaned and looked at Momo, "No, no, no! That's stupid, I can't just ask her about that! What if it meant nothing, then everything will get awkward and I'll lose my best friend!? But....but what if she did mean something by it and then I totally blow it because I thought that she thought that the kiss didn't mean anything!?"
He looked to Momo desperately for an answer, but the lemur only snored in reply.
"Ugh!" he groaned, burying himself deep into the pillowcase. Then he got an idea... "Okay, Bumi had lots of girls who liked him...what did he do about it? He flirted, he made them laugh, and then he told them his heart was taken, and that he just wanted to be friends....he called himself a heartbreaker, but he always told me..."Tenzin, you have to show the ladies compassion! They are like fragile, delicate flowers, and must be treated with love and respect." Yeah right!? Lin, a flower? She's dense as a rock!" he got a headache and looked to Momo again, "Momo....this isn't helping and all this loathing is driving me nuts! I---I need to go talk to her! I have to see her, no matter what the risk..."
He gulped and flew silently out of his window, rushing over to the Bison stables to wake Oogi..."Pst!" he patted, "wake up buddy, there's something I need to do! It's important!"
Oogi yawned and rolled over, almost crushing Tenzin and the young Airbender got annoyed and jumped over his bison to speak with him face to face... "Look here Oogi, I've been driving myself crazy for weeks and if I don't talk to Lin soon, my whole life is going to be over, so get your lazy butt out of bed and let's go----or so help me, I WILL tell your father who ate all of the Moon Peaches last weekend and didn't share with the other Bison!"
Oogi snorted and yawned again before he reluctantly got to his feet as Tenzin cheered and hopped on his back... "Alright! Now quick, to Republic City, and step on it!"
Moments later, Oogi landed on the street by Lin's house... everything was quiet and only a few street lights lit the walkway, but Tenzin still hoped down and jumped into the trees to get to the backyard.
"I can't let Ms. Beifong hear me or she'll pound me into rubble..." Tenzin thought hastily, "So I'll have to get Lin's attention and have her meet me out here..." When the young Airbender was outside Lin's bedroom window, he pulled a few marbles out of his pocket and tossed them against her window...each made a loud clacking sound against the panel, and each time this made Tenzin wince at the disturbed silence, but he kept on flicking them down from the safety of his tree.
Lin opened her window groggily and looked outside with a devious "I'm about to kill you" look on her face, just as Tenzin's last marble struck her in the center of the forehead.
"Ouch!" she exclaimed under her breath...soon after whispering, "Who's out there!? Show yourself coward!"
"Pst!" Tenzin called, "Lin! Up here!"
She peered through the darkness and mumbled, "T-Tenzin? What in the world do you think you're doing? Do you have any idea how late it is!?"
"Please, I needed to talk to you, Lin, can you come here!?" he motioned."Up there?" she wondered in astonishment.
"I don't want your mom to hear me!" he called back softly.
"Ugh!" Lin yawned, "Sometimes Airhead, you can just be so weird..."
She went back into her room and grabbed something before crawling out through her window and she shot a silent metal cable right into the tree; afterwards retracting it back into her belt, bragging to Tenzin, "Like it? Mom got me my own cables to practice with...soon I can be on the Police Force just like her."
"That's great Lin," Tenzin replied half-enthused, before adding, "Look....I have a problem!"
"What happened now?" she scoffed, "Bumi trying to convince you that you're adopted again?"
"No!" he snorted, "And I didn't believe Bumi the first time he tried that!"
She snickered, "Which is why you came bawling to me the next day----"
"I was five!" he exclaimed before hushing and looking Lin right in the eyes...the...the eyes of hers that got all green and twinkly all of the sudden---then came that odd feeling in the pit of Tenzin's stomach and he slammed his face against the trunk of the tree.
"What the---Tenzin, are you suffering from some sort of Cactus Juice virus or did you just Airbend your own brains out for the fun of it!? What's the matter with you?"
"You!" he pointed, "You are what's wrong with me, Lin!"
She blinked and her face lost all its building sarcasm in an instant... She held out a hand and wondered sincerely, "What in the world did I do?"
Tenzin shooed her hand away and he looked her sternly in the face, stating in a gruff tone, "You kissed me!" She was quiet...so Tenzin sighed and continued... "You kissed me at the party and ever since then, Lin, I haven't been able to stop thinking about you---and I don't know what it means or why I'm doing it, but I haven't slept in weeks because this weird feeling inside of me is keeping me up at night---I---I just need to know why?"
"Why what?" she wondered lightly.
"Why did you do it? What did it mean---just---just tell me so I can get over this nightmare and we can go back to being frie---" Lin cut him off by kissing him again...Tenzin looked down at her with big, confused eyes and waited until she stopped kissing him and sat back on the limb of the tree. All he could do after that was feel his heart knocking against his chest and the burning heat radiating off of his cheeks (which were as red as his clothes). Afterwards, Tenzin merely looked at Lin and let out a breath of--- "Whoa..."
Lin smiled and tucked her hair behind her ear, blushing as well as she replied, "That answer your question?"
"N-not really?" he stammered, trying to remember what words were and how to use them..."B-b-but...it was nice?"
"So I guess this means we're not friends anymore, doesn't it?" Lin frowned.
"No," he shot back in shock---- "No, Lin...you're my best friend...nothing is ever going to change that!"
"Even if I'm your girlfriend?" she eased in a blush.
Tenzin smiled and tugged on his shirt, his voice quivering... "No matter what....you will always be my best friend....and my girlfriend...Deal?"
"Deal!" she laughed, "Swear on it?"
Tenzin held out his pinky finger and nodded, "Swear on it..."
Together, he and Lin locked pinky fingers and they chanted, "Earth Water Fire Air, I declare a Pinky Swear."
"There," he smiled in a blush, "Now it's official."
They shook hands and Lin immediately pulled Tenzin into another kiss before smacking him straight out of the tree and into the dirt. She gasped and looked down at what just happened, forgetting that they were nearly ten feet above the ground, but Tenzin groaned and rolled over out of a small bush, painfully grinning with a love-struck sense of accomplishment. Lin sighed with relief and all too suddenly afterwards gasped as the back door shot open and her mother came barging out, metal blazing.
"Picked the wrong house, bub!" she hollered, Earthbending rock after rock over to Tenzin's location. He screamed and bolted out of the yard as quickly as his broken body could manage, before Toph finally realized what was going on, and pulled Tenzin back to the porch with her metal cables... "Twinkle Toes Jr? What are you doing at my house?" she asked calmly at first.
"Uh...uh..." he stammered, "I was in the neighborhood...and I---"
"I'm blind, kid...not deaf?" she sassed, before bellowing, "Lin Beifong get out of that tree this instant!"
Lin hopped down and she and Tenzin sat before Toph with looks of sheer terror thrown on their faces....Toph looked down towards them snickering and turned to toss them inside... "I'm calling your Dad, Tenzin... one Avatar's son going after people's daughters is enough...I don't need you adding to the list."
"But Mom!" Lin complained.
"Nope!" she hushed, "You're on my list now, Jr..." she laughed; carefully dialing the numbers on the phone in the correct pattern that would call Air Temple Island...all the while she was singing something under her breath that Lin and Tenzin made out abundantly clear as:
"Lin and Tenzin sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G..."
Then the two teens started to break apart in embarrassment as their lives appeared to be at an abrupt and painful ending of demise! However, this was only the beginning....Lin and Tenzin started dating soon after that no matter how much trouble they got into for tonight---oh the jokes and the name calling went underway in a booming instant---both by Toph, and by Tenzin's teasing older siblings--- but oh was it worth it now that Tenzin knew that his feeling for Lin actually meant... He was having his first crush---emphasis on the crushing part---this new relationship was utterly painful! He already fell out of a tree and got Earthbended across Toph's backyard and he and Lin had only been going out for a few measly minutes...
- Tenzin has been in Airbending training since he was four years old, meaning he has been waking up at the crack of dawn for 10-11 years now.
- Tenzin's Air Wheel would later be seen in the LOK episode, "The Aftermath".
- If "The Last Airbender" contributed anything useful to Avatar, it would be when Aang stated that the great monks could meditate for four days straight... In this Fanon, you must be willing to meditate like the great monks if you are ever to receive your Airbending Arrows.
- This is the first year that Katara's hair has Gray in it...In this year, Katara is forty-nine years old, and Aang is currently forty-eight.
- The story Aang and his childhood friends would tell, about the Great Air Spirits coming to magically deliver their arrows, is similar to the contemplated argument about Santa Claus and how he delivers presents magically in the night.
- This is the first time Aang has had a flashback about Gyatso during this Fan Fiction.
- This is one of the first times we see Air Temple Island from the outside, while also acting as one of the first Reunions where the cast ALL make a simultaneous appearance, since Year Fifteen.
- In this year, Kya, and Bumi get a new facial look, and Lin experiments with a brand new hairstyle.
- Note: this is the first domino knocked over that starts Tenzin and Lin's "rocky" relationship.
- Tenzin has a picture of Lin and himself in his room---she's actually punching him in the face.
- Let it be known, Lin does not like being woken up to sneak off into a tree.
- Lin is not only Tenzin's first crush, but also his first kiss.
- Toph's house is one of the most secure homes in Republic City; plus she could totally hear every word her daughter and Aang's son were saying.
- Chief Beifong enjoys tormenting others, and thus another romantic moment between one of the Teams' children is ruined with a phone call to get them grounded.
For the collective works of the author, go here.