A few days ago I read Love Potion 8. Sadly, I found that it was a picture book for the tykes. I decided to write my own version shortly after. So, here it is. Enjoy!
Love Potion #8
Aang rubbed his face. They had been flying for the entire day, only stopping once for a food break. Several times before, Aang began a descent but Sokka insisted that they keep going to make up for the Painted Lady incident.
“Shouldn’t we stop for tonight?” Aang asked yet again.
Sokka blinked and contemplated the situation. “Fine,” he said. “But we’re getting up early tomorrow.”
Appa moaned his appreciation.
Aang reined in his pet and circled a cozy-looking spot below. He landed softly and everyone got off.
“Hey Aang?” Katara whispered. “Are you sure we’re safe here?”
Aang glanced around for the first time. “I – oh, yeah,” he stammered. “It’s kind of deserted. I don’t think anyone’s gonna come around.”
Katara smiled. “Okay, thanks. Just wanted to make sure. Good night.”
“Good night,” Aang replied. He made himself comfortable on a sleeping bag and closed his eyes.
“Love is in the air; in the stars and in my hair…”
Aang grunted. He was so tired he was hearing things. Rolling over, Aang tried to get some rest, but the voice persisted.
“Love is everywhere; like over there and right here…”
“Guys!” Toph hissed. “I feel vibrations! There are people coming this way! We have to go!”
Katara shot Aang an irritated look.
“Come on!” Sokka ordered. They loaded up as fast as possible and scrambled into the saddle. The singing grew ever closer.
“Well whoever it is, they sure have a way with words,” Toph muttered sarcastically.
“Hey, wait a minute…” Sokka strained to listen to the voice. “It’s those weirdo Earth Nomads we met going to Omashu!”
The nomads trouped into the campsite. Instead of the clan of five the group was used to, it was now over a dozen colorfully dressed hippies giggling and strumming instruments.
“Helloooooooo, fellow humans!” Chong warbled. He plucked his red guitar and added, “Ya look kinda familiar.”
Sokka whacked his forehead. “Just like old times,” he grumbled. “I’m Sokka, this is Katara, and that’s Aang. You helped us through the Cave of Lovers, remember?”
“Oh yeah, I remember you!” Lily sang. “But what about that one?”
“’That one’ has a name,” the Earthbender snarled.
“She joined us after we went to Omashu,” Sokka amended. “Her name is Toph.”
“We’re on our way to a Love Feast,” Chong informed, pushing the outburst aside. “Why don’t you come along?”
“A Love Feast?” Sokka echoed. “Sounds girly. Besides, we don’t have time for this; we stayed long enough in Jang Hui.”
“Yeah, I’m with Sokka,” Toph piped, still miffed about Lily’s comment.
“It won’t take long,” Moku, a chubby man wearing pink, assured. “It’s just a meal.”
“…Okay,” Sokka relented. Even he couldn’t resist food.
“Then follow us!” Chong started up a tune and paraded off into the night. His friends trailed behind, backing him up with their harmonies.
The group mingled with the nomads and chatted on the way. Aang and Katara shied from each other, thinking of the last time they met up with the hippies.
Finally, they came to stop at a large, grassy clearing surrounded by thick foliage. Through the leaves on one side, a beautiful shoreline was visible.
“We are gathered here,” Chong and Lily called, “to celebrate the most powerful force of all – love!”
Toph spun her finger in the air. “Whoop-dee-doo,” she mumbled.
Lily puffed into her flute as Chong explained rather melodramatically: “We read in an ancient book that this very spot is spiritual. It’s bubbling up with love!”
“Um, right,” Aang said. “So what do we do at a Love Feast?”
Chong and Lily laughed. “We just go with the flow, do what we want,” Chong told them.
“Trust fall!” Lily shouted and leaped backwards without even looking. Chong caught her and smiled.
“We do things that build trust with our friends?” Katara summed.
“Sure, if you want. Right now, just listen to the music of romance!” Lily exclaimed and twirled around.
Delicious smells wafting over saved them from an uncomfortable silence. Moku’s voice rang out: “Love Feasts are made of two words. Love, and feast! Let’s eat!”
“Finally,” Sokka grumbled.
An impossibly large tree stump served as a table that was laden with all kinds of exotic food. A glass of purple liquid sat at every plate, tantalizingly cold.
Sokka eyed his drink. “What is this?” he inquired.
“This is Love Potion Number 8,” Lily said. “8 because the first seven didn’t turn out so good.”
“Again, what is this?” Sokka repeated.
“Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you,” Lily insisted. “Drink up!” Once everyone had downed their smoothies, she added, “There’s also a secret ingredient to open up your hearts to the power of love!”
“Sure there is,” Toph joked. “And I bet the Fire Nation will suddenly call off the war ‘cause the Fire Lord’s feeling nice today.”
“Never doubt love,” Chong said sternly. “Now, who wants Gharial Hog?”
“I can’t believe I almost said no to this!” Sokka told Toph between huge bites of meat.
Toph shifted uncomfortably. “I think this potion is messing with my head,” she worried. “I feel like hugging somebody.”
Sokka gulped the last of his food. “Yeah, I know what you mean,” he stretched his arm around her. “All I can think about is Yue and Suki.”
Toph didn’t want to hear that. “Of course. I’m going for a walk. See you later.” She pushed Sokka away and stomped off.
In the woods, Toph found refuge under a maple tree. She clawed at the grass and wished she could stop thinking about Sokka. Why had she ever liked him? He obviously had other women on his mind. How could she have been so stupid?
Vibrations jolted Toph out of her daydream. She bared her teeth. The last thing she wanted was people barging in and bothering her with their perkiness.
It wasn’t anybody she knew, though. Not Aang, nor Katara, not even Sokka coming to apologize.
“Who’s there?” Toph called out.
“Hello? It’s Ohev. We sat together at dinner.”
“Oh.” Toph hadn’t been paying attention to the people around her, but now that she thought about it, his voice did sound familiar.
Ohev walked to her. “Are you okay?” he asked. “When you left, you looked pretty mad.”
“Yeah, I’m fine, but I just wanna be alone for a little while,” she snapped.
“...Can we be alone together?” Ohev tried.
Toph blew hair out of her face and didn’t respond. She glared at him, but the anger had left her unseeing eyes.
It was quiet for a while.
“So, you’re from the Earth Kingdom,” Ohev mumbled suddenly, to break the silence. “Me too.”
“Really?” Toph softened. “Where did you live?”
“Well, I lived with a rich family, ‘cause my parents were – are – their servants. Then I left. I wanted to see the world.”
Toph listened intently. She’d never met anyone who sounded so much like her. Then she realized she didn’t recognize Ohev’s voice from the dinner.
“You didn’t work for the Beifong family, did you?” She asked.
Ohev smiled. “You’re Toph, as in Toph Beifong? No way! It’s so great to finally meet you!”
The two walked around the Love Feast getting to know each other better. Toph kept feeling light and free like she did the night she got on Appa to join Team Avatar. That had been the best day of her life. However, this one might give it a run for its money.
Aang sat next to Katara awkwardly. They had finished eating, and now were watching people sway in time to Chong and Lily’s music. Aang desperately wanted Katara to dance with him, but he wasn’t sure if she’d say yes. What then?
But if I don’t ask, Aang thought, I might never get the chance to again. What’s to lose?
“Katara,” he began unsteadily, “would you like to dance with me?”
She blushed. “Of course.”
Was the potion working?
Aang got up and offered his hand. Katara took it and what felt like a bolt of lightning shocked through him.
The music slowed; this was no time for a spirited gavotte. His face felt warm, but Aang managed to put his free hand on Katara’s waist and slowly draw her closer. Their faces weren’t even an inch apart as they moved to the rhythm. It was just so perfect. Everyone around seemed to disappear as they lost themselves in love.
Aang’s heart nearly stopped when Katara laid her head on his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her and closed his eyes. There was no need for words.
Slowly, the music stopped. Aang and Katara pulled away and stared at each other.
“That was fun,” Katara said.
“Yeah,” Aang agreed.
They paused uncertainly. Katara met her friend’s gaze, although she wasn’t sure if she could call Aang a “friend” anymore. Could their relationship be going into something more? Almost unconsciously, their heads went forward...
“Yeah, that was a great nap!” Sokka yawned loudly, butting between Aang and Katara. “What’s goin’ on here?” he questioned and looked at their interlaced fingers.
They let go immediately and simultaneously yelped, “Nothing!” with flushed expressions.
Sokka would have investigated further, except Moku interrupted. “We gotta go,” he gestured to the other nomads, who were packing up instruments and clearing away dishes. “Where’s your friend?”
Toph strode in, holding hands with Ohev and laughing. Sokka nodded toward the pair.
“Hey!” Moku yelled. “Time to leave!”
Both of their grins faded. Ohev faced Toph. “Well... I guess this is goodbye. For now, anyway,” he added.
“You’re sure we can get together again someday?” Toph asked.
Ohev nodded. “I promise.”
Toph smiled faintly and drew something out from behind her back. “Before you leave, I want you to have this,” she said. She pressed the item into Ohev’s palm and closed his hand around it – a heart-shaped rock.
He squeezed the memento lovingly. “I’m gonna miss you Toph,” Ohev said. He brushed hair out of her face and kissed her on the cheek. “Goodbye.”
Toph watched him leave, blushing. Her friends crowded around her and called their farewells.
Lily glanced over her shoulder as her group streamed out of the clearing into the rising dawn. “One more thing,” she called. “Remember Love Potion 8? It was just regular berry juice! Whatever you felt was real love! Sweet dreams, today!”
Katara and Aang stared dumbfounded after her. Sokka shrugged and began walking back to camp, while Toph kept one hand pressed to her cheek.
The last image they got of the gang was swinging bodies playing an eerily familiar song.
“Even iiif you’re lost you can’t lose the love, because it’s in your heart. Ohh-oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh-ohh...”