Title: "Under The Bridge"
Pairings/Characters: A small dish of Kataang
Rating: PG (complete with Aangst)
Summary: Aang begins to lose hope, and the only person he blames is himself. The Avatar isn't supposed to fail, because without the Avatar there is no balance. How can he save the world from destruction when he himself, is falling to pieces?
He sits patiently by the shore watching the tides push and pull each other. He sighs, relaxing his shoulders a bit. His vision glances towards the horizon, and sees the moon shining brightly down on him. From a distance Aang knows that Sokka is somewhere watching the moon, too. After all, it might be the last time he'll ever see the moon.
Now more than ever, Aang feels stuck in between a rock and a hard place. The Fire Lord's palace was not too far from their destination, and even though they were far from it, he could feel the heat from the Fire Lord's throne. The Day of Black Sun was a failure but it was nobody's fault. The problem was that they didn't have enough support. Ba Sing Se was still under Azula's rule, and the Council of Five was still under house arrest. The only victory they had against the Fire Nation was that King Bumi took back Omashu. The resistance began spreading across the Earth Kingdom, rallying up as many people as they could to lead a resistance in Ba Sing Se.
During that time, Iroh escaped thanks to their support and was now traveling with them. Zuko was nowhere to be found, and even Iroh had no clue of his whereabouts. The very next day, Aang pleaded to the retired General and once crowned prince of the Fire Nation to teach him fire bending. Iroh humbly agreed, and began teaching him on the spot. He was a breath of fresh air after studying under Jeong Jeong. The two were both wise, but shared different view points of the mastery of their element. It didn't take Aang long before he was able to fire bend properly.
Even after all of the things they've endured, his friends still continued to grow stronger and hopeful. Underneath all of his sarcasm and wit, Sokka was still holding on strong. Toph was still as stubborn as ever, and Katara was still holding everyone together.
For him, though, he felt his hope and happiness fall deeper and deeper into a black hole. He should be happy to be alive, and still have a fighting chance against the Fire Nation to end the war, but he wasn't even sure he was able to do it anymore. The one chance he had at victory was now lost, all because he refused to give up Katara. Part of him never wanted to let go of his feelings of her, and the other part of him wanted to. He loves Katara, but he knows he has a duty as the Avatar to save the world and bring balance.
Sometimes he even felt at war within himself. It was a battle of duty and love between himself, and the Avatar Spirit. After they left Ba Sing Se, Aang tried to find Guru Pathik, but he wasn't at the Eastern Air Temple, and seemed to disappear. After that night, he never tried to go into the Avatar State again out of fear for his life.
For the first time in his life, he felt everything fall and shatter into a million pieces. He felt himself becoming nothing more than a pawn for the Avatar Spirit.
He was lost, utterly lost in a world he did not know. The world around him was no longer filled with bright colors and warmth, but of darker colors and very cold. It was a world that Katara lived in, and he wonders how she could have kept so much faith and hope into a being that seemed to disappear for a hundred years...
It isn't until they talk much later on that he understands. She tells him that even though everything may seem impossible now, their future was brighter day by day. She holds his hands, and he could already feel his temperature rising from her own heat. She smiles to him, and leaves a kiss on his cheek before saying:
"It isn't the Avatar who's going to save us Aang; it's going to be you. That's why I have so much faith and hope in you, because I know you're going to save the world on your own."
With her love and words, he finds himself whole again. He smiles, and knows now why he loves her so much. However, that was for another day, and he looks to the horizon with a brighter view.