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Author Topic: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme  (Read 5901 times)

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Offline A6

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2012, 12:36:52 PM »
Many thanks terrik, and very glad you enjoyed it, however, you can safely tell her you AREN'T cheating at all!

Yuèliàng liáng is her.  It is Chinese for 'Moonbeams', HoneyBadger's favorite nickname for seluna.  She's my OC for seluna, in another story I wrote ('Moonbeams and the Mural') ;)

She CAN however blame all her discomfort for being seven months along in the ATLAverse COMPLETELY on you, dude! :D
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 12:39:51 PM by A6 »
signatures - gift from my talented friends Water Lily and Honey Badger :3

Offline Noodles Aang Colbert

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2012, 11:12:10 PM »
Title: Winter Horizon
Author: Noodles Aang Colbert
Rating: K+
Author's Notes: Well for those who don't know I ship Meng x Shoji and this is a peek into that.  This is only the second time writing a story regarding that ship so I hope you enjoy!  The story takes place six years after "the fortuneteller" episode. 

Winter Horizon (click to show/hide)     Meng kicks some stones that lie randomly on the street.  It has been a frustrating few weeks for her.  She is not even sure herself what is frustrating her the most or if it is a combination of many things that are the culprit.  Whatever the case may be Meng finds herself distraught even more so over one particular thing.  The holiday season is coming and she has no idea what to get Shoji as a gift.  The majority of the problem stems from the fact that this is something new for her having to actually come up with a gift idea.  Sure she wanted to go out with Aang but that was six years ago and she has grown up a bit since then.
   
     Aunt Wu has not been the greatest of help in the matter.  Every person Meng asks for advice they go into some elaborate explanation that completely pecks at Meng’s mind.  Not only that not a single suggestion was duplicated by two people so there are no patters or common ideas.  Meng lets out a loud sigh as she leans back against the walls of one of the shop buildings. 
   
     There are so many people walking around.  Some people are smiling and seem to have a care free demeanor while others seem to be stressed out and frantically moving about.  All of this for one holiday seems to be quite silly Meng thinks to herself.  Perhaps this is something that she should just ignore and continue on like it is any other day.  Still she doesn’t want to ignore the holiday it’s just that she has no idea what to get as a gift.
   
     Sure there are so many gifts all around and so many shops and so many amazing things to get but nothing is what Meng is looking for. 
   
     “My head is starting to hurt.” Meng sighs as she flops herself on top of a bench just outside one of the shops.
   
     There happens to be a family sitting on the bench right next to her.  They are laughing at something that Meng cannot see.  Without realizing it Meng leans forwards a little stretching herself to see what the family is laughing at.
   
     “Are you okay?” one of the women asks Meng.
   
     Meng’s face flusters a little as she embarrassingly sits back once again.
   
     The woman walks over and assures Meng “It’s quite alright.  We were just making some funny faces at each other.”
   
      Meng looks down almost wishing that she could partake in an event like that.  “That sounds fun.” Meng smiles adding “My hair used to stick out to the sides in the air like this.” Meng lifts her hair to demonstrate.
   
     The woman chuckles commenting “That must have been a fun hair style!”
   
     “Not when walking through doorways.” Meng laughs.
   
     “If you don’t mind me asking why are you out here all by yourself?”
   
      Meng is glad that she asked but it feels awkward talking to a stranger about something personal, but on the other hand a stranger would most likely give an unbiased answer.
   
      Meng asks “I have to buy a gift for someone and I have no idea what to get.  We’ve been going out for a little while now.”
   
     The woman strikes a pondering pose for a minute and then asks “I know that this might not help, but you shouldn’t ask other people what you should get as a gift for someone.  A gift should come from the heart and that is all that should matter.”

      Meng thanks the woman and enthusiastically walks down the street and stops by one shop and enters the store.  The store is not one of the fancy stores however this store sells something that is new to the world.  Inside there are these small machines that capture a moment and print out a copy of the image.  Meng looks at the shelf where these machines are located.
   
     The shop owner is curious seeing Meng looking at these items and so he approaches her and asks “May I help you?”
   
     Meng looks at the shop owner and answers “I would like to buy one of these but I’m not sure which one to get.”   
   
     The man is not sure if she can afford this item so he questions Meng “These are cameras.”
   
    “Oh so that is what they are called!”
   
     “May I ask if this is for yourself?”
   
     “Oh no it’s for a gift.”
   
     “Ah I see.  You know these are not very fancy things and they are not that expensive mainly because not too many people want something like that.  Are you sure this is an appropriate gift for someone?”
   
      “Shoji always wanted one of these!”
   
      “I see so this is a friend of yours?”
   
      “Yes!”
   
      The store owner takes the item to the counter and rings up the sale.  The man looks at Meng while she counts out her coins to gain the proper amount needs to purchase the camera.  The man thinks back to when he was her age and what she must be feeling right now.  The shop owner discounts the camera for Meng as she places the coins on the counter and the store owner wraps the package and returns some of the coins to Meng.
   
      Then asks “Hold on a moment please.”
   
      “Okay.” Meng curiously wonders what could be going on.
   
      The man returns with another small box.  The man instructs “Now this is paper that the images can be printed on.”
   
      “I can’t afford that” Meng admits.
   
      “It’s a gift from me to you.”
   
      Meng smiles, accepts the gift, thanks the man, and sprints home.  A coupld of days later the holiday arrives and Meng nervously gives Shoji the package.  When Shoji sees the camera and the paper he is ecstatic over the gift as he and Meng hug.  Meng and Shoji are both glowing as they each hold their gifts that received from each other.  Meanwhile their families can sense their joy as they celebrate the holiday.
   
       After the holiday the shop owner is opening his shop when he sees an envelope there on the floor as he opens the door.  The man is intrigued by what this could be.  So he bends down and opens the envelope and there is a note that reads ‘words cannot express my thanks’ and was signed by Meng.  The man then sees there is a photo.  When the man looks at the photo he sees that it is a photo of Meng and Shoji smiling for a picture.  A tear of joy comes to the man’s eye as this made his mood better than it was just a couple minutes ago.
   
      The announces to the empty shop “This is the best gift I ever received.”
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Offline Light-Eco-Sage

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #42 on: December 24, 2012, 01:20:40 AM »
I'm really sorry guys, but I think I'm going to have to back out of this contest.

My keyboard has been pretty bad for some time, and it seems that now that I've finally set in the motions to get it repaired, it's become worse then ever.

Writing with this keyboard is a chore. So I may have to duck out and join in next time. Hopefully everything will be fixed by then...


A:TLA Keeps:
Aang's Confession of Love in "The Guru"
Aang's Imaginary Wind-Sword in "Sokka's Master"
Aang's Chakras
Aang's Scars
Kataang Sexytimes
TLoK Keeps
Adult!Aang's Handsomeness
Jinora's Personality
Lin's Epic Way of Getting Dressed

Offline Cowboy Colt

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #43 on: December 24, 2012, 01:30:01 AM »
I'm really sorry guys, but I think I'm going to have to back out of this contest.

My keyboard has been pretty bad for some time, and it seems that now that I've finally set in the motions to get it repaired, it's become worse then ever.

Writing with this keyboard is a chore. So I may have to duck out and join in next time. Hopefully everything will be fixed by then...
awwwww. I'm sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to your entry.

keeps and quotes (click to show/hide)
 ATLA keeps: Kataang lovemaking, "MY CABBAGES " line, Aangs quiet badassness
Main theme (click to show/hide)
[
Elevation requires separation.

Be thankful for each day that you have.

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Offline Light-Eco-Sage

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #44 on: December 24, 2012, 01:40:50 AM »
I'm really sorry guys, but I think I'm going to have to back out of this contest.

My keyboard has been pretty bad for some time, and it seems that now that I've finally set in the motions to get it repaired, it's become worse then ever.

Writing with this keyboard is a chore. So I may have to duck out and join in next time. Hopefully everything will be fixed by then...
awwwww. I'm sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to your entry.

I'll probably still post it. But it definitely won't be in time for the contest. The repair shop won't even be getting the parts until Wednesday, at the very least.


A:TLA Keeps:
Aang's Confession of Love in "The Guru"
Aang's Imaginary Wind-Sword in "Sokka's Master"
Aang's Chakras
Aang's Scars
Kataang Sexytimes
TLoK Keeps
Adult!Aang's Handsomeness
Jinora's Personality
Lin's Epic Way of Getting Dressed

Offline A6

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: \"The Gift of...\" Theme
« Reply #45 on: December 24, 2012, 01:50:28 AM »
So sorry we won't get to see your story until after your keyboard is fixed Sage, but looking forward to your entry when you can get to it!

Thanks for your entry Noodles. I'm at a Christmas party and will have to read it later! :)
<< Post Merge: December 24, 2012, 03:36:51 AM >>


Noodles: I got to read your sweet story about Meng and Shoji, and the simple things a young couple want to do to please the other partner. 

I love her intrigue with the new invention of a camera, and her interplay with the shopkeeper, and family, and with each other.

I had not considered this pair together but are cute! :)
« Last Edit: December 24, 2012, 03:36:51 AM by A6 »
signatures - gift from my talented friends Water Lily and Honey Badger :3

Offline Water Lily

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #46 on: December 24, 2012, 08:59:13 AM »
Title: A Love Forever Cherished
Author: Water Lily
Rating: T [Romance-three shot]
Word Count: 7,784
Pairings: Kataang, Tokka, Maiko
Summary: The Avatar universe is always blanketed with the spirit of giving, whether during the winter or among any other means of personal satisfaction. Some memories are short and sweet, others bitter and stable, and the rest lasting for lifetimes. But in the end, all comes out as a love that's forever cherished.

Chapter 1: Blue Moon's Smile (click to show/hide)“Katara, do you have a map?”

The water tribe beauty didn’t answer him due to the fact that she already knew what he was going to say. Instead, she only widened her eyes and lowered her gaze, desperately trying to stop herself from blushing madly. And of course, Avatar Aang couldn’t resist the urge to tease her with cheesy love quotes. Instead of a romantic evening, the couple had endured what seemed to be a whole lifetime of laughter and love.

Today was the day…the day that usually paved the way to one of the most important holidays in the universe… the Winter Moon Festival. To his astonishment and delight, Katara had suggested celebrating the event at the Southern Air Temple, perfectly complimenting Aang’s preparations for her surprise. Of course, he could never say no to her wishes.

Although this holiday’s significance dated back to thousands of years among the Air Nomads, it had been one of the most beautiful additions to the entire world. From the Water Tribes to the Earth Kingdom colonies, every inch of the globe always looked forward to this tradition.

Ever since the fall of Ozai, even the Fire Nation didn’t hesitate to take part of such a sacred event. It was always the most awaited day in Aang’s lifetime as far as his cultural aspects. However, the connotation beyond this specialty was the fact that it was a blue moon this year.

The Air Nomads had always honored the blue moon, considering it as a way of “purification” towards the spirit of the earth. For Aang, the blue moon had definitely served its purpose in his life, marking his waterbender’s most favorite day. Personally, it didn’t fail to convince him in providing her the best of the world’s gifts. It was far beyond the most important essence in the planet. As Katara’s musical laughter rang through his ears, he felt Monk Gyatso’s words lingering in his mind.

“If you firmly believe in something, then all the forces of the universe will strive to make it true.”

Hence, he didn’t waste any moment to decide Katara’s present. There was no doubt that she was truly going to love it! And it could only be possible within the blue moon’s powerful presence. Not that Katara didn’t have plans of her own.

“Well, I keep getting lost in your eyes.” He finished, smirking as he gradually descended from his musings.
 
“Aang please!”

“Who told you that you aren’t royalty, my dear Katara?” he chuckled.  He knelt before her and held his arms out in an exaggerated manner. “You’re the queen of my heart!”

Katara giggled, clasping her hands over her mouth and hiding her embarrassment. “Sokka is so going to get it!”

The mischievous airbender laughed at her reactions as he leaped up. It definitely didn’t help that he took Sokka’s suggestions to impress his lover (to this moment, he still wondered why he asked him in the first place), but it did turn out to be the perfect way in getting her to laugh. The water tribe warrior’s suggestion was never the answer, and he learned that from experience. Frankly, it wasn’t so surprising that Aang would willingly use it to tease his former waterbending teacher.

“Wait, I got another good one-“

“Please, no more!” Katara stopped him in between gasps of laughter. But the Avatar knew that she wasn’t ready for mercy just yet.

“Explaining how much I love you is like describing how water tastes like-impossible.“

“Shhh!!” Katara squealed, leaning into his shoulder. “By the way, that one was too cheesy.”

“What?” Aang asked with fake innocence. “That fits you perfectly! You are a waterbender…”

“But I’m also Katara.“

“Are you sure your name is Katara, beautiful maiden?” He leaned forward and swept her into his arms in a bridal style position. “Or could it possibly be ‘Angel’?”

Indeed, it was true, considering the angelic presence she possessed. Her attire consisted of traditional Air Nomad clothing, ranging from a long orange dress to golden accessories. Her glimmering pearl earrings dangled freely in the balleting wind, contrasting her graceful stride and her emerald jewelry. Her dress easily gripped her curves and her short, but decorative sleeves. Bangle-like bracelets encased her wrists, jingling with her every move, and gold anklets embraced her feet.

She squealed again, masking her face with the winter tulips he had given her at the beginning of their romantic endeavor. “That’s enough, Mr. Avatar!”

He smiled. “Why, I’m only trying to be a romantic person Miss Katara.” He replied as if it was the most obvious fact in the world.

~*~*~

After another hour of sudden expectations and humorous memories the airbender granted her, both came to the easternmost part of the temple. The sight had instantly struck Katara with beauty when a silent gasp barely escaped her lips.

Towering before the courtyard of the Southern Air Temple were four intricate pillars that so accurately depicted the four directions- north, south, east, and west. They were aligned perfectly in a circular ring and bordered by gusts of engulfing winds. Long, sash-like silks danced from the top of the pillars, pigmented from air nomad to water tribe colors. The cool breezes shifted so skillfully through the spaces in between the evenly spaced pillars, as if nature seemed to conduct a ritual of its own.

The mountainous terrain continued to uplift the elevation, at the same time providing a spotlight of its own towards the drastically increasing vegetation. It gave way to a huge platform ranging more than a thousand feet, finally ledging its way to form an aspect so similar to that of a royal balcony.

The flora was almost indescribable, especially the way it crept eagerly over the pillars and greeting her with winter blooms. It paved a flowery path that waited just for the waterbender’s feet to grace its petals, ascending towards the steps that led to the beautiful encasement of pillars. And to top it all, a large fountain loomed at the heart of the pillars’ circular placement, springing into the air as high as it could possibly soar. Crystalline droplets of water sprayed from the fountain, gracing the gushing bender and taunting her wish to play under its supervision. Everything was too sudden and beautiful for Katara that it provoked an eager sparkle that glistened in her never-ending pools of ocean blue and icy cerulean.

That was not the only significance of the lavish landscape, however, when Aang glided before her with a knowing smile.

“A-Aang…this is…”

Aang placed a finger on her lips to quiet her, grasping her palms. The look in his eyes delightfully invited her to join him in the celebration, one arm outstretched to welcome her to the most beautiful courtyard in the entire temple. He knelt before her and held his other hand out, his intentions clearly inviting her to dance.

“N-now?”

Aang winked with a twinkle in his stormy eyes, assuring her uncertain expression. “Why not? We danced infinite times before.”

He leaned before her and whispered gently in her ear. “I could never have a better dance partner.”

Softly, he traced her cheeks with a cherry blossom petal. She smiled at his cautious whisper and ticklish touch that sent a tingling chill through her spine. She blushed harder as he twirled her around in a dance position and wrapped one arm around her waist, lacing his other hand with hers.

Aang took her into his arms as Katara stepped forward, one arm draped over his shoulders. And after a long pause, the avatar suddenly leaped forward.

Katara ducked enthusiastically, gracefully spinning and catching herself in his arms. He soared through the air temple and twirled her around, rhythmically whooshing past her. With a simultaneous spin, they encircled the other, kneeling low to the ground.

He smiled as they cartwheeled through the petal pavement in excitement. He attempted another series of flips and cartwheels, grinning knowingly. His arms shot up in the air, mirroring her position.

Katara leaned backwards, flowing in movement in cooperation with the avatar’s dance steps. He followed with a flawless spin and touches of elaborate moves. He pressed towards her, grinning when he reunited with his dance partner.

They swayed this way and that, perfectly weaving through the performance. They moved in utter precision, stepping to the beat of the love symphony they had created. They could feel a spark of delight as nature encouraged them on. The wind increased, flowing in each direction the couple took and carrying hints of fallen petals and fluttering flora.

With an exhilarated rush, they both entered the rapid phase of their dance. Turn after turn, spin after spin, each move mirrored the other. One partner’s was swift and steady while the other’s was patient and flexible.

Aang extended his left arm, pulling it back in again with Katara in his arm. Katara swayed back and forth, facing him and loosely escaping his grasp as she continued to dance. There were flips and spins, all of which none were even rehearsed.

He followed simultaneously, facing her on the alternating side. To add to the final finishing touch, Aang grabbed her hand. And with a burst of energy, he caught her in his arms again. And just before the natural symphony died down, he dipped her low and loomed over her, almost contacting her smiling lips with his determined ones. He let himself escape into the world of dance and slowly emerge from its spell, holding her close.

Their performance ended in its usual gentleness, but that wasn’t the only surprise in store for Katara. However, fate had other plans when she was the one smiling knowingly.

“I have something for you, Aang.” Katara said, breaking the silence between the two.

The airbender widened his eyes. Wasn’t he supposed to be the one to surprise her?

Katara’s smile widened as she placed a small, flat box in his arms. The box consisted of the symbol for air and was surrounded with a white ribbon. Embroidered creatively on the plain, but appealing box was the name, ‘Aang’ in large calligraphy. The writing was so familiar to him, although he knew it wasn’t close to being Katara’s. Where had he seen this before?

“Happy Winter Moon, Aang!” she murmured excitedly.

Aang, at once, felt attached to the box itself before he even got to see what was inside of it. Something about it tugged at his heart painfully. He traced the rim of its surface as he looked at Katara, who continued smiling eagerly.

“Aren’t you going to open it?”

The airbender smiled back and carefully extricated the ribbon from the box. He took a deep breath before slowly taking the lid off. His eyes softened as they took in the content of the box. It was so familiar. It was almost like…could it actually be…?

Waiting for him inside the box was a pendant. Not just any pendant…the pendant. It was the Air Nomad pendant that Monk Gyatso made for him so long ago. The airbender felt tears in his glazed eyes. He reached into the box and carefully touched it. It was so….real. And it was still the same all these years.

It was another long moment before Aang finally whispered. “He…He made this….” He said softly. He flashed a shocked look at the water tribe beauty before him, his eyes glazing even more.

“Monk Gyats-so….” He finished.

Katara sadly contemplated his words. “I know.” Her smile transformed into one of concern. She placed her hand on his cheek.

Before she was given any reply, she was tackled by the airbender’s strong arms. He sighed heavily and instantly melted in her arms, holding back his tears as he buried himself in her long hair. He tightened his grip on her, closing his eyes. Katara sighed, returning the favor of the embrace.

After a moment of silence, Aang pulled away, blinking away the moistness of his eyes.  He gestured to the pendant. “Can you...?”

She nodded, comforting him. “Of course.”

She took the pendant into her arms, glancing deeply into his eyes. And with a sense of pride and love, she draped the pendant over his neck. The airbender grinned from ear to ear, wiping the tears from his eyes hastily.

“Katara, I got my gift. Now, it’s your turn.”

She frowned. “Aang, you’ve already given me a lot.”

“It’s not enough.” He stopped her playfully as his sorrow withered away and his mood entered back into mischief.

He spread one arm across the sky’s view in a swift bending move. The entire sky, which seemed to be so still until now, suddenly grew darker. Katara’s smile diminished in surprise as she glanced into the air. The hidden clouds suddenly parted, glowing in the light of the blue moon.

Just when Katara thought things couldn’t get any more complicated, she felt the clouds changing in position. Aang stepped before the blue moon and took a deep breath, bending the clouds from ground level. He swayed his arms this way and that, lost in thought. Within moments, Katara’s eyes widened in realization.

From the parting clouds came a soft, blue tinge of light. And before she could make out what the clouds’ message was, she felt her eyes getting moist.

“Aang, what is this?” she managed to say.

He took a glimpse at her from the concentration of the parting clouds. “You’ll find out.” He said lovingly as he squeezed her hands reassuringly.

Before the two benders’ eyes shone a face so familiar to the waterbender alone. Her pupils dilated from the astonishment. Tears raced down her cheeks as she stared endlessly into the sky and saw the smiling face of her mother.

“M-mom?”

Kya smiled downwards at her daughter, as if expressing her motherly pride and love. The mother herself was stuck between taking her daughter into her arms and returning to the world of spirits.

The haze of the blue moon made the vision glow brighter with undeniable radiance, catching Katara’s eyes. She didn’t know what overcame her as she refused the need to blink. She only cried hysterically, looking into the sky.

“Mom!”

The vision, as quickly as it came, suddenly disappeared. And all that was left was the parting of clouds once again, returning to their normal state.

Aang’s eyes brimmed with happiness and loving tears as he observed Katara’s reaction. He stepped forward to hold her close, but he only received her melancholy expression.

“How did you do it?” she asked, choking back sobs and breathing hard.

He shrugged and pulled her into his arms. “I just did.” He said. “Happy Winter Moon, Katara.”

She looked at him. She didn’t say anything. She simply laughed and cried at the same time, looking downwards. She sunk gratefully into his arms, blinking her tears back. She didn’t feel the need to let it go, but still remain holding onto it. She simply waited as she ceased her sobs.  Katara sighed, leaning onto his shoulder. She simply snuggled closer to him, commanding her mind to let go of the silent misery.

Her mother was a part of her that no one could ever replace. She was to be there as long as her heart kept beating. But this time, she didn’t feel the pain as intensely as she had expected to feel. What mostly stood out among this very blue moon night was merely the fact that Aang went through so much to grant this to her. She let the tears fall and listened to his heartbeat, remaining silent.

After many moments of slowing down her slamming heartbeat, she broke the silence. "Aang…" she breathed.

The airbender looked at her with concern. He wiped his tears away. “Y-yes, Katara?”

She smiled hopefully, nuzzling deeper into his shoulder. “If I had to choose between loving you and breathing, I would use my last breath to say ‘I love you’.”

Aang didn’t laugh at the saying. He knew what she meant by that, but he didn’t care that it was cheesy. He found it as the best thing anyone could ever say to him. And he only cherished it.

“That was really cheesy, wasn’t it?” Katara asked, chuckling sadly on the verge of sorrow.

“No.” Aang said sincerely. And under the softening breezes and the strengthening hazes of silver moonlight, he hugged her closer and smiled through his teary vision. He scooted closer to her and paced a tender peck on her lips.

“That’s what I would say, too.”

Chapter 2: Of Meat Lovers and Pretty Ladies (click to show/hide)The universe is full of surprises. It so perfectly weaves the fates of two lives, whether they were similar or completely different. It can also change even the most stubborn of subjects. How skillful it can be! However, one would not give into this philosophy regarding our favorite warrior and earthbending prodigy- Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe and Toph Bei Fong. Why? Because Sokka was Sokka. And Toph was Toph. Period.

The blind earthbender lazily slouched against the hard, engulfing brutality of a nearby boulder. Her concentration rested upon listening to the heartbeat of a certain warrior tackling the air with his swordsman skills. That was it, right? No… What really caught the warrior’s eyes were her jade green dress and heavy makeup.

Of course, no one can deny the fact that feeling heartbeats was one of the blind earthbender’s precocious talents. Then again, no one could disagree to the fact that she hesitated whenever it was Twinkletoes or Sugar Queen. But what if it came to her own heartbeat? Surely she could hear her pulse pounding as well. Her milky green, sightless eyes had gotten so used to staring into darkness that they didn’t crave for anything so out of the ordinary. She was independent, and that was what mattered the most to her. But she was still a girl. And that was that.

Sokka let out another battle cry as he sliced the atmosphere with his midnight-hued blade. His mind was elsewhere, only not nearly as close to the range of Toph’s concentration. Yes, he was practicing. Yes, he was thinking. And yes, he was noticing the earthbender’s makeup and making a fool of himself by not steadying his heartbeat. But he didn’t say anything. He actually didn’t feel the need to say anything. Instead, he was smiling. Not “funny ha-ha smiling”, but just smiling. And frankly, he felt glad that she couldn’t notice him watching her.

He raged on with serenity, an unusual feeling especially for someone so sarcastic. It wasn’t a normal thing for him. Sokka wasn’t supposed to be serene, right? Even you, my friend, can definitely not see him in a meditation position or anything. But the irony was…he wasn’t born for sarcasm. He was born with it. That was just a part of his nature.
Toph, herself, wasn’t as oblivious as he was. It had only been a few seconds ago when she asked him for the second time that day, “Are you looking at me?”

The question kind of astonished him as he shook his head and answered, “Why?”

And she replied with, “Just curious.” Technically she could feel him hesitating, but for once she avoided her instincts and trusted in ignoring him. She climbed further up the boulder and collapsed onto it, groaning.

He was training, and she was watching…err...feeling. That was all. But it seemed the opposite when Sokka was the one watching her lie on the boulder, and she was just listening to the flustering of his chest. Again, why? Because Sokka was Sokka. And Toph was Toph.

Toph moaned in boredom, jamming her foot into the mud-caked earth and sending groups of rocks flying into the air.

“Can’t you hurry up already?” she muttered towards him in her usual, Toph-like manner. “I’ve had enough of your dance steps.”

Sokka snapped out of his thoughts. “Dance steps?!” he muttered. But somehow, he didn’t seem to notice it quite as often as he should have. “Umm... yeah ...but it will take me…a while.” He said bluntly.

He released his potential energy with the whip of his blade, this time letting out a squeaked hyyyaaaa! instead of the usual grunt.

“I never knew you could imitate dead parrots.” Toph remarked, stifling a snort as she fiddled with her meteor bracelet.

“I wasn’t!” he answered in his Sokka-like tone of voice. “I was just-“

“Yeah yeah, you and your shenanigans. Dream on.”

The warrior made an expression of injustice. “You know perfectly well of my “shenanigans,” and you know you were the one who came with me in the first place!”

She turned her face away from him, fighting the urge to tint her complexion with pink hues. She had obviously seen…felt… his capability with Master Piandao. But then again, she was wasn’t the one to point out positivity very often.

She smirked. “Yeah. Since when? Your girly performance with Suki that Twinkletoes told me about?”

“Toph!”

She dashed her face in his direction. “Fine, leave it. But just answer this question….I mean, are you sure you’re not watching me?”

“Yes!” he said quickly. “The only thing I’m actually watching is…”

He fiddled around, searching for an excuse before holding up his blade. “…my trusty sword!”

“Seriously, I can feel your grin from here to the other end of the world, Snoozles. It’s kind of annoying.”

The warrior stopped widening his grin. “I wasn’t grinning!” he exclaimed, shaking his head. “A warrior has no time for grinning!”

She jumped off the boulder and pounded her feet onto the earth, observing his heart rate solemnly. “Right, but he does have time to annoy the universe. What do you say now, Mr. Ponytail?”

Sokka looked dejectedly at her, unable to convince her reasoning. “Fine, I was smiling, okay? But what’s wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong?” She snapped, shifting her milky eyes in his direction. She marched up to him and pointed an accusing finger at his chest. “Why is your heart rate speeding up then?”

He looked away, somewhat flustered. “No it wasn’t!”

“Yes it was!”

“Nuh-uh!”

“Not working, Snoozles. Don’t forget I’m an earthbender.”

He sighed, frowning. “It’s a free world, Toph. My heart rate can speed up. And besides, why are you so concerned?”

“Whatever.” She said, starting to get angry. It didn’t feel so right to answer that question, especially in front of him. And that was another surprise, coming from someone like her. “Just go back to your dancing.”

The warrior was about to protest, but he stopped in mid-thought. He honestly didn’t feel it necessary to argue with his comrade. He just took in her image, still somewhat shocked at seeing her this way. Toph Bei Fong was never the one to dress up, let alone in a dress and heavy makeup. And yes, he knew he was about to ramble in his head again. But it was true. Not that he didn’t like it or anything.

The oblivious Sokka, as oblivious as he was, had obviously seen her in makeup twice in his entire lifetime. Instance one: The Earth King’s party during their endeavor in Ba Sing Se. After all, how could he not forget the avatar’s goofy blush when his sister was all dressed up? Instance two: the day when Katara and Toph went to the Fancy Lady Day Spa in Ba Sing Se. He had to admit that she wasn’t the same Toph he always knew when she wore makeup.

Her usually plain skin was now pale white as far as complexion. Her lips were actually painted with (gasp) pink, and her eyelids were blanketed with purple hues. Even her cheeks seemed to stand out as far as blush. Her long, jade dress perfectly matched her fancy appearance. There were pearl-like designs on the dress itself, coated in leafy green and autumn yellow. A white sash was draped around her, the embroidery of cherry blossoms embedded into its snow-colored surface. Last but not least, little pearly studs stuck to her earlobes, adding the final touch of surprise to her attire.

Now, it was the third strike. He was supposed to be training, even if it was by himself. But he wasn’t. He was watching Toph Bei Fong. What’s next, another flying bat attack? One of the other million things in the world he didn’t understand was why she was so concerned with sitting in front of him like this.

“Hey, Toph?”

She hardened her sightless eyes. “What?” she asked bitterly with a flushed face.

“How do you feel?”

“Wow, Sokka. Really?”

“No, I’m serious.” He said. He looked over her outfit that greatly differed from her personality. “I mean, you don’t
look comfortable.”

The earthbender glared with such ferocity that the warrior knew now was the time to take off. But he found himself even more astonished when she was the one flustered. She battled with her words. “Oh, do I?” she retorted back, fiddling harder with her bracelet.

“Well-“

“To answer your question, Snoozles, I am perfectly fine. When have you ever seen this tough earthbender-“

She plunged her fingers into the boulder, breaking it apart into millions of debris. He gulped.

“-feel so helpless?” she finished, flashing a small smile in pride.

“Never.” He admitted. “Then-“

“Then what?” she asked louder, clenching her fist.

He raised his eyebrow. “Then why do you keep wondering if I was watching you?”

She gawked at the earth beneath her, fidgeting with her sash. “I have every right in the world to do so.” She said vaguely, her temper rising.

“Exactly!” He rushed forward defiantly. “Why would you care if my heart rate is going up?”

Toph frowned deeper. “You don’t need to know.” She firmly stated.

He smirked evilly. “Oh really?” He leaned forward, strapping his sword back to his belt. “Miss Toph Bei Fong, are you self-conscious?”

And that was it. She couldn’t take it. She widened her eyes as large as possible, fuming with embarrassment and fury. “WHAT!?”

With a blistering bending move, she sent the warrior flying into the air. She wasn’t done with him just yet when he landed before her and gagged between his broken screams.

“Toph!”

“You made a big mistake, Meathead!” she exploded, lifting him up and grabbing his shirt. “Don’t you dare-“

“I will say it!” he defended, regaining his posture. “It’s not like I’m the one wearing makeup and accusing the other with my looks!”

She was about to take a step further in attacking him by pinning him down when she suddenly stopped. And that was what stood out to him in the midst of his danger. Toph Bei Fong had stopped.

Her frown softened dementedly when she let him go, still sending him through waves of pain by tripping him flatly on the ground, but the same ferocity in her eyes vanished. Sokka’s mischievous glint escaped from his ocean hues, a melancholy essence replacing their momentary victory. Something inside of him tugged at his heavy heart as he replayed his words in his head. He didn’t understand.

“H-Hey, Toph?”

She glared at his direction as still and silent as the suffocating tensions crawling over them. He didn’t avoid the thought of facing her stare, himself giving into the fact that he was a bit too harsh on her. But Sokka was Sokka…and Toph was Toph. Right?

“T-Toph?” he repeated louder as he grabbed her hands.

To his surprise, they were shaking so hard that they were trembling. Trembling. He glanced worriedly at her quivering lips and frozen eyelashes, solely depending upon her bangs to cover them. But the warrior wasn’t that oblivious at the moment. What was he supposed to do now? And who knew trying to leave Miss Bei Fong speechless turned out to be something so ironically wrong? It was like all-powerful earthbending prodigy feared even standing next to him. She was his comrade. His best friend. It just didn’t feel like it was supposed to feel when he saw her speechless expression. And he didn’t like it.

“Just go away, Sokka.” She whispered gravely, devoting her attention to the creases and folds in the hardening mud.

“Wait, Toph-“

“Fine! I’ll go!” she sighed, cutting him off. However, she didn’t fail to send an ocean of rocks behind her as she earthbended herself away from him, refusing the need to look back.

“Toph! Listen to me!” the warrior called out.

The bits and pieces of crushed rocks blew into his face, but it didn’t feel so right for him to notice it. He felt his stomach churning harder than ever. Sweat raced down his tan-complexioned face despite the chilly conditions of the weather. The next thing he knew, he was the one trembling. Was this what people call ‘guilt’? Because in reality, he hated it.

~*~*~

It took the warrior a very long while to find her yanking rocks from the earth and splashing them into the water of a nearby pond. The sharp-edged pieces plunged into the water headfirst, rippling the reflection in front of her eyes that she could never see. It made him feel pained to see her reflection obliterate from the attack of stones.
The air was cooler now. Much cooler. It seemed to prepare itself for the upcoming winter, despite  the fact that it still felt fairly too warm. Autumn was supposed to be a cold season. But the warrior could tell that right now, Toph’s attitude was way colder than a mere seasonal wind.

Despite her harsh appearance that definitely didn’t suit her personality, it was as if her eyes spoke a language of their own. They clearly didn’t express the loss of their ability to see, but only seemed to catch the warrior’s attention more than possible. Speaking of our favorite soldier, here he was standing in a clueless manner. Where should he start? He was never good with apologies.

“There you are.”

At once, she perked up at the sound of his voice. She could have greeted him in her usual way when she faltered for a minute. She frowned, recalling the incident from earlier. “I’m not in the mood to strangle you right now.”

He looked up to see her standing defiantly, her fist still clenched. His first reaction was a nervous laugh as he descended from the hilltop and joined her downwards. “I honestly don’t mind if you still want to.”

He stared at her blank expression. Slowly, it began to unfold, although not moved at all by his comment. “Sure.”

“I’m serious.” He then noticed one of her silk sashes fallen next to the water. Besides being the one for perfectionism, he swooped down and gently caressed it in his hands and placed it in hers.

 “It was about to get wet.” he protested before she was given the chance to comment.

She seemed startled by the gesture but yanked it away from him. She started to walk away from him when he stepped in front of her.

“I won’t let you leave until you listen to me.” He squeaked, holding his arms out to prevent her. She crossed her arms, waiting for him to begin.

“Okay…well..I just want to say..”

“Any day now, Snoozles.” She retorted impatiently.

“Fine.” He said. He took a deep breath. “Look, I know that I might have been an idiot earlier-“

“Yeah, you were.” She agreed, still angry.

“Thanks.” He answered sarcastically. “But I just want to say-“ He stopped, slouching his shoulders. “I don’t know how to say it.”

She extricated her arms from their position. “You know what? I don’t think-“

“I’m sorry, okay?!” he said. “Truly and honestly sorry.”

She didn’t answer him as he studied her expression. It was still unchanged. “Like you care.”

“I do!” he said. “I shouldn’t have said that. To tell you the truth, I-“

“It doesn’t matter! Save it for later.” She interrupted.

He shook his head. “You don’t get it, do you? I’m trying to apologize.”

“Why are you even attempting this?”

She turned away from him. “You’re Sokka.” She continued, murmuring softly. “The ladies’ man. The fearsome swordsman. The most sarcastic, oblivious-minded meathead I ever met.”

He glanced at her trembling form again, not sure how to proceed. He never expected to hear something like this, coming from Toph. He grinned goofily, however, as he realized what she meant. “Was that a compliment?”

“Whatever.” She said icily. “You get the point.”

There was silence. For once, Toph was again struck speechless at her confession. She looked away, maintaining the angry glow on her face.

“But you’re Toph.” Sokka encouraged. “The toughest earthbender in the world. The number one person to come up with nicknames.”

He slowly turned to face her. “Are you trying to say that no one notices you?”

“Are you trying to kill me?” she grumbled back. “Besides, who would anyway? It’s not like I’m trying to-”

“Well, I do.” He interrupted.

Again, she was left speechless. He stared at her expression again, her sightless eyes softening from a defiant seaweed hue to a milky, hazel sea green. They tried desperately to express the ability to frown, but for the first time in Sokka’s presence, they failed to do so.

“I still don’t know why you don’t want me to smile at you.”

She raised her eyebrow. “Why would you even want to?”

He stumbled over his words, his cheeks turning crimson. “B-because you’re in a dress.”
“S-so?” she stuttered.

He smiled wider. “You look nice.”

“More like a clown.” She muttered sarcastically and held her hands up dejectedly in the air. “Toph Bei Fong, the prettiest girl in the world.”

He sighed, frustrated. “You’re not a clown!”

“Says who?”

“Says me!”

Again, there was dead silence. Toph’s eyes widened, and her bare feet cupped the earth beneath her as she felt his slamming heartbeat again. Did he just say…?

“I-I meant that you look p-pretty in a dress.” He said quickly, gulping. “Even beautiful.”

“Oh.”

The awkward silence continued to creep over them, but it didn’t successfully accomplish its mission when Sokka came closer to her. He took a deep breath before whispering, “You know, something’s missing.”

She faltered again with her words, letting go of her frown at last. “What now?”

He slowly grasped her hand and placed a small, beaded artifact in her hands.

“What’s this?”

“A bracelet.”

She stopped in mid-thought. “Who’s it for?”

“Who do you think it’s for?” he exclaimed. “Why would I give it to you if it wasn’t for you?”

“Oh.” She said. She ran her fingers over the tiny beads. They seemed irregular in pattern. One large one, one rough one, two soft ones, and then a rough one again. It was all jumbled up.

“These don’t feel like beads.”

“Cause they’re not. They’re sort of like metal.”

She felt a small smile peeking at her lips, but she still wasn’t ready to let him go. “What gave you that idea?”

He didn’t answer, but waited patiently. “Aren’t you gonna put it on?”

“You didn’t answer my question, Snoozles.”

“Put it on!”

She obeyed, strapping the metal to her wrist. It felt…nice…the first thing that was closest to a jewelry artifact she had ever worn with enthusiasm. “Will you tell me now?” she demanded.

He leaned forward and gave her a quick peck on her cheek. “Happy Birthday, Toph Bei Fong.”

And for the third time in her life, she was left speechless. “W-who t-told you?”

“You did.” He said, smiling. “Just now.”

Because as far as friendship and stubborn love, Toph was Sokka… and Sokka was Toph.

Chapter 3: Rose Petals On Top (click to show/hide)He couldn’t believe this. He really couldn’t believe this. What was he supposed to be doing, and what was he doing? He was watching Mai sleep. Definitely not the characteristic one would expect out of Firelord Zuko.

He was to be crowned as Fire Lord the next day early in the morning. He still had technically a few more hours left before the servants of the palace plunged into their own beds, but he didn’t seem so convinced in the idea of sleeping. He needed sleep, but if it was the last time he would see Mai…his Mai…again…then what was the significance of sleep?

He especially didn’t feel the need to be called ‘Firelord’, considering how tiring it had been for him to reach that position after battling his crazed sister, but the others had already continued to get into the habit of calling him that. Honestly, he wasn’t in the mood.

He didn’t feel the need to ponder why he would stare at the woman he loved. It wasn’t rare. It wasn’t unusual. It wasn’t like he would rather be doing something else. It just wasn’t so….likely, considering how he betrayed her.

Yes, they let her out of prison. Yes, she had seen him among the midst of such chaos. And yes, she flashed a small smile towards him. But would she still agree to be with him after…everything?

The former fire prince didn’t blink, fearing the thought of letting this moment slip away so easily from his grasp. However, it didn’t appeal to him that he felt so alone in the dim room, sitting on the floor next to her bed and watching her with such intense concentration. It was something that he wasn’t so used to doing, but he knew he was in no position to hold back now.

She stirred slowly as her long hair fell over the side of her face. Zuko’s heartbeat stopped for a split second as she turned to face his direction, her arm draped effortlessly over his. The firebender widened his eyes, mentally battling with the options of whether he should hide or remain where he was.

If he had the opportunity, he would willingly give himself up to getting stuck in glue, sitting and thinking about his place in the universe again. Anything to avoid getting caught by Mai. But he couldn’t help not leaving his eyes away from her. She was asleep…and he actually thought it was kind of cute.

She slouched deeper into her pillow, wincing in sleep as she felt a light presence on her arm. Now that he received the chance to notice, he could make out slight traces of bruises on her arm. He gently reached over to her arm, fingering over the bruises and tracing the creases in her fingers.

She then let go as quickly as she hung it over the side of the bed, draping it over her blanket. Zuko felt heat rushing up to his cheeks as she barely opened her eyes, tossing the other way among the sheets. Nevertheless, she continued her rhythmic pattern of breathing.

“So you’re just going to ignore me…. aren’t you?”

Great. He was starting to go crazy now. The Firelord was going crazy. But he didn’t care.

“Well?” he asked out of the blue. He received no response. And that was just how he expected it to be…no
response whatsoever.

He sighed, slumping down next to the bed. “This isn’t fair, Mai.”

The Fire Nation beauty shifted uncomfortably as he spoke her name. He didn’t notice, frowning. “I did what I had to do.”

He glanced at her sleeping expression. Somehow, it seemed to have changed, as if contemplating the darkness. Again, he felt glue to watching her.

“Ugh!” he whispered, irritant. “This wasn’t about you, Mai. You had no idea how hard it was for me to leave you.”

Zuko wearily lingered over the edge of the bed, running his fingers rapidly though his hair. He took a deep breath.

“I know it was so hard on you. But it was just as hard, if not harder, on me."

A look of apology crossed his expression as he continued staring at the bruises on her arms. He shifted his direction from the folds in her palms to her weary expression, craving for sleep. He softened his harsh, glazed contemplations. He felt something slam into his chest, not quite sure if it was supposed to be his racing heartbeat. The guilt was back.

“I’m….I’m sorry….”

He knew very well of the situation he found himself in. He had hurt her, and it was, whether intentionally or not, his fault. She stood up for him in front of his sister, the Fire Nation, herself….for him! And how did he answer her? By betraying her.

“I love you, Mai.” He murmured dejectedly in his gruff, Zuko-like voice.

Again, he noticed her shift towards his direction again. He stopped in dead silence, gawking at her and shutting his eyes close. After a few moments, he blinked one eye open and slowly steadied his short, sudden breaths.

“I know you’re ready to kill me.” He said in a matter-of-fact way.

Sometimes, he couldn’t help but compare his lover to a black velvet rose. The qualities she possessed tallied so perfectly with those of this mysterious flower. Even though she wasn’t the one for flowers, she was still a woman… beautiful one if you asked him.

“And I don’t care if you do.”

She was a thorn less rose, leaving no room for complications even in midst of such pandemonium. She was the tone of velvet…smooth and graceful despite the darkened connotation behind her motives. But the black rose part? It was her attitude.

She may not be the one to express herself in any given situation, but she possessed a heart. A heart of fire. She was quiet, agile, flexible…not to mention faster than the speed of her own knives. Why, she was perfect for him.

“Just, uh, promise me that we’ll be together. Again.” He said awkwardly.

~*~*~

It wasn’t long before he heard a soft gasp of surprise escape from under the covers of the bed sheets. Zuko then found himself staring face to face into the questioning eyes of the Fire Nation beauty.

At once, he remained silent. It seemed to be one of the most intensely awkward moments in his entire life, considering the reason he was here and the way she looked at him. He frantically confiscated with a nearby candlestick, cupping his hands around the tiny flame to keep himself occupied.

Mai’s first reaction could have been a groggy, yet bitter, “What?” instead of the unusual turning of her head and glowering of her slit-black eyes. She sat up on her bed, hastily brushing her bangs away from her eyes and crossing her arms demandingly.

“I-I can exp-plain…”

However, she was quiet.

“M-Mai, please listen-”

She didn’t answer him.

“Mai…” he started again, slightly more impatient.

This time, she graced him with a merciful glare. “What now, Zuko?” she asked bitterly. Her voice caused a frown to deepen on his face. It wasn’t helpless, but it was one of annoyance rather than curiosity. He didn’t like it.
He stood up (or stumbled his way up, you can say) at her glare. His cheeks heated up again as he looked downwards. “Um-“

“Whatever you’re planning on asking me, you won’t get an answer.” She warned, stopping him.

“I wasn’t-“

“I’m not in the mood to get my heart broken again, either.”

“That’s not what I-“

“And no, I don’t need your pointless explanations.”

For the first time in his life, Zuko noticed something in her eyes. Were they really so moist?

“I’m sorry Mai.” He repeated again. “I-‘

She angrily stomped up to him, forcibly piercing her accusing finger on his chest. “Why are you even here?” she asked. “Shouldn’t you be writing another break-up letter like a coward?”

“Mai, please! I already feel like a complete idiot for hurting you.”

“Oh yeah?” she glared, shoving him backwards. “That’s probably your calling. I was the one who suffered in the aftermath. You have no right to apologize, Zuzu."

“But-“

She grabbed him by the collar of his robe, sending her hands swooping across his cheek. “You destroyed every good memory I could think of you.”

“Maybe it’s because I want you back, Mai!” he retorted, grasping her hands. “Maybe it’s because I can’t live without you not looking at me every day!”

She let him go, frowning deeper.

“I don’t want to go a single day without discussing my reason to be with you. I hate not talking to you . I want to be next to you all the time. I want to redeem myself!”

Mai didn’t really know what came over her as she stared into his golden eyes. She could see the familiar spark of sincerity within him. “Like that’s true.”

He dropped dementedly in front of her, landing on his knees and yanking out his small Earth Kingdom blade. He held it determinedly up to her, gesturing to the fateful scar on his chest from the lightning strike.

“You do realize this pain is nothing close to the one when I hurt you.” He said, beckoning her with his blade before slitting it up to his chest. She stared incredulously at his actions, gritting her teeth angrily.

“Never give up without a fight, Mai.”

She felt the tears waiting at the verge of her closed eyelids, giving away the last of the strength she possessed. She leaned before him, snatching the blade from him and sending it flying to the other end of the room.
“Don’t you dare do that again, you hear me?!” she yelled.

 He inched closer to her, cupping her cheek longingly. “Do you believe me?” he asked hopefully.

“It doesn’t matter.” She answered, securing his robe over his bandaged chest. “I just don’t…hate you.”

He reached into the folds of his robe and pulled out what was supposed to be a small, crimson chain. The poor Firelord seemed embarrassed, but he avoided his flustered thoughts and placed it in her hands. It was a fairly simple and dull chain, but it only made her stand out more.

“Oh great, you got me something.” She said bluntly, not at all surprised.

“I know you never liked jewelry.” He said. “But this was the closest thing I could get right now.”

She hid her smirk, tracing the simple threads and running her hands over the silky bead-like structures dangling down from it. “You know, you have a lot of catching up to do.”

“And I’ll do whatever it takes.” He said determinedly. “Even if it takes a million fruit tarts.”

She glanced annoyingly up at him, still scowling as she fingered the chain. “With rose petals on top?”

Zuko chuckled nervously, running his hands through his hair as the last flicker of the flame died away. “With rose petals on top.” He assured her while closing the gap between their eager lips.


~To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.~

Offline A6

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #47 on: December 24, 2012, 02:06:28 PM »
Wow, Lily! Three beautiful romantic moments.  (yes there was romantic tension in the Tokka one!)

What can I say? I love Kataang and it was cool she, like my story, dressed as an Air Nomad, and got Gyatso's pendant as a gift. Awesome use of air bending to clear a view of the blue moon and bringing her mother in with a spirit visit to her.

Great Tokka friendship/unsaid romance story.  You got their banter and fighting/flirting balanced just right, her selfconsciousness and false "tough" image down great, with her little seen fragile moments coming through.

And the Maiko moments.  Zuko's confession while she was sleeping, and then the angry reality of their reconciliation and make up.  VERY plausible moment in the pre coronation time.  The REAL test of how good a Maiko moment it is will be to see what divs says! (haha, no pressure, divs!)

For our Christmas presents you have so unselfishlessly presented TKC incredibly well written vignettes from a truly talented young writer. I always have to remind myself you have JUST turned 15.   I think I just got my Secret Santa present already! XD
signatures - gift from my talented friends Water Lily and Honey Badger :3

Offline Cowboy Colt

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #48 on: December 24, 2012, 04:07:32 PM »
Beautiful Lily!

keeps and quotes (click to show/hide)
 ATLA keeps: Kataang lovemaking, "MY CABBAGES " line, Aangs quiet badassness
Main theme (click to show/hide)
[
Elevation requires separation.

Be thankful for each day that you have.

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Offline Water Lily

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #49 on: December 24, 2012, 05:11:55 PM »
Wow, Lily! Three beautiful romantic moments.  (yes there was romantic tension in the Tokka one!)

What can I say? I love Kataang and it was cool she, like my story, dressed as an Air Nomad, and got Gyatso's pendant as a gift. Awesome use of air bending to clear a view of the blue moon and bringing her mother in with a spirit visit to her.

Great Tokka friendship/unsaid romance story.  You got their banter and fighting/flirting balanced just right, her selfconsciousness and false "tough" image down great, with her little seen fragile moments coming through.

And the Maiko moments.  Zuko's confession while she was sleeping, and then the angry reality of their reconciliation and make up.  VERY plausible moment in the pre coronation time.  The REAL test of how good a Maiko moment it is will be to see what divs says! (haha, no pressure, divs!)

For our Christmas presents you have so unselfishlessly presented TKC incredibly well written vignettes from a truly talented young writer. I always have to remind myself you have JUST turned 15.   I think I just got my Secret Santa present already! XD
Wow, A6...I'm speechless. I know that this is nothing compared to what many other writers can produce here. But thank you sooo much! *hugs forever* :D

Beautiful Lily!
Thanks, Cowboy! :D


~To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.~

Offline Noodles Aang Colbert

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #50 on: December 24, 2012, 07:26:23 PM »
Thanks A6!

I'm going to read the other entries later this week.  I don't like reading entries from the same contest that I am participating in before I write my entry.  XD
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Offline PSUKFB92

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #51 on: December 25, 2012, 06:51:40 AM »
I'm going to have to drop out too...I'm writers blocked and also have other things to do...no way I'll be able to finish.
ATLA keeps: Kataang hug from The Serpent's Pass, Sokka's DoBS WT armor, Katara's water skins, Appa, Azula's lightning.

LoK keeps: Asami's electric glove, Bolin's seaweed noodles, Korra's hat trick in the pro-bending tournament, Lin Beifong's police uniform, the waterfall behind Tarrlok's desk.



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Offline A6

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #52 on: December 25, 2012, 05:48:02 PM »
:(  Don't give up yet. Several days left! :)
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Offline Spruce

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #53 on: December 25, 2012, 05:50:13 PM »
I don't know how long mine'll be, but there will be something.
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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #54 on: December 25, 2012, 08:00:22 PM »
Not looking for length. Looking for the quality I know you can produce. And glad there WILL be something from you!  ;)
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Offline PSUKFB92

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #55 on: December 26, 2012, 04:19:26 AM »
Perhaps I could fit one in under the proverbial buzzer...but it might wind up being short.
ATLA keeps: Kataang hug from The Serpent's Pass, Sokka's DoBS WT armor, Katara's water skins, Appa, Azula's lightning.

LoK keeps: Asami's electric glove, Bolin's seaweed noodles, Korra's hat trick in the pro-bending tournament, Lin Beifong's police uniform, the waterfall behind Tarrlok's desk.



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Offline A6

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #56 on: December 26, 2012, 04:38:01 AM »
Length is no matter. That you entered to be part of the fun is what matters. ;)
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Offline PSUKFB92

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #57 on: December 27, 2012, 06:50:09 PM »
All right, I got it. Had to revamp the idea down to a two-(wo)man conversation, but it still works (hopefully).

Title: The Gift of Friendship
Author: PSUKFB92
Rating: K
Word count: 1,400
Summary: Ty Lee is in Team Avatar, but the past still weighs on her. One of her new friends brings her a reassurance of the new life to come in a special gift.

This story is also dedicated to one of my best friends - she's not on this forum, but she's been really special for me this year. She has helped me out of some tough spots and kept me from falling into a proverbial abyss. She's like a sister to me, and with all she has done for me, I couldn't help but dedicate a story like this to her.

The Gift of Friendship (click to show/hide)The sun fell behind the colorful, brightened statue of Avatar Kyoshi as a light sea breeze rustled through the trees and open valley of the island. The newest resident and member of the Kyoshi Warriors, Ty Lee, took a deep breath and sucked in the air of the autumn evening. She was long away from the days of being with Azula and chasing down Team Avatar - now, she was a part of the global team of friends. Some of them were actually visiting the island for a few days.

Still, though the days of being forced to follow Azula's command were over, they stung at Ty Lee. It wasn't hard for her to remember when she threatened her life at the circus in a successful attempt to get her to join her mission. From there on, she still tried to view the princess as a friend, but harbored great fear for her - carrying out her movements lock step with what Azula ordered - lest she get hurt. Only when her true friend's life was threatened could she finally work up the courage to go against Azula.

So, she did.

She became imprisoned and, as destiny would have it, found the Kyoshi Warriors in the same prison as her. Over time, she befriended the group and was soon accepted to their ranks.

After the War, she spoke with all the members of Team Avatar, who all forgave her for her past actions. It was not easy explaining all that happened, but the group accepted her in to their ranks, and now she was able to join all her friends, old and new, in a true, close-knit group.

Nonetheless, the memories hurt her.

She recalled one night where she tried to cry silent tears over the circus threat, but only Azula found her.

"Ty Lee, what are you doing?"

Amber eyes more looking like ice glared on the acrobat with sharp anger.

''Ty Lee sniffled and looked toward her believed friend. "Azula...just, the night at the circus -"

"What about it!?" Azula demanded. "That's none of your concern. We have an Avatar and his friends to track. Get up, and let's go!"

"Azula, can I -"

"Let's go, now! No questions. Need I remind you what did happen that night? Would be a shame if that happened again."

Ty Lee shuddered as Azula continued to give an icy, angry glare. She knew the princess had her under her control. Valuing her life, she got up and wiped away her tears, avoiding Azula's gaze. Those fears were enough to keep her going in the mission, but she couldn't help but wonder...

Just like in the flashback, tears dripped down the warrior's face as she gripped the armor near her heart. She soon felt herself shaking, holding her hands over her eyes. A choked sob came from her mouth as the flashbacks played out before her.

"Ty Lee?"

Slowly, the warrior turned around, and saw another girl standing before her. She was decorated in a blue dress, dark blue pants, brown boots, and had long brown hair flowing from her, framed with two small strands held by beads. Her skin was toned darker, blue eyes which quickly turned worried when she saw Ty Lee's face.

"Oh, hey, Katara..." Ty Lee whispered, trying to wipe some tears from her face.

"What's wrong?" Katara asked. "You've been out here for quite a while, and Aang and I are worried."

"It's nothing," Ty Lee tried to shake the waterbender off.

"Tears down your face, a look of sadness, and nervous shaking doesn't mean 'nothing,'" Katara replied with tones of concern still in her voice. "Talk to me..."

She tried to turn away, but no matter what, her new friend was going to remain there until she talked. She had to come out with it at some point or the fears would just eat away at her.

Finally, the Kyoshi Warrior turned back to Katara. "I'm still hurt..."

It didn't take long for things to register with the Water Tribe girl. After her apology a few weeks ago, Katara knew right then and there just what Ty Lee meant. "Oh...but, you know it's over...right? Azula's gone. She'll never hurt you again."

"It doesn't take away the pain..." Ty Lee spoke in a broken voice. "The fear she inspired, the attempt she made on my life for not joining her...having her imprisoned doesn't remove that, Katara! It just doesn't!" More tears escaped down her face as she sobbed vocally and covered her tear-stained face.

Slowly, the waterbender approached her friend. She got Ty Lee to remove her hands from her own face, and soon, Katara was wiping Ty Lee's tears away with her thumbs. "I can only imagine...living under that for so long. Having to live in constant fear..."

"All this time I thought she was a real friend..." Ty Lee said, still hurting inside. "All she was just someone who used Mai and I and forced her will on us...lest we get hurt...she had me bent to her will. I wish I knew real friendship...like one time, when I was crying over what happened at the circus, how much that scared me...Azula just...she yelled at me! She told me just to get going to continue the mission, and "Need I remind you what did happen that night? Would be a shame if that happened again."

A silent gasp left Katara's mouth. She never knew just how bad things really were between Ty Lee and Azula, now, she came to realize just what fear the princess had left in her new friend's mind. The waterbender pulled the Kyoshi Warrior into a tight hug. "I'm sorry..." she whispered.

Though wondering what her friend could even be sorry for, Ty Lee did not resist, reciprocating the hug and burying her head into Katara's shoulder. Her tears moistened Katara's dress. "How could she do that to us? I thought we were her friends! I thought she actually cared about us more than to use us as her...weapons! And more than just to throw away if they stopped working! How...how could she..."

"It's all over..." Katara tried to assure her in a whisper-quiet done. "It's in the past...Azula is gone. She'll never be able to do this to you again. We're your friends now, Ty Lee. We care about you...and we certainly won't control you. We're all here for you..."

"Really?" Ty Lee said with a sniffle, trying to pull Katara closer.

"Yes," the waterbender replied, chancing another smile. "Of course. That's how our group is. Ever since it was just Aang, Sokka, and myself, we always have looked out for one another. You're part of our group now, so, you'll be getting that treatment. We're not about controlling others for our missions."

Ty Lee felt more assured and at home around Katara, standing in her embrace still. She could tell in her tones that she meant every word she said about their care and respect for one another. Being a part of it meant a lot to the warrior who had felt isolated from her family and then used by her former best friend. Her tears stopped flowing as a smile lit up her face.

After a few moments, the two girls separated. Ty Lee left her hands over Katara's, a bright smile dotting her face. "Thank you, Katara. It really means a lot to feel accepted and among real friends. Things won't heal immediately, but, I'm really glad to be a part of your group. I promise, I'll do everything I can to maintain the friendship. It's a blessing, really."

Katara smiled back just as brilliantly. "Well, we're glad you're here too. I can tell you're a great person at heart, and you'll fit in perfectly. You're definitely a real friend from what I can see. I hope you stick around for as long as you can."

"Absolutely," Ty Lee answered. "I know it hasn't been long, but, I can already say that you guys are the best."

"Thanks," the waterbender replied. "And just remember...if this ever comes up again, if there's anything you need to say...you can come to any of us, at any time. We're here for you."

The warrior happily sighed, taking in the accepting warmth Team Avatar offered her. "Thank you, Katara...and send my thanks to everyone else as well." She then hugged her waterbending friend again as the sun set behind them as she began to think of her future with all her new friends.

Was it Ty Lee's birthday?

No.

But she had gotten herself a nice gift.

The gift of friendship.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 07:01:56 PM by PSUKFB92 »
ATLA keeps: Kataang hug from The Serpent's Pass, Sokka's DoBS WT armor, Katara's water skins, Appa, Azula's lightning.

LoK keeps: Asami's electric glove, Bolin's seaweed noodles, Korra's hat trick in the pro-bending tournament, Lin Beifong's police uniform, the waterfall behind Tarrlok's desk.



Sig made by Secrets

Offline Water Lily

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #58 on: December 27, 2012, 06:57:01 PM »
Awwwwww!!!! This was an incredibly sweet piece, PSU!!! Loved it sooo much!!! ;D


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Offline Spruce

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Re: TKC Holiday Writing Contest: "The Gift of..." Theme
« Reply #59 on: December 28, 2012, 05:52:40 AM »
Title: The Greatest Gift Of All
Author: Spruce
Rating: K
Word Count: 1,645
Pairings: The Doph
Summary: On their first anniversary, Toph and The Duke attempt to exchange gifts...and end up exchanging more than few feelings about gift exchanges.

The Greatest Gift of All (click to show/hide)   “Well…I have to be honest.”

   Toph stopped, let go of his hand, and allowed the words to hang in the air for a breathless moment. Maybe two. She got a kick out of feeling his nervous heart flutters beating down into the ground.

   “I never actually thought we’d make it this far. As a couple, or whatever you want to call it, I mean,” she blurted. The Duke rolled his eyes, pulling his whole head around in a familiar mixture of relief and exasperation. After a full year of dating this goddess among benders, he’d almost gotten used to it.

   “I know I could have just received worse news to close out a first anniversary date, but really, Toph? That’s your best romantic reveal?” The Duke jibbed. Toph set her jaw and came as close to “huffing” as one would ever see her come.

   “What’s wrong with it?” she quipped, hands on her hips and striding over to her boyfriend. “It can’t be that surprising that I thought you’d get sick of a..a…a pig like me!”

   “Aw come on, Toph…you aren’t-“

   “Yeah, yeah, you think I’m the hottest babe you’ve ever seen,” Toph said, now standing right before him and looking up into his chocolate brown stare. She immediately began to feel herself back at ease. The Duke thought he could see faint glimmers of dew in her pale gaze.

   “And you’re right about that,” she said as she wrapped her arms around his waist. Her face buried into his chest with a vulnerability she’d rather die than indulge outside of the forest glade they found themselves in, with only each other and the birds to bear witness. “I just…really wasn’t sure if you’d stick around that long with a girl so-“

   “Brusque? Brash? Exasperating?” The Duke offered with a cheeky smirk in his voice. Toph punched his ribs, but it only made the joyful rumbling she felt in his chest grow.

   “Something like that,” she murmured into his tunic. “And all of that is why…I thought I owed you an explanation.” His arms wrapped around her just as the twilight hour consumed the last remnants of the day’s sunbeams.

   “Explanation for what, exactly? You aren’t usually one for apologies.”

   “That’s why I’m not apologizing, Iron Skull.”

   She pulled away, rubbing her arms in a decidedly nervous manner. “I’m just prepping you for how this might go. That’s why I wanted to come back here, after dinner in the city. I didn’t want those rich old farts…and young farts, come to think of it…I didn’t want them to see this, either. Because it might be kind of lame.”

   The Duke smiled gently. “Toph,” he said, “you’re either asking me to marry you, or you’re giving me a gift. Neither is anything to be embarrassed about, especially not with ‘old farts’.”

   “Don’t flatter yourself, Helmet Hair! You have a lot more proving to do before you get to even think about marrying me on a good day,” Toph shot back. “I’m not embarrassed, I’m just concerned is all. I have a reputation to keep as a world class bender…and I have you to think about now…” She shuffled her feet as the wind rustled the leaves. “But yeah, I guess you could call it a gift,” she said, with her voice greatly softened.

   The Duke grinned. “Must mean I’m still in the running for a long term plan, then!”

   Toph smirked out of the corner of her mouth, and socked him in the shoulder. The Duke could swear he saw a nod to go with it.

   “You know,” he said, “I have a little something for you , too. To mark the occasion.”

   The Duke was as aware as the next person close to Toph (outside of Sokka’s occasional moments of buffoonery) that his darling girlfriend was as blind as a badgermole. Still, she had no limit to the depth of expression her eyes could still convey. The mere mention of a gift shocked her vestigial eyes into growing wider than he’d seen since the day he told her it was more than one-off kiss that he was interested in from her.

   “Why…why would you bother to do that? You don’t exactly have an abundance of money…”

   The Duke silenced her protests with a tender kiss, before pulling out an ancient but ornate dagger. The gilded sections had long ago given up their luster, but the piece was clearly worth a great deal at some point in its life.

   “This used to be Jet’s, but he passed it along to Longshot as a sign of trust to his second-in-command,” The Duke said. “Longshot gave it to Smellerbee after Jet…left us. And then she gave it to me after they settled down,” he continued. His voice was beginning to catch. “Now I want to give it to you…because, I trust you, Toph.” He thumbed along Toph’s cheek as he pressed the dagger hilt into her tiny hand. She refused to tremble at the touch, that was beneath the great Toph Bei Fong. But he could make out the little twitches in her expression that told him all he needed to know about how she felt about the gift.

   “Trust me with…what, exactly?” she asked, seemingly aware of the answer but nervous to find out for sure.

   “With…my heart I guess. My life. You’re…kind of my ‘second-in-command’ now, if I pretend I’m still some kind of spiritual leader of the old Freedom Fighters,” The Duke explained. Toph breathed in deeply. She clutched the dagger tightly as she sighed out a long stream of emotions, culminating in her sheathing the dagger into her sleeve and drawing The Duke into her snug embrace.

   “Thank you,” she said, only a shade above a whisper. The Duke smiled a lopsided grin and rubbed her back. He kissed the crown of her head and swayed with her.

   “I’m the one who should be thanking you,” he answered back. Another quick shot to his ribs told him what she thought of the idea, for the moment.

   “Not just yet, lover boy.”

   Toph broke free of his arms with a wicked smirk. She tapped the earth between them twice with her foot, and up shot a glimmering curve of metal. The ends spiked at the top in a baroque flair, and the rapidly strengthening glow from the moon revealed a dizzying blend of metals, all depending on the way the light caught it.

   “It isn’t much, but-“ Toph chatted as she began to bend the metal onto the young man’s helmet. “-it’s just something I thought you deserved.” She finished almost as soon as she began, stepping back to admire her handiwork. “There, now you look as good as any of those high-society type generals with a piece of trash sitting on their heads…”

Her pleased demeanor cooled off into an annoyed glare.

“…or you would, if you’d wipe that dumb look of shock off your face. Act like you’ve been there before, Dukey!”

Her use of the one name only she could ever get away with calling him snapped him back to reality.  He let the slight go, still too dumbfounded to care.

“Toph…how did you-how long did it take you to-where-why did you-“

“Shh. My turn to blow you off with a kiss.”

Her lips brushed his, but pulled back teasingly. She chuckled in his face.

“Sorry, can’t get over how you looked just now,” she giggled menacingly. There was none of the delicate softness of a gentler girl’s laugh in Toph, and The Duke still thought it was far prettier.

“Well, it is pretty amazing, Toph. I don’t know why you were at all nervous. Thank you, really,” The Duke lauded, soft brown eyes melting down her cold, hard emotional walls yet again.

“It’s nothing,” she insisted, turning her cheek to him but remaining close. “I just wanted to show that I cared…that I felt good about things. About us, I mean. About you,” She prattled. It was a rather unusual sight, to see her look unconfident or off-guard like this. The Duke swaddled her in his arms again and kissed her cheek.

“That’s why it means so much to me,” he said, nuzzling her with his nose. “It’s why you mean so much to me. Don’t you get it yet?”

Toph nodded and made a brief noise of acknowledgement, but kept herself very still. The Duke took it as a hesitant sign to continue.

“Toph…the greatest gift you gave me…that I can hope to give you…is the gift of giving someone worth giving to at all. And you gave that to me a long time ago.”

He turned her face back toward his.

“That’s why I was so happy to be able to give you that dagger…because I’ve never had someone I cared so much about, that I could care so much about giving them anything so important.”

Toph drew her face in closer, noses touching and lips hovering near each other.

“I’ve never had anyone like that, either,” she said. “I mean, I could’ve…probably should’ve given more nice things to Katara and Aang and...Sokka,” she said, treating the final name like the emotional landmine it was. The Duke tried not to wince. “But this is the first time I can remember doing something like this…like I’m giving someone a piece of myself. It’s weird.”

She finally pressed her mouth to his.

“But I think I like it.”

The Duke smiled.

“Couldn’t agree more.” They sealed their epiphany with a kiss, followed by another, and many more following that.

The night would come and go, and many more seasons would rise and fall for the both of them. But they would never forget the pureness of the spirit of giving that they learned that day. Their gift to each other, of each other, would carry on through and past their lifetimes.
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